Any visitor arriving in Shrewsbury from the south will be met by the largest Doric column in the country. This impressive monument commemorates one of Shrewsbury’s most distinguished soldiers.
Born in 1772 near Hawkstone just outside Shrewsbury. Lord Rowland Hill’s military career was illustrious to say the least. His battle honours stretched throughout the Peninsular Wars, and saw him rising to be second in command to Wellington at Waterloo. Universally liked by the soldiers under his command, he was known as ‘Daddy Hill’ by the troops due to his kindness towards them.
Hill was given a peerage in 1814 and when Napoleon Bonaparte’s returned to Paris from Elba, Hill journeyed to Holland to assist the Dutch building their army.
Hill retired from public life for 10 years but returned when he was asked to become head of the army by Wellington, the then Prime Minister. In 1842 he was made Viscount Hill, just before his death. He is buried at Hadnall church just a few miles from Shrewsbury.
It brought an end to 23 years of war, with success for Britain, under the command of the Duke of Wellington, and her allies marking a milestone in European History.
A potted history of Lord Rowland Hill:
Key places to visit in Shropshire connected to Lord Hill:
Lord Hill’s Column, Shrewsbury
It was built during the period the Battle of Waterloo took place by the people of Shrewsbury (first stones laid in 1814, completed 1816) as a permanent representation of their joy at the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars, with the ultimate honour and recognition bestowed upon Hill with his statue at the top. Friends of Lord Hill’s Column and Shropshire Council are working towards the creation of a new statue of Hill, which it is hoped will be in place by 2016 to mark the 200th anniversary of its creation.
Hawkstone Park Follies
The Follies would have been included as part of the overall Hawkstone estate during Hill’s lifetime. The monument featured as a central part of the victory celebrations held for Waterloo, when it was illuminated and the scene of fireworks.
A grade I listed building. Built between 1700 and 1725 by Sir Richard Hill, Hill’s uncle. A place regularly attended by Hill especially for glittering reunions, which were also attended by the Duke of Wellington. It is said to have been the venue for an Eve of Battle Ball in the days in advance of Waterloo. The Hall’s house and gardens will be open from 14 – 31 August 2015 to members of the public.
Hawkstone Park Hotel
The hotel was built during the period of the Napoleonic wars by Hill as a place to entertain his family and friends – with the original building having been extended. It is understood that the trees on the now golf course were laid out by Hill to replicate the position that his troops took in the Battle of Waterloo.
The final resting place for Hill, but also an important place for the family as a whole. The family’s coat of arms is seen in one of the stained glass windows.
Shropshire Regimental Museum, Shrewsbury
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