Rory M. Butcher

Rory M. 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 in 2018. 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 working on this this topic for my PhD thesis, and other publications. Alongside my doctoral research, I am currently receiving a three-year Fellowship from the Army Records Society to support the production of an edited collection on the fencible regiments, scheduled for publication in 2026.


  • Army Records Society Fellowship Scheme, 2022-2025
  • Second Prize, British Commission for Military History “3 Minute Thesis” Competition, 2023
  • Society for Army Historical Research Minor University Research Grant, 2022
  • Professor Daniel Dawson Prize for History, 2018

Book Reviews

  • ‘No Want of Courage: The British Army in Flanders, 1795–1795, by R. N. W. Thomas’, Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, 101.406 (Autumn 2023), 256-7

Conference Papers

  • ‘Labourers, Hatters, and Wrights: The Fencible Regiments, Motivations for Service, and British Home Defence, 1793-1802’, Military History Consortium Annual Conference, University of Lancaster (2024)
  • ‘Best for the Country? The Fencible Deployments in Ireland, 1795-1802’, British Commission for Military History Early Careers Researcher Conference, University of Hull (2023)
  • 'The Hampshire Fencibles and Public Perception', Lightning Talk, Alliances in the History of Armed Conflict Conference, The National Army Museum (2023)
  • ‘Flags, Badges, and Bagpipes: Regimental and National Identity in the British Fencible Regiments’, Weapons in Society Conference, The Royal Armouries, Leeds (2023)
  • “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)
  • ‘Foreigners at Home? The Scottish Fencibles “Abroad” in Britain, 1793-1802’, Eighteenth-Century Scottish Studies Society Annual Conference, University of Liverpool (2022)
  • ‘The Fencibles: Assessing Recruitment to the Home Defence Regiments’, Society for Army Historical Research Centenary Conference, The National Army Museum (2021)


  • BBC 3 Counties Radio
  • The Napoleonic Wars Podcast
  • Well That Aged Well, Podcast


  • ‘Soldiering in Late Eighteenth-Century Britain’, Department for War Studies Guest Lecture, University of Hull (2024)
  • ‘My King and My Kingdom’: The Scottish Fencibles and their Service within Britain, 1793–1802’, Napoleonic and Revolutionary War Graves Commission Seminar Series (2023)


  • “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
  • ‘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)


  • HIST1000 – Exploring History

Academic Activity

I currently serve as the Student Representative on the Council for the Society for Army Historical Research, am affiliated with the War Studies Research Cluster in Leeds, and am a member or postgraduate member of the other following organisations:

Research interests

My PhD research is focused on the fencible regiments – a solution to opposition to the introduction of the quasi-conscripted militia system in Scotland – during the French Revolutionary Wars. They had been used throughout the latter decades of the eighteenth century, and later gained popularity in British North America; my doctoral research is restricted to the period 1793–1802. This includes questions surrounding:

  • Interactions between the different branches of the home defence apparatus, particularly during the extended fencible deployment in Ireland before, during, and after the 1798 Rising
  • Civil-military relations, with British and Irish society
  • Discipline and disorder within the fencible regiments
  • Recruitment strategies and enlistment motivations, including consideration of the impact of the lessened Highland Clans
  • Military, regional, and national identity in fencible regiments
  • The role the fencibles played in furthering commissioned and non-commissioned military careers

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

  • the British Army, 1775–1815
  • civil-military relationships
  • military material culture and identity
  • 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. I can be contacted via email, on Twitter @RMB_History, or on Bluesky @RMBHistory.


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

Research groups and institutes

  • War Studies