Admiral William Cornwallis gave his fortune, house and name to a dynasty which included royalty and Churchill.
On Friday 5 July the seaside village of Milford-on-Sea will be marking the 200th anniversary of his death with a church service, window unveiling and Trafalgar news re-enactment.
Admiral Cornwallis’s tomb is near the church’s vestry door.
He is honoured for thwarting Napoleon’s invasion, saving Nelson’s life and playing a decisive role at the Battle of Trafalgar.
He settled at Milford’s Newlands Manor in 1800.
During the 1801 Christmas morning sermon, the church congregation saw through the north windows that Newlands was on fire and one by one people left until the vicar paused to ask where everyone had gone.
The admiral oversaw rebuilding in the gothic style and invited Captain John Whitby, fresh from taking news of Nelson’s death to Emma Hamilton, to live at Newlands and bring his family.
Soon after arriving Whitby died leaving his wife Mary Anne who eventually cared for the admiral. The mansion was inherited by Whitby’s daughter Theresa who married Richard West.
Their son Colonel William Cornwallis-West entertained the Prince of Wales, the Kaiser and Lillie Langtry who were all friends of his wife Patsy. Their son George shocked society by marrying Winston Churchill’s widowed mother whilst the daughters became the Princess of Pless and the Duchess of Westminster. The house is now apartments.
There will be celebrations on the green in Milford on Friday afternoon 5 July when a specially composed sea shanty called Billy Blue after Cornwallis’s nickname will be sung.
Meanwhile the St Barbe Museum in Lymington has a special exhibition exhibition until Sunday 1 September.