New Trafalgar Dispatch
The bicentenary of the victory at Trafalgar and the death of
Admiral Lord Nelson was celebrated in 2005. Bagshot had a
major role in those celebrations.
|The news was brought by post-chaise
from Falmouth, Cornwall to London by Lieutenant Lapenotiere along what
is now the A30. The journey, which covered 271 miles was completed in
37 hours at an average speed of 7.25 miles per hour with 22 changes of
horses along the route. In Surrey there were horse changes in Bagshot
As part of the Trafalgar celibrations the journey was re-created, albeit a little earlier than the 'proper' date in November. A post chaise (horse drawn carriage) carrying an actor dressed as Lieutenant Lapenotiere visited each of the locations at which horses were changed. The actor was accompanied by a Naval officer who read the New Trafalgar Dispatch and presented copies to civic dignatories. This took place in Bagshot on 3rd September 2005, a gloriously sunny Saturday afternoon.
The post chaise is seen above in the High Street alongside a contemporary building which at that time was the Bull ale house.
It is estimated that 500 people attended the celebration, for a while completly blocking the road!
Supporting events included music from the Bagshot Band, Morris dancing, and displays by Surrey Heath Museum and the Surrey Heath Archaeological & Heritage Trust. Activities for children included the chance to write with quill pens, storytelling and a fancy-dress competition .
|In honour of this journey the A30
has been renamed The Trafalgar Way and a commemorative plaque has been
placed wherever horse changes took place. Ours is on the Jubilee lamp
in the Square and was unveiled by the Chairman of the Parish Council
and the Mayor of Surrey Heath.
An Ordnance Survey map of the whole of the Trafalgar Way has been published, showing the route taken and additional historical information.
Whether the 'new' name for the A30 will ever really catch on at a local level is doubtful for whatever it may be called on long distance maps, for practical reasons local road names are unlikely to change from London Road and Jenkins Hill
The post chaise leaves Bagshot.
The text of the New Trafalgar Dispatch
The New Trafalgar Dispatch
[from www.newtrafalgardispatch.org (no longer online)]
On 21st October 1805 the Royal Navy decisively defeated a combined French and Spanish fleet off Cape Trafalgar on the South West coast of Spain. This victory permanently removed the threat of invasion of England by the armies of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Viscount Admiral Lord Nelson died at the height of the Battle of Trafalgar and it fell to his second in command, Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood to write the official account (dispatch). The Commanding Officer of HM Schooner Pickle, Lieutenant John Lapenotiere, was given the task of delivering the news. He had orders to proceed with all speed and deliver the dispatch personally to the Secretary of the Navy at the Admiralty in London.
Lieutenant Lapenotiere set sail from Cape Trafalgar for England. However, because of adverse weather conditions, he came ashore at Falmouth in Cornwall on 4th November 1805 and travelled the rest of the journey overland by Post Chaise to London along the A30.
The poste chaise made 21 stops at coaching inns to change horses during the 271 mile 37 hour journey (Truro, Fraddon, Bodmin, Launceston, Okehampton, Crockernwell, Exeter, Honiton, Axminster, Bridport, Dorchester, Blandford Forum, Woodyates, Salisbury, Andover, Overton, Basingstoke, Hartfordbridge, Bagshot, Staines and Hounslow). The change at Bagshot late on 5th November cost one pound twelve shillings (£1.60).
Lieutenant Lapenotiere delivered his dispatches to the Admiralty at 1 am on 6th November - more than two weeks after the battle - but an exceptionally rapid journey for those days! The news was urgently passed to the Prime Minister and special newspapers were printed to inform the nation. He was later followed by further messengers and altogether over 600 horses were used on the same route to bring news of Trafalgar to the nation.
Two hundred years later, the New Trafalgar Dispatch celebrates Nelson’s memory and all the heroes at the battle, which was a defining moment in British history
LIEUTENANT LAPENOTIERE RN (1770-1834)
Lapenotiere was a descendant of a Huguenot refugee family that came to England in 1688 and settled in Devon. Prior to Trafalgar the highpoints of his career were two circumnavigations of the globe, one with Captain William Bligh on his second expedition to collect breadfruit trees from the Pacific. He was promoted lieutenant in 1794 and took command of HM Schooner Pickle in 1802. His delivery of the Collingwood dispatch earned him promotion to commander, a Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund Sword and a £500 bounty. He retired as a captain in 1811, and died 23 years later at Menheniot in Cornwall, where he is buried.
Nelson's association with Bagshot
Nelson was no stranger to Bagshot and is reported to have stayed at Hallgrove (now Hallgrove School) and and to have planted a beech tree, that still stands today, near Beech House (on what is now Church Road).
Nick Bell writes:
I am a member of the Nelson Society of Australia and at our 'Pickle Night' Dinner in 2005 I had the honour of playing the role of Lt Lapenotier on his journey from Falmouth to the Admiralty. During the progress of the dinner I advanced a model of HMS Pickle around the table pausing to announce the names of all of the staging posts along the Trafalgar Way. ref 633.0206
Roy Buchanan writes:
I am an aficionado of the Life and Times of Admiral Lord Nelson and occasionally deliver talks on the subject. I was delighted to find further information about Britain's greatest hero as I was unaware that he planted a tree in Bagshot and that he had stayed at Hallgrove. This gives me an excuse to pay a visit in 2010 to have my photo taken by the tree. [Dec 09]
Phil wrote in 2014 that a replica of HM Schooner Pickle was made for the
2005 celebrations. Currently in Gibralta it had recently changed
ownership and the new owner plans to bring it to the UK. [Oct 14]
I have seen reports (Oct 2015) that the Pickle is moored on the River Trent having reached there via Portsmouth.
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