My 3rd great grandfather was James Gordon Cavenagh (1770-1844), an army surgeon who was with the Royal Staff Corps at Waterloo.
Cavenagh obtained his diploma from the Royal College of Surgeons. In 1795-6 he first saw active service, with the 83rd Foot in the so-called ‘Maroon War’ in Jamaica. On 21 February 1800 he transferred to the Royal Staff Corps. The Royal Staff Corps was a corps of the British Army responsible for military engineering which was founded in about 1800 and disbanded in about 1837.
In March 1815 Cavenagh married Anne Coates. They lived at Hythe, Kent, where the Corps was headquartered and had eight children.
On 25 June 1825 Cavenagh retired on half pay, afterwards continuing to live at Hythe.
In 1830 he leased a house next to the Royal Staff Corps Barracks, which earlier had been connected with it. There was a gate in the fence between the house and the barracks and the Royal Staff Corps decided to remove the gate and close up the fence. Cavenagh took exception to the this, and threatened the men removing the gate with drawn sword, saying, “I’ll run the first man through the body that attempts to touch the palings”. There was a brawl but eventually the fence was erected. When the matter went to court a jury found against Cavenagh and awarded 10 pounds damages. [The amount, hard to express in today’s money, would come to somewhere between £500 and £10,000.]
In 1834 Cavenagh became the mayor of Hythe and was still living there in 1837. He died at Castle House, Wexford, Ireland in 1844 and is buried in Wexford in the family vault in St Patrick’s Abbey.
The Royal Staff Corps Barracks has gone, with the site from 1968 occupied by a Sainsburys supermarket and carpark. The only surviving part of the barracks complex is Hay House on Sir John Moore Avenue. It was built in 1809 and became the Commandant’s House. It is now subdivided into 6 flats.
It would seem that Hay House is the house that J. G. Cavenagh rented. The Mainwarings of Whitmore family history states
During the short peace between the Peninsular war and Waterloo James Cavenagh was quartered with this corps at Hythe, where he met and married his wife. On the termination of the campaign he returned with this regiment to Hythe, and when it was disbanded he remained there for some years, living in the Commandant’s house which he rented from the Authorities and in which all his children were born.
- The Mainwarings of Whitmore and Biddulph in the County of Stafford. An account of the family, and its connections by marriage and descent; with special reference to the Manor of Whitmore. J.G. Cavenagh-Mainwaring, about 1935
- John Booth (1816). The Battle of Waterloo: containing the series of accounts published by authority, British and foreign, with circumstantial details, relative to the battle, from a variety of authentic and original sources, with connected official documents, forming an historical record of the operations in the campaign of the Netherlands, 1815 : to which is added the names alphabetically arranged, of the officers killed and wounded, from 15th to 26th June, 1815, and the total loss of each regiment, with an enumeration of the Waterloo honours and privileges, conferred upon the men and officers, and lists of regiments, &c. entitled thereto : illustrated by a panoramic sketch of the field of battle, and a plan of the positions at Waterloo, at different periods, with a general plan of the campaign. Printed for John Booth …, T. Egerton … and J. Fairbairn … (Edinburgh). p. 20.
- Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society of London (1816). Medico-Chirurgical Transactions. Longmans, Green and Company. p. 108.
- “No. 18174“. The London Gazette. 10 September 1825. p. 1649.
- Hull Packet 17 August 1830, page 2 digitised by the British Library Board and retrieved through FindMyPast
Dover Telegraph and Cinque Ports General Advertiser 8 February 1834, page 8 digitised by the British Library Board and retrieved through FindMyPast
- Paton, David. “Hythe’s Guides Town Walks (p. 38).” Hythe Life Magazine Spring Edition Issue 12, Hythe Life Magazine, Mar. 2017, issuu.com/hythelifemagazine/docs/hythe_life_magazine_-.
- Hay House.” Historic England, historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1068931.