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Archive for February, 2012

Memoirs of Henry Keppel – 1890



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Admiral of the Fleet Sir Henry Keppel, GCB, OM (14 June 1809 – 17 January 1904) was a British admiral and son of the 4th Earl of Albemarle. Below is an excerpt from his memoirs as published in one of the books in our library ‘Memoirs of Sir Henry Keppel – Admiral of the Fleet – by Sir Algernon Edward West’ -1905.  Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here or search our library here.

Memoirs of Sir Henry Keppel – 1890

The German Emperor had a story of Harry’s going on board the ‘Hohenzollern’ with the Prince of Wales at Cowes. Not knowing the new regulations of [1890] as to saluting, he took off his cap to the Emperor; whereupon the Prince of Wales said, ‘Admiral, that’s wrong’; and he replied, ‘No, sir, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.’

His temperament was not fitted for unmitigated domesticity, and after one of his accidents he tore off the bandages the doctor had put on him, and went away for a change and some amusement. His over-anxious wife in a day or two telegraphed to him: ‘How are you, and where shall I find you?’ to which, to her infinite amusement, the answer came: ‘Am quite well. You cannot find me.’

With Lady Keppel he was staying with Sir Massey Lopes at Maristow, where he arrived at 9 o’clock in the morning, having ridden twelve miles from Devonport; he then drove to Totnes races, and back to Devonport at 11 P.M., and from there again he rode back to Maristow a good day’s work for a man of his age!

At Totnes he found that Lieutenant Windham was riding in one of the steeplechases. ‘By Jove’ said the Admiral, ‘if I had known that, I would have gone round too.’

On another occasion he drove out in a hansom cab to dine about six miles from Devonport. On coming away he found the driver drunk, so he left him behind and drove from the inside of the cab to the Admiralty House, where the sentry, seeing it arrive apparently without a driver, came to the charge, and was not a little surprised to see the Commander-in-Chief get out.

During his time at Plymouth he entertained the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh, and also Sir Samuel and Lady Baker; and when the ‘Alert’ and the ‘Discovery’ sailed down Channel, the Admiral went aboard in a heavy sea to bid them farewell. His nephew, now Admiral Stephenson, was on board, and, with all the officers and men, was delighted at the Godspeed given to them by the ‘Little Admiral.’

In [1876] his time of office at Plymouth had come to an end.

There is, perhaps, no sadder fate for a man than to have to confess that for the rest of his natural life he must only be an onlooker, and must take no active part in the profession which through so many years has been the very breath of his nostrils, and find comfort in retrospection and philosophy only.

There is an old and very true Greek saying, ‘Arms for the young, councils for the middle-aged, and prayers for the old’; and the problem at last comes to every man – How to grow old gracefully. Never to give pain to any living being; to rejoice in the happiness of others, and to make it his own; to avoid becoming a mere censor minorum, and to abstain from thinking that any change is bad, and that because he is old everything is going to the dogs; to be ready to give advice when asked, and only when asked; to give the benefit of his experience when sought for, with a pretty sure conviction that it will do no good; to offer generous sympathy to the young, who are in the thick of the fight, and never to sneer at them; to show an example of what the life of a Christian gentleman should be; to work, if possible, as long as the merciful gift of capacity is left, never forgetting that at any moment the fiat may go forth:

Lusisti satis, edisti satis, atque bibisti,          Latin to English Translation
Tempus abire tibi est

These were the conditions which Harry endeavoured to fulfil when the time had come for the final wrench from the Service he had loved and followed so well, and it required all the strength and courage of his character to realise that his active life at sea was over.


Further Reading and External Links

Henry Keppel on Wikipedia


Man and Scythe – Bolton


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Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here or search our library here.

Man and Scythe – Bolton

Man and ScytheYears before a number of these clubs were established another association had been formed in Bolton one stronger at this day than at any previous time. From a work on local Freemasonry we find that the Anchor and Hope Lodge of Freemasons was “warranted” at Bolton, 23rd October, 1732, on petition, the dispensation being granted to “our right worshipful and well-beloved brother Mr. Edward Entwisle,” a mercer in the town. The only lodges meeting in Lancashire at that period were No. 48, meeting at Salford, and No. 87, which assembled at Leigh.

The early records of the lodge include “paid to Mr. Brown for ale, before we must take the old box away which contained some old utensils, as for instance candlesticks, 10s.; a mallet and a square cost 6d., ten yards of ‘ferriting’ at 1s. 8d., a level square and plumb rule 2s., and two brothers in distress, 2s.” Down to the year [1776] “the minutes, though very brief, carefully record the initiations, passings, and raisings in the lodge, as also the makings of royal arch masons, and the half-yearly elections and installations of master and officers.”

From [1776 ] to [1798] seventy-six gentlemen were admitted members, and the lodge has been well sustained in numbers to the present day. Originally fostered in a private room opposite to the Man and Scythe Inn, Churchgate, the lodge was held for thirty-five years at the Hope Inn; from [1800] to [1844], the meeting place was the Legs of Man Inn and the Four Horse Shoes. From [1844] to [1866], the brethren of the craft met at the Swan Hotel; from [1866] to [1879] at the Church Institute, and the members were back again at the Swan Hotel from the last-named year until the well-fitted rooms in Institute Street, and known as the Masonic Hall, were occupied. It should be stated that from the years [1765] to [1882] there were upwards of 456 initiates.

While the old minutes of the Anchor and Hope Lodge are few in number, those relating to the “Lodge of Antiquity,” the warrant for which is dated 24th June, [1776], are more profuse. In a printed sketch of the lodge’s history, Mr. James Newton tells us that it was agreed the lodge meet at the Crown Inn. The first seven names appearing in the old register are, James Taylor, portrait painter; Thomas Clarke, fustian maker; Peter Bentley, innkeeper; Hugh Woods, weaver; Bold Halliwell, weaver; Richard Worthington, aleseller; and Wm. Wild, also an aleseller.” On one occasion, for instance, the lodge was “opened at six o’clock on the first step. Brother James Hodgkinson, Master Mason, of No. 393, Manchester, initiated in this, and then closed on the first step in good harmony.

Excerpt from History of Bolton by James Christopher Scholes published in 1892


Further Reading and External Links

History of Man and Scythe Pub Bolton

Rivington Pike – Bolton – 1588



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Continuing our series on the History of Bolton – an ancient manufacturing town famed as the original seat of the cotton trade. Here we cover the historic site of Rivington Pike –  which was a signalling post used to warn the Spanish Armada was heading towards the English coast.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here or search our library here.

Rivington Pike – Bolton – 1588

Rivington ChurchBut Rivington and its vicinity have other associations to claim attention not less interesting than the fading memories of the extinct Wiiloughbys. The tower-crowned summit of the Pike, rising to the height of 1,545 feet above the sea level, calls to remembrance the stirring times of the Armada, and the scarcely less anxious days of nearly a century ago when our grandfathers were in daily dread of invasion, and constant watch was kept in order that the beacon fire might flash the signal of danger from hill to hill should their fears be realised; and the “Two-lads,” a double pile of stones on the further side, has its tale of disaster to beguile the time if we care to listen to it.  Those bleak mountain ridges that stretch away towards the south were once included within the limits of the great forest of Horwich, “a place of great sport,” as the old chroniclers have it, with its series of eagles, of hawks, and of herons.

Rivington was for centuries the home of the Pilkingtons, “gentlemen of repute in their shire before the Conquest,” as old Fuller tells us; if tradition is to be relied on, the chief of them bore himself bravely upon the red field of Hastings, and when sought for by the victors for espousing the cause of the defeated Harold, to avoid discovery, disguised himself as a mower, in commemoration of which circumstance his descendants have ever since borne the man and scythe for their crest.

A scion of this ancient house, Richard Pilkington, in the days of the Eighth Harry or shortly after, founded the church of Rivington, and his son, James Pilkington, who had suffered exile for the reformed faith in the time of the Marian persecutions, was nominated by Queen Elizabeth first Protestant bishop of the palatinate see of Durham, and was also founder of the Grammar School at Rivington, an institution that to this day perpetuates his name.

Excerpt from Historic Sites of Lancashire and Cheshire by James Croston published in 1883


Further Reading and External Links

About Rivington

War in the East – 26 Feb 1855


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Below is another excerpt from “The War” by William Howard Russell – War Correspondent to The Times Newspaper, its a daily account from the battlelines during the Crimean War (157 years ago).

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The Zouaves

Monday 26th February 1855


The Zouaves were under arms and in readiness to attack the Russian work in front of us last night, but for some reason or other they did not carry out their project.

Very heavy firing took place all night. The Russian batteries were scarcely ever silent for a minute, and the firing of small arms was incessant all along the front, but more especially on the French, on our right and left. A strong sortie took place on the left, but was quickly repulsed without loss. The Russian riflemen showed in front with uncommon boldness, and in great numbers, and some sharp struggles occurred between them and the allied riflemen for superiority, but, on the whole, the advantage rested with our men, notwithstanding that the Russians fired under cover of their enormous batteries.

The French soldiers, it is said, grow impatient, and demand to be led to the assault. They certainly might begin the work by driving the Russians out of their new trench. The Zouaves are chiefly anxious for the pillage, and they are difficult gentry to deal with. They are exceedingly irritated against the marine infantry, whom they threaten in detail with exceedingly unpleasant “quarters of an hour” at some time to come for their alleged retreat on the morning of the 24th. “Ces sacres matelots” come in for hard language, for the Zouaves have got it into their heads not only that the marines bolted, but that they fired into those before them, who were the Zouaves aforesaid.

In their excessive anger and energy they are as unjust to their comrades, perhaps, as they are complimentary to ourselves, and I have heard more than two of them exclaim, “Ah, if we had had a few hundred of your English we should have done the trick; but these marines – bah!”

General Monet has quite lost one hand, and the other is much mutilated, but he is not so dangerously wounded as was imagined. The Zouaves are said to have lost nine officers killed and missing, and eight officers wounded.


Excerpt from The War 1855 by W H Russell – Correspondent to The Times.

This volume contains the letters of The Times Correspondent from the seat of war in the East – The Crimean War – the first war with war correspondents.


Further Reading and External Links

Maps, Plans and Pictures of the Crimean War

William Howard Russell on Wikipedia

William Howard Russell on BikWil

Lord Charles Beresford – The House of Beresford



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Lord Charles Beresford (1846-1919) was a British Admiral and Member of Parliament, he was a hero in battle and a champion of the Navy in Parliament.  We begin a series of his memoirs taken from ‘The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford’ written by himself and published in 1914.

This initial entry is an excerpt of the introductory note by Mr L Cope Cornford.


Admiral Lord Charles BeresfordCharles William de la Poer Beresford, born in 1846, was the second of five brothers, sons of Sir John de la Poer Beresford, fourth Marquess of Waterford. Lord Charles‘s elder brother, Sir John Henry de la Poer Beresford (to give him his full title), Earl and Viscount of Tyrone, Baron de la Poer of Curraghmore in the county of Waterford, and Baron Beresford of Beresford in the county of Cavan, in the Peerage of Ireland, and Baron Tyrone of Haverfordwest in the county of Pembroke, in the Peerage of Great Britain, Knight of the Most Illustrious Order of St. Patrick, succeeded to these titles in [1866]. Sir John joined the 1st Life Guards. He died in [1895], and was succeeded by his son (nephew to Lord Charles), as presently to be noted.

Of the other three brothers, Lord William de la Poer joined the 9th Lancers and became Military Secretary to five successive Viceroys of India, was a patron of the Turf, and died in [1900]; Lord Marcus de la Poer joined the 7th Hussars, took charge of the King’s racehorses, an office which he still fulfils, and was appointed Extra Equerry to King George; Lord Delaval James de la Poer (sixteen years younger than Lord Charles) ranched in North America and was killed in a railway accident in [1906].

The five brothers were keen sportsmen, hard riders, men of their hands, high-couraged, adventurous, talented in affairs, winning friendship and affection wherever they went.

Lord John-Henry, fifth Marquess, the eldest brother, inherited the family tradition of good landlordship. There was never any oppression of tenants on the Waterford estate. In the House of Lords and in the country, Lord Waterford took a strenuous part in the troubled and complex issues of Irish politics; although during the last years of his life he was crippled and helpless, the result of an accident which befell him in the hunting field. Lord William won the V.C. by an act of cool and audacious gallantry in the Zulu war of [1879]; renowned for reckless hardihood, there was hardly a bone in his body which he had not broken; and it is probable that his injuries, diminishing his powers of resistance, caused him to succumb to his last illness. Lord Charles has broken his chest-bone – a piece of which was cut out in his boyhood, leaving a cavity – pelvis, right leg, right hand, foot, five ribs, one collar-bone three times, the other once, his nose three times; but owing to his extraordinary physique and strict regimen, he is younger and stronger at the time of writing than most men of half his age.

Excerpt from The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford written by himself and published in 1914.


Further Reading and External Links

Lord Charles Beresford on Wikipedia

Lord Charles Beresford on The Dreadnought Project

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1843 – Singapore



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James Brooke was the first White Rajah of Sarawak. After inheriting £30,000 in 1833 he invested it in the schooner ‘The Royalist’ and sailed for Borneo.  In 1841 he became the Rajah of Sarawak. Below is an excerpt from one of the books in our library called Rajah Brooke by Sir Spenser St John published in 1899. Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here or search our library here.

Visit to Singapore in 1843

In [1843], after an almost unbroken stay of nearly two years in Borneo, Brooke again visited Singapore, and found welcome news. The British Government had decided to inquire into the Bornean question, and it was stated that Sir Edward Belcher had been ordered to visit Sarawak in H.M.S. Samarang; but what was of much greater importance, and proved of incalculable benefit to Sarawak and to British interests in Borneo, was that Brooke made the acquaintance of Captain the Hon. Henry Keppel, who was in command of H.M.S. Dido. As I have elsewhere remarked, Keppel, with the instincts of a gentleman, at once recognised that he had no adventurer but a true man before him, and henceforward exerted all his energy and influence to further his friend’s beneficent projects. They were indeed genuine Englishmen, and looked to what would advance the veritable interests of their own country to increase its prestige in Borneo and clear the seas of the pirates who destroyed native commerce on its way to our settlements.

The Dido in the first days of May [1843] sailed from Singapore for Sarawak, and on the 13th anchored off the Moratabus entrance of the river. When the natives heard that their Governor had arrived, they swarmed down to the ship in their boats, delighted at his return among them; and the sight of the beautiful frigate, so powerful in their eyes, assured them that she would not leave before some measures had been taken against the pirates. Rajah Muda Hassim eagerly seized on this opportunity to obtain some security for native trade, and earnestly entreated Captain Keppel to attack the pirates of Seribas and Sakarang, who were especially dangerous to the coast traffic. Having satisfied himself of the truth of the allegations against the marauders, Keppel determined to act, and, having announced his intention, he was soon assured of the support of a native contingent, who decided to follow their English chief wherever he went, although with many misgivings as to the result of an attack on these much-feared corsairs, who had plundered their coasts with impunity for several generations.

I need not describe this expedition against the pirates, as the details have been often published; and as Admiral Keppel is now engaged in writing his memoirs, we shall have full particulars at first hand.  The Dido anchored off the Seribas river, and being joined by a native force of five hundred men, the English boats put off with crews of about eighty seamen and marines, and carried in the most dashing style every fort or obstruction placed in their way. No obstacles daunted them, and their enemies, numbering many thousands on each branch of the river, were so astonished by this novel mode of fighting in the open that they fled on every occasion, abandoning their towns and forts, which were promptly destroyed by our native allies, now trebled in number. The Seribas considered themselves invincible, and had collected their means of resistance in well-chosen spots, their guns covering the booms across the river, but to no purpose, and the towns of Paku, Padi and Rembas all shared the same fate.

It is a very remarkable circumstance that as soon as each section recognised the hopelessness of resistance, they entered freely into communication with their assailants, and under cover of the white flag, and often unarmed, approached their English conquerors with perfect trust and confidence. They all agreed to visit Sarawak, and promised amendment for the future.

The complete collapse of the defence astonished everyone, and those natives who had taken part in this memorable campaign began to acquire confidence in themselves, and were ever ready to follow their white leaders in all future expeditions.

Excerpt from Rajah Brooke, published in 1899 by Sir Spenser St John


Further Reading and External Links

James Rajah Brooke on Wikipedia

The Royalist Schooner

Memoirs of Sir Henry Keppel – A Great Shot – 1873


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Admiral of the Fleet Sir Henry Keppel, GCB, OM (14 June 1809 – 17 January 1904) was a British admiral and son of the 4th Earl of Albemarle. Below is an excerpt from his memoirs as published in one of the books in our library ‘Memoirs of Sir Henry Keppel – Admiral of the Fleet – by Sir Algernon Edward West’ -1905.  Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here or search our library here.

Memoirs of Sir Henry Keppel  – A Great Shot – 1873

When Lieutenant Windham returned from the East Indies, in [1873], he was visiting his aunt, Mrs. Hare, at Devonport, who insisted on his going at once to pay his respects to the Admiral. Having no uniform, he apologised . ‘Dear boy’ said Harry, ‘I’m not __________,’ naming his predecessor.

One day the Admiral challenged the General at Mount Wise to a point-to-point race on Dartmoor. The course was mapped out with due formalities, and the Admiral won the race.

Harry was very keen about his hunting and shooting, and would often get secretly away in the mornings, before his secretary, with despatches from the Admiralty, could catch him. But one day he pursued the Admiral, after a long chase, at Colonel Coryton‘s place, Pentillie, and made his back into a writing-table, on which many signatures were written. He would often hunt with Admiral Parker, master of the Dartmoor Hounds, and an old coachman there remembered Harry’s dancing a hornpipe on the ice on the occasion of a frost. He was a careless shot, and one day he came back to Mrs. Parker, saying, ‘I have had an excellent day’s sport. I have shot two woodcock, ten pheasants, a rabbit, and your son!’

On the first day’s shooting at Port Eliot the keeper surprised him by asking if he might look at his cartridges, explaining that his predecessor, Admiral Codrington, had used ball cartridges, which he had taken out of the store in the Dockyard.

Not contented with hunting on Dartmoor, he crossed over to Ireland with Lord Charles Beresford, to hunt with Lord Waterford, where, as usual, he had a bad fall and broke his collarbone. But his worst accident was when hunting with Lord Digby in Dorsetshire, when he fell on his head, and was laid up for a long time, being thereby prevented from joining the Embassy which was sent to Italy to present the King with the Garter.

Surely there never was a man who ‘came up smiling,’ as the prizefighters say, after so many accidents.

One day he tumbled from a ship, when visiting her with Admiral Commerell, on to the pigiron pavement in the Dockyard, about twenty feet below him, and was stunned. They gave him up for dead. However, he heard Admiral Commerell shouting for water, so he thought it was time to pull himself together, and cried out, ‘Put some whisky in it.’ He rallied and was put to bed, but insisted on going to Goodwood. When his doctor declared that he would not take the responsibility of his going: ‘Who the devil,’ he said, ‘asked you to take the responsibility?’

On one occasion he met Mr. Manley Sims, his doctor, who wanted to know how he was. He did not recognise him, and said: ‘Quite well, and all the better for not having seen that beast of a doctor of mine for some time.’


Further Reading and External Links

Henry Keppel on Wikipedia