Lord Horatio Nelson as you may never have known him before?


Viscount Horatio Nelson was much loved, respected and admired by countless people but in the main by [in no specific order] two parents; a score or more of maternal and paternal relatives; one daughter; one wife; one mistress; one step son: 7 siblings; numerous nephews and nieces; upwards of 30 grandchildren, and many tens upon tens of great and great great [inter alia] relatives:  one nation, Great Britain, among others, and the personnel of the massive and powerful Royal Navy. After his untimely death, he became a grandfather to an admiral, his daughters child, an uncle to another admiral his sisters child, and several members of the extended families of his siblings became naval officers. In his life time, just as he had been taken to sea by his uncle, he took his step son Josiah to sea. His step son loved it and was rapidly promoted being in battle with his step father against the French. He loved the sea, the navy, his step father and his darling mother Frances, but the bond was shattered between himself and Nelson when Nelson abandoned his mother for his lover!

To say that he was iconic is a gross understatement for in truth he was a god-like figure, and unlike any other British war hero, his name is on many peoples lips almost on a daily basis, true, perpetuated by the Royal Navy [not so much as by the country per se] manifest in their traditions, but London also [as a metaphor]  "flies his flag" on its monuments and memorials saluting his greatness for all comers to see overtly or to visit in shrines. He has several high-ranking peers with illustrious battle-honours but none can match or surpass his record of successes in defending our country. Given his disposition, illnesses, rampant sea sickness, impaired eye sight and an amputee, he could well be called a super hero!

A note which will help you understand what happened in 1805 after Lord Nelson death at Trafalgar

The British peerage starts with Barons [and in all cases below with the female equivalents, eg, in this case Baroness’].  Next in seniority comes a Viscount followed in order upwards of Earl, Marquess, non-Royal Dukes, then Royalty Dukes and Royalty]. Although on a daily basis we think of Dukes as being Royalty, there are many more non-Royal Dukes than Royal ones! Think of the richest man in the UK or at least he was, namely the Duke of Westminster! Then the land owners like the Duke of Bedford at Woburn Abbey [currently an American]; the Duke of Devonshire of Chatsworth House, the Duke of Argyll at Inveraray Castle and so on.

When Nelson died he was a Viscount quite near to the bottom of the list. As a mark of infinite respect and of immeasurable national gratitude, Parliament decreed that his rank and pension should be elevated to that of an Earl, which his family would inherit down the male line in perpetuity. At that time his fame was profound and celebrated almost universally, but come the time of the 4th Earl [and now in 2017, we are at the 10th Earl who is currently aged 46] things had changed and the government wanted to and did withdraw from the perpetuity promise much to the amazement of the Nelson family and to the disgust of our nation and probably many others too!

What follows is the notification of the official papers [Letters Patent] for the creation of an Earldom, this one dated 20th November 1805 [just one month after Nelson’s death] and before his January 1806 State funeral in St Paul’s Cathedral in the City of London: some State funerals take place in Westminster Abbey which is in the City of Westminster, both of course being in the London metropolis.

Note the title and the expression UK. Today that expression means England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Back then it meant the same, negat the word ‘Northern’ because the whole of Ireland was a part of the UK. The act to merge Ireland was passed in 1800, but St Patrick’s Cross was not added to the Union Flag until 1st January 1801, not long before Trafalgar and Nelson’s death. The changes to Nelsons several honours bestowed, were largely unaffected by this creation of an Earldom, so the words Merton, Bronte etc were prefixed as 2nd Baron of Merton, 2nd Duke of Bronte [for example] whereas the new Earldom started with the 1st Earl, which was his elder brother William also using the title of 2nd Duke of Bronte.  However, William had no sons so the ‘Nelson, Earl’ title was passed over to his sister Susannah on his death, specifically to her first eligible son and that line exists today. But he did have daughters, so Nelson’s second title of Duke of Bronte came down his eldest daughter’s line [Charlotte] now changed in gender to Duchess, so she became the 3rd Duchess of Bronte. Thereafter it stayed with her issue but now as was tradition to her son who became the 4th Duke of Bronte. That line still exists, down the male line with Alexander being the 7th Duke of Bronte who was born in 1948 so he is still in his 60’s albeit late 60’s.

Nelson, Earl (UK, 1805)


Creation: let. pat. 20 Nov 1805


Family name: Nelson




Or a Cross Patonce Sable surmounted by a Bend Gules, thereon another Bend engrailed of the field, charged with three Hand Grenades of the second, fired proper;  a Chief of Augmentation wavy Argent, thereon Waves of the Sea, from which issuant in the centre a Palm Tree, between a disabled Ship on the dexter and a Battery in ruins on the sinister, all proper


1st:  Over a Naval Crown Or, the Chelenk or Diamond Plume of Triumph, presented to Admiral the Viscount Nelson by the Grand Signor, Sultan Selim III;  2nd:  the Stern of the San Joseph, Spanish Man-of-war, floating in Waves of the Sea proper


On the dexter side a Sailor habited and armed with a Cutlass, with a Pair of Pistols in his belt proper, his right hand supporting a Pike also proper, thereon hoisted a Commodore's Flag Gules, and his left holding a Palm Branch, and on the sinister a Lion reguardant in his mouth two Broken Staffs, and flowing from the one the Spanish, and from the other the French Ensigns, and in the dexter forepaw a Palm Branch, all proper


Palmam Qui Meruit Ferat (Let him wear the palm who has deserved it)


NELSON’S LINE of EARLDOMS and the family members involved.

Nelson’s parents had 11 children, 8 sons and 3 daughters, of whom 3 sons died in infancy. The first child named Horatio died when 3 months old, so they named their 6th born child Horatio and he became Lord Nelson.  His eldest sister Susannah was the 4th born and it is she who populated the fame of her younger brother Horatio. Her husband’s name was Thomas Bolton.

Nelson was now dead.

From that union Susannah produced 4 children, 3 girls and a boy. The boy was called Thomas Bolton [Nelson] born 1786, and he was to become the 2nd Earl.

The 1st Earl was Lord Nelsons elder brother William, a Norfolk Vicar. Although married and with children he had no male heir so his sister Susannah’s children would inherit. William the 1st Earl used that title for 35 years dying on the 28th February of 1835. Upon inheritance when aged 49, the 2nd Earl, a Nobleman, the nephew of Lord Nelson,  changed his name from Thomas Bolton to Horatio Nelson.   Just 9 months later he too died on the 1st November 1835.

The eldest of  his 8 children, later a politician, another Horatio Nelson, became the 3rd Earl in 1835 when he was just 12, and was the incumbent for the next 78 years dying in February 1913.

I will now group together the next 3 Earls for they were jointly, in their times, involved with the government taking away that which they had promised back in November 1805 – the perpetuity bit?

His son, Thomas Horatio, became the 4th Earl in 1913 dying in 1947.
His son Edward Agar Hotatio took the chair in 1947 [Agar was his mother’s nee name] becoming the 5th Earl, and
His son Albert Nelson became the 6th Earl dying in 1952.

These Earls highlighted in aerial black font were affected by this change of heart of a beastly government. It begins.

A Civil Service minute explained that the pension had not gone to the hero's daughter but to his "undistinguished" brother, who "was not the person whose name was on the lips of the Admiral when he fell". The Bill, ending the pension after the death of the then Earl Nelson [the 4th] and his 87-year-old younger brother, who was due to inherit the title the 5th, was duly passed in 1947. The Treasury had proposed a deal that entailed passing a Bill ending the pension, but allowing the family to sell the estate, which had been purchased with public money for Horatio Nelson's successors.

Subsequently, 6th Earl wrote to Sir Winston Churchill, then serving his second term as prime minister, saying that there had been a pledge in parliament that the estate would escape full death duties, according to the custom that such gifts to military heroes were exempt. But tax in 1951, after the 5th earl's death, had "meant the virtual confiscation of almost all the Nelson fortune", the Earl complained. It was, he thundered, the "greatest breach of faith ever perpetrated by any British government".

Sir Winston referred the matter to civil servants. His private secretary eventually wrote to the Earl to say that, although sympathetic, Sir Winston could not introduce retrospective legislation.

Marlborough, by birth the non-aristocratic famous soldier, who as explained later, did relatively little in terms of protecting Great Britain , although he was the father of its blossoming years in terms of trade and influence, found his fortune directly from Queen Anne’s  personal blessing and patronage for social reasons, and not necessarily for his military exploits and successes, a clear and unequivocal association with the saying ‘ it’s not what you know [or have done] it’s who you know’: Wellington the aristocrat, famed for defeating Napoleon on terra firma, with his family and state-rewarded houses for his military services and successes which did save Britain’s bacon, had Stratfield Saye in Hampshire [the former home of the famous Pitt family], Walmer Castle in Kent  and his London Home  at Hyde Park called Apsley House also known as No1 London: for many years he also had the use of Dover Castle in Kent. Again, and as I will relate later, Nelson’s reward [Trafalgar House] had to be badgered for over a long period, not given feely or spontaneously, was modest by comparison, and because of taxes imposed which were never intended to be by customs, was taken back by a later government dubbed an “Indian Giver.”  

It is an established fact that the Labour Party and the Tory Party orchestrated the fall and demise of the Nelson family, whilst the Wellington’s and the Marlborough’s prospered. They lived to go on to even greater things [were that possible ?] but what might Nelson have achieved had he not died in battle?

Much had been lost and things augured badly for the Earl’s Nelson!

The 7th Earl was Henry Joseph Horatio Nelson  who died in 1972.

Earl number 8 was George Joseph Horatio  Nelson dying in 1981.

Earl No 9.  I remember him [in terms of media coverage] as being the friendly copper, Peter John Horatio Nelson.

By the time the 9th Lord Nelson, Peter succeeded to the earldom on the death of his uncle in 1981, there was nothing left of the family fortune. The new earl, a police sergeant at the time he succeeded, took his place on the Conservative benches of the House of Lords, later moving to the Crossbenches, and contributed his experience of police matters to the proceedings of the Upper House, speaking in debates on such matters as firearms legislation and dangerous dogs.

Then came what was to be the last of the Earls with a seat in the House of Lords because the government wanted fewer peers in the upper house and the Earl’s Nelson lost their seats for good. By now Lord Nelson’s memory had been besmirched by the very people who back in 1805 had fallen over themselves to revere the very ground he once walked upon, namely politicians. Every thing that Nelson had earned was now spent: his pension, his property, his place in the House of Lords, his very name and deeds except for those stalwart members and devotees of Maritime Britain.

Though very much a private man, Peter Horatio Nelson, the son of a brother of the 5th Earl, was extremely proud of his ancestry and served on various bodies associated with the Royal Navy and with his illustrious forebear. He was, for example, a strong supporter of the Royal Navy Sailors' Fund, the charity more commonly known as the "Tot Fund", which receives a substantial donation from the sale of each bottle of British Navy Pusser's Rum.

In 1996 he provided a refreshingly level-headed response to demands by Italian historians that Britain should "apologise" for the way in which the future hero of Trafalgar had punished antiroyalist rebels in Naples in 1799, and admit, in particular, that he was wrong to have had Admiral Francesco Caracciolo, Duke of Brienza, "hanged like a blackguard". Earl Nelson dismissed the demand for an apology, observing: "If you trawl through history every country could demand an apology for something."

Peter John Horatio Nelson was born on October 9 1941 at Sherborne, Dorset, the son of Captain John Nelson Royal Navy.  While his father had been brought up at Trafalgar Park Wiltshire, [the Nelson Estate purchased with the national gift for victory at Trafalgar] and Peter remembered visiting the house as a child.  By the time he reached his teens the estate and the family fortune had gone.

After Peter's birth, his father had bought a poultry farm near Norwich, and the family moved to their ancestral county of Norfolk. After education at St Joseph's School, Ipswich, and short spells in the RAF Apprentices and at an agricultural college, Peter joined the Metropolitan Police. He served in the CID and the Flying Squad and later joined the Hertfordshire police, rising to the rank of detective sergeant before retiring in 1983.

Lord Nelson, who lost his seat in the Lords in 1999 following the Labour government's reforms, served as chairman of Retainacar (now Retainagroup), a company specialising in car security systems; and as president of the Royal Naval Commando Association and of the Nelson Society.

He was a keen gardener and a lifelong supporter of Norwich City Football Club.

Lord Nelson's eldest son, Simon John Horatio Nelson, Viscount Merton, born in 1971 and also a policeman, succeeds to the Earldom as the 10th Earl..

Whilst the Earldom can carry on unopposed, it is but a piece of paper, a title with no substance, equity or real purpose except of course to people like us – personnel of the Royal Navy. No amount of political manoeuvring can ever tarnish the name Nelson nor belittle those persons  who legitimately inherited Lord Nelson’s pension, pathetic though it had been allowed to become or the assets given to a hero, a hero without precedent and without peers, then and now!

The close blood-family of Nelson had mixed fortunes with longevity rates, his two favourites, sisters Susannah and Catherine died respectively when aged 58 in 1813 at home in Norfolk and 77 in 1842 in Kensington London and she was also the last of the Nelson family line.

Nelson himself was aged 47 when he was killed.

Many in the country, civil and naval, believed strongly  that what was said by the Civil Service paper  “that Nelson’s pension had not gone to the hero's daughter but to his "undistinguished" brother, who "was not the person whose name was on the lips of the Admiral when he fell" and that it was in injustice. It was well known, especially in Norfolk in and around the Burnham Thorpe environs, that the brothers Horatio and William were chalk and cheese and differed greatly in appearance, in temperament, and the understanding of how people coped with the stresses of life and became better people for coping. Horatio was of small built with pleasant facial appearance, good deportment and fundamentally a listener and above all else, a stoic. William was gross, large in body as he was with his mouth, and almost always self-centred and petulant. It was difficult to see how Horatio could like his brother, whereas William clearly liked Horatio and envied him his profession. On William’s return from Cambridge to Norfolk, and after he had acquired [with a little money] an automatic masters degree,  claimed within three years of taking a basic bachelor’s degree, a perk still enjoyed today for all Oxbridge students,  he consulted with Horatio  on the advisability of entering the navy as a chaplain, and in June 1784 he was appointed to the Boreas [Sloop], though he did not join her till September. In her he went out to the West Indies; but the restraint would seem to have been distasteful to him, and, though on leave away from the ship for most of the time, he obtained his discharge from her and from the service in October 1786. It has been urged against his brother that, as captain of the ship, he tolerated the abuse of his chaplain's drawing pay without performing his duties. Nelson certainly did not punctually perform the duties, but, on the other hand, he did not receive any pay (Pay-book of Boreas); a singular fact, which is evidence of a scrupulous nicety very unusual at the time.

Even before Nelson’s death, William, as a humble parson with no future ahead of him [grand or less grand], was reaping the rewards of Horatio’s growing fame, and fortune. Upon his death, things became frenetic with awards and rewards piling high on the door step of his parsonage. At Nelsons death he became the 2nd Baron Nelson of the Nile but very soon afterwards  became the 1st Earl and  received a pension of £5000 GBP per annum, a wonderful income, and a staggering mind-boggling cash gift of £90,000 GBP. This, the now social-climbing brother William, continuously lobbied Parliament for the purchase of a mansion and an estate in honour of Horatio [full well knowing that it would be he who would benefit] , and finally in 1814, nine years after Trafalgar, he purchased a beautiful house and estate just south of Salisbury in Wiltshire, which was renamed to be Trafalgar House [Trafalgar Park]: the Nelsons sold up and moved out in 1948 incurring colossal death duty taxes, and since those days it has had several owners, leading to 2017 when it is once again up for sale for M£12.  All of this turned his head, and he increasingly became more and more boorish and totally arrogant in all his post-Trafalgar doings and dealings.

As a guide only and using the calculator on this web site  https://www.measuringworth.com/ppoweruk/ Start with the pension = £5000 and then separately by pressing the ‘clear’ button, do the £90,000.00 cash gift. Use the 1270 to 1970 entry point and the ‘desired date’ = 2016 [the ‘max it is set for at the moment] in the 1971 column add the ‘initial year’ = 1805 before clicking on calculate. The pension equivalent is £322.400.00 and the cash lump sum is £6,702.000.00 – say no more!

William meanly denied Lady Hamilton of her just reward as set by Nelson’s Will. By cheating her he cheated his brother and cocked a snook at his last wishes.

Much of the immediate provision Nelson made for his lover was to cover the up-bringing of his adopted daughter [it was his real daughter with Lady Hamilton [so it should have read ‘their daughter’but he always chose to call Horatia his adopted daughter].  The provision was made until she became 18 and the expressed wish in his will was that Horatia should be nurtured to grow to be a fine wife, and he even expressed a wish in writing as to who a suitable husband might be one day! More on the Will soon.

Now a short rest in which I will very briefly mention other sailors in the navy bearing the illustrious name of Nelson and in more than one case, Horatio Nelson. As a datum point I chose to flip through the pages of the Navy List corrected to 20th September 1881 for sightings. These are just a few, but there are others throughout the 19th century who used the word Horatio and separately Nelson often as one of the several hyphenated surnames:-

The Hon Maurice Horatio Nelson  was the son of the 2nd Earl nephew of Nelson’s and he became a Rear Admiral in 1875 dying in 1914 when aged 82. He is shown as a captain with a seniority of 11th April 1866. The Navy List of September 1877 shows him retired as a Captain to date 1st Oct 1873 but there is a capital letter ‘T’ alongside his name which signifies that as a retired captain he had been chosen to become a rear admiral; a retirement gift!

When we get to his Will, you will see what to Nelson himself would have been a wonderful gift had he lived, which was this man Admiral Philip Nelson-Ward. This was his grandson, a son of his daughter Horatia.

The Hon Horatio Nelson Hood – Commander – Seniority  7 July 1870. A union of the Hood’s with the Nelson’s which was probably unique – what tales that family could have told?

Horatio Nelson Dudding was a lieutenant  Seniority  3rd September 1882 and bringing up the rear this young man - 1881 midshipman Nelson Maurice H H and I’ll wager that one of those initials stands for Horatio?

This page intrigued me.

 Have a look at the right had column towards the top.  There, on this one page are four Nelson’s, the bottom name being a MD = Medical Doctor in this case a civilian qualification and an appointee to the Admiralty carrying the naval  rank of I.H. = Inspector of Hospitals one of top jobs in the naval medical organsation. There is nothing to suggest that his surname has a connection to the illustrious family! The other three are all captains with various seniorities from 1866, 1872 and 1873. The top names is yet again, just a commonly used surname of Nelson although not all in the extended family added Horatio to their Christian names, but the other two have that magic word Horatio as part of their names. Note the most senior name that of Seniority 1866 The Hon Maurice Horatio Nelson whom we have already met above in the little example list of officer entries with the surname Nelson. Look to the left of his name and there you will see a capital ‘T’. All the retired captains in the fleet worthy of higher promotion are shown in Navy List ‘T’ indicating promotion to rear admiral. You’ll note that there are a few lists U,W,P,N and M and each is significant to the group of captains placed in them. They cover things like retired to half pay; retired to further service in the reserves etc. The other captain has a full-blown Horatio Nelson name so he is clearly part of the inner family. This list, although not relevant to Maurice’ promotion time [1873 date of retiring as a captain] shows a typical captains ‘T’ List.

Next we move to Lord Nelson’s Will which really does need to be interpreted.

[Comments in parenthesis and in bold font are those of mine]

This I have typed from a copy of the will held by Oxford University in a document dated December 1805.

Will of Lord Nelson. [Note that it is written in the third person where the personal pro noun ‘he’ is used instead of the personal  pronoun ‘I’]

Abstract of the last Will and Testament, and Codicils thereto annexed, of Lord Viscount Nelson, as proved in the Commons by his Executors, William Nelson and William Haslewood, on Monday, the 23rd inst. [May 1803]

Horatio Viscount Nelson, of the Nile, and of Burnham Thorpe, in the county of Norfolk, and Duke of Bronte, in the kingdom of Farther Sicily.

First — In the event that he shall die in England, he desires to be buried in the parish church of Burnham Thorpe, unless his Majesty [George III] shall signify it to be his pleasure that he shall be buried elsewhere.

Gives the sum of 100l [the last character is a lower case ‘L’ but with a short uplift on its foot, not like mine shown, shown because there is no suitable font available today in my character map, which signifies pounds sterling, which in this case £100] to the poor of several parishes of Burnham Thorpe, Sutton and Morton in the county of Norfolk: viz one-third part to each parish: the same to be divided at the discretion of the Curates or Ministers.

Gives to Emma, Lady Hamilton, widow of the Right  Hon Sir William Hamilton K.B., his diamond star as a token of his friendship: also the silver cup which she presented to him.

Gives to his brother, the Rev. William. Nelson, D. D. (Baron Nelson of the Nile and later the Earl Nelson), the  gold box presented to him by the City of London, also his gold sword presented to him by the Captains who fought with him at the Nile.

Gives to his sister Catherine Matcham, the sword presented to him by the City of London.

Gives to his sister, Susannah Bolton, the silver cup presented to him by the Turkey Company.

Gives to A. Davison Esq. , of St. James’s Square, his Turkish gun and canteen.

Gives to his worthy friend Captain Hardy, all his telescopes and star-glasses and tools.

Gives to each of his Executors 100l.

Gives to his brother William, and William Haslewood, Esq. of Craven- Street, Strand, all the residue of his goods, chattels, and personal estate (except the household goods, &c. which (shall  be in his house at Merton, at his decease, and also except his diamond sword and jewels, and any other articles which he should, by any codicil to his will, otherwise dispose of), to hold to them and their executors and administrators, upon the trusts following- namely: — Upon trust, that his (said trustees and executors shall, as soon as maybe, after his death,  convert into money such personal estate as does not consist of money, and lay out and invest the same in the purchase of 3 per Cent Consols ; and also the money which (shall belong to him at his death, so that the dividends and interest may produce the clear yearly sum of 1000l,  of which, they shall stand possessed  upon trust, during the life of Frances  Herbert, Viscountess Nelson, his wife, his said trustees do, and shall, fully authorise and empower the said Viscountess Nelson , my wife, and her assigns to receive the dividends, when the same shall become due, in addition to all other provisions made by him at any time heretofore, for her, and in addition to the sum of 4000l, lately given her, which sums to be taken in lieu and satisfaction of all power, and right, and title of dower [a dower is a widows share of her husbands estate for life. By giving his wife 4000l, the dividends due on his investments – bank annuities - and “in addition to all other provisions made by Nelson for her” he hereby denies his wife from having a dower] and in case the annual income to be produced from the Bank Annuities to be purchased with the residue from his personal estate shall be insufficient to answer and pay the sum of 1000l per year, then the deficiency to be made up to his wife out of his barony, [of the Nile] town and lands, in Farther Sicily: so that his said wife, may be entitled to receive a clear income of 1000l, and after the decease of his wife to divide the said 1000l unto the said William Nelson [his elder brother] and his sisters Susannah Bolton nee Nelson and Catherine Mitcham nee Nelson


I, Horatio Viscount Nelson of the Nile, of Burnham Thorpe in the County of Norfolk, and of the Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and Duke of Bronte in the [note the lower casing ‘k’ as opposed to the upper casing ‘K’ for Great Britain] kingdom of Farther Sicily having to my last Will and Testament which bears date on or about the 10th day of May  [he obviously wrote the Will at this stated date but it was published on  the 23rd of May] in the year of our Lord, 1803, made and published a codicil bearing date the 13th of the same month, do make, and publish a further codicil to the same Will and Testament in manner following:-

That is to say I give and bequeath to Miss Horatia Nelson Thompson [who was baptised on the 13th day of May last [1802] in the parish of [sic] St Mary-la-bonne in the County of Middlesex by Benjamin Lawrence Curate and John Willcock assistant clerk, and who I acknowledge as my adopted daughter  the sum of 4000l sterling money of Great Britain, to be paid at the expiration of six months after my decease or sooner if possible; and I leave my dearest friend Lady Emma Hamilton sole guardian of the said Horatia Nelson Thompson  until she shall have arrived at the age of eighteen years, and the interest of the said 4000l to be paid to Lady Hamilton, for her education and maintenance. This request of guardianship I earnestly make of Lady Hamilton, knowing that she will educate my adopted child in the paths of religion and virtue, and give her those accomplishments which so much adorn herself [Emma Hamilton], and I hope make her a fit wife for my dear nephew, Horatio Nelson, [This was Horatio Nelson Matcham son of Nelson’s youngest sister Catherine who was a baby [born January 1803] when Nelson’s will was being constructed. He died in 1821 when just 18 unmarried. Horatia was born in 1801 and one year after Horatio Nelson Matcham died she married a Vicar, Philip Ward when aged 21,  with whom she had 11 children just like her mother, and strange though it may be Horatia too had 11 children: one of her sons [Nelsons grandson] became an admiral, Admiral Philip Nelson-Ward. Horatia was christened as a pretence with the surname ‘Thompson’, a Portsmouth admiral who was in agreeance with the ceremony of baptism for Horatia,  whilst Emma and Horatio looked on as godparents not claiming the child as their own]  who I wish to marry her, if he prove worthy, in Lady Hamilton's estimation , of such a treasure, as I am sure he will be. Further, I direct that the legacies by this my Codicil, as well as those by my last Will and Testament, given and bequeathed, shall be paid and discharged, from and out of my personal estate only, and shall not be charged or chargeable upon my real estates in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and in the kingdom of Farther Sicily, or any or either of them, or any part thereof. In all other respects, I ratify and confirm my said last Will and Testament and former Codicil. In witness whereof, I, the said Horatio Viscount Nelson and Duke of Bronte, have to this Codicil, all in my own hand-writing, and contained in one sheet of paper, set my hand and seal this sixth day of September, in the year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Three. (Signed) Nelson and Bronte. Signed, sealed, and published by the Right Hon. Horatio Viscount Nelson, Duke of Bronte, as and for a Codicil to his last Will and Testament, in the presence of George Murray, First Captain of the Victory. [Vice Admiral Sir George Murray was never the captain of the Victory. What was meant by this was that he was Nelson’s first Captain-of-the-Fleet at the time of Trafalgar and immediately before it.  He was a close friend of Nelson’s and had served with him at Copenhagen. Nelson chose him above all others and had he been there [at Trafalgar], he would have been Nelson’s Chief of Staff controlling the overall effort of prosecuting the battle. He wasn’t there but at home in the UK dealing with a bereavement and family estate matters. Nelson was offered a replacement but said “Murray or no one”, so he fought without a C.O.S. Captain Hardy was the captain of Victory and before him, after the long and major refit of the ship which completed in 1800 it was Captain Samuel Sutton], and John Scott, Secretary.

Lord Nelson, in his will, has directed, that if it shall please his Sovereign to grant a continuance of his pension of one thousand pounds per annum to Lady Nelson, that the direction in his will to raise a sum of money to be invested in the Funds to pay her Ladyship an annuity of one thousand pounds per annum, shall be made void. A Codicil, in his own writing, directs, that one hundred pounds per annum be paid to the widow of his brother Maurice – [A vicar who died in 1801]. The last Codicil annexed to his Lordship's will, is dated in September last, and gives to Lady Hamilton all the hay on his estate at Merton. His Lordship has given full power to his Trustees, to dispose or exchange the whole of his Italian estates.

Note now the disappearance of my parenthesis.

He was generous in his giving in his will and only the mid to late  Georgian principles and styles stopped his good intentions towards his daughter, considered persona non grata in those times, and rather sadly, there was no mention at all about his step son Josiah Nisbet, [his wife Frances’ son from her first marriage which ended with her being widowed out from a loving marriage, an infinitely happier marriage than her second marriage to Nelson. As you will see, Josiah and Nelson fell out when Nelson abandoned his Viscountess.

It would  have been entirely appropriate to honour Nelson in death to thank him for his services just as a retiring commander [for example] sometimes retires as an Acting Captain on an enhanced severance from the service and as often as not, with the honour of an OBE. All well deserved. He was a relatively young officer at aged 47 on death, holding the rank of Vice Admiral of the White, so technically he had several ranks in front of him in the Red yet to come!

 For the act of winning the Battle of Trafalgar Nelson received no reward as was the practice for defeating Great Britain’s  enemies!

See also these URL’s which add much to my story







This last URL [below]  is an absolute must for those wanting to know the detail on Nelson’s wife Frances Nesbit  [their meeting and courtship, their love and respect for one another etc, and of her son, Josiah who adored Nelson and he him, that was until Nelson abandoned them all for Lady Hamilton. When Nelson left Frances, any love or respect Josiah had for his step father was lost. In this page, towards the bottom half, you can read under the sub title “NEVIS – a West Indian Island”.  Under Nelson’s patronage,  he went to sea with his step father [just as Nelson had gone to sea with his uncle [Maurice Suckling] brother of his mother. Josiah’s promotion was rapid and everything looked rosy, until Nelson met Lady Emma Hamilton……….



The rank of Admiral would have sufficed and if not of the Red, then a suitable elevation in the peerage to at least a Marquess, if not, to a non-Royal Dukedom to match that given to Wellington: Admiral Nelson Duke of Trafalgar sit quite well I think although I have a feeling that he would have chosen to be the Duke of Burnham Thorpe, his home village.

Looking at the rationale of successes and rewards for our military/naval heroes down the years, this little potted history runs in parallel with Nelson’s many naval successes which without doubt saved Great Britain from certain defeat and colonisation by the European adversaries particularly the French and the Spanish, on a par with the Battle of Britain hero’s of WW2 and all those forces which put an end to Hitler’s ambitions/aspirations of invading our precious land, this notwithstanding all the tactical blunders Hitler made, like for example, opening a second front in the east by attacking Russia!. That too helped to save us from an intended invasion!


The War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14) was the first world war of modern times with theatres of war in Spain, Italy, Germany, Holland, and at sea. Charles II, king of Spain, died in 1700 without an heir. In his will he gave the crown to the French prince Philip of Anjou.

A very complicated and very long war with, and as per usual, France being the baddy who placed Louis IV grandson on the Spanish throne much to the delight of the French and the Spaniards.

Many nations took part and John Churchill [son of an impoverished Sir Winston Churchill], although a relatively junior officer with little command experience and from, at that time, a minor country in warring terms, Great Britain, became the C-in-C of the combined forces fighting the French and her allies. Portugal was one of those allies but a British naval victory in 1702 [Battle of Vigo Bay- Admiral Rooke with the Dutch as allies], destroyed or captured every vessel – warships and treasure-carrying galleons – involved in the bringing of great treasures from the America’s home to Spain, [but he failed to capture the treasures], soon brought the Portuguese to their senses, and from that date onwards Portugal have been our oldest ally. They abandoned France and fought with us and our many allies for the rest of the war, which was known as the “Grand Alliance.”

The outcome was woolly and in some cases the status quo of 1701 survived into 1714. France escaped lightly from the decisions taken, but Britain did well out of it securing for itself substantial colonial and trading benefits from Spain’s transatlantic empire. Britain started to become recognised as an important country and this war brought it to prominence and set the scene for world-power status during the centuries to come.   Little wonder then that John Churchill became a hero on the strength of the overall command but the intended outcome of the war was not achieved! 

However, unlike the commands of Lord Nelson and Arthur Wellesley [Duke of Wellington]* during the Napoleonic Wars, which, had they failed to defeat the French and Spanish alliance, would have greatly endangered Great Britain’ island status, the War of the Spanish Succession did not threaten Great Britain or its sovereignty. As such it is arguable that the Duke of Marlborough’s wars played second fiddle to those of the late years of the 18th century and early years of the 19th century!  The rewards therefore, should have been proportional but Nelson didn’t survive so it’s conjecture as to what may have happened!

*The Hon Arthur Wesley was born a protestant Irish aristocrat, educated at Eton, did military training in Brussels, joined the British army and bought his commissions achieving the rank of lieutenant colonel on borrowed money and in rapid time!  In 1789 he changed his name to Wellesley. By 1808 after many campaigns and much experience of command he had become a lieutenant general, two ranks below a field marshal. In the next few years he saw almost continuous action against the French scoring many successes. In 1809 with the French routed almost continuously he was elevated to the peerage becoming a Viscount and taking the name of Wellington – eleven years after Nelson was created a Viscount! **. Wellington In 1812, with more successes to his credit was created Earl Wellington, and almost immediately elevated to the rank of Marquess Wellington and given the overall allied command of Armies in Spain. Had Nelson lived, he too would have attained great public office in exactly the same way as did Wellington?

** After the Battle of the Nile, there was much speculation that Nelson would receive a peerage. It was mooted that he would become a Viscount, but the First Lord of the Admiralty Earl Spencer [Princess Diana’s ancestor] refused to approve the recommendation saying that other admirals in the past had been awarded such a high status as commanders of fleets engage in the battle concerned, but Nelson had been the commander of a squadron only, so wouldn’t qualify: he was elevated but only to be a Baron, Baron Nelson of the Nile. A little later on minds were changed and he was elevated to become Viscount Nelson of the Nile.

In 1813 after mixed blessing in the field, Wellington forced an issue, and with success, after having been told that Napoleon had abdicated and had-thrown-the-towel-in. Wellington was declared a hero by the British and was created the Duke of Wellington.

In 1814, the War of 1812 [between Great Britain and America] was still raging and the government wanted the Duke to go to Canada to secure a victory for the British. He didn’t refuse but said that he was needed in Europe far more than in North America.

He was appointed the Ambassador to France and was promoted from being a Knight of the Order of the Bath to become a Knight Grand Cross of the order – from KCB to GCB.

In February 1815 Napoleon escaped and returned to France. On the 18th June Wellington with 73,000 troops [British, German, Dutch, Belgians] with Russians and Austrians on their way in support, faced Napoleon for the first time and last time  at the commencement of the Battle of Waterloo. By the end of that day, it was all over, and for the final time Napoleon had been defeated and France was a fallen country.