There's a little known link between an equestrian statue in Chester and the Duke of Wellington as Britain commemorates the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo in which Wellington triumphed over Napoleon.
The bronze statue, on the traffic island between the HQ building and the road entrance to Chester Crown Court, depicts Field Marshal Stapleton Cotton, 1st Viscount Combermere, (1773-1865), who was a cavalry officer, diplomat, politician and friend of Wellington.
Viscount Combermere served with distinction under Wellington in the Peninsular War. However, he was not present at Battle of Waterloo as the command of the cavalry had been given, at the insistence of the Prince Regent, to Lord Uxbridge, a more senior general. When Uxbridge was wounded Combermere took over his command and served with the Army of Occupation.
He became Governor of Barbados and commander of the West Indian forces in March 1817 and Commander in Chief in India in 1817. He was made Viscount Combermere on December 2 1826, and a field marshall in 1855. Viscount Combermere lived to the age of 92; he was in military service for 73 years and fought in 17 battles. He was apparently noted for being vain.
Viscount Combermere, was the owner of Combermere Abbey at Whitchurch – a former monastery turned country house and now an events venue – which was paid a visit by Wellington in 1820, during which he became godfather to Viscount Combermere’s son Wellington Henry. He planted an oak tree to mark the occasion and the Abbey has planted saplings to create a ‘Wellington Walk’ forest to commemorate the Bi-Centennial anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.
Viscount Combermere even built an extra wing including a much larger dining room for the purpose of the Duke’s visit after deciding his home wasn’t large or grand enough for such an important guest. Known as ‘Wellington’s wing’, it was later demolished but some arches remain.
Combermere Abbey is privately owned and still a family home. However, it is well known for its holiday cottages and as a wedding and events venue. It is located between Nantwich, in Cheshire and Whitchurch, in Shropshire on the A530.