Henry Hawley

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Henry Hawley
Henry Hawley.jpg
Henry Hawley
Born c. 1679
Died 24 March 1759
Allegiance  Kingdom of Great Britain
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1684–1759
Rank Lieutenant General
Battles/wars Jacobite risings
Awards Knight Companion of the Order of the Bath

Lieutenant General Henry Hawley (c. 1679 – 24 March 1759) was a British Army officer who entered the army in 1694. He was born about 1685 and was given a commission in the army aged 9 years old[1]

Early life

He saw service in the War of Spanish Succession as a captain of Erie's (the 19th) Foot. After Almanza he returned to England, and a few years later had become lieutenant-colonel of the 19th. With this regiment he served at Sheriffmuir in 1715, where he was wounded.

In 1717 to 1730 he was Colonel of the 33rd Regiment of Foot[2]

After this he served for some years in Britain, obtaining promotion in the usual course, and in 1739 he arrived at the grade of major general. Four years later he accompanied George II and Stair to Germany, and, as a general officer of cavalry under Sir John Cope, was present at Dettingen. George II was the last British monarch to lead his army into battle.

Jacobite Rebellion

Becoming lieutenant-general somewhat later, he was second-in-command of the cavalry at Fontenoy, and on 20 December 1745 became commander-in-chief in Scotland. Less than a month later Hawley suffered a severe defeat at Falkirk at the hands of the Jacobite insurgents. This, however, did not cost him his command, for the Duke of Cumberland, who was soon afterwards sent north, was captain-general. Under Cumberland's orders Hawley led the cavalry in the campaign of Culloden, and at that battle his dragoons became infamous for their brutality to fugitive rebels, while he gained the nickname of Hangman Hawley.

After the end of the "Forty-Five" he accompanied Cumberland to the Low Countries and led the allied cavalry at Lauffeld (Val). He ended his career as governor of Portsmouth and died at that place in 1759. He was buried in the parish church of St Mary in Hartley Wintney in Hampshire, near his family home, West Green House.

James Wolfe, his brigade-major, wrote of General Hawley in no flattering terms. "The troops dread his severity, hate the man and hold his military knowledge in contempt," he wrote. But, whether it be true or false that he was the natural son of George II, Hawley was always treated with the greatest favour by that king and by his son the Duke of Cumberland.


  1. see Charles Dalton book 1904 of Army lists and commission from 1661 refers to the unsavory cases of children entering the army very young. A special case for this was made as Henry Hawley's father was Francis Hawley who was made a Brevet-Colonel in 1692 and was killed at the Battle of Steenkerque. Henry's younger brother Edward was given an army commission aged 6 years old in 1692. These events were in response to the boys' mother Judith Hughes Hawley petitioning the King for funds and a position for her sons. The two boys are listed in the will of General Erle so it may be that he was a kinsman. Erle refers to the boys' father and uncle as "brothers" in his will.
  2. Duke of Wellington's regimental website, Colonels of The Regiment

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Henry Hawley". Encyclopædia Britannica. 13 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 100–101.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Henry Hawley (bap. 1685, d. 1759) in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/12696

Military offices
Preceded by
George Wade
Colonel of Henry Hawley's Regiment of Foot
Succeeded by
Robert Dalzell
Preceded by
The Lord Harrington
Colonel of Henry Hawley's Regiment of Dragoons
Succeeded by
Robert Dalway
Preceded by
The Duke of Marlborough
Colonel of the 1st (Royal) Regiment of Dragoons
Succeeded by
Hon. Henry Seymour Conway
Preceded by
Roger Handasyd
Commander-in-Chief, Scotland
Succeeded by
2nd Earl of Albemarle
Preceded by
Philip Honywood
Governor of Portsmouth
Succeeded by
The Lord Tyrawley