Shoulder-Belt Plate of
Capt. Edgell Wyatt
Rubbing of plate which was in the late Mr. Nightingale's collection in 1932.
Cross-Belt Plate of 1812
Everard notes that this plate forms the top of a snuff-box in the possession of a descendant of Captain Edgell Wyatt. This plate appears to have been in use at least in 1796, and may have been in use as early as 1792 because it is the same shape as the private's plate shown in Dayes' drawing.
"A similar plate is shown in the Jennen': Bench Book, but with a slightly different border, i.e. a close leaf or shell pattern on the flat along the middle of the border. This leaf ornament, and also the crown, garter and Lion are painted yellow as if gilt." As Major Everard's description of the Wyatt plate does not mention any gilt parts, there must have been a change in the colours of the metals after 1803! In this connection there is some valuable evidence in the form of a rough rubbing of a plate which was in the late Mr. Nightingale's collection in 1932.
A copy of this rubbing is shown opposite. It was described as follows: "The backplate is silver Hall-marked 1808, and the mounts are gilt." It is assume that the "mounts" are the centra devices, and that the border design is engraved apart from there being no mention of the border being gilt, we have in this plate confirmation of the plate in Jennen's Bend Book described above.
It will be noticed that the plate shown in the copy of this rubbing (seen opposite) has much smaller cut off corners than the Wyatt plate—as one would expect towards 1810, when cross-belt plate: were tending towards pure rectangles! The shape of the Wyatt plate seems to be a transition stage between the oval and the rectangular plates.
In March 1812, the honour "Roleia" was granted to the 29th (Worcestershire) Regiment, and shortly afterwards a new pattern of plate was introduced. S. M. Milne describes this plate as follows: "Plain silver, with gilt raised ornaments, i.e. in centre, on a wreath, was the Lion crowned, statant guardant, encircled by a garter (with motto Honi sait &c.), surmounted by a crown; from the bottom of the Garter and extending either way was a branch of laurels, below which was a scroll with Roleia."
The honour "Peninsula" was granted to the Regiment in 1815, but there is no evidence that the Regiment added this honour to their cross-belt plates until 1818 — when the other three Peninsula honours were granted. Three years is a long time, and it is quite possible that an extra scroll was added, either at the top or at the bottom of the plate to carry the new honour.
"Vimiera," "Talavera" and "Albuhera" were granted in September, 1818, and the 29th (Worcestershire) Regiment very quickly ordered a new pattern of plate (shown below). The description of the plate is as follows:— "A silver plate, Hall-marked 1818, silver gilt mounts. The backing to the Lion is pale blue cloth, and there is no enamel backing to the garter. The exact size is 2 9/10 ins. wide by 3 3/10 ins. high."
No further honours were added to the cross-belt plates of the 29th (Worcestershire) Regiment, and the devices, i.e. a crowned garter with Lion in centre and five scrolls below, remained in use until 1832. There is, however, some evidence of a change in the design and colour of the plates some time prior to that date.
The facts are as follows :—About 1901 Colonel Hugh Everard supplied details of — "an actual plate, as worn in 1832." Everard gave the colouring as — "a silver plate with raised gilt ornaments. The Lion on a crimson velvet ground, and the lettering on the Garter pierced over blue enamel." This description differs considerably from that of the 1818 plate given above.
The main differences from the 1818 plate back plate was rectangular and without rounded corners, the garter oval, and the whole of the devices were also much smaller on the plate.
We now come to the final pattern of cross-belt plate worn by the officers of the Regiment. This plate was ordered in December 1832, but it was not taken into use until 1833 owing to the Regiment being abroad (in the West Indies). The colouring is as follows:—The whole plate gilt except for a crimson velvet backing to the crown and to the Lion, and a rich blue enamel backing to the lettering on the Garter. The buckle and "tongue" of the Garter is solid, and no blue enamel shows at that part.
As to the early cross-belt plates of the 29th, there is one bit of doubtful evidence which could not be satisfactorily fitted into the body of this article, but may be worth noting. A portrait of Ensign Vance depicted him wearing an oval gilt plate with "29" inside a wreath of laurel. Ensign Vance joined the 29th "in 1810 or 1811," and was killed while carrying the colours at Albuhera. Major H. Everard remarks: "Whoever did the sketch was not much of an artist," and he thought that the plate may have been taken from an old officer's plate worn prior to 1792, or from a private's plate of early date!