Edward Henry Mainwaring (1781–1807), son of my fifth great grandparents Rowland Mainwaring (1745–1817) and Jane Mainwaring née Latham (1755–1809) was my fourth great grand uncle.

Although he was the oldest of Rowland’s seven children, since his father was a younger son Edward had little prospect of inheriting land. In 1795 at the age of fourteen he joined the army as an ensign without purchase in the 13th Regiment of Foot (Light Dragoons). A year later he was promoted to lieutenant by purchase. He retired nine months afterwards, leaving the regular army to join the military forces of the East India Company.

Edward is first recorded as a cadet in the Bengal Army. On 23 September 1797 he was appointed ensign Iinfantry private), advancing to lieutenant on 10 September 1898. In 1807 we find him stationed at Dacca with his regiment, the Left Wing of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Native Infantry.

Dacca (ঢাকা), now romanised Dhaka, capital and largest city of Bangladesh, was once part of Bengal. Colonial Dacca, noted for its muslin exports, was also a great centre of the jute trade, accounting for the largest share of the world’s production. The East India Company had assumed control of the city in 1793, taking over from the Indian ruler, the Naib Nazim, whose powers had been abolished in 1790.

Edward Mainwaring served in the Bengal Army for ten years before dying suddenly in Dacca on 22 July 1807, at the age of 25.

His death notice in The Gentleman’s Magazine of 1808 has:

July 22 1807 At Dacca, in the East Indies, Lieut. Edward Henry Mainwaring, of the 3d Regiment of Native Infantry, eldest son of Rowland M. esq. of Northampton. While out at exercise he complained of a sudden attack in the head, and died in a few minutes, in consequence of a rupture of a blood-vessel in his brain.

His grave is in the Dacca English Cemetery (now called the Dhaka Christian Cemetery). The epitaph, transcribed in 1896, reads:

To the memory of Lieut. H. Mainwaring, late of the 3rd Regt Nate Infy, who departed this life on July 22nd 1807; aged 25 years.
Main Entrance of Christian Graveyard in Narinda Old Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2007. Photo from Wikimedia Commons uploaded by User:Mak CC3.0

As part of the probate process, on 28 May 1808 a list of Mainwaring’s possessions was prepared by his brother Thomas, executor of his will. Edward was unmarried when he died.

Thomas’s list provides a glimpse of items that formed the kit of a young army officer of the time. Most of his possessions were probably native-made and inexpensive.



  • 1 Butter pot
  • 1 Soup Ladle
  • 1 Milk Spoon
  • 1 Nutmeg Grater
  • 7 Table Spoons
  • 7 Dessert Spoons
  • 8 Salad Forks
  • 8 Tea Spoons
  • 3 Salt Spoons
  • 1 Butter Knife
  • 1 Pair of Shoe and Knee Kuckles (perhaps mistranscribed buckle)
  • 1 Pair plain Shoe and Knee Kuckles
  • 1 plated Beer Mug and War Mug
  • 1 Gold Epaulets
  • 1 pair of Gold Epaulets
  • 1 pair of Gold Epaulets
  • 1 sing silver Epaulet
  • 2 Sword Knots

Wearing Apparel

  • 5 dozen of new shirts
  • 6/9 old shirts
  • 3 dozen and 4 white Jackets
  • 11 dozen and 5 white Waistcoats
  • 5 dozen and 4 pair of Pantaloons
  • 4 Pair of Pantaloons
  • 1 Dozen pairs of Breeches
  • 5 Waistcoats
  • 8 pair of short Drawers
  • 6 pair of white Gaiters
  • 12 pair of Europe Cotton Stockings
  • 20 pair of Cossimbazaar Stockings (Cossimbazar is a town in Bengal)
  • 20 pair of Cossimbazaar Stockings
  • 22 pair of Coarse Cossimbazaar Stockings
  • 5 pair of long stockings
  • 5 pair of Cotton Gloves
  • 4 pair of Silk Stockings
  • 35 new Neckcloths
  • 93 Neckcloths worn
  • 26 Pocket Handkerchiefs
  • 5 piece of new handkerchiefs
  • 11 pair of Long Drawers
  • 5 new Towels
  • 18 Old Towels
  • 1 Table Cloth
  • 1 Scarlet full dress Coat
  • 1 Scarlet plain dress Coat
  • 1 Scarlet plain dress Coat
  • 1 Blue plain dress Coat
  • 4 Scarlet Jacket
  • 1 Cloth Jacket and 2 pair of pantaloons
  • 1 pair of Leather pantaloons
  • 1 pair of leather and a plain pair of Breeches
  • 1 Boat Cloak

Furniture &c

  • 1 Small Mahogany Table
  • 1 Capital pair of Pistols by Parker in a Mahogany Case
  • 1 Mahogany Writing Desk
  • 1 Tin Dressing Case
  • 2 Full sized Europe Trunks
  • 1 Old Europe Trunk
  • 2 Strong Camel Trunks
  • 4 Travelling Pattarahs (From Hobson-Jobson the glossary of colloquial Anglo-Indian words and phrases: PITARRAH, A coffer or box used in travelling by palankin, to carry the traveller’s clothes, two such being slung to a banghy. The thing was properly a basket made of cane ; but in later practice of tin sheet, with a light wooden frame.)
  • 1 Large Settringee (carpet; From Hobson-Jobson SITTRINGY, A carpet of coloured cotton, now usually made in stripes, but no doubt originally, as the name implies (derived from Persian word for Chess), in chequers.
  • 1 Helmet Hat Beerskin & Feather
  • 8 pair of spurs
  • 1 Case of Savignys Razors
  • 5 pair of Boots
  • 6 pair of Shoes
  • A small quantity of white Queens ware (cream-colored earthernware made by Wedgewood)
  • A quantity of Blue and white China
  • 4 Muffiners and 2 Salt Cellars
  • 1 Tea Pot and One Sugar Cellers
  • 1 Small wine Chest
  • 1 Tin Case

Related posts

Wikitree: Edward Henry Mainwaring (1781 – 1807)