Carr’s Coatee, c1806

Captain John Francis Carr belonged to the 2nd Battalion of the West Yorkshire Militia at the beginning of the 19th century. The 2nd Battalion was based at York. Little is known of his life or service with the militia. The militia was a domestic force raised in the event of an invasion or domestic unrest. As they acted as a police force they could not serve in their own county so would be posted away from home for many months.

His coatee conforms to Regency fashions being cut squarely across the waist and with a tall collar. Focus is placed on well cut and well tailored garments as a sign of quality, as opposed to the highly decorative garments of previous decades. The sleeves are fashionably narrow and closely fitted to reduce excess fabric around the elbow and shoulder. Carr would also have worn a stock with his coatee and waistcoat. A stock is a strip of leather, or in this case velvet, tied around the neck to hold the soldiers head up.

The facings of the 2nd Battalion West York Militia are yellow as included on this coatee. Buttons displaying a crown atop a Yorkshire Rose with ‘YORK’ underneath decorate the coatee, the waistcoat and the shoulder belt plate. Carr’s epaulette also has yellow decoration included. As a Captain he only wears one epaulette which is decorated with metal goldwork and bullion. Bullion is created by turning metal strands into densely packed spirals. They can be incredibly delicate or, in this case, a heavy fringe which hangs off the shoulder to give the wearer imposing square shoulders.

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