Thursday, January 19, 2017

{100} Lt. Henry William Petre (1791-1852) and Napoleon's Charger Marengo

Lt. Henry William Petre (1791-1852), wearing his Waterloo medal
[Image courtesy of Kit Constable-Maxwell]
I'm excited to have reached my one hundredth post! I love researching these families, and especially enjoy how following each link leads to fascinating individuals. Entering the Howard family of Corby Castle into my database, led me to Lt. Henry William Petre of Dunkenhalgh Hall (1791-1852), and in 2015 I wrote a blogpost on his father's ancestry 'Some Edward III Descents for Hon. George William Petre (1766-1797)' which led me to make the acquaintance of Desmond Clarke, a former officer in the Royal Artillery, director at publishers Faber & Faber and International Thomson Publishing, and a direct descendant of Lt. Petre. Just this past New Year, Desmond was awarded the MBE for services to the British Public Library Service and Literature. He shared with me the story behind his ancestor: Lt. Petre was a British officer during the Napoleonic Wars, who was in the Charge of the Union Brigade and fought in the battle of Waterloo. In the battle's aftermath he took possession of one of Napoleon's chargers - 'Marengo' - and sent the horse back to England, where it was stabled for a period at Corby Castle, Cumberland, the home of his uncle (and future father-in-law) Henry Howard. I'm honoured to have Desmond as a guest author on my first milestone blog.

Desmond Clarke, MBE

Opinion has long been divided about who captured, at Waterloo, Napoleon's Barb charger known as Marengo whose skeleton is displayed in the National Army Museum.

The Royal United Services Institute Museum, now closed, gave credit to William, 11th Baron Petre, but he was not at Waterloo. It seems more likely that Marengo was captured by my great, great grandfather, Henry William Petre, a lieutenant in the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons. He was allowed to keep Marengo and had the horse shipped back to England where, it seems, it was stabled on the estates of his mother's family, the Howards of Corby Castle, and that of his cousin, Lord Petre. The misunderstanding would have gained currency because it was Henry's cousin, Lord Petre, who eventually sold the horse to Lieutenant Colonel J. J. W. Angerstein [Marengo The Myth of Napoleon’s Horse, Jill Hamilton, p. 4] and it was Angerstein who had one of Marengo's hooves, post mortem, turned into the snuff box which is traditionally placed every day before the Captain of the Guard at lunch in the Officers Mess at St James's Palace.
Marengo, painted by James Ward (1769-1859)
When Marengo was drawn some ten years later by James Ward [Ibid., p. 3], the horse was recorded as being in the possession of Captain Howard (of Corby Castle) who was Henry’s uncle and a future father-in-law to both Henry and his cousin, William, the 11th Baron Petre.  Both the Petre and Howard families were recusant Catholics who had played a large part in the preservation of the Catholic faith in England and were closely related through marriage.

Jill, Duchess of Hamilton in her book, Marengo, The Myth of Napoleon's Horse, sorts out the confusion, writing that it was Lieutenant Henry Petre of the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons, who is said to have recognised Marengo and saved him "from the looters, tended to his wound and led him to the village of Waterloo" [Ibid., p. 191]. She also points out the close connections between the Petre and Howard families and how a horse could pass from one to another before being eventually sold. Henry Petre had, earlier in the battle, taken part in the famous charge of the Union Brigade which with the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons comprised the 1st Dragoons (the Royals) and the 2nd Royal North British Dragoons (the Scots Greys). Lady Elizabeth Butler immortalised the charge of the Scots Greys in her famous oil painting ’Scotland Forever!’ A less well-known painting by Lady Butler is titled ‘Charge of the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons’ and another artist, Brian Palmer, also painted the Inniskillings charging.
Charge of the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons at the Battle of Waterloo
[Image from Warfare Magazine]
Henry Petre served in Captain Brown’s Troop and would have charged beside Brown who was wounded during the Battle. Captain Brown’s jacket, torn down the sleeve by the surgeon when he tended the wound, is today on display at the York Military Museum together with other items from the Royal Dragoon Guards, the successor Regiment.

I am sure that Henry Petre was just pleased, in the aftermath of the Battle, to have taken possession of one of Napoleon's chargers and that he would have had no concept of the considerable public interest that Marengo was to attract several years later. Having been allowed to keep the horse, he probably decided to ship it back to his family in England possibly with the intention of putting it to stud. He himself continued to serve with his Regiment until 1819 when he was placed on half pay.

Henry Petre, ten years later, inherited the Dunkenhalgh estate in Lancashire from his brother. He died in 1852. His portrait in the uniform of an Inniskilling Dragoon and wearing the Waterloo medal was inherited by his third son, Edward, and is today in possession of Edward’s descendants, the Constable Maxwells at Bosworth Hall. It is of interest to note that one of Henry’s great-grandsons, Captain Bobby Petre of the Scots Guards who was also to inherit Dunkenhalgh, won the 100th Grand National, riding Lucky Cottage in 1946.
Dunkenhalgh Hall, Lancashire
I should add that doubts have been raised whether the wounded charger, with the Imperial cypher branded on his hindquarters and captured at Waterloo, was actually called ‘Marengo’ as no record exists of a horse of that name in the Imperial stable book [The Sunday Times, Nicholas Hellen, 19 April 2015]. However, it may be the adoptive name given to a favoured horse by Napoleon himself or adopted much later after the horse’s capture. What matters is that Napoleon’s Barb charger whose skeleton is now displayed in the National Army Museum has been known as Marengo for 200 years.

I was privileged as a Sandhurst cadet to witness, in 1965 on Horse Guards, the parade before The Queen of the Colours, Standards and Guidons of the Regiments that fought at Waterloo. I also inherited from my father, Major-General DAB Clarke CB, CBE, who organised the 150th Anniversary celebrations on behalf of the Army Board [*1], a medal struck by the City of London in 1965 "in honour of the Regiments that fought at the Battle of Waterloo". Fifty years later, I attended the Service of Commemoration on the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo at St Paul’s Cathedral on 18th June 2015.
Marengo's skeleton, displayed in the National Army Museum
However, it was as a Sandhurst cadet that I was closest to Marengo for he was displayed for a time, before the opening of the National Army Museum, in the basement of Old College, RMA Sandhurst, close to Blenheim Company lines. We Blenheim Company cadets became rather fond of our neighbour.

[*1] The French Ambassador was invited to the Waterloo Dinner but sent his apologies saying that he was busy preparing for the 900th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. DC’s letter to the Times published 4 July 2013.

Snuffbox made from Marengo's hoof

Marengo (or at least his hoof) continues to make the news, and Desmond pointed me to an article 'Snorting major was only taking snuff, ex-officers claim' [The Times, September 13th, 2016], in which snuff, taken from the snuffbox made from the horse's hoof kept at St James's Palace and ceremonially displayed everyday at lunch in the Officer's Mess, was most likely the substance that Maj. James Coleby and another officer were filmed snorting off a sword in the Mess.

Following are the genealogical details for Lt. Henry William Petre, his wives, and his children.

Lt. HENRY WILLIAM PETRE of Dunkenhalgh Hall, Lancashire, 6th Inniskilling Dragoons, fought in Battle of Waterloo and took home Napoleon's charger 'Morengo', b. 23 Apr. 1791 Marylebone, London; d. 26 Nov. 1852 Portman Square, Westminster, bur. St Mary Catholic Chapel,
Adela Maria (née Howard) Petre
Enfield, Clayton-le-Moors, Lancashire, son of Hon. George William Petre of Bellhouse (1766-1797, descended from Charles II) and Maria Howard (1762-1837, descended from Edward III);m. 1st 17 July 1818 St Meubred Church, Cardinham, Cornwall, ELIZABETH ANNE GLYNN, b. 2 Sept. 1791 Glynn House, Cardinham, bap. 13 July 1792 St Meubred Church, Cardinham; d. (as a result of childbirth) 13 Sept. 1828 Dunkenhalgh Hall, dau. of Edmund John Glynn of Glynn House (1764-1840, descended from Edward III) and Elizabeth Anne Worsley (1771-1797, descended from Edward III), and had issue, three sons and three daughters; m. 2nd 20 Apr. 1830, his first cousin, ADELA MARIA HOWARD, b. Corby Castle, Wetheral, Cumberland, bap. 31 Mar. 1805 Holy Trinity Church, Wetheral; d. (as a result of childbirth) 9 Sept. 1833 Grosvenor Square, London, bur. St Mary Catholic Chapel, Enfield, yst. dau. of Henry Howard of Corby Castle (1757-1842, descended from Edward III) & his 2nd wife Catherine Mary Neave (1770-1849), and had further issue, three sons; m. 3rd 5 Nov. 1834 St James Church, Altham, Lancashire, as her 1st husband, his children's governess, MARTHA AGATHA HOFNELL, b. 11 Feb. 1811 Richmond, Surrey; d.s.p. 8 Mar. 1895 Portman Square, London, bur. 13 Mar. 1895 St Mary Catholic Chapel, Enfield, dau. of John Hofnell of Richmond.

Issue of Henry William and Elizabeth Anne (Glynn) Petre:

1) stillborn son, 6 June 1820 Bath, Somersetshire.

Henry & Sophie (née Young) Petre headstone in
Kensal Green Cemetery
2) HENRY PETRE of Dunkenhalgh Hall, b. 17 Aug. 1821 Bath, bap. 3 Sept. 1821 St Mary Church, Bathwick, Somersetshire; d. 25 Apr. 1900 Mayfair, London, bur. Kensal Green Cemetery, London; m. 1st 13 Aug. 1846 St Mary Chapel, Cadogan Terrace, London, MARY ANASTASIA POWER, b. c.1822 Ireland; d.s.p. 1 Jan. 1880 Mayfair, London, bur. St Mary Catholic Cemetery, Kensal Green, London, er dau. of Edmond Power of Gurteen House, co. Waterford, de jure 16th Baron Le Power & Coroghmore (1775-1830, descended from Edward I) and Anastasia Phelan Lalor (d. 1852); m. 2nd 22 July 1884 St Pancras Registry Office, London, SOPHIE YOUNG, actress on London stage[*1], b. 1844 Chelsea, London; d. 13 Feb. 1908 Tudor Lodge, St Johns Wood, Middlesex, bur. Kensal Green Cemetery, London, yst dau. of Thomas Young of Chelsea, jeweller and Hannah Jones, and had issue, one son.

Issue of Henry and Sophie (Young) Petre:

2A) REGINALD BERNARD HENRY PETRE of Edwardes Square, Kensington, chartered accountant, b. (before his parents' marriage) 4 Mar. 1874 Pimlico, London; d. 12 Feb. 1951 Edwardes Square; m. ELLIE AGNES PHELAN, b. 1878 Ireland; d. 15 Mar. 1950 Edwardes Square, and had issue, one son.

Issue of Reginald Bernard and Ellie Agnes (Phelan) Petre:

2A1) BERNARD PETRE of Kensington, company sales director, b. 1918 Kent; d. 8 Mar. 1996 Isle of Jersey(?)[*2]; m. 1939 Kensington, JEAN V. MENZIES, b. 1918 Surrey; d.(?), dau. of Sir Frederick Norton Kay Menzies of Kensington, medical officer (1875-1949) and Harriet May Lloyd (1890-1974), and had issue, one son and two daughters.

Sir George Glynn Petre
3) Sir GEORGE GLYNN PETRE, K.C.M.G., C.B., of Dunkenhalgh Hall, Minister Plenipotentiary Argentina 1881, Paraguay 1882, Portugal 1884-93, b. 4 Sept. 1822 Twickenham, Middlesex, bap. 30 Sept. 1822 St Mary Church, Twickenham; d. 17 May 1905 Hove, Brighton, Sussex, bur. All Saints Churchyard, Odiham, Hampshire; m. 10 Apr. 1858 British Embassy, Paris, France, EMMA KATHARINE JULIA SNEYD, b. Dec. 1830 Mattingley Lodge, Heckfield, Hampshire, bap. 6 Mar. 1831 St Michael Church, Heckfield; d. 27 Dec. 1916 Hotel Rubens, London, 5th dau. of Maj. Ralph Henry Sneyd of Mattingley Lodge (1784-1840, descended from Edward I) and Jane Robina Dunbar (1791-1878, descended from James V), and had issue, seven sons and one daughter.

4) stillborn daughter, 23 Apr. 1825 Twickenham.

5) [daughter] PETRE, b/d. (lived only for a few hours) 27 Aug. 1826 Dunkenhalgh Hall.

6) stillborn daughter, 9 Sept. 1828 Dunkenhalgh Hall.

Issue of Henry William and Adela Maria (Howard) Petre:

7) EDWARD HENRY PETRE, of Whitley Abbey, Coventry, Warwickshire, b. 21 Feb. 1831 Hanover Square, London; d. 21 Nov. 1902 Chelsea, London, bur. London Road Cemetery, Coventry, Warwickshire; m. 29 Oct. 1857 St Marie's Catholic Church, Rugby, Warwickshire, Lady GWENDOLINE ELIZABETH TALBOT, b. 7 Jan. 1836 Leamington, Warwickshire; d. 3 Sept. 1910 Whitley Abbey, bur. 6 Sept. 1910 London Road Cemetery, yr. dau. of Lt-Col. Charles Thomas Talbot (1782-1838, descended from Edward III) and Julia Mary Magdalene Tichborne (1810-1892, descended from Edward IV), and had issue, two sons and two daughters.
Whitley Abbey, Coventry, Warwickshire
8) Lt. OSWALD PETRE, 6th Dragoon Guards, b. 15 Aug. 1832 London; d. (of illness contracted while serving in the Crimea) unm. 25 Nov. 1855 Dunkenhalgh Hall, bur. St Mary Catholic Chapel, Enfield.

9) HUBERT REGINALD PETRE, b. 3 Sept. 1833 Grosvenor Square; d. there nineteen days later 22 Sept. 1833, bur. St Mary Catholic Chapel, Enfield.
Jean (née Menzies) Petre (b. 1918)

[*1] The second marriage of Henry Petre to London actress Sophie Young, as well as the son they had ten years prior to it, is (not surprisingly) overlooked by Ruvigny, Burke's Peerage, etc. Though twenty years his senior, Henry was thought to be of the circle of the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII), which puts into context his long-running affair with the London actress. That he went on to marry Sophie after the death of his first wife speaks to the love he felt for her. Dunkenhalgh Hall was entailed, so after Henry's death it passed to his brother Sir George Petre, but the rest of Henry's personal, non-entailed assets went to his widow Sophie, and eventually to their son. These were not insignificant, for when Sophie Petre died in 1908, eight years after Henry, her personal assets were said to be over £65,000, quite a significant amount for the time.

[*2] Per the online Wood Family Tree, Bernard Petre died 8 Mar. 1996 on Jersey in the Channel Islands. Dame Harriet Menzies, the mother of Bernard's wife Jean, died there in 1974, so it's quite plausible, but as the Channel Islands aren't covered by the England & Wales Civil Registration Death Index 1916-2007, I cannot verify that the March 1996 date is correct. The Wood Family Tree incorrectly has Bernard's birthdate as 31 Oct. 1918, confusing him with another Bernard Petre, of Burnley, Lancashire, who served with the East Lancashire Regiment in World War II and died in 1984.

The next post will focus on Desmond Clarke's line of descent, through Lt. Henry William Petre, from Charles II.

Cheers,                                               -------Brad