Date added: 6 Jun 2015
William Beckwith was born in 1795, the eldest son of William Beckwith of Trimdon, Co. Durham. He was in 16th Light Dragoons in 1813 and served with his regiment in the last years of the Peninsular War, seeing action at the battles of Nivelle and Nive, 1813. He was next in action at the battle of Waterloo, 1815, and in December that year was promoted lieutenant, without purchase, in 16th Light Dragoons.
Beckwith was promoted to Captain in 1822 and then major in 1828. After residing in the north east of England, Beckwith married the heiress Priscilla Maria Hopper of Silksworth House, Co. Durham in 1821. Priscilla Hopper inherited Doxford House from her father (also known as Silksworth House). The stone entrance of Doxford House was adorned with the Beckwith coat of arms, showing the face of Hercules Malbisse, the legendary first ancestor. This was a clear reference to the Beckwith legacy that would live in this house fo rfuture generation. it is also believe a Captain beckwith still lives in London, as the Beckwith family moved to Shropshire in 1890, 19 years after the death of William Beckwith.
In 1831 Beckwith helped to quash reform riots in Bristol whilst commanding a squadron of the Light Dragoons. Beckwith retired onto the Unattached Half Pay Infantry list with the rank of lieutenant-colonel in 1833 and, achieved the rank of colonel (1846), major general (1854), lieutenant-general (1861) and general (1869). He was appointed colonel of 14th (King’s) Hussars in 1860.
After a long and successfulcareer in the military, Beckwithdied on February 23rd, 1871. His grave is in Houghton Hillside Cemetery, in Houghton Le Spring.
Photographed above is an inscribed Officer’s 16 Bore Flintlock Pistol that belonged to William Beckwith. The inscription reads: "Cornet W. M. Beckwith 16th Lt Dragoons, Waterloo 1815’ and ‘William Beckwith 16th Light Dragoons Jany. 7th 1813 to Nov.r 20th 1817 14th Light Dragoons Novr. 20th 1817 to Feby. 23rd 1871". This weapon was sold at auction on 25th March 2015 for £2,400 via DNW auctioneers.