Nelson & His World

Discussion on the life and times of Admiral Lord Nelson
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 Post subject: Nelson Window Weldon Church
PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 4:12 pm 
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I have come across a postcard entitled Nelson Window, Weldon Church. The window is of stained glass but doesn't depict Nelson or have any naval theme.

From some initial online research, the window is generally described as of 17c Flemish stained glass depicting the Adoration of the Magi and is set in the west wall of the church tower. There is apparently an inscription below the window showing it to have been given by Lord Nelson to Sir William Hamilton. (one or two online articles however advise that it was a gift from Sir William to Nelson). In 1897, it was presented to the church by Rev. William R Finch-Hatton, who was the then rector of Weldon.

As Weldon, a village in Northants was also the eventual home of a Trafalgar veteran, John Clark surgeon's mate in HMS Dreadnought, a short biography of him appears in Nelsons Heroes, a Nelson Society publication by Graham Dean & Keith Evans. This piece refers to the Nelson window and advises that the reverend's father had inherited a number of Sir Williams's effects. However it goes on to say that despite research of the Hamilton Papers and wills, there is no mention of the window. It finishes by saying that it is the general opinion of the Nelson Society that the window was a trophy of war, taken by Nelson, possibly at the Battle of the Nile and presented to Sir William Hamilton, who was an avid collector of such things.

! would be interested to hear if any one has any more knowledge of this window's story and if the Hamilton/Nelson connection as to its provenance is correct. With reference to the Nile, I'm not convinced that a stained glass window would have formed part of a French Ship of the Line's decoration or been carried in it's cargo. If Nelson had obtained it there, I would have thought some written record would have survived.

Phil


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 Post subject: Re: Nelson Window Weldon Church
PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 12:00 am 
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I didn't think I would be able to help in any major way with this query then I had one of those "knock me down with a feather" moments when I found the letter below which was printed in the Times in April 1888.

As you can see it ties William Finch-Hatton incontrovertibly to at least one item (a Guzzadi portrait) previously owned by Sir William Hamilton. I have deduced that Robert Fulke Greville was his mother's brother, then he in turn was the nephew of Charles Greville, who as we know was the nephew of Sir William Hamilton. So that is quite likely the line through which at least one of SWH's possessions was inherited.

It obviously doesn't tell us anything about the window or its provenance but it does increase the possibility/probability that there is some truth in the story.

I would certainly be interested to see Robert Fulke Greville's will but the likelihood of the window being specifically mentioned is pretty small.

William Finch-Hatton's father (Daniel Heneage Finch Hatton0 was rector at Weldon before William. He died a year before RFG but it is possible that he could have been gifted the window at some earlier date and it then passed to William, as the story suggests. So that is another will it would be good to see! LOL :)

I don't think I will be able to take this any further but I hope it adds something that there was definitely a family link between SWH and William Finch-Hatton and that at least one item (the Guzzardi portrait) was inherited by him.

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 Post subject: Re: Nelson Window Weldon Church
PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 6:57 pm 
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Mark

Thank you for your response to my query.

The Times letter you uncovered was very interesting and certainly supports the Hamilton/Finch-Hatton family link and the reason for the window's ownership by the Reverend's family. Even though it has already been stated this doesn't appear in Sir William's will, items from an estate can and are passed on to family and friends without necessarily being referred to in one.

However the Nelson connection to this artifact must still be somewhat tenuous without some further proof coming to light.

Phil


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 Post subject: Re: Nelson Window Weldon Church
PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 8:42 pm 
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Phil,

You are right about wills. On several occasions I have obtained copies of wills hoping that specific items might be referred to. But I have almost always been disappointed.

The association of the window with the Battle of the Nile does seem a bit tenuous. But in the absence of evidence either way I do try to never say never.

If I can think of any other possible lines of enquiry I'll let you know.

Mark


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