Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington was born in 1769, the third son of Garrett Wesley, 1st Earl of Mornington and Anne Hill-Trevor. He served as Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant in the Phoenix Park in 1807. Later in life he became world renowned for his defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Waterloo on the 18th June 1815. The Duke of Wellington was also Prime Minister of the United Kingdom between 1828-1830 where he oversaw the introduction of the Catholic Relief (Emancipation) Act 1829. He also served in the House of Lords in his retirement and remained Commander-in-Chief of the British army until his death on the 14th September 1852. Wellington was buried in St Paul’s Cathedral after a state funeral on 18th November 1852.
The Wellington Testimonial (Monument) was built in the Phoenix Park from 1817 and completed in 1861. This display marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo and the Duke of Wellington’s life and career and his many Irish connections.
Wellington’s ‘bravest of the brave’ James Graham was born in 1791, in Clones, County Monaghan. One of three brothers to serve in the British army, Graham enlisted in the 2nd Battalion of the Coldstream Guards in 1813, a group of elite infantry regiments of the army.
After the Battle of Waterloo, Graham continued his service with the army, until eventually being discharged for ill health in 1830. He was granted a Chelsea Pension and died in 1845 at the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham. He was buried with military honours.
The Duke of Wellington selected him as ‘the bravest of the brave’ for his part in the Battle of Waterloo and in particular the desperate struggle at Hougoumont Farm. In 2004 a building within the barracks of the Coldstream Guards was named after Graham and a plaque unveiled on the building reads,‘In memory of Sergeant James Graham WM, 2nd Battalion Coldstreram Guards, ‘The Bravest Man in England’, Following his actions in closing the gates at Hougoumont Farm, Waterloo, 18 June 1815.’
Although Arthur Wellesley took his title ‘Viscount Wellington of Wellington and Talavera’ from Wellington in Somerset in 1809 (later to become Duke of Wellington), he is reputed to have visited the town only once.
Wellington became Chief Ranger and Keeper of Hyde Park and St. James’s Park for two years before his death. 1850
Wellington dies aged 83 at Walmer Castle in Kent. He was honoured with the last heraldic state funeral to be held in Britain and was buried in St Paul’s Cathedral, London. More than a million people line the procession route from Westminster Hall, where the body had lain in state, to St Paul’s. 1852
The Wellington Monument (Testimonial) in the Phoenix Park is completed. 1861
Wellington’s funeral wagon, decorated with artefacts from his career.
Daniel O’Connell dies. Black ‘47 is the worst year of the Famine. Over a million die of starvation and disease. 1847
Revolution Ireland, France and much of Europe. 1848
Great exhibition held at the Crystal Palace. 1851
Napoleon’s remains were entombed in a sarcophagus under the dome of Les Invalides in Paris. 1861