William Henry



William Henry was born on 10 Mar 1814 and Christened at St Thomas’s Church on 24 Jun 1814. The Family home was at Chitterne where his father was the vicar. Sadly his father died in 1821 and his mother in 1824 when he was 10. William went to live with his maiden Aunt  Frances together with his five siblings. They may have lived in St John Street as in 1830, the Salisbury Commercial Directory lists a Mrs Wapshare under Nobility, Gentry and Clergy which may have been Frances.

When he was 16 he decided to go to India. East India house was in Leadenhall Street and young men were interviewed by the Court of Directors prior to enrollment as a military cadet with the Madras Army. In Feb 1831, Uncle Charles paid the bond (no.7975) of £200 to enroll William as a cadet   (1004). Addiscombe Seminary on Outram Road in Croydon (listed page 275) was founded in 1809 by the Honorable East India Company to train officers, especially Engineers and Artillery, for their Indian regiments.  The grand mansion which was the main college building had been built by William Draper, the son-in-law of the famous diarist John Evelyn in 1703. At the end of the course William Henry would have boarded an Indiaman in the Downs to sail round the Cape, perhaps via Rio de Janeiro. It might be six months before he would see Fort St George and anchor in the Madras Roads. (1005)

Addiscombe Seminary Croydon

The East India Company had its own armies in India, its own civil and medical services and its own fleet of armed merchantmen, so there was much to do. Nevertheless in July 1836 (in the monsoon) William, aged 22 married Emma Chester who was 16 in Madras. She was the daughter of Rev William Chester, chaplain of Visaguhatam (Vishakhatapnam perhaps).

Henry Charles F was born on 10 Aug 1838 at Nellore, Madras (see below) and Mary Louisa was born in 1840 at Vellore, Madras. At some point they went to live at Ootacamund (Ooty) which is a hill station in the Nilgari Hills where he became an active member of the Ooty club. Two more daughters were born in India, Emma Fanny, 1841 and Emily Kate, 1842, they were known as Fanny and Kate to avoid confusion. In 1843 he is listed as being a Lieutenant in the 10th Madras N I. They were probably living in Ooty because in March 1843 they climbed on a sailing ship at Cananore (1006) which is 300 km north of Cochin and sailed round the Cape to London. Only three children went (I have no more information about Mary Louisa) and they sailed on board the Lady Faversham which was shipwrecked three years later.

Then in 1844 Charles was born in Sutton Veny, (next to Bishopstrow, Wiltshire), so if the trip was 6 months long, Emma must have stayed on to have the baby. This may indicate that Aunt Frances was already at Bishopstrow. Two more boys were born somewhere, William Robert in 1850 and Arthur in 1851. There was a long gap before there were any more children.

On 29 Jan 1856 there was another trip ‘home’, this time in a 3 year old steamship the S S Bengal via Ceylon and the calm Arabian Gulf, to Aden and the Red Sea to Suez for the overland trip to the Med. William had by now reached the rank of captain. (1007) In the Crimea the end of the war was being negotiated. there was no canal yet but there was a regular service from Alex. through Malta. William returned to Madras via the same route on SS Alma on 24 Apr 1857. Henry’s bible shows him leaving on Mar 10th so they must have traveled together. There had been some arson attacks as early as January but the full scale rebellion broke out in May by which time William and Henry would have been back in Ooty. Henry was 19 in August.

Meanwhile Emma gave birth to Ethelreda in Wiltshire (presumably early in 1858) Frances had died by now but Catherine Eleanor may have been there. Fanny and Kate remained when Henry left and when Emma arrived at Madras on 6 Jan 1859 on SS Simla she was with one Miss Wapshare. However Emma Fanny was married in Madras on 28 Apr 1859 to William Rawes, so more research needed. Fanny called her daughters Emma May, Emily Kate and Ethel Georgina.

Richard (see below) was born at Ooty on the 6 Jan 1860. Emma was almost 40 and Henry was 21


          Major William Henry Wapshare.       A Just Magistrate

  This plaque is at the entrance to St Stephens

           His grave is behind the church.

   William died in 1864 when he was 50

   By 1881 Emma was living in Kent, England and in      1891 (1008) she was living with her daughter, now     Ethel Fisher and her family in Eastbourne. Richard     was also living close at the time, possibly on the       new weapons course. In 1901 she was still at           Eastbourne and she died on the 11Nov 1905 having   been a widow for 41 years.

   The sons Charles, William and Arthur all                   married and had children, Arthur, a colonel, was in      1901 living with his mother and was 49 years old.

   Links to...             Henry    and      General Sir Richard