Oswald Werge

1770 - 1831


  1. Baptised 07/10/1770 in Chatton, Northumberland, son of John Werge and Margaret nee Younghusband. Married Ellen Dean in Bolton-le-Moors, Manchester, 21/01/1805. A son Oswald King Werge baptised 14/03/1806 in Bolton-le-Moors. Buried 10/09/1831 in Millbrook, Hampshire.

  2. "It is one of life's ironies that real-life heroes rarely have 'tough' names like their fictional counterparts (James Bond, Jack Ryan etc.) One of the heroes of the 17th Light Dragoons was an officer called Oswald Werge. He entered the 17th as a Cornet in1793, the year that the regiment sailed to the West Indies. One troop, which included Werge, was posted in Jamaica where a well-organised band of mixed-race people descended from slaves called Maroons, were causing trouble for the British authorities. All attempts to fight them by conventional means had failed, so the Commanding Officer for the Island, Colonel Walpole, decided to train the 17th troop in the art of geurilla warfare. Initially they were successful, but the retreating Maroons took up a position on a high peak. The soldiers could not find a way up the mountain until Werge spotted a Maroon woman collecting water lower down. He followed her and discovered the path to the enemy position. The 17th attacked and drove them out. Three days later, after another skirmish, the Maroons indicated their willingness to parley but were reluctant to trust the British enough to stand up and approach. For a long time a stalemate existed until Oswald Werge put down his weapons and climbed down into the valley between them, inviting them to shake hands with him. One of the Maroons came out. They shook hands and exchanged hats as a sign of friendship. This ended hostilities and a treaty was signed which allowed the Maroons to stay in Jamaica, but the Government failed to keep their promise, and Col. Walpole resigned in disgust. Oswald Werge came through that war unscathed but five years later he recieved a slight wound to the head when encountering a little local difficulty in Bagshot. 30,000 soldiers were encamped on Bagshot Heath in September 1800 and a riot broke out over the high price of provisions, The 17th were detailed to suppress the revolt. Werge, who was a captain by this time, had his helmet shot off. He remained in the regiment for another 20 years, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel but not becoming the Commanding Officer."

  3. In 1861 Oswald's widow Ellen Werge was living at Lightburn Terrace, Ulverston, Lancashire, age 78, born Bolton, with her daughter Ellen, age 48, born India, a visiting merchant called J. Eustace Smith, her grand-daughter Martha M. Smith, age 25, also born in India, and a female servant.


  1. Ancestry.com, England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 [database online]; Ancestry.com, Manchester, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1541-1812 [database online]; Ancestry.com, England, Select Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991 [database online]

  2. http://www.britishempire.co.uk/forces/armyunits/britishcavalry/17thltdragoonswerge.htm [accessed 15/08/2017, source of portrait as well].

  3. 1861 census online.

Further Information

Ellen Dean
Oswald King (1806-), Robert, Ellen, Margaret

PROB 11/1795/69 - precis.

Oswald Werge of Versailles in France but now residing at the Salopian Coffee House Charring Cross London and late Lt. Col. of His Majesty's 17th Regiment of Light Dragoons.

In case I die before my son Oswald Werge attains the age of 21 years I give to my executors my property at Belford in St Thomas-in-the-East in Jamaica in trust for my son until he attains the age of 21 years but subject to the payment of the several legacies hereinafter mentioned.

To my son Robert Werge when he attains the age of 21 years the sum of £500.

To my daughter Ellen Werge £500 at age 21 or marriage.

To my daughter Margaret Werge £500 at age 21 or marriage.

Should Oswald Werge die before the age of 21 then my estate at Belford to my executors in trust for each of my children as they shall respectively become entitled thereto from priority of birth or by failure of lawful issue.

All rest and residue to my executors in trust to pay the interest to my dear wife Ellen Werge for her life and upon her decease to divide the principal equally amongst my children.

My brother Edward Werge of Bilsthorpe in the county of Nottingham and Thomas Younghusband of 11 Bidborough Street, Burton Crescent, London, to be trustees and executors.

Signed 30/12/1821.

Proved at London 13/01/1832.


Associated Estates (2)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1820 [EA] - 1829 [LA] → Owner
1832 [EA] - → Previous owner