Cased Officers Pistols by Henry Tatham


Cased Officers Pistols by Henry Tatham

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Cased Officers Pistols by Henry Tatham

Cased Officers Pistols by Henry Tatham. A magnificent cased pair of 12 bore percussion officers pistols by Henry Tatham of Charing Cross. The butt caps and barrels are engraved with a floreate ‘6’ and are contained in their original mahogany case bearing on the lid an escutcheon engraved “G.E.L.Boynton Esqr 6th Light Dragoons”. These pistols are in virtually “unfired” condition and retain all their original finish.

Hard to find a better cased set of pistols and the story behind them is fascinating and well worth reading below.



When, in 18957, Thomas Hughes created Flashman in Tom Brown’s School Days, from which George MacDonald Fraser in 1969 developed The Flashman Papers, it might hardly be imagined that an uncannily similar character existed in real life.

George Hebblethwayte Lutton Boynton was born on 10th May 1828, youngest son of Sir Henry, 9th Baronet Boynton of Burton Agnes Hall, Yorkshire. With three elder brothers he did not have great expectations and, on 11th June 1847, after following the family tradition of schooling at Eton, he purchased a commission as Cornet in the 6th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Dragoons.

Were these pistols a parental gift on joining the regiment? This magnificent pair of officer’s percussion pistols manufactured by Henry Tatham of Charing Cross, the butt caps and barrels of which are engraved with the floreate ‘6’, are contained in their original mahogany case bearing on the lid an escutcheon engraved “G.E.L.Boynton Esqr 6th Light Dragoons”.

(Clearly the ‘E’ was an error which was corrected in the London Gazette on page 2325 of the 25th June 1847 edition. This confirms that the ‘E’ engraved on the case, although erroneous, is completely authentic and can be dated to the first promulgation of the commission announced in the London Gazette on page 2126 of the 11th June 1847 edition)

George now began to cultivate promotion, purchasing a lieutenancy in the regiment on 16th June 1848 on the retirement of a brother officer. He then exchanged his lieutenancy in the 6th Dragoons for a lieutenancy in the 11th Light Dragoons on 3rd November 1848.

He quickly found himself a young heiress, marrying 17 year old Elizabeth Laura Keeling, only child of the late Henry Keeling, by licence at St. George Hanover Square on 25th July 1849. It was conveniently overlooked that Elizabeth Laura’s legal guardian was her step-father Captain Trophimus Hodges who, too late to prevent the wedding, pursued the couple to Windsor, where George agreed to accept a life interest in his wife’s money, with no access to the capital. In return Elizabeth Laura’s family agreed not to challenge the validity of the marriage.

George then sold his commission and, on 2nd October 1849, retired from the 11th Light Dragoons.

It appears that Boynton settled down to the life of a country gentleman, with a Captain’s commission in the East Yorkshire Militia: “Commissions signed by the Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding of the County of York, and the Borough of Kingston-upon-Hull. East York Regiment of Militia. Lieutenant Henry Janson to be Captain, vice Boynton, appointed to 17th Light Dragoons. Dated 18th January 1855.

Events in the Crimea, not least the Charge of the Light Brigade on 25th October 1854, must have stirred George back into action, notwithstanding a substantial drop in rank:  “17th Light Dragoons, George Heblethwayt Lutton Boynton, Gent., to be Cornet without purchase, vice Taylor, promoted.” (As published in the London Gazette 30th November 1854 Issue 21635 page 3911 – they still couldn’t get his name right!)

Then next: “17th Light Dragoons – Walter Raymond Nolan, gent. To be Cornet, by purchase vice Boynton, promoted. Dated 19th January 1855.” “17th Regiment of (Light) Dragoons (Lancers). Lieutenant Geo.H.Lutton Boynton 12 Jan 55.” “17th Light Dragoons, Lieutenant George H.Lutton Boynton has been permitted to retire from the service by the sale of his commission. Dated 28thAugust, 1857.”

Boynton’s military career is summed up in ‘Honour the Light Brigade’: “Boynton [Cornet George H.Lutton] Born: 9th May 1827. Cornet: 6th Dragoons: 11th June 1847. Lieutenant: 15th June 1848. Exchanged into 11th Hussars: 3rd November 1848. Retired: 2nd October 1849. Cornet 17th Lancers: 30th November 1854. Retired by sale of commission: 1857. Medal: Crimea (S.).”

George and Elizabeth Laura’s marriage was as successful as it deserved to be and, when the Divorce Act came into force in 1858, she filed a suite on the grounds of his adultery and cruelty towards her. She won the case, recovered her money and George was left without his main source of income. Not however for long! He successfully pursued 17 year old heiress, Elizabeth Anne Prickett, 15 years his junior, whose father did his utmost to keep them apart, but in January 1864 Elizabeth Anne was 21 and could marry without parental permission. The marriage eventually took place at the Roman Catholic Chapel in Spanish Place, Manchester Square on 1st October 1865. The second Mrs Boynton died in 1877.

George passed away in 1888. From the Probate Search Service: “”Boynton George Heblethwayte Lutton Esq. Personal Estate £2,426-1s-1d. 22nd August [1888]. The will of George Heblethwayte Lutton Boynton late of Haisthorpe in the County of York Esquire who died 18th May 1888 at Haisthorpe was proved at the Principal Registry by Alfred Newdigate of Leamington Spa in the County of Warwick Esquire the sole Executor.”



1828    Born Burton Agnes, Yorks., England

1849    Married Elizabeth Laura Keeling (BOYNTON) 1832 – post 1860 Burton on Trent, Staffs.

1860    Divorced Elizabeth Laura Keeling (BOYNTON)

1865    1st October Married Elizabeth Anne Prickett (BOYNTON) London.

1871    2nd April. Head of household in 1871 cenus Haisthorpe, Yorks.

1881    3rd April. Head of household in 1881 cenus Haisthorpe, Yorks.

1888    18th May. Died Bridlington, Yorks.

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