Lord Rowland Hill

Wellington's second in command, known as 'Daddy Hill' by the troops

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.

18th June 2015 marked the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo

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:

  • Born: 11 August 1772, Prees Hall, Hawkstone Shropshire.
  • Died: 10 December 1842, Hardwicke Grange, Hadnall, Shropshire.
  • Hill played an instrumental role in the history of the British army and in its success at the Battle of Waterloo. He was the second son of John Hill.  The family land & properties included Hawkstone (Hall, Park, Follies and what is now Hawkstone Park Hotel & grounds).
  • He joined the army in 1790 and had a very successful and distinguished career even before Waterloo. Hill met the Duke of Wellington in 1805 and the two men immediately became firm friends. Wellington placed great trust in Hill, “his services have been always meritorious and very distinguished in this country, and he is beloved by the whole army…”
  • Hill and his troops arrived at Brussels on 1 April 1815, 3 days ahead of Wellington. The troops were formed in two large army corps, the command of one being given to  Hill.  In the peak of the battle Hill’s horse was shot five times, knocking him over and leaving him badly confused.  However, he advanced on and led the victors into Paris. ‘I am particularly indebted to General Lord Hill for his assistance and conduct on this as on all other occasions,’ wrote Wellington, in his Waterloo dispatch.
  • When the Duke of Wellington became prime minister, Hill was appointed to the command of the army (16 February 1828).
  • The Shrewsbury Chronicle followed Hill’s career closely, talking of his “very brilliant achievement” and was a significant supporter in the quest to create a memorial to him, rallying the public behind the fundraising that was required. This took place during 1814, with the Lord Hill Column in Shrewsbury starting to rise during the build up to the Battle of Waterloo itself.
  • Hill died unmarried on 10 December 1842 and was buried at Hadnall Church, near his home, this being his choice above Westminster.

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.

Hawkstone Hall

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.

Hadnall Church

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

  • The museum holds a number of key pieces relating to Hill including a portrait painted by his sister in 1820, in which Hill is seen wearing all 23 of his regimental medals.
  • The museum also holds Hill’s seal and campaign cutlery and the box in which it was held.

Click here for a PDF about activities, events and places to visit in Shropshire connected with Lord Hill and the wider Waterloo/Napoleonic Wars story.

Events (Ongoing and Upcoming)

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  • May


    Shrewsbury Regatta

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  • May


    Shrewsbury Kids Festival

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