Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Colonel Cheney's statue in Gaddesby church

This rather horrible statue is the object I went to Gaddesby to see many years ago. It depicts Colonel Cheney who is also remembered by a plaque that sits above in the chancel of St Luke's Church:

In/ affectionate remembrance of/ Edward Charles Hawkins Cheney C.B./ Colonel in the Army/ second son of Robert Cheney Esqr/ of Meynell Langley, Derbyshire: he was born 4th Nov 1778/ he joined as Cornet the Scotch Greys in Holland;/ under the Duke of York 1794; where he was severely wounded;/ and served with honour in the same regiment at Waterloo/ in the battle of the 18th June. Four horses were killed/ and the fifth wounded under him; and the command/ of the regiment devolved upon him./ he married in 1811 Eliza, youngest daughter of/ John Ayre Esqre of Gaddesby;/ and died there 3rd March 1848

I went to see it because of another incident in Edward Cheney's life. He was one of the two Liberal candidates for the Southern Division of Leicestershire - the seat that preceded the Harborough constituency - at the general election of 1841. His fame did not help him: the two Tories were elected and Cheney finished bottom of the poll.

His statue originally stood in the neighbouring Gaddesby Hall and was moved to the church in 1917. As Pevsner said, it is "of a type more suited for St Paul's Cathedral than a village church". The notice that explains its presence to visitors claims it is the only equestrian statue in an English church.

The Colonel is hidden away in the dark chancel: the rest of the church interior is light and a little rough. And the locals do their best to make the statue more homely: the horse's teeth are blackened from the apple that is put in its mouth at harvest festival each year.

Take it away boys...


Anonymous said...

I visited the church today (02/11/11) and it is a magnificent church. and I happen to like the statue of Colonel Edward Hawkins Cheney, which came as a complete surprise to me - I have had an interest in the battle of waterloo since I was a child. So two sourecs of joy to me, and I'll be back to put it on canvass soon.

Anonymous said...

I, too think the statue, and the story it tells, marvellous.
Perhaps this is why we are so wary of politicians.
Mind you, the inclusion of the Bonzo Dog Doodah Band must show him to be not all bad