Save the Raglan Collection

Members of the Raglan Rescue must report with great sadness the sudden death of the Hon. Arthur Somerset.  

We offer our deepest sympathy to his family, especially his wife Tanya and their 3 young children and his parents Lord & Lady Raglan, Geoffrey & Caroline Somerset.    (27th July 2012)

We will be reporting shortly on the situation concerning the Raglan Collection in order to keep everyone up to date on the situation.


Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to share your thoughts with us and sign our e-petition.  The number of votes is increasing by the day, however we have a large number of votes that remain unconfirmed.  Without this confirmation, your vote cannot be counted. Keep encouraging friends, family and colleagues to sign our e-petition too. Your votes will really make a difference!

We have recently heard from a few high profile supporters. David Davies, MP for Monmouth has now signed our petition. Monmouth Assembly member, Nick Ramsay has spoken out about our cause; I remain very concerned that the collection may be lost to a foreign buyer and would encourage everyone to support Raglan Rescue’s campaign and sign their e-petition accessed on its website .’

In addition, Lisa Rogers; TV presenter, actress and Monmouthshire resident has kindly taken time to lend her support. Lisa commented: ‘As a member of a long established Monmouthshire family, I feel it is only right & proper that the collection remains intact, in Monmouthshire; in Raglan’s seat with the titled family, The Raglans.’


We have managed to achieve some great coverage so far in both the Local and National  Press.

Huon Mallalieu talked of our ‘forlorn hope to rescue the Raglan Collection’ in The Times on 17th March.

Colin Gleadell wrote two articles about this ‘ unique collection that tells a fascinating story’ in The Daily Telegraph on the 3rd  April and 27th April.

Dalya Alberge writing for The Independent on 3rd April talked of the ‘ 11th-hour injunction ‘ bringing  ‘a dramatic halt to an auction by Christie’s in London of a treasure trove of hundreds of artefacts relating to Waterloo, Wellington and the Crimea’.


Clarification — Mr Henry van Moyland

In an earlier version of this website, we stated that Henry van Moyland did not speak to anyone about the sale of various items in Cefntilla and that he tried to sell items without consulting with any other party. We also published various comments from leading figures and organisations in the Monmouthshire area, but unfortunately included amongst these were some contributions from readers, which we now realise included defamatory allegations about Mr van Moyland.

We have been asked by Mr van Moyland to point out that he is selling Cefntilla and its content with great regret, and in the hope that the Collection may be kept together. We are informed by Mr van Moyland that he spent several months in negotiation with other parties in an effort to sell the Collection as a whole. The proposed sale by auction was not scheduled until after it was clear that those negotiations would not be fruitful.

We are pleased to make this clear and would further point out that the Raglan Collection and Cefntilla are the subject of ongoing Court proceedings.

63 Responses to A Raglan Call to Arms!

  • PETER HUGHES says:

    Deeply sorry to hear the news and as my son, Philip Hughes, is attending the funeral today Friday 10th I feel it only right that I offer to give my full support to saving these historical possessions. These are our heritage, the basis of our very existance and we must preserve them in this country for the generations which follow. Support is one thing action is another!! Anything we can do we will be ready to carry out. Sincerely, Peter Hughes

  • Christopher Saunders says:

    I am an American and a contributor to the American Civil War Trust but have a great fascination with British history, especially the Crimean War. I was therefore very sad to learn that the Raglan Collection may be auctioned off! It’s extremely valuable as a reminder of an important period in British history, and a man who (along with too many of his soldiers) died in service of his country. I hope it’s not too late for Raglan Rescue to prevail in your noble endeavor. Condolences also to the Somersets for their recent loss.

  • Colin Yorke says:

    As a keen amature lifelong historian I was very surprised to hear in March that the estate was being dismantled with a proposed auction being held at Christie’s on the 04th April 2012. I immediately thought that this would be a great loss to both Wales and our National Heritage.

    Knowing that the Christie auction would be unique, I immediately sent for a catalogue for the privilege only of being able to enjoy the photographic record of the contents. I was very pleased to hear that the sale did not proceed due to the intervention of people with the same thoughts as my own.

    Surely the house and contents must be saved for the nation in memory of all those who made sacrifices on our behalf during the Napoleonic and Crimea Wars.

    A supporter for saving the house & collection for the nation.

    Colin Yorke

  • Is there any news – have the artefacts been saved? Has the ‘dispute’ been resolved?

    • admin says:

      We await the High Court Injunction review on 30 May. Rest assured we will inform you of any news as we hear it. Regards, RR

  • Ted Savill says:

    I fully support the petition to save Raglan. It is critical to look after our heritage. Wars like the Crimean War are hardly reported these days and that makes it even more important for them to be saved.

  • JME says:

    The collection, house and title should absolutely all stay together.

  • Dr Louise E Hull says:

    We have lost too many national treasures, let us hold on to this one..

  • Simon Boyle says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with the aim of keeping this collection together, preferably at Cefntilla

  • caroline mitchell says:

    I fully support the saving of this historical collection for it to be held and displayed in the United Kingdom and will forward this petition immediately.

    Local resident

  • Ann Morse (Chairman, Usk Civic Society) and Barry Morse (Treasurer) says:

    Lord Raglan was our (very involved) President from 1973 until his death, so those active in the Society knew him well. He was always generous in allowing local organisations to use Cefn Tilla for functions; we enjoyed many parties there and saw some of the collection. It was clear that as head of the family he regarded himself as the custodian of the house and contents. He would certainly have wanted this custodian role to continue.

    We hope that the house and contents can remain together, or, if that is not possible, that the collection at least can be acquired by the National Trust or some other suitable heritage body which will conserve it and make it accessible to the British public of whose history it forms a part.

  • Until his death, Lord Raglan was the President of Usk Rural Life Museum. He gave generously of his time and money, and helped advance the cause of conserving the county’s rural history. The Executive Committee share the concerns regarding the real possibility of his ancestor’s collection being broken up for sale.

  • Brigadier Charles Wright says:

    Such a treasured collection should remain where it belongs.

  • David Morgan says:

    I am sure Fitzroy never dreamed this would happen. He took great pride in the heritage contained within Cefn Tilla. Every thing possible must be done to save this collection, within Cefn Tilla as well !!

  • Maggie Law and Mike Pegler says:

    My grandfather was a colonel in the Kaffrarian rifles and so many of his medals from the Boer and first world war have been lost/stolen or strayed and it is so sad, so the protecting of these valuable/historic battle memorabilia is most important. So many of our heroes memorials and artefacts have been lost or defaced or stolen too. I do hope that this petition is successful.

  • I am in full support of keeping this collection intact. It would be such a shame to lose it, especially when I think of all the generations of kids, and people who just want to learn, who would take such delight in seeing the actual pieces that were a part of our history. It’s the artefacts themselves that make history come to life, and we need to do as much as possible to save them!

    A great cause. Encouraging as many people as possible to sign!

  • Jonathan Lewis says:

    You have my full support. Is there anything else I can do.

  • Alastair Mitchell says:

    I believe that the late Lord Raglan would have been very much distressed to learn that his treasured collection would be disseminated so soon after his demise. Such a pity for those who knew him.

  • Gordon McKerrow says:

    The war that shaped the modern age? This is not such a wild claim about the now half-forgotten Crimean campaign as it at first seems. Yes, the American Civil War is known as ‘the last of the old wars and the first of the new’, but you can argue that this epithet truly belongs to the conflict by the Black Sea where Britain and France sought to thwart Russian designs on the crumbling Ottoman empire.

    The creaking tactics may have owed more to the fields of Waterloo, but organised nursing, the telegraph, the railways, photography and war correspondents first found their way into battle in the Crimea. Wars were never the same again.

    Were it to be split up, The Raglan Collection, so vital in the interpretation of much of this, would find its historical value so diluted as to be almost worthless.

  • Marcus Witherow says:

    I wholly support the campaign to save at least the militaria and associated treasures as the first priority. Because of their portability, they must be in the greatest danger of piecemeal dispersal, probably overseas, whilst the likely sum required might be secured in a relatively short time. Meanwhile, might it not be possible to secure an injunction to prohibit their export indefinitely, pending the raising of the necessary capital by supporters of this campaign?

    The second priority would be to save the house. At least the house is not exportable and would continue to grace Wales, whomsoever might own it. Regrettably, for the Somerset family, if adequate funds are to be raised, then in today’s climate, ownership would have to be in the name of the Nation.

  • Martin McDougall says:

    As it says above the front door of Cefntilla, the first Baron Raglan was bequeathed the estate by grateful soldiers under his command and it was meant to be passed on to his heirs.

    We need to secure this family’s heritage. This country, above all others, understands the collective power of individual histories. Our pasts are like mirrors, reflecting back who we are now and who we will be going forward into the future. And just like mirrors, these pasts are lost forever when broken up. And, with nothing left to reflect us how will we know who we are?

  • I find it incomprehensible that such an important part of our national heritage could be sold away, and confirm that I support the petition fully and all petitioners fully in their aim.

  • Bryan Stearns says:

    I agree with Bill Curtis totally;

    “This is an absolute disgrace and the Government should move under the protection of heritage provisions to delay the sale until a rescue package has been assembled”.

    This petition has my full support.

  • Glenie Eldridge Joel says:

    I am delighted to do what little I can to support Raglanrescue.
    Alerting friends and making donations is fine.
    What else can I do ?

  • Jeremy twynam says:

    The petition has my full support

  • Ian S. Burge (President Monmouthshire Antiquarian Association.) says:

    I hope I am correct that the historic items can be saved, if not Cefntilla, and the National Trust agree for them to be housed at Tredegar House. Lord Tredegar participated in ‘The Charge’ and it seems the best, or second best solution.

  • MIke Gee says:

    In support of keeping this collection intact

  • Snezana Danilovic and David Crofts says:

    I do hope this situation is resolved, it would be an enormous shame for this collection to be broken up and taken out of the country.

  • I knew Fitzroy Somerset (the late Lord Raglan) all my life as he was a friend of my parents. I think that his decision not to leave Cef’n Tilla to his rightful heir was entirely wrong.

    It must be remembered that Cef’n Tilla was built with the money raised by the first Lord Raglan’s fellow officers and men who all hugely respected him. In this respect Cefntilla became a family seat in a unique fashion. Other great generals were given their family seats by a grateful nation (Marlborough/Blenheim : Wellington/Stratfield Saye, etc).
    The Government should interfere to ensure that this fascinating historical house and collection of Somerset artifacts is secured for the nation.

    Roderic Llewellyn

  • Ann Cullum says:

    Such historic items should never be allowed to go outside the UK. We sell the ‘family silver’ at our peril. No sale should be allowed to take place that allows this collection to go to an overseas location ,

  • janet jones says:

    This is wrong to sell this collection, it is part of our history and the sale should be stopped, and where possible the collection must be kept here for our children and great grand children to read about, and to find out about the history of this great collection and the people behind it.

  • Michael Crumplin says:

    This is an unique collection of a man who was close to our greatest field commander and who controversially had a leading and interesting role in the terrible Crimean War. These artifacts and ephemera should be available to every man woman and child in this country to ponder over and enjoy. They are quintessentially British and of immense interest to our nation. A very great part of our military heritage and national identity.

  • Carl Halling says:

    As a lover of history, I happily put forward my support.

  • Roger and Frances Pemberton says:

    Fitzroy Raglan assumed that the collection – to which he had latterly added one or two Somerset items – would remain intact at Cefntilla. The proposed disposal would be clean contrary to his wishes as testator as well as a national tragedy.


    It is dreadful that a collection of this importance could be scattered. Every effort should be made to preserve it

  • Mr and Mrs J Pearce says:

    We fully support the saving of this collection for the nation

  • James Giles (5 times great grandson of a veteran of the Azoff Sea capaign 1855) says:

    Myself and members of my family feel strongly that funds should be raised to secure the future of the house and collection, and to provide a museum which is open to the public.

  • T B Jones says:

    Lord Raglan was a member of the Roger Edwards Society so we knew him quite well and he had shown us much of his collection, of which he was really proud.
    I am sure it never occurred to him that it could possibly be sold, virtually in its entirety. As such I am sure that he would wish us to “save” as much as possible of this collection.

  • Michael and Sue Hill says:

    We are shocked and outraged and feel very sad that a house and contents of such historic and military importance should be sold and split up in such a way.

  • Russ Kendrick says:

    This is terrible news. There are many good ideas Mr JR Black III – (Ladies and Gentlemen: As an unpublished biographer of Lord Raglan’s early years for which I earned an MA in history, I can only recommend that you quickly petition the Queen and ask her majesty to intervene on the nation’s behalf, or even better, the family’s behalf. I suggest you ask His Grace, the Duke of Wellington, to intercede not only in his name, but those of the British people).
    And Amanda Baker (I think that as many people as possible need to be made aware of the potential loss of this historical treasure. I know a lot of people in Monmouthshire are still unaware of it. Perhaps a facebook group could be started to drum up awareness, support and possibly donations and fundraising with links to and from this website).
    The power of the web can be used. We could also place this as a members petition on the House of commons website and Facebook etc. i am sure that there enough interested people in the country to get this to 100,000.
    Good luck.

  • admin says:

    The late Lord Raglan was enormously proud of his family’s treasures and, while kept privately at Cefntilla, he did love to show them to visitors, groups from the Usk Civic Society amongst others. The fact that this wonderful collection has emerged into public gaze is one of the few good things to arise from the proposed sale. The Raglan Rescue hopes that, if reason prevails, these unique links with our past – the conflicts of long ago – from the Peninsular War, through Waterloo to the Charge of the Light Brigade – will be able to be shared with a wider audience. (Bettina Harden, The Raglan Rescue)

  • Amanda Baker says:

    I have absolutely no doubt that if Cefn Tilla and The Raglan Collection had been passed on with the title to the future Lord Raglan, this priceless heritage would have remained safely here in the UK.

    I think that as many people as possible need to be made aware of the potential loss of this historical treasure. I know a lot of people in Monmouthshire are still unaware of it. Perhaps a facebook group could be started to drum up awareness, support and possibly donations and fundraising with links to and from this website.

  • Joan Burgess says:

    The Raglan Collection should be kept together and should remain in Britain – for historical and family reasons. Those of us who knew Fitzroy well, knew that he changed his will because he thought he was protecting the heritage. This sale absolutely goes against what he wanted and what he intended.

    I only hope that a miracle of some kind can intervene in this travesty.

  • Clive Kandel says:

    Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,

    All into Christies South Kensington
    Rode the six hundred.

    “Forward, the Light Brigade!
    Charge for the autioneers” he said:
    Into the valley of Shame
    Rode the six hundred.

  • John R. Black III says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen: As an unpublished biographer of Lord Raglan’s early years for which I earned an MA in history, I can only recommend that you quickly petition the Queen and ask her majesty to intervene on the nation’s behalf, or even better, the family’s behalf. I suggest you ask His Grace, the Duke of Wellington, to intercede not only in his name, but those of the British people. Good Luck!

    • veronica stephens says:

      Are we able to read this unpublished biography?

    • Russell Kendrick says:

      Thanks for the thoughts, however the Queen is only a ‘consitutional Sovreign and as such would not be able to act or comment. The advice ‘the Palace’ have passed to me is that we should take the matter up with Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MO, Sec of State for Culture, Media and Sport.
      I too would be interested in seeing your MA Diss. I passed my MA with ‘Saratoga: Turning Point in the Revolutionary War’.
      Regards, Russ

  • JR says:

    Is it true? Has the sale been pulled? Well done on all your efforts!

  • Julian Armfield says:

    It would be dreadful if this sale goes ahead. The protection of our heritage is vital, particularly in the world in which we live presently where ‘only now matters’.

  • TSBB says:

    Why the hurry? It is imperative that this sale is at least delayed, if not cancelled entirely, in order for an alternative solution to be explored. All these irreplaceable and fascinating artefacts will be scattered to the four winds – and a huge historical resource will have been squandered. Has the current owner of this collection perhaps considered making a gift to the nation?

  • Alexandra Andrews says:

    This all makes me feel incredibly sad, I am only glad Fitzroy is unaware of the looming fate of his estate and heritage.

    I really hope a happier solution is reached before the sale.

    Alexandra Andrews

  • This is an irreplaceable part of our national heritage and it is a complete travesty that the Raglan title has been separated from this important collection.
    Bodies such as English Heritage & the National Trust realise the significance of the ancestral family to the meaning and purpose of a country house and its collection. Disassociate the two and much of the impact is lost. It is imperative that this collection is saved intact and preferable reconnected with the title for which is was intended.

    A C Russell (Art historian and g-g-g-nephew of Sir James Gildea, founder of SSAFA)

  • Tom Marriott says:

    History is irreplacable.

  • D.Michael Sheath says:

    I am in full agreement with all the comments your correspondents have made. It would be a tradegy if these artefacts left the country. There is little time left for action but I was interested to see William Curtis’ suggestion that the Government use the provisions for the Protection of Heritage. You probably know already that David Davies is the MP for Monmouthshire and that Cefn Tilla is situated in this constituency. I would think it likely that he would support any action that HMG can take on this urgent matter.

  • E. T. Royds says:

    Fitzroy Raglan’s unexpected alteration to his will was made shortly before his death, when he was far from a well man. I am certain he would wish to keep his collection of memorabilia intact – it is of national importance, and should be kept for the nation. Tredegar House would be a very suitable location, or the Imperial War Museum. Every effort should be made to delay this sale.

  • Major Colin Robins OBE FRHistS, Editor Emeritus, The War Correspondent, journal of the Crimean War Research Society says:

    The real tragedy here is that the late Lord Raglan did not leave the house and this wonderful collection to his heir, the new Lord Raglan. I doubt if any institution in UK, such as the National Army Museum, will be able to afford to bid for any lot of significance, and these precious artefacts are going to disappear from public view.
    As for the guns, I doubt if they were ever ‘owned’ by anyone but his lordship. Several of the senior officers acquired such items as trophies and it was appropriate that Lord Raglan should have two choice items. However it is not possible that the quarter-pood edinorog, or ‘licorne’, was with the Don Cossack battery charged by the Light Brigade. Recent research has revealed that, contrary to assumptions for years, that battery was equipped with eight half-pood edinorogs (approx 18-prs). In any caes, they were not taken on the day, so it would be a fortuitous coincidence if the gun now on sale has been wrongly catalogued, and later came into Lord Raglan’s possession.

  • Councillor Beverley Dunlop says:

    Do we have no national pride, no regard for our history or heritage? I would urge all to write to their Mp’s today to step and preserve this part of our history.

  • Marc Stewart says:

    This is an absolute disgrace. The items now up for sale are of national importance, and should be preserved – intact – for the benefit of future generations. The sale should be delayed, allowing a coordinated effort to be made to keep the items together, and in this country.

  • Toby Horton says:

    Is it worth alerting Westminster School? Raglan, Lucan, de Ros and George Paget (2nd in command of the Light Brigade) were among many Crimean officers educated there, as were Worcester (Raglan’s elder brother) and Anglesey (Paget’s father) in an earlier generation. So was the late Lord Raglan and his brother, Geoffrey Somerset. There is a large memorial to Raglan and others near the entrances of Dean’s Yard and Westminster Abbey. – T.H.

  • Mike Hinton says:

    I agree with Bill Curtis.

    It is unlikely that sufficient cash could be collected for the whole collection but at least some time should be given so that an attempt can be made to obtain the cash for the decorations and medals.

    Given that Lord Raglan was a notable figure in our history surely many of his personal possessions are more important to our national heritage than a painting by an old master for which money is often obtained in large amounts to save them for the nation.

    Mike Hinton (Gt gt grandson of a soldier who fought in the Crimean War)

  • This is an absolute disgrace and the Government should move under the protection of heritage provisions to delay the sale until a rescue package has been assembled.

    Bill Curtis

    Vice President, The Crimean War Research Society

  • John F Evans says:

    The majority of Crimean War guns scattered about market squares & town centers are heavy iron siege pieces taken from fortifications in & arround Sevastapol. The two guns at CefnTilla are actually bronze field guns of Russian manufacture, dated to the 1830s and bearing serial numbers which should be traceable. I have always considered it highly probable that these guns could have been from one of the field batteries charged by the Light Brigade — their provenance and the information on the guns themselves would certainy justify further research. If this were to be the case then they would certainly be of great national importance. At one time painted numbers were visible on or near the breeches of each gun. I understand that these may have been accession numbers from the Woolwich Arsenal which would have received them initially. At the time this type of cannon was still very much in service and I am sure that even if they were loaned/gifted to the Raglan family at some later date, some controll would have been retained over their ultimate fate.
    I sugest that Woolwich is contacted with a view to encouraging them to make a claim for possession of these guns so that they can be properly remounted on appropriate cariages & added to the national collection of artillery pieces housed there.

    • lee killick says:

      sadly to say i dont think woolwich would be much interested as most of woolwich has been given/sold back to the council where houses etc has been built. there is a museum there called “fire power” they may be interested in trying to save the artifacts.

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