The Amherst Family Medals
Date of Auction: 18th June 2020
Sold for £2,200
Estimate: £600 - £800
Crimea 1854-56, 3 clasps, Balaklava, Inkermann, Sebastopol (Lieut. The Honble. Wm. Amherst, Coldsm. Gds.) contemporary Hunt & Roskell style engraved naming; Turkish Crimea 1855, Sardinian issue, contemporary tailor’s copy by ‘J.B.’, unnamed, light scratching through name on the first, edge bruising and contact marks, otherwise nearly very fine (2) £600-£800
FootnoteProvenance: Collection of the late Major Sir Torquhil Matheson.
Also sold with a silvered and gilt metal devotional badge, by family repute picked up from the field at Inkermann.
William Archer Amherst was born on 26 March 1836, son of 2nd Earl Amherst. He was educated at Eton, was commissioned Ensign in the Coldstream Guards on 3 March 1854, and promoted to Lieutenant on 4 March 1855. He was severely wounded at Inkermann on 5 November 1854, as related in the following extract from a letter sent to his father by Colonel Fred Paulet, of the Coldstream Guards:
‘He was struck just under the shoulder blade, as he was raising his arm, and the ball taking an upward direction came out at the neck - nothing is broken and from the closeness of the fire there is less laceration than is usual in gun shot wounds.
He walked from the field to the general hospital, and then back to his tent. I undressed him and put him to bed, his patience, his resignation, his thankfulness for any attention, and fear of giving trouble showed such a total absence of all selfishness, he quite won my heart, it is rare to meet such qualities in such a field.’
Resigning his commission shortly after the Crimean war, he served as Conservative M.P. for West Kent, 1859-68, for Mid-Kent, 1868-80, and was summoned to the House of Peers as Baron Amherst in 1880. He also held the title Viscount Holmsdale prior to succeeding his father as 3rd Earl Amherst in 1886. A committed freemason he was Provincial Grand Master of Kent from 1860, and P.G.M. English Freemasons from 1898. He died on 14 August 1910, and was succeeded by his brother, Hugh Amherst, late Coldstream Guards.
Sold with a quantity of research including several images of him, one particularly fine one in uniform from the Royal Archives, Windsor Castle, taken before he left for the Crimea.