Name: John Mervin Cutcliffe Lieut. Col., C.B1, 1C4R


Birth: 12 Oct 1778 Alverdiscott, Devon, England

Christen: 12 Oct 1778 Pilton, Devon, England2

Death: 1822 43 Webberey House, Westleigh1,3

Death Memo: listed as Esquire

Burial: 16 Jul 1822 Westleigh1,4,5

Father: Charles Newell Cutcliffe (1746-1813)

Mother: Margaret Mervin (1750-1792)

Marriage: Apr 1808


Spouse: Charlotte Talbot


Death: 9 Nov 1863

Burial: Roman Catholic, Church, Reading, England

Father: Richard Talbot (-~1831)

Mother: Baroness Talbot de Malahide (-1834)

Other spouses: Gerald Fitzgerald of Binfield, Berks, England


Notes for John Mervin Cutcliffe Lieut. Col., C.B

6Thomas F. Cutcliffe has cane that was passed down by Brevet Lieut. Col. John Mervin Cutcliffe. Wendall Cutcliffe, Tom’s Uncle, had a plaque put on the cane that reads: “Lt. Col. John Mervyn Cutcliffe, Webbery house, Co. Devon, Alverdiscott, England. Souvenir – Egypt Campaign, with 23 rd. Light Dragoons1801.”

John Mervin Cutcliffe of Wibbery House, Alverdiscott, Brevet Lieut. Col. and C.B., (Campanion of the Bath), and Knight of the Royal Hanoverian Guelphic Order, exeter of his father’s will. His will 8 July 1822 Pro. 28 Nov. 1822, P.C.C..

1″John Mervyn Cutcliffe, of Webbery, in the parish of Alverdescott, co. Devon, born 12th October 1778. He was educated for the Army, which he entered in 1800, as Cornet or Ensign in the 23rd Light Dragoons: In the same year he became Lieutenant, and took part with his Rigiment in the campaign of 1801, in Egypt: In 1809, having in 1804 obtained his Captaincy, he served in Portugal and Spain, and was present at the battle of Talavera: Promoted Major in 1813, he in that year, accompanied his regiment in the campaign on the eastern coast of Spain, and subsequently took part in the operations in Netherlands.

Major Cutcliffe was present at the battle of Quatre Bras on the 16th, and the action at Genappe on the 17th, and, on the 18th June, he commanded the 23rd at the battle of Waterloo. He was wounded, and was, on the recommendation of the Duke of Wellington, promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

Brevet Lieut. Colonel John Mervin Cutcliffe received the medal of Turkish Order of the Crescent, for services in Egypt, and on 22nd June 1815, was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath: He was also Knight of the Royal Hanoverian Guelphic Order.

Brevet Lieut. Colonel Cutcliffe married in April 1808, the Honorable Charlotte Talbot, daughter of Baroness Talbot de Malahide, but died without issue, and was buried at Westleigh 1822. His will, dated 8th July 1822, was proved in London 28th July 1822. By it, his widow became seized in fee of the ancient estates of the Cutcliffe family in the parish of Ilfracombe, which she re-settled by deed, dated 28th July, 1827, on her husband’s family. Mrs. Cutcliffe re-married Gerald Fitzgerald of Binfield, co. Berks, and died s.p. 9th Nov. 1863, and was buried at the Roman Catholic church at Reading.”

7The Most Honourable Order of the Bath (formerly The Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath) [1] is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on May 18, 1725. [2] The name derives from the medieval ceremony for creating a knight, which involved bathing (as a symbol of purification) as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as Knights of the Bath. [3] George I “erected the Knights of the Bath into a regular Military Order”. [4] He did not (as is often stated) revive the Order of the Bath, since it had never previously existed as an Order, in the sense of a body of knights who were governed by a set of statutes and whose numbers were replenished when vacancies occurred. [5] [6]

The Order consists of the Sovereign (currently HM Queen Elizabeth II), the Great Master (currently HRH The Prince of Wales), [7] and three Classes of members:[8]

Source: Waterloo Battlefield Tours written by Adnrew Price:

“….by Major Peter Lautour, to whom command of the regiment has passed when the senior Major, John Cutcliffe, was wounded.

* Knight Grand Cross (GCB) or Dame Grand Cross (GCB)

* Knight Commander (KCB) or Dame Commander (DCB)

* Companion (CB)

Members belong to either the Civil or the Military Division.[9] Prior to 1815 the order had only a single class, Knights Companion (KB), which no longer exists.[10] Recipients of the Order are now usually senior military officers or senior civil servants.[11][12]

The Order of the Bath is the fourth-most senior of the British Orders of Chivalry, after The Most Noble Order of the Garter, The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, and The Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick.[13] The last of the aforementioned Orders, which relates to Ireland, still exists but has been in disuse since the formation of the Irish Free State

Egypt (Vakai Misriye), 1801

In 1798 a flotilla of French troops occupied Egypt, declaring the Egyptian people freed from the tyranny of local “Mamelukes”, and preaching France’s alliance with Sultan Selim III. The Sultan, however, was not impressed by this unsolicited “help” from France, and promptly declared war. He sought the assistance of the British, who had cut off the French army in Egypt by Nelson’s victory at the Battle of the Nile on July 31, 1798. In March 1801, a joint Ottoman and British army landed in Egypt and defeated the French army. The first recognition for these events went to Lord Nelson, who was awarded the Order of the Turkish Crescent. After the successful conclusion of the campaign in 1801, this medal was struck in various classes and awarded mainly to British Navy personnel who participated in the campaign.

The medal comes in six classes: a 55 mm. large gold medal set with diamonds, 55 mm. plain gold, 48 mm. gold, 43 mm gold, 36 mm. gold, and a 36 mm silver medal. They all have a common design: The obverse contains a crescent and 8-pointed star (set with diamonds or brilliants in the highest class) surrounded by a floral decoration around the border. The reverse has the tughra of Sultan Selim III, surrounded by a floral decoration, with the year “1801” at the bottom. The suspension for these medals is usually by a short gold chain with a sharp hook, but many examples have been seen suspended from a ribbon of pale yellow or cream color. The total number awarded to British personnel, in all classes, is less than 500.

8″The Battle of Talavera (July 27-28 1809) was a bloody yet inconclusive battle 70 miles Southwest of Madrid. Although the French army withdrew from the field, the British soon withdrew from Spain, leaving their wounded to the Spanish, who left them to the French, reducing trust between British and Spanish forces for the rest of the Peninsular War. … The French crossed the Alberche at 15:00 on July 27. At 17:00, the French attacked the right of the Spaniards and the British left. One hill was taken, lost and retaken until held firmly by the British. At daybreak on July 28, the French attacked the British left again to retake the hill and were repulsed.”

At Talavera the Vistula uhlans were part of Merlin’s division. In the last stages of this battle Wellington unleashed part of his cavalry. When British 23rd Light Dragoons (450 men) broke through the French 10e and 26e Chasseurs, Merlin ordered Vistula uhlans (390 men) to attack the Brits.

Behind the Poles rode the Westphalian lighthorseen (144 men). The Poles hit the enemy frontally and crushed them. The French chasseurs joined the Poles and attacked the enemy from the flank. The British 23rd Light Dragoons lost 207 killed, wounded and missing, and 105 were captured (according to Oman, Vol II, p 545-549). It gives horrendous 70 % casualties.

9 The following was found in the National Archives in Cew, United Kingdom. A copy of which is in the possession of Thomas F. Cutcliffe in 2008.

“In the name of God Amen, I John Mervin Cutcliffe of Webbery in the Parish of Alverdiscott in the County of Devon so make this my last will and testament impriuis I do here by revoke all former wills then I so direct that my body be directly interred. With respect to my soul, I leave it unto the hands of my Maker hoping in the redemption of my soul by our Saviour Jesus Christ. With regard to my worldly goods I leave to my dearly beloved wife intrusting in her at her own ……… [discretion] to……[disolve] all my just and lawful debts which laudable undertakiing I am ……[intrusting to]….John ……[middle name].. Rolls whose kind partiality frendship will I am sure lead him to transfer those friendly …..[?]…to my wife which he has so kindly bestowed upon me during my life and I do here by appoint my dear wife my ….[?]…signator and sole execetrix of this my last will and testament dated this 9th day of July 1822 John Mervin Cutlciffe. Signed in the presence of us and each of us John Dene, Charles Cutcliffe, John Rolls.

Proved at …[?]… 28 November 1822 before the judge by this oath of Charlotte Cutcliffe widow …[?]… and sole Executrix to whom …[?]… was granted her having been first sworn by commission duly to administer.”

10John Mervin Cutcliffe’s will is on line.

11Date of information was 1878: “Alverdiscott had 324 inhabitants in 1871, living on 2273 acres of land. Webberly was owned by Miss Mary Preston , formaly held by the Fleming, Bellew and other families; but W.A. Deane, Esq. and several smaller owners have estates in the parish. Webbery was the anciently the seat of a family of it’s own name, and was successively held by the Lippincotts and Cutliffes, the latter of whom rebuilt the house in 1820: it stands in plesant grounds and is now the residence of W. A. Deane. “

12The story of the Earl of Portarlington

“Earl of Portarlington was in command of the 23rd Light Dragoons at the time of Waterloo. You may remember that the Battle was fought on a Sunday and on the Saturday the Earl left his regiment and went to Brussels for an evening’s entertainment. Unhappily, he left it a bit late to set off back and found that the roads were jammed solid with a mixture of Allied troops and supplies moving up to the front and civilians moving back to escape the forthcoming fighting. The problem was compounded by the heavy rain of Saturday night and the unpaved roads were a quagmire. In the event, the Earl was unable to rejoin his regiment and, hence, it came under the command of your ancestor. The Earl in fact did get into the Battle and fought valiantly with the 18th Hussars but was so ashamed of his failure to command his regiment, that he took to drink and drugs and is reputed to have died soon after of an excess of both in a hovel in London. After the end of the Napoleonic Wars many regiments were reduced in strength or disbanded but the 23rd were one of the first to go and possibly some stigma attached to it.”

12 E-mial message to Caroline James: “I have no record of the wounds which your ancestor received and although Dalton says that he was “severely wounded”, he is not shown on the 1818 roll as being in receipt of a pension. There is only one officer of the 23rd Dragoons on the list as receiving a pension for wounds received at Waterloo and he is not your man I’m afraid.”

12The 1815 Army List shows John as being promoted to Major in the 23rd Dragoons on 2 Sep 1813.

Charles Dalton in his book “The Waterloo Roll Call, 2nd Edition 1904” records that John “Commanded the regt at Waterloo in the absence of Lord Portarlington, and was severely wounded early in the day. Brevet Lieut Colonel and C.B. (Companion of the Bath). Promoted to Lieut Colonel of this regt 28 Sep 1815. Placed on h.p. (half pay) in 1818 on the reduction of his regt. D.(Died) in 1822. He belonged to the Devonshire family of this name (Cutcliffe, of Damage), the head of which bears the Christian name of “Mervyn”. Then there is what appears to be a handwritten addition, which is printed in the book – “Also K H ?(one letter undecipherable) Order of Crescent (Egypt). D., 1822.”

13Lieut-Col. John Mervin Cutcliffe, C.B.

Lieut. 23rd dragoons, 28th Nov. 1800; Capt. 15th Dec. 1804; Maj. 2nd Sept. 1815; brevet L.-Col. 18th June, 1815; L-Col. 23rd dragoons, 28th Sept. 1815; he served in Flanders and was present at the battle of Waterloo. L-Col. Cutcliffe is a Companion of the Bath.

” Radipole Burracks, Feb. 28, 1816.

To Colonel, the Earl of Portarlington.” (This was the Cammanding Officer of the 23rd Light Dragoons before Lieut. Col. John Marvin Cutcliffe took over as Commanding Offices of that same unit.)

My Lord,

In the name of the officers of the 23rd light dragoons, I beg

leave to request that your Lordship will do us the honor to accept

of a snuff-box, which will be presented to you with this letter,

to mark in some small degree the gratitude which we collectively

and individually feel for your kind, conciliatory, and gentlemanlike

deportment towards us in quarters, as well as our admiration

of the noble example of the most devoted gallantry which

your Lordship’s conduct in the field, on various occasions, has

presented to us during the seven years we have had the honor to

serve under your Lordship’s command. We beg leave at the

same time to express our hope, that in your Lordship’s retirement,

at a period of profound peace, from the more active duties

of the military profession, to the no less useful and honorable

employments, which your high rank and station call upon

you to fill, you will continue to enjoy .every species of happiness,

prosperity, and honor, and that you will never cease to be assured

that wherever our destinies may lead us, the admiration and

affection of your late brother officers will always remain with

you. I beg to assure your Lordship that in becoming the instrument

of conveying to you the sentiments of my brother officers,

I am most happy in being enabled to indulge my desire of expressing to you, the sincerity of the personal regard and esteem with which I, &c.

Signed) J. Cutcliffe, Lieut.-Col. ”

” Emo Park, Emo, March 18, 1816. ”

“To Lieut.-Col. Cutcliffe, Commanding 23d Light Dragoons.

My Dear Sir,

I have been favored with your letter, conveying to me the

sentiments of the officers of the 23rd light dragoons. I cannot

say how gratified and flattered I feel at the very handsome manner

in which they have expressed their good wishes and regards

for me; and I request you will assure them, that having always

had the highest opinion of their conduct as officers and gentlemen

individually while under my command, 1 shall not cease to feel warmly interested in their future welfare, and shall ever hold with gratitude the kind mark of their esteem, which has been presented to me, in the recollection of the length of time I have passed in their society. I beg you will accept my best thanks for the kind manner in which you have made known to me the sentiments of my late brother officers.

(Signed) ” Portarlington

Notes for Charlotte Talbot

Youngest daughter of Richard Talbot, by his wife, Margaret, who, in 1831, was created Baroness Talbot de Malahide. Mrs. Cutcliffe married secondly to Gerald Fitzgerald of Binfield, co. Berks.. Extrix. of her husband’s will.

Source: Sir W.R. Drake, F.S.A., in his “Notes and Notelets” complied in 1887, and is confirmed by the College of Arms (Appendix ‘C’).5

14Source also includes “The very Ancient Chruch of Ilfracombe”, by Z.E.A. Wade, published by Twiss & Sons, 9, High Street, Ilfracombe about 1900.

15Baron Talbot fo Malahide, in the County of Dublin, is a title in the Peerage of Irland. It was created in 1831 for Margaret Talbot, widow of Richard Talbot, heir of the ancient Lords of Malahide. She was succeeded by their eldest son, the second Baron. In 1939 he was created Baron Furnival, of Malahide in the County of Dublin, in the Peerabge of the United Kindgom. However, this title became extinct on his death while he was succeeded in the Irish barony by his younger brother, the third Baron. The latter was succeeded by his son, the fourth Baron.

In 1856, the fourth Baron was created Baron Talbot de Malahide, of Malahide in the County of Dublin, in the Peerage of the United Kingdon, and later held office as a government whip in the Liberal administration of Lord Palmerston and Lord Russell. When he died the titles passed to his eldest son, the fifth Baron, but this line of the family failed on the death in 1948 of the latter’s son,the sixth Baron.


1. Cutcliffe, Wendell W., “Account of the Family of Cutcliffe”, Wendell W. Cutcliffe, 1970, William Richard Drake, F.S.A., “Account of the Family of Cutcliffe of Damage”, 1876.

2. “Barnstaple Public Library, North Devon Studies Center And North Devon Athenacum Holdings,” 1753 Clovelly Parish Records, Barnstaple, Devon, England.

3. “Barnstaple parish register 1538-1812,” 1538-1812, Barnstaple Library.

4. “Westleigh Parish Register,” 1749, Devon Library, Barnstaple, Devon, England.

5. Drake, Sir W. R., F.S.A., “Notes and Notelets” complied in 1887.

6. Cutcliffe, Thomas F.: Written by

7. Wikipedia, “Order of the Bath.”

8. armcharigereral.con/forums/showthread.

9. “Will of John Mervin Cutcliffe,” 7/8/1822, Alverdiscott, Devon, England.

10. “National Archives of the United Kingdom,” 1822, England.

11. UK Genealogy Archives, 2005.

12. David Milner SE, “The Story of the Earl of Portarlington,” 8/11/ 2008, England, E-Mail address: “mailto:battle.veterans@btinternet.com”.

13. The Royal Military Calendar, Or Army Service and Commission Book, John Philippart – 1820 – Great Britain, Page 96, Entry 1568.

14. Z.E.A. Wade, “The very Ancient Chruch of Ilfracombe”, Twiss & Sons, 9, High Street, Ilfracombe about 1900.

15. “Orbit, The Times, 23 February 1932, Baroness Talbot de Malahide,” 1932, England.


Last Modified: 13 Aug 2008

Created: 13 Aug 2008