Fitzroy Somerset Papers

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 218 D3135
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      English, Spanish, French, Latin, Italian (predominantly English with some letters in Spanish and French, others intermixed with occasional French, Latin, Italian phraseology)
  • Physical Description
      4 boxes, item level information to be supplied

Scope and Content

Papers relating to Fitzroy Somerset and family members 1808-1901, including correspondence between William Wellesley-Pole and Arthur Wellesley with other papers relating to Wellington, 1807-1852

Administrative / Biographical History

Fitzroy James Henry Somerset (1788-1855), first Baron Raglan (1852), was the youngest of thirteen children of Henry Somerset, fifth Duke of Beaufort (1744- 1803) and his wife Elizabeth (1747-1828), daughter of Admiral Edward Boscawen. Educated at Goodenough's School, Ealing and at Westminster Lord Somerset entered the army shortly before his sixteenth birthday, becoming a lieutenant by purchase on 30 May 1805. He served with distinction in the Peninsula War campaigns (1808-1814), where he joined Arthur Wellesley as aide-de-camp, becoming military secretary to Lord Wellington on 1 January 1811. On 6 August 1814 he married Emily Harriet (1792-1881), the second daughter of William Wellesley-Pole (later third Earl of Mornington), brother of the first Duke of Wellington. Lord Somerset held diplomatic posts in Paris during the allied occupation, and at the Battle of Waterloo received a musket wound that required the amputation of the right arm above the elbow. Upon his return to England he became successively secretary at the Ordnance Office 1819-1826, military secretary to the commander-in-chief 1827-1852, and master-general of the Ordnance 1852-1855. Lord Somerset was twice elected MP for Truro, 1818-1820 and 1826-1829, being narrowly defeated in 1820 following a controversial election campaign. In 1854 Lord Raglan was selected to command the British expeditionary force to defend Constantinople and during the ensuing campaigns in the Crimea, at the Battle of Alma (20 September 1854) and the Battle of Inkerman (5 November 1854) received the approbation of Queen Victoria; being made field-marshal in November 1854. Outbreaks of cholera, and the subsequent privations and suffering of troops during the Russian winter led to sharp criticism of the war, and to Lord Raglan's own exhaustion and demise. On the 26th June 1855 he wrote his last despatch to the new secretary of war Lord Panmure and died at camp on 28 June 1855. Lord Raglan was survived by his wife Emily (1792-1881), and three of his children; Charlotte Caroline Elizabeth (1815-1906); Katherine Anne Emily Cecilia (1824-1915); and Richard Henry Fitzroy Somerset, second Baron Raglan (1817-1884). His eldest son, Major Arthur William Fitzroy Somerset, died 25 December 1845 of wounds received at the Battle of Ferozeshah; a third son Frederick John Fitzroy died in infancy in 1824. Lord Raglan was buried at his birthplace Badminton, Gloucestershire, on 26 July 1855.

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Other Finding Aids

partial manuscript list prepared c.1922 by A.C. Pedley; typescript catalogue in preparation

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