General History, India History, Uncategorized

Causes of the War of Independence 1857 or the Sepoy Mutiny

Causes of the War of Independence 1857 or the Sepoy Mutiny

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien


Introduction by Aleeza Javed

The War of Independence of 1857 was a very critical event towards independence for the Indian sub-continent. The rebellion began on 10th May 1857 in the town of Meerut. It ended on 1st November 1858 with a general amnesty after a bloody conflict on both sides, although the fighting didn’t totally end until 8th July 1859. The mutiny or rebellion came close to ending British power in India and the British had to gather troops and ships from across the Empire to first hold the Indians and then push them back. Many causes led to the rebellion and these are listed below.


Political causes by Sarah Fatima

1 = Lord Dalhousie applied the Doctrine of Lapse

2 = Nana Sahib was denied a pension after his father’s death

3 = Bahadur Shan’s son was not allowed to live in the Red Fort

4 = The British denied all treaties and agreements of the government



The Bengal army by Granger

Economic causes by Wanda Khan

1 = The policy of economic exploitation by the British and extensive destruction of the traditional economic structure caused widespread resentment among Indian society

2 = people were hanged or tortured if they failed to pay taxes

3 = the traditional industries collapsed under the pressure of the industrial fields


Military causes by Rameesha Pervaiz

1 = the Sepoys had helped the British established their empire in India but were not awarded or promoted at all

2 = the was discrimination between the Indian and British soldiers

3 = an Indian soldier got much less salary as compared to a Western soldier

4 = the Indian soldiers were much more numerous than the British soldiers and this encouraged the Sepoys to rise against the British

5 = the senior British officers did not pay any respect to the Indian soldier at all


Social causes by Mahroosh Fatima

1 = Lord Wellesley described the Indians as vulgar, ignorant, rude, familiar and stupid

2 = the efforts of missionaries to convert people to Christianity also angered the Indians


The immediate cause by Afsah Shahzad

1 = there was an issue of the grease cartridges that had a grease cover that had to be bitten off before loading the Enfield Rifle = the rumour was that this grease was made from cow fat or pig lard – not permitted to Hindus and Muslims. The soldiers took it as a challenge to their religion and were extremely angry with the British.




End of post



29th April 2014 to 5th September 2019





Carlow History, India History, Laois History

Edge family of Clonbrock House, Laois

Edge family of Clonbrock House, Laois

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien


Clonbrock House near Crettyard, Co. Laois, later known as Geneva House, was for many generations home of the Edge family. Crettyard is in County Laois about 9 miles west of Carlow. Because Carlow was so near Edward Walford inserted Clonbrock and the Edge family within the ranks of the Carlow gentry when in fact they were part of Laois society for generations.[1]

The Edge family come to Ireland

The Edge family were part owners of the manor of Edge in the parish of Malpas, Cheshire until the close of the fifteenth century. In 1338 Adam de Edge received a grant of lands at Horton in Staffordshire and from him descends the Edge family of Clonbrock. The first of the family of Edge to come to Ireland was John Edge in the time of Charles II.

John Edge of Dublin

In the Irish Parliament of James II John Edge, gent of Dublin was among those included in the act of Attainder. His fortunes were restored with the victory of William III and John Edge went on to have six sons and five daughters. On 2nd November 1714 John Edge died and was buried at Rathdrum.[2]

The sixth son of John Edge of Dublin was David Edge who was born in 1692. He married Margaret (died 1797), widow of John Gough and daughter of Thomas Wybrants. They had four sons and two daughters. On 28th May 1773 David Edge died and was buried at Rathdrum.[3]

John Edge of Clonbrock

The eldest son of David and Margaret Edge was John Edge of Dublin. He was born in 1732 and married Sarah daughter of George Ougan and had six sons and seven daughters. John Edge died in November 1790 and his wife died in 1825 aged eighty-four years.[4] On 29th July 1767 John Edge was born as the fourth son of John Edge of Dublin. John Edge became a Civil Engineer to the River Shannon Navigation and to the River Barrow Navigation.[5]

On 31st August 1800 John Edge, esq., of Clonbrock House married Letitia, daughter of Charles Dallas, esq., of Killashee, Co. Longford by Jane, daughter of Mr. Hamilton of Cavan by his wife, Rhoda, daughter of Mr. Little. Letitia Edge died on 3rd February 1847 having had two sons and two daughters.[6]

In the early 1800s the Grand Canal Company took out a lease on coal collieries at Doonane near the border between Laois and Kilkenny. The Company also took out a lease on the neighbouring Clonbrock farm of 500 acres. The collieries were a bad investment as they mostly cost money each year and delivered few profits. In the 1820s John Edge became the manager of the colliery but the financial position remained bleak. In May 1831, the Grand Canal Company surrendered its lease of both its colliery and “a large tract of ground” around Crettyard to Maria Lecky and Martha Bowen, daughters of the late Robert Hartpole (colliery owner since before 1794). Following the surrendered a new lease was taken out by the former manager, John Edge, who attempted to collect arrears of rent due from various under-tenants. The rent was £500 per year but only half the colliery formed part of the lease.[7] To help make the venture pay its costs John Edge sacked 600 out of 800 colliers.[8]

John Dallas Edge

The eldest son of John and Letitia Edge was John Dallas Edge. He was born on 7th January 1806. He was first educated by Rev. A. Stone before entering Trinity College, Dublin in October 1823. John Dallas Edge qualified as a barrister-at-law and in 1834 was called to the Irish Bar.[9] On 17th September 1835 he married Anne, daughter of Thomas Maunsell of Dublin. This Thomas Maunsell could be the same Thomas Ridgate Maunsell of Dublin who had a daughter called Anne.[10]

On 11th August 1842 John Dallas Edge died accidently while helping a friend who had fallen into the water from a boat at Mill Pond in Dublin.[11] The only surviving child of John Dallas Edge was John Henry Edge of Farnans, Co. Laois. He was born on 11th June 1841 and attended Trinity College Dublin where he got a BA and a MA. In 1866 he qualified as a Barrister-at-Law at the King’s Inn, Dublin.[12]

Edge property in County Carlow

Apart from their business and farming interests in County Laois the Edge family held a number of properties in County Carlow in the 1850s according to Griffith’s Valuation. John Edge held 18 acres of land (worth £9 10s) at Clogrenan in the parish of Cloydagh, Co. Carlow from Horace Rochford in Griffith’s Valuation. In the townland of Raheendoran, Cloydagh parish, John Edge held from Horace Rochford a herd’s house, offices (worth £13) and 75 acres of land (£65).

In the townland of Ballycook, parish of Kineagh, Co. Carlow, John Edge held a house, offices (worth £3) and 71 acres of land (worth £52) from Henry Bruen. At Ballyhacket Upper in the same parish of Kineagh, John Edge held 29 acres of land (worth £23) from Henry Bruen. In 1876 John Edge held 362 acres 2 roots and 30 perches in County Carlow which was valued at £312 10s.[13]

John Henry Edge

John Henry Edge succeeded his grandfather, in 1856, to Clonbrock House but his uncle, Benjamin Booker Edge took over Clonbrock.[14] On 23rd June 1870 John Henry Edge married Georgina, only daughter of William Monk Gibbon of Templeshelin, Co. Wexford by his wife Margaret, the eldest daughter of Strangeman Davis-Goff of Horetown, Co. Wexford. The Gibbon family came from Sedgley in Staffordshire and settled in Ireland in the early eighteenth century. Like the Edge family the Gibbon family was also connected to the law. William Gibbon’s elder brother, John George Gibbon, and his father, William Monk Gibbon, both served as Barristers-at-Law while John George Gibbon’s eldest daughter married in 1890 William Cotter Stubbs, another Barrister-at-Law and Crown Prosecutor for County Monaghan.[15] In 1876 John Henry Edge held 1,576 acres 2 roots and 10 perches, worth £826 15s, in County Laois.[16]

John Henry Edge served as a barrister, lawyer and Land Commission agent. He wrote a number of books on land law, historical writing, biography and fiction. In 1901 and 1911 John Henry Edge lived at Mount Street Upper in Dublin. On 21st September 1916 John Henry Edge died in Dublin and was buried at Mount Jerome Cemetery.[17]


Clonbrock House Irish waterways history com

Clonbrock house: photo by BJG

Benjamin Booker Edge

Benjamin Booker Edge was the second son of John Edge and Letitia Dallas and was born on 12th April 1810.[18] The son took his name from Benjamin Booker, a pay clerk and land agent of the Grand Canal Company for some forty years.[19] Benjamin Booker Edge was a magistrate for Queen’s County (Laois).[20] On 10th March 1840 he married Esther Anne, only child of Thomas Allen of the Park, Co. Wicklow by Elizabeth Dowzard, his first wife.[21]

In 1874 the rent on the Grand Canal colliery was renewed in favour of Benjamin Booker Edge. The rent was £250 per year (half of the previous lease) with a royalty of 7d per ton on coal sold. But Benjamin Edge was not a successful businessman and in 1883 gave up the lease while retaining the lease on Clonbrock farm.[22] In 1876 Benjamin Booker Edge held 1,575 acres 2 roots 10 perches, worth £851 10s, in County Laois (then known as Queen’s County).[23] Esther Anne Edge died on 3rd March 1879 and Benjamin Booker Edge died on 21st April 1887 leaving one child, a son called John Edge, a gold medallist in Ethics, Logics and Metaphysics.[24]

John Edge of Clonbrock

John Edge of Clonbrock was born on 28th July 1841. He got a BA and a LLB at Trinity College Dublin in 1861 and a Hon LLD at Allahabad University in 1894. On 18th September 1867 John Edge married Laura, youngest daughter of Thomas Loughborough of Selwood Lodge in Surrey. From 1886 to 1898 John Edge served as Chief Justice of the North-West Province in India.[25]

John Edge in India

The North-West Province was a great political division of British India and contained the six subordinate divisions of Delhi, Meerut, Rohilcund, Agra, Benares and Allahabad. Each of these subordinate divisions was further divided into five districts with the exception of Benares which had six districts. The total area of the North-West Province was 116,000 square miles and in 1870 had a population of thirty million.[26]

Between 1887 and 1893 John Edge was Vice-Chancellor of Allahabad University.[27] The University of Allahabad grew out of Muir College (founded 1873) and was established as a separate university in September 1887. Before that it was part of the University of Calcutta.[28] The city of Allahabad, meaning “City of God” was the capital of the Allahabad province (the most populous and productive provinces in the Indian Empire) and since 1862 was the seat of the Presidency of the North-West Province. The population of the city in 1869 was just over 64,000. Allahabad was a favoured residence of Emperor Akbar in the sixteenth century.[29] For Hindus the city is one of the holiest cities in India due to its situation at the confluence of the Ganges and Jumna rivers which are considered sacred rivers. Millions of Hindus make the pilgrimage to Allahabad every year as they did in the time of John Edge.

In 1893 the second daughter of John Edge, Laura, married Stuart George Knox of the Indian Staff Corps (as his second wife), eldest son of Justice George Edward Knox of the North-West Province.[30] The Knox family descend from Alexander Knox of Eden Hall, Co. Down in the eighteenth century.[31] The family were associated with India for many generations. Stuart Knox’s grandfather, George Knox, served as a chaplain in the East India Company.[32] Stuart George Knox was educated at Repton, and served for many years in the Indian Army. He transferred into the Indian Political Service and served in the Persian Gulf, Basra and Kuwait. When not away on business Stuart Knox lived at Hyderabad. Stuart Knox (died 1956) and Laura Edge (died 27th January 1934) had two sons, Inman and John (Sean).[33]

In 1896 John Edge became head of the famine relief committee set up in response to the 1896 famine in India. In January 1899, after his retirement from the courts, John Edge became a judicial member of the Council of India and retained that position until 1908. It was at this time that he was also elected to the bench of the Middle Temple, of which he served as treasurer in 1919. In 1902, he also served on a Royal Commission that investigated the Boer War and in 1905 was involved in an inquiry that ultimately had a part in the creation of the Court of Criminal Appeal.[34]

In January 1909 John Edge became a privy counsellor. As a privy counsellor he heard many legal appeals from India between 1916 and May 1926, when he retired completely, just short of his 85th birthday. On 30th July 1926 John Edge died suddenly at his home, 123 Oakwood Court in Kensington, London.[35]

With the death of John Edge in 1926 we take our leave of the Edge family from medieval Cheshire to Laois miners and Carlow property owners to administrators in British India.



Burke’s Irish Landed Gentry, 1899

Burke’s Irish Family Records, 1976

Burtchaell, G.D. & Sadlier, T.U. (eds.), Alumni Dublinenses (3 vols. Thoemmes Press, Bristol, 2001)

Delany, R., The Grand Canal of Ireland (Newton Abbot, 1973)

Fitzgerald, S.V., ‘Edge, Sir John (1841-1926)’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004)

The National Encyclopaedia (William Mackenzie, London, 1870), Vol. IX

Walford, E., The County Families of the United Kingdom (London, 1860)




End of post




[1] Walford, E., The County Families of the United Kingdom (London, 1860), pp. 201, 812

[2] Burke’s Irish Landed Gentry, 1899, p. 129

[3] Burke’s Irish Landed Gentry, 1899, p. 130

[4] Burke’s Irish Landed Gentry, 1899, p. 130

[5] Burke’s Irish Landed Gentry, 1899, p. 130

[6] Burke’s Irish Landed Gentry, 1899, p. 130

[7] Delany, R., The Grand Canal of Ireland (Newton Abbot, 1973), pp. 143, 145, 150, 151

[8] accessed on 11 August 2015

[9] Burtchaell, G.D. & Sadlier, T.U. (eds.), Alumni Dublinenses (3 vols. Thoemmes Press, Bristol, 2001), Vol. 1, p. 258

[10] Burke’s Irish Family Records, 1976, p. 803

[11] Burke’s Irish Landed Gentry, 1899, p. 130; accessed on 25th September 2017

[12] Burke’s Irish Landed Gentry, 1899, p. 130

[13] accessed 25th September 2017

[14] Edward Walford, The County Families of the United Kingdom, p. 201

[15] Burke’s Irish Landed Gentry, 1899, p. 167

[16] accessed 25th September 2017

[17] accessed on 25th September 2017

[18] Burke’s Irish Landed Gentry, 1899, p. 130

[19] Delany, R., The Grand Canal of Ireland (Newton Abbot, 1973), p. 152

[20] Walford, The County Families of the United Kingdom, p. 201

[21] Burke’s Irish Landed Gentry, 1899, p. 130

[22] Delany, The Grand Canal of Ireland, pp. 151, 152

[23] accessed on 25th September 2017

[24] Burke’s Irish Landed Gentry, 1899, pp. 129, 130

[25] Burke’s Irish Landed Gentry, 1899, p. 129

[26] The National Encyclopaedia (William Mackenzie, London, 1870), Vol. IX, p. 594

[27] Burke’s Irish Landed Gentry, 1899, p. 129


[29] The National Encyclopaedia, Vol. 1, p. 490

[30] Burke’s Irish Landed Gentry, 1899, p. 129




[34] Fitzgerald, S.V., ‘Edge, Sir John (1841-1926)’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004)


India History, Military History, Waterford history

George Sheaffe Montizambert: From Canada to Lismore and Pakistan

George Sheaffe Montizambert:

From Canada to Lismore and Pakistan


Niall C.E.J. O’Brien


On 4th July 1846 George Sheaffe Montizambert, a major in the army, married Jane Vaughan Cotton, daughter of Rev. Henry Cotton, dean of Lismore Cathedral.[1] Two years later Major Montizambert was killed in the assault of the city of Multan, in modern-day Pakistan and a memorial was erected in Lismore cathedral to his memory. This article follows the long journey of this British soldier from the heights of Quebec to India, Afghanistan, Ireland and Pakistan.



Montizambert memorial in Lismore Cathedral

Birth and family

George Sheaffe Montizambert was born on 7th December 1812 in Quebec City in Lower Canada.[2] He was the son of Louis Montizambert (born 8th October 1775 at Chambly, Quebec and died 18th August 1834 at Quebec) and Sarah Minot Taylor Montizambert (1777 – 1862).[3] Louis Montizambert was Acting Clerk of His Majesty’s Executive Council.[4]

George Sheaffe Montizambert had two older brothers, Charles Nathaniel Montizambert (1810 – 1885) and Edward Lewis Montizambert (1811 – 1882).[5] Charles Montizambert married Helen Bell and was the father of two daughters and five sons.[6] Edward Montizambert married Lucy Bowen and was the father of one daughter and four sons.[7]

In was interesting times in 1812 for a French Canadian to be born. Canada was then part of the British Empire which in 1812 was fighting a long war against the France of Napoleon Bonaparte. The British were at the same time fighting a war with the new United States of America in what is known as the War of 1812. This war saw a number of battles in Canada.

After growing up in Quebec, George Sheaffe Montizambert moved to Montreal.[8]

Army career in the 1830s

At the age of nineteen George Sheaffe Montizambert left civilian life and joined the British army. On 11th April 1831 George Sheaffe Montizambert joined the 41st (Welsh) Regiment of Foot as an ensign. The 41st Regiment was the only British regiment in Canada at the start of the War of 1812. A good number of members of the Regiment retired to Canada after the War and their stories may have influence young George Montizambert to join that particular regiment.[9] At the start of the 1830s the 41st Regiment was based in India and it was in that country of a thousand languages that George Sheaffe Montizambert spent the most eventful years of his military career. On 11th January 1833 he was promoted to Lieutenant. In 1840 Lt. George Sheaffe Montizambert was serving with the 41st (Welsh) Regiment of Foot, under the command of Colonel Sir Ralph Darling, in the East Indies with nine years of full pay service completed.[10]

Anglo-Afghan War 1839-42

In 1839 the British invaded Afghanistan to prevent Russian expansion into central Asia. The action generated a violent reaction from Afghan tribes and began the First Anglo-Afghan War. The British had early victories and on 7th August 1839 Sir John Keane of Cappoquin led the successful capture of Cabul (in 1840 created Baron Keane of Ghuznee and Cappoquin). The popular leader of Afghanistan (Dost Mohammad) was removed and a rival (Shah Shuja) put in his place. In 1840 and 1841 the country was still unsettled with engagements by both sides. In November 1841 the Afghans launch a series of major attacks on the scattered British positions across the country in support of Dost Mohammad.[11] By January 1842 the situation in Cabul was untenable and a force of 26,000 soldiers, camp-followers, women and children left Cabul for India. Along the way they were incessantly attacked with the end result of a total defeat of a British army in the Khyber Pass and the death of men, women and children.[12] To reclaim military honour and not to be seen to be bettered by native soldiers, in March 1842 the British launched a large scale invasion of Afghanistan. The five companies of the 41st Regiment of Foot was part of this force.

Invasion of Afghanistan 1842

Early in the advance, about the 28th March 1842, Lieutenant George Sheaffe Montizambert saw action the village of Hykulzye beyond the Bolan Pass when the British were suddenly attacked and had to retreat with Captain May of the 41st among the dead. The British halted their retreat at Quettah where on 26th April Brigadier England (Lt. Colonel of the 41st) went on the attack and reached Kandahar by 10th May. But at that stage Lord Ellenborough, the Governor-General, fearful of another slaughter like on the retreat from Cabul, ordered a retreat.[13]



The Khyber Pass

By early July Lord Ellenborough had changed his mind again and now ordered an advance into Afghanistan under General Nott. At the start of August Brigadier Edwards of the 41st was sent forward with five regiments and twelve cannon to secure the Bolan Pass. Lieutenant Montizambert was with this force. By 30th August the army was at Ghoaine where General Nott gave battle. The confident Afghans were defeated and their leader, Shumshoodeen fled to Ghuznee. On 5th September Lt. Montizambert and General Nott were before Ghuznee. As engineers of the 16th Bengal Infantry reconnoitred the fortress the Afghans attacked but were eventually driven back inside Ghuznee. During nightfall the Afghans fired shot into the British camp. On the morning of 6th September as the British prepared to attack Ghuznee, it was found that during the night the Afghans had left. Lt. Montizambert and others occupied the famous fortress which was destroyed after removing the gate of Somnauth.[14]

On 7th September General Nott left Ghuznee to advance on Cabul which was taken on 15th September 1842. Lt. Montizambert was part of the advance and was involved in the occupation and destruction of that fortress. But the war was not over, as the Afghans regrouped in Kohistan. A force under General McCaskill was sent towards Kohistan with Lt. Montizambert. The fortress of Istaliff was home to the treasure and families of the Afghan forces. On 29th September the British stormed the fortress which was later destroyed.[15] On that same day of 29th September Lt. George Sheaffe Montizambert was made a Captain.[16] The promotion was possibly because of George’s abilities or the death of other officers in the attack – bit of both reasons maybe.

With the taking of Istaliff and Charikur the Afghans surrendered and the war was over apart from a few minor engagements between the Bolan Pass and the Khyber Pass in which Captain George Sheaffe Montizambert was involved.[17] A puppet king was installed in Cabul and the British withdrew back across the Indus River to India.

41st Regiment back in Britain

After the slaughter and killings of the Afghan War the 41st Regiment took leave of India and returned to England in 1843. In 1844 the Regiment was stationed in Canterbury. Yet the battle honours of Kandahar Ghuznee and Cahool were added to the Regimental battle flag.[18] By the start of 1845 the 41st Regiment had returned to Wales and was stationed in Brecon.[19] On 23rd September 1845 he was promoted to the rank of Major in the 41st Regiment of Foot.

41st Regiment in Ireland and marriage

In 1846 the 41st Regiment was stationed in Dublin with Colonel Sir Ralph Darling in command.[20] It was while in Ireland that George Sheaffe Montizambert met Jane Vaughan Cotton, daughter of Rev. Henry Cotton, dean of Lismore Cathedral. On 4th July 1846 George Sheaffe Montizambert got married to Jane Cotton.[21] Rev. Henry Cotton came from Buckinghamshire and was a noted cleric in the Church of Ireland and wrote a number of books on the church and religion. He was sub-librarian at the Bodleian from 1814 to 1822. Rev. Cotton died in 1879 and was buried at Lismore. His book collection now forms the core of the Cotton library in Lismore Cathedral.[22]



Lismore cathedral

Change of regiment and return to India

Yet the beauty of Jane Cotton and the River Blackwater about Lismore, so famed by poets and artists had no lasting attraction upon Major Montizambert. Instead the lure of the magic of India drew him back. By the start of 1847 Major George Sheaffe Montizambert left the 41st Regiment and had joined the 62nd (Wiltshire) Regiment of Foot as it journeyed to India. The 62nd Regiment was under the command of Colonel Sir John Foster Fitzgerald and was based in Bengal.[23]

At the beginning of 1848 Major George Sheaffe Montizambert had changed regiments again and was serving with the 10th (North Lincolnshire) Regiment of Foot at Lahore under Colonel Sir Thomas McMahon. By then he had served seventeen years in the army on full pay.[24]

The Multan revolt and the Second Sikh War

By 1848 the city of Multan, in modern-day Pakistan, was part of the Sikh kingdom, for nearly thirty years was governed by a Hindu viceroy, Dewan Moolraj, who operated a very independent administration. The First Sikh War had taken much territory from the Sikh kingdom and led to the imposition of taxes by the British. When Dewan Moolraj was required by the British in Lahore to pay an increased tax assessment and along with revenues that were in arrears, Moolraj offered his son, so as to keep control over Multan. This was rejected and the British imposed a Sikh governor, Sardar Kahan Singh, with a British Political Agent called Lieutenant Patrick Vans Agnew.

On 18th April 1848, Vans Agnew arrived at Multan with another officer, Lieutenant William Anderson, and a small escort. At first Moolraj appeared to be cooperative by handing over the keys of the fortress, but Vans Agnew’s party was set upon by a mob and both officers were wounded, and were rescued by Sardar Kahan Singh. While they were recovering in a mosque outside the city, they were again set upon by a mob on 19th and both were murdered.

Moolraj presented Vans Agnew’s head to Sardar Kahan Singh, and told him to take it back to Lahore. The news of the killings spread over the Punjab, and large numbers of Sikh soldiers deserted the regiments and joined the rebels under of Moolraj.

Lieutenant Herbert Edwards possessed the only British force in the area and responded to the revolt at Multan even though the Commander-in-Chief of the British East India Company, Lord Gough, wanted to wait until the cold season when the ground was dry to transport the artillery and the hot summer weather was gone. In May and June Lt. Edwards achieved victories and defeats before settling in camp some distance from Multan.



Multan – city of the saints

The British attack on Multan and the death of Montizambert

On 24th July Major-General Whish started for Multan with over 8,000 troops, 32 cannon and 12 horse artillery guns. The Major George Sheaffe Montizambert and members of the 10th Regiment of Foot were amongst these troops. On 4th September 1848 General Whish came before Multan and ordered its surrender. But instead he was greeted by a single cannon shot. The siege of Multan began on the 7th September with firing a 1,000 yards. On the night of the 9th a British advance on the trenches before the city met with defeat. For the next two days both sides strengthen their defences. On 12th September General Whish launched an attack with two columns of British troops in the centre and native soldiers on the left flank. The attack was met with strong resistance. By the end of the day the British had advanced to within 800 yards of the city walls at a cost of 500 dead including Major George Sheaffe Montizambert.[25]

General Whish now had his artillery within range and expected a quick victory but on 14th September Shere Sing threw off his neutral approach and joined the Multan garrison. General Whish was now heavily outnumbered and lifted the siege. The siege was not renewed until 17th December 1848 with reinforcements under Brigadier Henry Dundas. On 30th December a chance shot blew up the garrison’s magazine but still the siege when on. The British targeted key areas of the city and on 2nd January 1849 breached the city walls. The British advanced into the city against fierce resistance but by 4th January had encircled the main Sikh forces of Dewan Moolraj in the citadel. On 12th January the Sikhs made a furious sortie but the encirclement remained. On the 8th and 21st sappers blew mines under the citadel walls and preparations were in place for a general assault but Dewan Moolraj saw the end result and surrendered and was banished overseas.[26] But by the time of the surrender of Multan the entire Sikh kingdom has risen up against the British. Fierce battles raged across the Punjab before the British colours were raised over Lahore on 29th March 1849 and the Punjab was annexed into the territory of the East India Company.[27]

The widow of Montizambert

It is not known if Jane Vaughan Cotton was with her husband in India at the time of his death. Certainly the brief marriage was cut short after just two years in a very foreign land to the greenery of the Blackwater valley. After six years of widowhood Jane Vaughan Cotton got married again in November 1854 to John William Gaisford of Dolly’s Grove, Co. Meath. John Gaisford was the second son of Rev. Thomas Gaisford, dean of Christ Church, Oxford, by Helen, second daughter of Rev. Robert Douglas, rector of Salwarpe, Worcestershire. Rev. Thomas Gaisford was Regius Professor of Greek at Oxford. The Gaisford family came from Bulkington in Wiltshire.[28] The clerical connections of her father, Rev. Henry Cotton, possibly arranged the marriage or the meeting of Jane and John.

Rev. Thomas Gaisford married secondly in 1832 to Jane Katherine Jenkyns and their first son was Thomas Gaisford married in 1859, as his second wife, Lady Emily St. Lawrence, eldest daughter of the 3rd Earl of Howth. In 1909 the eldest son of Thomas and Emily Gaisford, Julian Charles Gaisford, inherited Howth Castle on the death of the 4th and last Earl of Howth.[29]

The children of Jane Cotton

Meanwhile John William Gaisford died in 1889 while Jane Vaughan Cotton spent nearly fourteen years in her second widowhood before dying on 18th October 1903.[30] John Gaisford and Jane Cotton had five children of whom the eldest was Cecil Henry Gaisford. He joined the army and was 2nd Lieutenant in the 72nd Highlanders Regiment. In 1870 he got killed in another Afghanistan War.

Jane’s second son, Douglas John Gaisford, also joined the army and was a Captain in the South Wales Borders before became a Lt-Col in the Essex Imperial Yeomanry. In June 1892, Douglas married Elizabeth Glencairn (d 27 April 1926), daughter of General Sir Archibald Alison. Douglas Gaisford died in June 1940, leaving three children one of whom, John William Gaisford fought at Gallipoli in World War One where he was wounded.[31]

Jane Cotton’s third son, Algernon Richard Gaisford, also joined the army becoming a Lieutenant in Seaforth Highlanders and died in 1953.

Jane Cotton had two daughters by John Gaisford. The eldest, Helen Gaisford, married in 1882, to Robert Groves Sandeman who was the second son of Major-Gen Robert TurnbulI Sandeman of the Bengal Army. It was common for the second or subsequent children in Victorian England to join the army but for four of Jane’s five children to join the army or marry army people may be inspired by her brief marriage to George Sheaffe Montizambert whose life was the army.




End of post




[1] Lismore Cathedral Registers marriages 1838-1869’, in The Irish Genealogist, Vol. 6, No. 2, p. 248; Burke’s Irish Family Records, 1976, p. 1008

[2] accessed on 6 November 2016

[3] accessed on 6 November 2016

[4] accessed on 6 November 2016

[5] accessed on 6 November 2016

[6] accessed on 6 November 2016

[7] accessed on 6 November 2016

[8] Burke’s Irish Family Records, 1976, p. 1008

[9] accessed on 20th August 2017

[10] Hart’s Annual Army List, 1840, p. 192

[11] Trevelyan, G.M., British History in the 19th Century and After, 1782-1919 (London, 1946), p. 317

[12] Anon, ‘Afghanistan’, in The National Encyclopaedia (London, 1870), Vol. 1, p. 246

[13] Grant, J., Cassell’s Illustrated History of India (London, 1880), vol. II, pp. 124, 125

[14] Grant, Cassell’s Illustrated History of India, vol. II, pp. 128, 129

[15] Grant, Cassell’s Illustrated History of India, vol. II, pp. 130, 131, 34

[16] Hart’s Annual Army List, 1848, p. 161

[17] Hart’s Annual Army List, 1848, p. 161

[18] Hart’s Annual Army List, 1844, p. 192

[19] Hart’s Annual Army List, 1845, p. 192

[20] Hart’s Annual Army List, 1846, pp. 108, 192

[21] Lismore Cathedral Registers marriages 1838-1869’, in The Irish Genealogist, Vol. 6, No. 2, p. 248

[22],_Henry_(DNB00) accessed on 20th August 2017

[23] Hart’s Annual Army List, 1847, pp. 102, 214

[24] Hart’s Annual Army List, 1848, pp. 102, 161

[25] Grant, Cassell’s Illustrated History of India, vol. II, pp. 166, 167, 168

[26] Grant, Cassell’s Illustrated History of India, vol. II, pp. 170, 171

[27] Grant, Cassell’s Illustrated History of India, vol. II, pp. 172, 173, 178179

[28] Burke’s Irish Family Records, 1976, p. 1008

[29] Burke’s Irish Family Records, 1976, p. 1009

[30] Burke’s Irish Family Records, 1976, p. 1008

[31] Burke’s Irish Family Records, 1976, p. 1008