Stansfeld’s Coatee, 1826-1837

Robert Stansfeld (1805-1885) was by all accounts a typical country gentleman who was heavily involved with his local community both military and civilian. He supported the restoration of Sowerby Church as well as the improvement of roads in his local area of Halifax. He served with the Green Howards 1826-1837 in the West Indies where he met and married his wife, Hannah Letitia, the daughter of the Chief Justice of the Island of Trinidad.

His coatee conforms to civilian fashions of the 1820s. It is cut to emphasise the hourglass shape by padding and quilting the chest panels. A waist seam serves to highlight the narrow waist and makes tailoring to Robert’s body shape easier. The sleeves are fashionably narrow, cut with a plaquet and two extra buttons at the wrist to allow the wearer to fit their hands through the sleeves. Stansfeld would have worn a gorget and shoulder belt over the top of this coatee, as well as a sash, breeches and boots.

The facings of his coatee are particularly unusual. Facings are the way in which regiments are identified. In the case of the Green Howards, the facings are green. The green and gold lace front was required for formal occasions but not for active service or drill. Originally the facing would be buttoned back upon itself to hide the decoration. However, this damaged the lace causing the coatee to look worn. An order from Lieutenant Colonel Milne in 1820 requests a detachable facing which is evident on Stansfeld’s coatee. The entire green front can be unbuttoned and kept safe and undamaged for formal occasions.

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