The 48th Regiment of Foot was first formed in 1741 by James Cholmondeley in Norwich, as part of seven Infantry Regiments raised to expand the British Army during the War of Austrian Succession (1740–48). It saw its first action in 1745 when Bonnie Prince Charlie (the grandson of James II) landed in Scotland, attempting to regain the crown to the Stuart family and the Regiment fought at the Battle of Falkirk and Culloden. .
During the Seven Years War (1754-1763) the 48th was deployed to North America as part of Major-General Edward Braddock’s campaign to halt the advance of the French into British claimed territories on the East coast. The 48th went on to serve in the West Indies and helped to capture the French Island of Martinique and Havana. In 1773 prior to the American War of Independence (1775–1783), the 48th was stationed in the West Indies and was captured by French forces. The 48th were finally repatriated back to England in 1780 and located in Northampton. In 1782 all British Regiments without Royal titles were awarded county titles in order to aid recruitment from that region therefore the 48th became the 48th (Northamptonshire) Regiment of Foot. The Regiment took part in the Great Siege of Gibraltar when Franco/Spanish forces attempted to capture Gibraltar for 3 years and seven months.
During the Peninsular War the 48th fought at the Battles of Talavera, Douro, Albuhera, Badajoz, Salamanca, Vittoria, Pyrenees, Nivelle, Orthes and Toulouse. At Albuera the 48th had such heavy casualties, that at the end the two battalions were amalgamated into one weak battalion.
The Regiment went on to serve in Australia in various locations, the 48th garrisoned Sydney, Newcastle, Port Macquarie and Parramatta. The 48th went on to serve during the Crimean War (1854 -56) fighting at the Battle of Sevastopol.
In 1881 the Childers Reforms restructured the British army into a network of multi-battalion Regiments, the 48th and the 58th Regiments of Foot were merged to form the Northamptonshire Regiment. The newly formed Regiment went on to serve in North West Frontier Operations 1897-98, Second Boer War (1899 - 1902) and two World Wars.
In 1960 the Regiment was merged with the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment to become the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment.