My 4th great uncle George Mainwaring (1791–1865) was the youngest son of my 5th great grandparents, Rowland Mainwaring and Jane Mainwaring née Latham. Three of Rowland’s sons, including George, joined the Honourable East India Company; a fourth son, also named Rowland, enlisted in the navy.

George Mainwaring’s petition to join the clerical and administrative arm of the Honourable East India Company is dated 23 December 1806. It was supported by his maternal grandmother’s second husband, Sir Henry Strachey, and a year later, at the age of fifteen or thereabouts, George was accepted as a Writer [junior clerk].

George’s career began with two years training—1807 to 1809—in the East India Company’s College. This had been temporarily accommodated in the Gatehouse buildings of Hertford Castle; by 1809 it had moved to new quarters, known as Haileybury College, in Hailey, Hertfordshire.

The former East India Company College, now Haileybury and Imperial Service College. Photograph in 2005 by Chris Hunt, CC BY-SA 2.0, retrieved from Wikimedia Commons.

The College had been established in 1806, the year before George began there, its purpose to train ‘young gentlemen’ sixteen to eighteen years old as clerks for the Company. General and vocational education was provided, and its graduates were assigned by Company directors to Writerships in the Company’s Indian bureaucracy. Officers of the Company’s Presidency armies were trained in Surrey at Addiscombe Military Seminary.

The curriculum at Haileybury was intended to equip students for their future responsibilities. They were taught political economy [economics], history, mathematics, natural philosophy [science], classics, law, philology, and languages including Arabic, Hindustani [Hindi–Urdu], Bengali, Marathi, Sanskrit, Telugu, and Persian.

Many of the College staff were noted figures in their field. Among George’s teachers were the linguist Alexander Hamilton, the jurist Edward Christian, Thomas Malthus the economist and demographer, the mathematicians William Dealtry and Bewick Bridge, and Classicists Edward Lewton and Joseph Hallett Batten (College Principal from 1815 to 1837).

In 1810, aged 18, George was appointed to the Company, arriving in India on 30 July. He rose steadily through the ranks, in 1832 becoming a Civil and Session Judge of Benares. After more than thirty years of service, in 1841 he retired and returned to England.

In 1816 George Mainwaring married Isabella Byers, daughter of an East India Company colonel. They had 13 children including five sons; all five joined the Bengal army. Three of these died as young men, one of them murdered in the Mutiny. Two of George’s sons became generals.

George Mainwaring died in London on 24 June 1865. From the Wolverhampton Chronicle and Staffordshire Advertiser 5 July 1865:

On the 24th ultimo, at 9, Porchester-square, Hyde Park, London, George Mainwaring, Esq., late Judge of the Bengal Presidency, E.I.C.S., and brother of the late Admiral Mainwaring, Whitmore Hall, Staffordshire.



  • George Mainwaring (1790 – 1865), fourth son of Rowland Mainwaring and Jane Latham
  • Sons of George:
    • Rowland Rees, born in 1819 and baptised Calcutta, a General in the Bengal Native Infantry, died unmarried
    • Harry, born 1820 at Jaunpore, and died of smallpox, unmarried, at Agra, in 1845. He first joined the Bengal Army. At the time of his death Harry was Lieutenant And Adjutant, 2d Grenadiers.
    • Norman William, born at Jaunpore and baptised 1821 at Benares, and was killed in 1858 in a railway accident at Howrah. At the time of his death he was a Captain with the 73rd Regiment N.I.
    • George Byres born 1825 Banda, lieutenant-general in the Bengal army, died unmarried. He became a noted scholar of the  Lepcha language spoken in the Sikkim and Darjeeling district in West Bengal.
    • Charles, born at Calcutta in 1839, a Cornet in the 6th Bengal Light Cavalry killed on the boats at Cawnpore on 27 June 1857 age 18