Rory Butcher

Rory Butcher


I began my academic career at the University of Wales Trinity St David, Lampeter, where I completed my undergraduate degree in Conflict and War. I studied a wide variety of military and social history, with my 3rd year dissertation examining elements of the Anglo-Allied campaign during the Hundred Days in 1815.

I then moved to the University of Kent to complete my master’s degree in Imperial History. In the time after graduating, I worked in an education institution and the civil service before relocating to Leeds for my doctorate.

My MA dissertation entitled 'Preparatory and Apparently Easy Service’: The Fencible Regiments in Britain 1793–1802 introduced me to the home defence apparatus which operated during the French Revolutionary Wars. I have continued this topic into my PhD thesis, which will expand further upon my earlier research.


  • Professor Daniel Dawson Prize for History, 2018
  • Society for Army Historical Research Minor University Research Grant, 2022
  • Second Prize, British Commission for Military History “3 Minute Thesis” Competition, 2023


  • ‘An Acceptable Level of Violence: Assessing the Development of the British Government’s Security Approach to ‘The Troubles’ From 1969–79’, The Journal of Intelligence Conflict and Warfare 1:2 (2018)
  • “By Beat of Drum or Otherwise': Assessing Recruitment to the Fencible Regiments, 1793-1802’ in One Hundred Years of Army Historical Research: Proceedings of the SAHR Centenary Conference, ed. Andrew Bamford (Warwick: Helion & Company Ltd., 2023), pp. 103-128


  • ‘The Fencibles: Assessing Recruitment to the Home Defence Regiments’, Society for Army Historical Research Centenary Conference, The National Army Museum (2021)
  • ‘Foreigners at Home? The Scottish Fencibles “Abroad” in Britain, 1793-1802’, Eighteenth-Century Scottish Studies Annual Conference, University of Liverpool (2022)
  • “Behaving in a Dastardly Manner’? Fencible (Dis)order in the French Revolutionary Wars’, Napoleonic and Revolutionary War Graves Commission: War and Peace in the Age of Napoleon Conference, The National Army Museum (2022)
  • ‘Flags, Badges, and Bagpipes: Regimental and National Identity in the British Fencible Regiments’, Weapons in Society Conference, The Royal Armouries, Leeds (2023)
  • ‘My King and My Kingdom’: The Scottish Fencibles and their Service within Britain, 1793-1802’, Napoleonic and Revolutionary War Graves Commission Seminar Series (2023)
  • 'The Hampshire Fencibles and Public Perception', Lightning Talk, Alliances in the History of Armed Conflict Conference, The National Army Museum (2023)

Research interests

My PhD research is focused on the fencible regiments – a solution to the Scottish opposition to the quasi-conscripted militia system during the 18th century. They had been used before, and later gained popularity in British North America; my doctoral research is restricted to the period 1793–1802. This includes questions surrounding:

  • How the different branches of the home defence apparatus interacted, and how these interacted with Georgian society
  • Military, regional, and national identity in fencible regiments
  • Recruitment strategies and methods to a corps which was predominantly drawn from Scotland, and how the reduced Clan system impacted this
  • The experience of the fencible regiments during their service in Ireland, and the extent to which they were involved in responding to the 1798 Rebellion

My wider research interests include, but are not limited to:

  • the British Army, 1775–1815
  • civil-military relationships
  • military material culture
  • recruitment to UK regular and non-regular forces
  • working with archives
  • public engagement with history

I welcome any correspondence on these topics, whether that be academic discussion or avenues for collaboration. You can contact me via my email, or on Twitter @RMB_History.

I am the Student Representative on the Council for the Society for Army Historical Research, a Postgraduate Lead for the War and Peace Research Cluster here in Leeds, and am also a member or postgraduate member of the other following organisations:


  • PhD History (in progress)
  • MA Imperial History (2019)
  • BA (Hons) Conflict and War (2018)

Research groups and institutes

  • War and Peace