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Celebrating the life of one of Stroud’s accomplished sons

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This Saturday, April 16th, marks the 200th Anniversary of one of Stroud’s most accomplished sons: Colonel Edmund Gilling Hallewell. Local ‘History with Character’ duo, Stroud Timewalks, featuring Steve Hill and actor Kim Baker, will be doing a walk around Stratford Park, on Saturday at 2pm to celebrate his life and work.

Edmund was born at Stratford Cottage, aka Stratford Court; his father, also Edmund Gilling Hallewell, had married Martha, only daughter of Joseph Watts, owner of Stroud Brewery, & Stratford House, now Museum in the Park.

Young Edmund was a most distinguished soldier, and highly talented artist. His early work developed from his military role sketching and drawing topographical details for military use and surveying/mapping.

His first major posting, as Ensign, then Lieutenant/Adjutant in the 20th, or East Devons, was in Bermuda, where he became ADC and secretary to the Governor, Sir William Reid. The highly accomplished and experienced Reid was clearly very influential in Edmund`s life- sending his now famous views of Bermuda to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for their consideration, and the promotion of Edmund`s skill. Edmund married Reid`s daughter, Sophia Lonsdale Reid in 1843.

Hallewell was singled out as one of three very ‘prominent’ and ‘very good soldiers’ in the Crimean War by General Simpson – a not insignificant achievement, considering the severe criticism the army staff had attracted in the press. A ‘Crimean Banquet’ was held at The Subscription Rooms in September 1856, while his horse, Malt, wounded three times at The Battle of the Alma, returned to graze in Stratford Park.

Hallewell’s distinguished career ended at Sandhurst Royal Military College, where he became Commandant of the Cadet College until his untimely death in 1869. He is buried at the college, while other Hallewell tombs, including his mother, father, brothers Joe, and Charles James, sisters Fanny, Catherine Martha, and Charlotte Octavia, are at Pitchcombe Church.

In the middle of the campaign, in April 1855, Hallewell undertook a very ambitious project – a panorama of the Camps before Sebastopol, which he dedicated and sent to Queen Victoria-who rewarded him with a beautiful and valuable pencil case/pendant, which was sent out to him. The Panorama is still in the Royal Collection, in the Print Room at Windsor Castle: Major Edmund G Hallewell – A panoramic view of Sebastopol and the Camps, April 1855 (rct.uk)

Tickets are available from Museum in the Park at £10, £5 Members. The walk will feature the fictional character of Tobias Quill, Esq, formerly correspondent of the equally fictional Stroud Courant and the very real historical character of someone close to Edmund.

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