Sir William Bellairs

A link to Vittoria

In Mulbarton churchyard is a memorial with the inscription:

Sir William Bellairs
Born 10th October 1793
Died 2nd October 1863

Served in the 15th Kings Hussars
at Morales, Vittoria, Pyrenees,
Pampeluna, Orthes, Tarbes, Toulouse,
Quatre Bras, Waterloo

There is also an inscription to his wife on the side of the memorial:

wife of the above Daughter and Heiress

of the late Edmund Hooke of Mulbarton

died 1st November 1876 aged 77 years

SIR WILLIAM BELLAIRS, Kt., of Mulbarton Lodge, Mulbarton, Norfolk, was a magistrate for the county. He was the 4th and youngest son of the late Abel Walford Bellairs, Esq., of Uffington, Lincolnshire, High Sheriff of Rutlandshire, and was descended from the ancient family of Bellairs, of Kirby Bellairs, near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. Sir William joined the 15th Hussars in 1811, and retired from that regiment as a Captain in 1 819. During his time he fought in the Peninsular Campaigns of 1813 and 14, participating in the battles of Morales, Vittoria, the Pyrenees, Pampeluna, Orthes, Tarbes, and Toulouse. He was also present in the great actions of 1815, Quatre Bras, the preliminary engagement to the decisive Battle of Waterloo that occurred two days later, and at Waterloo. In the retreat from Quatre Bras, he had a horse killed from under him, and at Waterloo was wounded twice.

After the war he went to Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

In 1822 Sir William Bellairs married Cassandra Wilson Hooke, daughter and heiress of the late Edmund HOOKE, Esq., Barrister-at-Law, of Norwich, and of Mulbarton Lodge, the descendant of a family of long standing in Norfolk.

His children were Edmund Hooke Wilson Bellairs, Capt. Leopold Bellairs and Lieut. Gen. William Bellairs, K.C.M.G. - C.B. Some have their own interesting stories.

In 1837, Sir William received the appointment of one of Her Majesty's Exons in the Yeomen Body Guard. "THE Queen has been pleased to appoint Edmund Hooke Wilson Bellairs, Esq. (late Lieutenant of the 7th Royal Fusiliers), Exon of Her Majesty's Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard, vice Sir William Bellairs, resigned." - The Edinburgh Gazette, 23rd January, 1849.

He was knighted on 17th May 1848. "St. James's-Palace, May IT, 1848. The Queen was this day pleased to confer the honour of Knighthood upon Captain William Bellairs, Senior Exon of Her Majesty's Guard of Yeomen of the Guard." - The London Gazette, 19th May, 1848.

He died on 2nd October, 1863, aged 69 at 7 Osnaburgh St, St Pancras, Middlesex, England but was buried in Mulbarton as it was his 'home'.

So a link to Vittoria! Also a link between the villages of Mulbarton and Tharston.

Children ...

Edmund Hooke Wilson BELLAIRS


Edmund was born in Norfolk in 1823, their son and heir to William Bellairs had an extraordinary career. He joined the 1st Batallion Norfolk Rifles. In 1852 he married Emilia nee Bellairs (possibly a cousin) and soon afterwards they sailed to Dunedin, New Zealand. He became a member of the Legislative Council in Auckland and served from from 31 December 1853 to 17 June 1856, when his membership lapsed due to absence. He was an ardent artist and copies and reproductions of his antipodean pencil drawings and watercolours of historic interest are held at the Hocken Collections, a research library, historical archive, and art gallery based in Dunedin, its library collection, which is of national significance, is administered by the University of Otago. He left New Zealand around 1856 and lived at The Lodger. Later he lived in France, where he was Vice-Consul in Bayonne and then Biarritz.  He died on a visit to his son's home in Hatfield in 1896.


BELLAIRS, William, Colonel

C.B. (1828-1913)

He was a Staff Officer to Lord Chelmsford during the Anglo-Zulu War. Born in Honfleur, Normandy in France, the son of Sir William Bellairs, of Mulbarton in Norfolk, who had served in the Peninsular War and at Waterloo (1815) with the 15th King's Hussars.

William joined the army in May 1846 and fought through the Crimea War as Adjutant of the 49th (Berkshire) Foot, being present at the Alma and Inkerman. He saw further service in the West Indies, Ireland and Gibraltar, then took part in the Ninth Frontier War - 1877-78, and in the Anglo-Zulu War (1879) as Deputy-Adjutant and Quartermaster-General. As Colonel he commanded the force left in camp during the Battle of Ulundi. Later, he acted in various civil capacities. During the subsequent First Anglo-Boer War, Brigadier-General Bellairs commanded the British garrison at Pretoria. After the departure of Sir Owen Lanyon, he was appointed Administrator of the Transvaal (April-August 1881). In 1885 a book entitled The Transvaal War 1880-81 was published under his wife's name. As Lady Bellairs was not in the Transvaal during this period, it is assumed to be his work. He was appointed a K.C.M.G. in 1882.

He retired from the army as a lieutenant-general in 1887, but was later Colonel in the The Sherwood Foresters (1902-05) and The Berkshire Regiment (1905-13). He died at Clevedon in Somerset in 1913.

Page last updated: 29 January 2019