Men who Served from Spratton

General George Whichcote Bt..(1794-1891)

General Whichcote lived at Spratton Hall in the 1840s as the tenant of Spratton Hall.  He was well-known in the village for his kindness to the poor.  By 1815 he was a Lieutenant and fought at WATERLOO.  He was promoted to Captain in 1819, and rose to being appointed General in 1871.  The original name for the road between Spratton Hall and the little green on Manor Road was Waterloo.  People in the village remember that when the big houses were built next to the primary school, their road was named Waterloo.  People complained and it was changed to Erskine Wood.  Perhaps the connection to General Whichcote was not realised at the time.

The following is an extract from the Spratton Parish Magazine, 1891:

The death is recorded of General Whichcote, the last survivor of the British officers who took part in the battle of Waterloo.  He was the fourth son of Sir Thomas Whichcote, Bart, of Aswarby, Lincolnshire.

As a youth of sixteen he joined the 52nd regiment as a volunteer, and proceeded to the Peninsula.  He there served in several actions, and was present at the celebrated storm of Ciudad Rodrigo, and at the siege of Badajos.  In 1815 he was present at the celebrated ball given by the Duchess of Richmond at Paris, and the day following on the field of Waterloo.  He entered Paris with the allied armies, and was encamped there from July the 17th to November 2nd.

It is about 45 years since he was resident in Spratton as tenant of the Hall.  There are still some among us who can well recollect his frank and courteous bearing, and his kind and unfailing liberality.  It was his constant habit to visit and read to the poor and aged of the parish; and there were sometimes those who smiled to see the gallant Colonel – a fine and portly figure – making his tour of the village with a basket on his arm laden with good things for the sick.

Private John Freeman. (b.1778)

John Freeman enlisted in 1798 and served in the Royal Horse Guards at Waterloo in Drake’s Troop. From a starting strength of around 50 men, 10 were killed and many more wounded.  Freeman was discharged in 1821 aged 43.  He married Jane Pretty in Spratton on 12th September 1830.  The 1841 census lists him as living in Spratton, a shoemaker.  The 1851 census gives his age as 72 and describes him as “Chelsea Pensioner Royal Horse Guards blue private 1s per day”.  He died in 1853.  (From Waterloo Men of Northamptonshire by Martin Aaron 2015)

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