A TRULY EXTRAORDINARY COLLECTION
The Raglan Collection is truly an outstanding collection and is one of the finest known in private hands. Hidden from public view for years it has, briefly, emerged into the light. Its sale could mean that much of it might disappear from view once again. With the 200th anniversary of the Peninsular War to hand, followed by that of Waterloo in 2015, this would be a tragedy. The Raglan Rescue is exploring every avenue in the hope of securing the Collection.
Lord Fitzroy Somerset, the 1st Baron Raglan , ‘the ideal staff officer’, had one of the longest and most distinguished careers of any British soldier in the 19th Century, and served in the most important military campaigns associated with Great Britain in over half a century. Military Secretary and right-hand man to the great Duke of Wellington in the Peninsular War and at Waterloo, Raglan went on to command British troops in the Crimea from 1854-55, winning a string of early victories but dying before the war had been brought to a successful conclusion.
The lots include the exceptionally rare group of honorary awards, distinctions and medals given to Lord Raglan. The association of Lord Raglan with even the most widely-known prints of exploits at Waterloo lend them value and the remarkable personal items, such as Marshal Blucher’s hat cockade worn by him when his arrival saved the day at Waterloo and given to Lady Raglan, or the gallant left-handed letter written by Raglan to his mother after he had lost his arm at Waterloo, are unique.
There are items to stir the imagination like the elements of the bridle from Captain Nolan’s charger that carried him into the teeth of the Russian guns in the Charge of the Light Brigade; some of those Russians guns themselves, captured at Sevastopol; the Campaign Chair used by an increasingly frail and unwell Field Marshal at his Headquarters in the Crimea.
A Forlorn Hope?
The Raglan Rescue could be seen as a Forlorn Hope, like the one led by British soldiers at Badajoz in 1812 (200 years ago this year) but, in spite of the carnage, those gallant soldiers managed to establish a foothold that led to the fall of the city. Hopefully with less carnage and your support and help, we can rescue these priceless items and ensure that they remain in Wales where they belong.
The house is advertised for sale by Knight, Frank Co [KnightFrank.co.uk] at £2million. Cefntilla Court was given by a group of admirers to the field marshal after his death in June 1855, before victory in Crimea, but the Somerset family’s links to Raglan, in Monmouthshire, go back much further.
At the end of the 15th century, Sir Charles Somerset, the son of Henry Beaufort, married Elizabeth Herbert and the couple lived at Raglan Castle. The family’s links to Cefntilla itself began in 1856 through a public fundraising effort organised by the Duke of Richmond and the Raglan Memorial Committee who secured contributions from admirers of the first Lord Raglan’s military exploits to pay for the estate. The Duke of Wellington was among the contributors to the fund.
At Cefntilla, an inscription over the porch reads: “This house with 238 acres of land was purchased by 1,623 of the friends, admirers and comrades in arms of the late Field Marshal Lord Raglan GCB (Knight Grand Cross) and presented by them to his son and his heirs for ever in a lasting memorial of affectionate regard and respect”.
It seems only right that the house and collection remain within the Raglan family, where they were intended to be.