The Posse Comitatus (from the latin phrase meaning The force (manpower) of the County) was drawn up following the passing of a Defense of the Realm Act in 1798. The Constables of every parish in the country were instructed to list the names and occupations of all able-bodied men between the ages of fifteen and sixty not already engaged in military activies (excluding peers and clergymen). Millers, bakers, and wagon- or barge-owners were to be specifically identified.
These men were to act as a Home Guard were the French to invade, but became a force which the High Sheriff could raise to suppress a riot or for some similar purpose, or whuch the parish officers could call upon for emergency public works.
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