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Napoleon, Nelson and the Knight

Sir Charles Malcolm

Period:
18th Century
Description:

Sir Charles Malcolm (1782 -1851) was a notable naval officer,  much like his older brother Sir Pulteney Malcolm, both of whom distinguished themselves during the early 19th century. Sir Charles served under his brother as master's mate on HMS Fox. Through a succesion of daring raids such as that on Manila harbour in 1798 he established himself as a competent leader, and was given his first command on HMS Narcissus. In 1809 he was given command of  HMS Rhine, and went on to serve off the coast of Brazil and the West Indies with great distinction, taking many merchantmen and capturing 20 privateers.

In peacetime he was given command of the Royal Yacht William and Mary, and in 1822 recieved his Knighthood. In 1827 he moved to India where he took charge of the Bombay Marine, and over the course developed it into the well respected Indian Navy. Promotions followed and by 1847 he had risen to the rank of vice-admiral.

 

The Four Knights of Eskdale

 

In 1730 the Duke of Buccleuch gave Sir Pulteney Malcolm’s grandfather, the Reverend Robert Malcolm, the lease of a house and sheep farm at Burnfoot, on the north bank of the River Esk, four miles upstream from Langholm.  He hoped that this would supplement the Reverend’s meagre income as Minister of the neighbouring parish of Ewes.

 

Shortly after Robert’s death in 1761, his son George married Margaret Pasley, the second youngest child of a neighbouring family.  They began their married life in the small house of Douglan, Burnfoot.  George had intended to follow his father into the church, but a slight speech defect precluded this, so he took up farming.

 

Over the next twenty years the couple had 17 children, ten sons and seven daughters, all but one of whom survived into adulthood.  Unfortunately George’s farming income did not increase with the number of his children, and he was bankrupt by 1780.

 

As a result he was forced to find careers for his children when they were still very young.  Fortunately he was a man of considerable charm and he had influential patrons.  Four of his sons went into the Navy, two into the East India Company, two became independent merchants in India, one an Anglican priest in England, leaving one to take up local employment in Scotland.

 

Four of them, James, Pulteney, John and Charles, achieved knighthoods and became known as The Four Knights of Eskdale.

 

Materials/Media:
Lithograph
Source:
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
1936.139
Digital Number:
1936.139
Copyright:
Dumfries & Galloway Council