Awards to Civilians from the Collection of John Tamplin

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Date of Auction: 19th September 2003


Estimate: £400 - £500

The Indian Mutiny medal awarded to the Reverend William Winchester, Bengal Ecclesiastical Department, who was later Privy Chamberlain to Pope Leo XIII

Indian Mutiny 1857-59, no clasp (Rev. N. Winchester) polished, therefore nearly very fine and scarce £400-500


William Winchester was born in about 1815, and was the first son of Henry Winchester of Westminster. He was educated at Christ Church College, Oxford, where he matriculated on 15 May 1834, aged 19. He became a B.A., Oxon., in 1838, and a M.A., Oxon., in 1840. He was appointed an Assistant Chaplian in the Bengal Ecclesiastical Establishment in August 1840, and proceeded to India in the Zenobia on 12 October 1840, where he was then at Berhampore. In 1849 he was stationed at Penang, but in 1850 he moved back to Berhampore, where he was appointed a Chaplian. He was on Furlough in 1851 but returned to India and was shortly afterwards posted in 1853 to Dacca, where he remained until he retired.

During the Mutiny in 1857-58, Winchester ‘fearlessly exposed himself in assisting the wounded’ at Dacca. It is recorded that he was present at an engagement with two Companies of mutinous Sepoys of the 73rd Native Infantry and a detachment of Native Artillery at Lal Bagh, Dacca, on 22 November 1857, for which he received the Medal without clasp. His medal incorrectly gives his initial as ‘N’ instead of ‘W’. However, in two medal rolls his initial is given as ‘W’, and in another roll as ‘N’.

The Revd. William Winchester retired from the Bengal Ecclesiastical Establishment on 23 February 1859. Returning to England, Winchester married on 11 February 1861, Elizabeth Maria Lowther, eldest daughter of Major-General Edward Gwatkin, Colonel of the 31st Bengal N.I., and the widow of Major the Hon. Robert Barlow Palmer Byng. They shortly afterwards moved to Rome where the Revd. William Winchester became Privy Chamberlain to Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903). He died in Rome on 30 January 1888 and was buried in that city together with his wife, who had died there on 5 November 1868. He was a Knight Commander of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, and in his Will he bequeathed the Cross of this Order, together with his Chamberlain’s Chain of Office and his ‘India Medal’. Sold with further research.