Laura Nicolle, nee Beatty, and her sister Anna
Anna Beatty’s father was the Reverend Frederick Beatty, her mother Anne Charlotte Barlee. One of her sisters, Laura, wrote a letter about her family in July 1880, which although inaccurate in some small details and dates, has a lot of interesting first-hand recollections about her parents and grandparents.
The Beatty family were Irish, the first recorded member being Edward Beatty, of Dublin, who married Mary Brock of Glasnevin 7 July 1740. He died in 1794. His son David married Olivia Maria Bell in 1782, at St Anne’s church in Dublin. Born in 1761 she was the only daughter of Sir Frederick Bell, and she had one brother who had sons. David died around 1798.
Laura describes her grandparents thus: ‘My grandfather, Mr Beatty, who was an Irish gentleman of large independent fortune and elegant appearance and manners, married the only daughter of Sir Frederick Bell. He was knighted for his eminence as a physician in Dublin. My grandmother was very lovely’.
They had six children, Robert, Edward, Thomas, David, Frederick and Olivia.
Laura says: ‘Olivia married at sixteen, the Rev Thomas Paton Slapp, of Old Buckenham Lodge, Norfolk, who was immensely rich. They had no children. He lived two miles from Wilbey, where I was born. All his property went to his nephew, Mr Reeves, but my father ought to have inherited from him. He always told his stepmother that he would leave us a good sum.
Olivia Beatty (Mrs Slapp) was remarkable for her grace, beauty and talents. Mrs Slapp happened to be a friend of my grandfather, the Rev W Barlee, so my mother stayed at Old Buckenham Lodge with his wife and there met her intended husband.’
Frederick was born in Ireland in 1793, and his father died when he was five, leaving him for many years under the control of guardians.
He was originally educated for the church at Trinity College Dublin, but instead joined the 7th Hussars, a light cavalry regiment of the British Army. He was a lieutenant in that regiment at Waterloo. Their commanding officer was Major General Sir Vivian Hussey and their regimental Colonel was Henry Paget, Lord Uxbridge, commander of the whole British Cavalry.
On the eve of the Battle of Waterloo the 7th were honoured by Uxbridge by being given the charge on the advancing enemy in Genappe, who were Polish Lancers. After a spirited and fearless succession of charges only nineteen of the 120 men of the 7th Hussars squadron were left in the saddle. After that Frederick Beatty was present at the famous ball given in Brussels by the Duchess of Richmond. For the Battle of Waterloo itself, the 7th were on the extreme right of the allied line, 300 yards north of the Chateau of Hougoumont. During the battle Beatty made a solemn resolution that if his life was spared he would return to his original intention of entering the church. Until 5pm on the 18th June 1815 his regiment was not used, but then they charged more than twelve times.
"And having charged every species of troops, infantry, artillery and cavalry we halted about half a mile in the rear of the French position and there found, tho' of the 7th and 15th there remained only 35 men, Colonel Kerrison and four Officers". In 24 hours the 7th Hussars had lost two Officers killed, and eleven wounded, 62 other ranks killed and 109 wounded, not to mention Uxbridge losing his leg to gain a Marquessate.
Beatty was seriously wounded, being struck by a bullet on the mouth, and the lower part of his face was much shattered. This can be seen in the later photographs of him. It was a long time before he could speak properly, but he eventually became a minister in the Church of England. Laura writes:
- "He was at the memorable ball at Brussels, on the eve of Waterloo. At the moment of victory at this battle, he received a shot in the right cheek, which cost him half his teeth and part of the jaw and palate, quite depriving him of the power of speech. When his wound healed, he had slowly to articulate each letter of the alphabet and learn to pronounce like a child. Yet he was enabled to keep his vow, made in the heat of the battle of dedicating his life to God if spared. He entered the church having already been prepared by his previous studies.
- When suffering too much to write, he sent his mother heartsease, which she always treasured. I have it still. At first, his wound was so painful he could not eat anything but strawberries and cream. Two small gold tassels belonging to the uniform he wore at the famous ball, were also preserved by my grandmother and are now in my brother Edward’s possession, also two medals, one gold and one silver.
- I remember when a child often admiring the bridle of his charger which was curiously ornamented with rows of white cowries. I am not aware who has this relic.
My father received a handsome pension on account of his wound; and the gift of a commission in the 90th Light Infantry for his eldest son.’ Laura Beatty, who married Frederick Nicolle and lived in Jersey, ends her letter thus : ‘My family on both sides was famed for great beauty, wit, talent and virtue; especially they excelled in music and painting, but most particularly in music.
- May their descendants inherit their gifts and do honour to their ancestors.’
While on campaign in 1815 Frederick Beatty made pencil sketches in a sketchbook. There are several sketches of places around Waterloo, such as the village itself, La Belle Alliance and the Chateau Hougoumont. Presumably these were drawn after the battle. There are also a couple of sketches of Lancers, possibly self portraits, or of his comrades.
He lived in Suffolk, where he met his wife, but later moved with his family to Jersey and ministered at St Saviour’s. She was the daughter of the Rev W Barlee of Wrentham, Suffolk, whose family had taken the name Buckle to benefit from an inheritance.
The 1861 census records him as living in Almorah Crescent.
His last illness was long and severe, and made worse by the sudden illness and death of his wife Anne, who died about two weeks before him. His obituary states: ‘He bore his illness not only with fortitude and patience, but with cheerfulness, and was continually expressing his undoubted trust in the merits of his Saviour as his only, but his all sufficient support’
He was 72 years old when he died in 1865, and was buried next to his wife in St Saviour’s churchyard. Their tombs can be seen to this day, although they are leaning over now and could do with being cleaned and reset.
They had nine children, William and Penelope, who both died young, Maria, who died aged 18, Anna born 1826 in Wilby, Suffolk, Laura born 1827 Wilby, Suffolk, Catherine born 1828, who did not marry and who died in Surbiton 3 April 1907, Ellen who died young, Frederick born May 1829, and Edward, who married Miss Ross. His daughter Laura married Dr Frederic Nicolle of St Martin, Jersey. Their son Ernest St John Nicolle was the Rector of St John, Jersey for a long period. He and his wife are commemorated in stained glass in the church.
Frederick Beatty married Emma Matilda Mooney, having three children. He died before 1880. Edward’s children were Tyrell, Frederick, Reginald, Laura and Edward Beatty.