Thomas Thetcher

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Thomas Thetcher Gravestone Thomas Thetcher Gravestone 2014-03-05 20-12.jpg
Thomas Thetcher Gravestone

Thomas Thetcher (1737? – 1764), also known simply as The Hampshire Grenadier, was a grenadier in the North Regiment of the Hants Militia. He is known to the present day only through his gravestone, which stands in the graveyard of Winchester Cathedral, Hampshire, England.

North Hants Militia

The North Hants Militia was a militia regiment in Hampshire, England which existed nominally from 1757 to 1853, as part of the reorganization of the standing armies of the United Kingdom brought in by the Militia Act of 1757. The regiment was not continuously embodied, being mustered only in times of need.

Winchester Cathedral Church in Hampshire, United Kingdom

Winchester Cathedral is a cathedral of the Church of England in Winchester, Hampshire, England. It is one of the largest cathedrals in Europe, with the greatest overall length of any Gothic cathedral.

Hampshire County of England

Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England. The county town, with city status, is Winchester, a frequent seat of the Royal Court before any fixed capital, in late Anglo-Saxon England. After the metropolitan counties and Greater London, Hampshire is the most populous ceremonial county in the United Kingdom. Its two largest settlements, Southampton and Portsmouth, are administered separately as unitary authorities and the rest of the area forms the administrative county, which is governed by Hampshire County Council.


His grave site was designated as a Hampshire Treasure by the Hampshire County Council. [1]

Hampshire County Council British administrative body

Hampshire County Council (HCC) is the county council that governs the majority of the county of Hampshire in England. It provides the upper tier of local government, below which are district councils, and town and parish councils. The county council has 78 elected councillors, and is based in the county town of Winchester.

Inscription text

In Memory of
Thomas Thetcher
a Grenadier in the North Reg. of Hants Militia, who died of

a violent Fever contracted by drinking Small Beer when hot the 12 May 1764. Aged 26 Years.

In grateful remembrance of whose universal good will towards his Comrades, this Stone is placed here at their expence, as a small testimony of their regard and concern.

Here sleeps in peace a Hampshire Grenadier,

Who caught his death by drinking cold small Beer,
Soldiers be wise from his untimely fall

And when ye're hot drink Strong or none at all.

This memorial being decay'd was restor'd by the Officers of the Garrison A.D. 1781.

An Honest Soldier never is forgot
Whether he die by Musket or by Pot.

The Stone was replaced by the North Hants Militia when disembodied at Winchester, on 26 April 1802, in consequence of the original Stone being destroyed.

And again replaced by The Royal Hampshire Regiment 1966.


Grenadier Thetcher's gravestone has been quoted and misquoted extensively in the centuries since his death.

Bill W. founder of Alcoholics Anonymous

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Find A Grave is a website that allows the public to search and add to an online database of cemetery records. It is owned by It receives and uploads digital photographs of headstones from burial sites, taken by unpaid volunteers at cemeteries. Find A Grave then posts the photo on its website.