Leamington burial for Nelson’s admiral

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The grave of one of Nelson’s admirals who was buried in Leamington has been visited by one of his descendants.

Richard Sinker is pictured at the grave of his great, great, great grandfather, Vice Admiral Sir Jahleel Brenton.

Mr Sinker came up to Leamington from Guildford with his wife Jean by arrangement with the Leamington History Group. He has researched the history of the vice-admiral but had no idea where he was buried.

He is pictured with history group chairman Barry Franklin.

The vice admiral was seriously injured by grape shot in an engagement in the Bay of Naples (French Revolutionary War) when in command of HMS Spartan and a gold sword was presented to him by the Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund in 1810 for an act of bravery.

Altogether 23 swords each valued at £100 were awarded to naval captains during Nelson’s era.

The Brenton sword is now in private hands having been sold at Sotheby’s auction rooms in 2008 for £84,000.

It came as something of a surprise to history group members to learn that several of Nelson’s admirals saw out their days in Leamington.

Three are buried in the crypt of the parish church and a fourth is interred in the Anglican section of the cemetery.

Vice Admiral Sir Jahleel Brenton was born in Maryport, Rhode Island, on August 22 1770. His father was a rear admiral and his brother Edward had a distinguised career as a captain. The family came over to England as refugees in 1780 and he served on board his father’s armed ship Queen as a boy volunteer.

He was commisioned in 1799 and held a number of senior commands throughout his service. The low point of his career came in June 1803 when his ship La Minerve ran aground in fog off the French coast.

He and his entire crew were captured and marched 600 miles to the new prisoner of war facility at Verdun. After three years as a prisoner of Napoleon, he was exchanged for a Captain Infernel who had been captured at Trafalgar. His later service saw him promoted to colonel of the Royal Marines and vice admiral in 1840. His last appointment was as lieutenant governor of the Greenwich Hospital. He died at Lansdowne Place, Leamington, on April 3, 1844. His remains were interred in the New Street cemetery but were exhumed and reburied in March 1958 when a section of the New Street burial ground was taken over for road widening.