stamp act reenactment newport historical society

On the afternoon of August 26, 2017, from noon to 5 pm, the Newport Historical Society will host its largest re-enactment yet—a British invasion inspired by events from the summer of 1777. The multi part program will feature something for everyone: re-enactment scenarios, a walking tour with rum tasting, and a family-friendly Spy Challenge.

The British Occupation Living History Event, which takes place outside at Washington Square, the Brick Market Museum Shop (127 Thames Street) and at the Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House (17 Broadway), draws on actual events from the summer of 1777 when thousands of British troops occupied Newport during the Revolutionary War. The re-enactment, which is entirely free, will open with a heated argument between two gentlemen who favor the crown, and will close with the capture of General Prescott. Events will also include:

• An 18th-century auction alongside the Brick Market Museum Shop.

• Preparations for a wedding between a British soldier and a local woman in the yard of the Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House.

• Outside the Colony House, visitors can snap a selfie inside a reproduction 18th-century sentry box while members of the British army stand guard.

• Washington Square will be brimming with action; mingle with Newport’s 18th-century residents, such as an apothecarist, printer, merchants, food sutlers, a boarding house, and tavern owner.

During the Spy Challenge, visitors can step into the action of the re-enactment and support the patriot cause. For a $3 fee per family, purchase a handout at the Brick Market Museum Shop that offers clues guiding visitors to collect important intelligence information at select interpretative stations. Participants must then figure out how to transport the intelligence off of the island to help General Washington win the War for Independence. Upon successfully completing the Spy Challenge, participants can collect a small prize. Proceeds help offset event operation costs.

At 2 pm, explore Newport and its role during the War for Independence during the walking tour The Revolution in Newport with a Tot of Rum. Hear how enemies and allies lived side by side as the tour winds its way through Washington Square during the British Occupation re-enactment. Learn about the colonial city’s thriving rum trade and path to the rebellion that culminated in the Revolutionary War. Top off the tour with a “tot of rum” at the White Horse Tavern and sample rum* in a reproduction standard sized Royal Navy cup used in the 18th century. This souvenir, which is included in the tour price, is handmade of silver and brass with a silver-plated lining. Rum sample courtesy of the White Horse Tavern.

“The Revolution in Newport” departs from the Brick Market Museum & Shop, 127 Thames Street, Newport, RI, and costs $35 per person, $30 for Newport Historical Society members as well as active duty military. Space is limited to 20 participants and reservations are required; call 401-841-8770. *Participants must be 21 or older. Please be prepared to show a valid ID at the White Horse Tavern.

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.