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Sir Henry William Carr KCB (6 October 1777 – 10 August 1821) was a professional soldier in the British Army who, when peace came in 1814, married the widow of the assassinated prime minister Spencer Perceval.


Henry William Carr

Born(1777-10-06)6 October 1777
Twickenham, Middlesex, England
Died10 August 1821(1821-08-10) (aged 43)
Romsey, Hampshire, England
Feltham, Middlesex, England
AllegianceFlag of the British Army.svg British Army
Service/branch United Kingdom
Years of service1793–1821
Unit83rd (County of Dublin) Regiment of Foot
AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of the Bath, Order of the Tower and Sword
RelationsRobert James Carr, Sir James Lloyd, 1st Baronet

Early lifeEdit

Born in Twickenham,[1] where at the time his father ran a private school, he was the second son of the Reverend Colston Carr (1740-1822) and his wife Elizabeth Bullock (1747-1826). His elder brother was Robert James Carr, bishop of Chichester and of Worcester, while his eldest sister Elizabeth Anne Carr married Sir James Martin Lloyd, 1st Baronet. Though his father intended him to join Coutts Bank, he chose the Army.

Army careerEdit

Joining the newly raised 83rd Foot, Carr was posted to the West Indies where he saw action in the Second Maroon War in Jamaica and in Santo Domingo[2] and was wounded, requiring long convalescence. In 1802 the regiment was recalled to the United Kingdom and the 2nd Battalion was not thrown into action again until 1809, when it was sent to Lisbon to counter the French invasion of Portugal.[2] After fighting at the Second Battle of Porto and at the Battle of Talavera, in 1810 the 83rd were engaged at the Battle of Bussaco. Its commanding officer was then promoted to lead a Portuguese brigade and for the rest of the war the 2nd Battalion was led by the then Major Carr.[2]

In 1811 the 83rd won further honours at the Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro and in the spring of 1812 the Anglo-Portuguese forces advanced into Spain.[2] After capturing the frontier towns of Almeida and Ciudad Rodrigo, they surrounded the French in the heavily fortified town of Badajoz.[2] In a daring night assault, a party led by Carr captured the town's castle, after which the French surrendered. For this achievement, he was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel.[2] The roads into Spain were now open and in July they encountered the French at the Battle of Salamanca. The 83rd were in the thick of the fighting, with Carr having his horse shot dead under him.[2] Next year the advance continued towards the north coast ports and the French frontier. In June 1813 the French were overcome at the Battle of Vitoria. For his rôle there in leading the 83rd, Carr was one of two officers to be awarded a medal.[2]

Having crossed into France, the 83rd were prominent at the Battle of Nivelle in November 1813 and then fought notably at the Gave d'Oloron.[2] Their next major engagement was at the Battle of Orthez in February 1814, where Carr was wounded by a musket ball that grazed his jaw and lodged in his throat.[2] He was never fully fit again. The French forces retreated and in April 1814 the 83rd fought their last battle of the war at Toulouse.[2]


On 2 January 1815, Carr was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath and on 23 May 1815 he received royal permission to wear a foreign decoration, that of the highest Portuguese honour, the Order of the Tower and Sword, in which he had been made a Knight.[3]


While stationed in Jamaica, in 1799 Henry married Ann Whitehorne Rose, widow of Edward Chambers and daughter of Major-General James Rose, who had two children. In 1801 they had a son together named Colston Rose Carr,[4] whose fate is unknown. Ann left Henry for another man and died in childbirth.

On returning to his parents' home at Ealing after the end of the war in 1814, Henry met and in 1815 married[5] Jane Wilson (1769-1844),[6] attractive widow of the prime minister Spencer Perceval, who had an ample income, a large house and twelve children. However, unfit after 21 years' continuous active service and a severe wound, he died at the early age of 44 and was buried at Feltham,[7] where his memorial is.


  1. ^ »London Metropolitan Archives, St Mary the Virgin, Twickenham, Composite register: baptism 1762 - 1794; burials 1762 - 1794; pauper burials 1791 - 1806, DRO/174/A/01/007 » at London, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 [database on-line] subscription required
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Bray, Edward William.« Memoirs and services of the Eighty-third Regiment (County of Dublin) from 1793 to 1907 including the campaigns of the Regiment in the West Indies, Africa, the Peninsula, Ceylon, Canada, and India » London, Hugh Rees, 1908 at retrieved 5 October 2015
  3. ^ London Gazette 1815, p 971. «Whitehall May 23, 1815 His Royal Highness the Prince Regent hath been pleased in the name and on the behalf of His Majesty to give and grant unto the undermentioned Officers in the Army His Majesty's royal licence and permission that they may respectively accept and wear the insignia of a Knight of the Royal Portuguese Military Order of the Tower and Sword with which His Royal Highness the Prince Regent of Portugal has been pleased to honour those Officers in testimony of the high sense that Prince entertains of the signal intrepidity displayed by thern in several actions with the enemy during the recent arduous campaigns in the Peninsula And His Royal Highness hath been further pleased to command that the respective royal concessions and declarations be registered together with the relative documents in His Majesty's College of Arms NAMES OF THE OFFICERS Sir Henry William Carr Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath and Lieutenant Colonel of the 83d Regiment of Foot.»
  4. ^ "Jamaica, Church of England Parish Register Transcripts, 1664-1880»url retrieved 5 October 2015
  5. ^ »London Metropolitan Archives, Saint George, Hanover Square: Hanover Square, Westminster, Transcript of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1815 Jan-1815 Dec, DL/t Item, 089/010 » at London, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921 subscription required
  6. ^ Gentleman's Magazine, and Historical Chronicle, Volume 56, p331, by Sylvanus Urban (pseud. Edward Cave) url
  7. ^ « Board of Guardian Records, 1834-1906 and Church of England Parish Registers, 1813-1906. London Metropolitan Archives, London, Call Number: DL/DRO/BT/020/008 » at Ancestry;com London, England, Deaths and Burials, 1813-1980 subscription required