The Life and Times of Colonel Frederick Burnaby and Elizabeth Hawkins Whitshed

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In History
  • Frederick Gustavus Burnaby was born

    Frederick Gustavus Burnaby was born
    Frederick Gustavus Burnaby was born in Bedford in England. If you are wondering where he got his unusual middle name, I will give you a hint: He was the son of the Reverend Gustavus Andrew Burnaby who was Canon at Middleham in Yorkshire, England.
  • The first steam train travels from Dublin to Greystones

    The first steam train travels from Dublin to Greystones
    This was very significant day in the development of Greystones. The first steam train travelled from Dublin to Greystones on this day. The railway was engineered by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. This involved building tunnels through the rock along Bray Head.
  • Frederick Burnaby joins the Royal Horse Guard.

    Frederick Burnaby joins the Royal Horse Guard.
    Frederick Burnaby was about 17, when he joined the Royal Horse Guard. He had no chance of active service, so he looked for adventures travelling through Russia and Spain. He also enjoyed ballooning.
  • Elizabeth Hawkins-Whitshed is born in London.

    Elizabeth Hawkins-Whitshed is born in London.
    Elizabeth Hawkins-Whitshed was born in London. But she spent most of her childhood and teenage years at Killincarrick House, Greystones, Co.Wicklow. She came from an upperclass background, being the daughter of Captain Sir St. Vincent Hawkins-Whitshed, 3rd Baronet and his wife Anne Alicia (nee Handcock)
  • The population of Greystones and Delgany was 605

    The population of Greystones and Delgany was 605
    When Elizabeth was a baby, the population of the Greystones and Delgany area was 605.
  • Tissot's portrait of Burnaby was painted.

    Tissot's portrait of Burnaby was painted.
    James Tissot's detailed and elegant portrait of Lieutenant Colonel Burnaby was painted. Burnaby is wearing the blue dress uniform of the Royal Horse Guards to which he belonged. This portrait is now in the British National Gallery.
  • Elizabeth's father dies

    Elizabeth's father dies
    Elizabeth was about eleven when her father died. She was an only child. The Lord Chancellor took her on as his ward.
  • The population of Greystones and Delgany 619

    The population of Greystones and Delgany 619
    The population of Greystones and Delgany was 619. At this time Elizabeth was eleven years old.
  • Frederick Burnaby spent the winter travelling on horseback through Russian Asia

    Frederick Burnaby spent the winter travelling on horseback through Russian Asia
    He wrote a book about this journey 'A Ride to Khiva'. It brought Frederick Burnaby fame and celebrity. There is a mock Tudor type house in the Burnaby Estate in Greystones called Khiva. The Burnaby Estate was built from 1901.
  • He travelled on horseback 1000 miles eastwards from Constantinople

    He travelled on horseback 1000 miles eastwards from Constantinople
    In the hard winter of 1876 Burnaby rode a thousand miles eastwards from Constantinople (now called Istanbul) He wrote a book, 'On Horseback through Asia Minor 'about this journey.
  • He worked for the Red Cross Committee during the Russo-Turkish War

    He worked for the Red Cross Committee during the Russo-Turkish War
    In the Russo-Turkish War of 1877, Burnaby worked as 'travelling agent' to the Red Cross Committee, but he had to reutrn to England before the campaign was over. Soon afterwards he became a lieutenant-colonel
  • Elizabeth is introduced to London society and meets her future husband.

    Elizabeth is introduced to London society and meets her future husband.
    At eighteen Elizabeth goes to London as a debutant to be introduced to London society. This would have been seen as an opportunity to find a suitable husband. Elizabeth was very impressed by Colonel Burnaby who was a celebrity of the time. He was six foot four, a soldier, adventurer, traveller, balloonist and writer.
  • Colonel Frederick Burnaby married Elizabeth Hawkins Whitshed

    Colonel Frederick Burnaby married Elizabeth Hawkins Whitshed
    Colonel Frederick Burnaby is remembered in many of the placenames around Greystones, even though he only stayed here for fourteen days, when he came to visit the home place of his future bride!
    If you were to hear a story about an eighteen year old heiress who married a soldier and adventurer of almost twice her age, you might think that this was the plot of novel or film. The story of the romance between Elizabeth Hawkins Whitshed is a short one and reading between the lines, a sad one.
  • Elizabeth and Frederick go on honeymoon.

    Elizabeth and Frederick go on honeymoon.
    They newly married couple travelled to North Africa after their marriage but due to ill health, Elizabeth couldn't continue.
  • He stood unsuccessfully for parliament in Birmingham.

    He stood unsuccessfully for parliament in Birmingham.
    Colonel Burnaby threw himself into a number of projects in what looks like an attempt to take his mind off his failed marriage. He tried to get elected to parliament as a Tory-Democrat in Birmingham.
  • Harry St.Vincent Augustus Burnaby is born.

    Harry St.Vincent Augustus Burnaby is born.
    Elizabeth returns to Greystones to give birth to her only child Harry St. Vincent Augustus Burnaby.
  • Population of Greystones and Delgany 529

    Population of Greystones and Delgany 529
    In the census of 1881 the population of Greystones and Delgany was 529
  • He crossed the English Channel in a hot air balloon.

    He crossed the English Channel in a hot air balloon.
    In another adventure, Colonel Frederick Burnaby successfully crossed the English Channel in a hot air balloon.
  • On doctors orders Elizabeth goes to live in Switzerland

    On doctors orders Elizabeth goes to live in Switzerland
    Elizabeth is sent to Switzerland by her doctor because of her health. She has 'lung trouble'. The climate in Switzerland was thought good for such a complaint. This seems to have worked as the following winter, she climbed Mount Blanc, the highest mountain in Switzerland. She went on to become a pioneering mountaineer, a writer, photographer and expert in all things to do with the Alps.
  • Elizabeth's writes her first book 'The High Alps in Winter'

    Elizabeth's writes her first book 'The High Alps in Winter'
    Elizabeth's book, The High Alps in Winter: or Mountaineering in Search of Health published.
  • He saw active service in the Suakin campaign and was wounded.

    He saw active service in the Suakin campaign and was wounded.
    Having been disappointed in his hope of seeing active sevice in the Egyptian Campaign of 1882, he participated in the Suakin (again in Egypt) campaign of 1884, without official leave, and was wounded at El Teb, when acting as an intelligence officer.
  • Colonel Frederick Gustavus Burnaby dies in the Battle of Abu Klea

    Colonel Frederick Gustavus Burnaby dies in the Battle of Abu Klea
    He met his death in the hand-to-hand fighting of the Battle of Abu Klea, Omdurman (near Khartoum in Sudan) in 1885. He was forty two years old. In his day Burnaby was so famous that Queen Victoria reportedly fainted at news of his death. The 'Times' gave him a 5,000 word obituary. It is said that grown men broke down and wept in the streets.
  • The Times had a 5,000 word obituary for Colonel Frederick Burnaby

    The Times had a 5,000 word obituary for Colonel Frederick Burnaby
    The Times newspaper in London had a 5,000 word obituary for Colonel Frederick Burnaby on which praise was heaped.
    'The Queen had no more loyal subject, the army no finer officer, the country no truer patriot that Frederick Gustavus Burnaby.
  • Elizabeth marries for a second time.

    Elizabeth marries for a second time.
    Elizabeth marries Doctor Johnathan Frederick Main, a professor of natural science.
  • Elizabeth's 2nd husband dies.

    Elizabeth's 2nd husband dies.
    Doctor JF Main dies. There is some question that he and Elizabeth were divorced at this point.
  • Elizabeth marries a third time.

    Elizabeth marries a third time.
    Elizabeth marries a Frenchman: Francis Bernard Aubrey Le Blond. He is a wealthy and enthusiastic collector of china, with property in the South of France. She travels through Asia with him.
  • The building of The Burnaby, Greystones

    The building of The Burnaby, Greystones
    It is around this time that building begins at The Burnaby in Greystones on land that Elizabeth inherited from her father, Sir St. Vincent Hawkins-Whitshed. She calls the estate after her first husband, Frederick Burnaby. There is also a Whitshed Road, St. Vincent Road and a Hawkins Lane in the Burnaby Estate. Elizabeth was related to the Dukes of Portland. There is also a Portland Road in the Burnaby.
  • 'Cities and Sites of Spain' published by Elizabeth

    'Cities and Sites of Spain' published by Elizabeth
    Elizabeth's book 'Cities and Sites of Spain' published
  • Elizabeth's book 'Adventures on the roof of the world' published.

    Elizabeth's book 'Adventures on the roof of the world' published.
    Elizabeth's book 'Adventures on the roof of the world' published.
  • Elizabeth's book 'Old Gardens of Italy' published.

    Elizabeth's book 'Old Gardens of Italy' published.
    Elizabeth's book 'Old Gardens of Italy' published.
  • Elizabeth publishes her autobiography.

    Elizabeth publishes her autobiography.
    Elizabeth Le Blond publishes her autobiography 'Day in, Day out'. In it she says she was educated by her mother and a nanny, This she describes as a handicap.
  • Elizabeth dies

    Elizabeth dies
    Elizabeth Aubrey Le Blond dies at the age of 73.
  • Period: to

    The Life and Times of Colonel Frederick Burnaby and Elizabeth Hawkins-Whitshed

    Colonel Frederick Burnaby and Elizabeth Hawkins Whitshed's marriage was a short one. He was a Victorian celebrity: a soldier, adventurer, and writer. They travelled to North Africa on honeymoon, but due to delicate health, Elizabeth returned to Greystones. She moved to Switzerland for health reasons. Colonel Burnaby was killed in action (near Khartoum in Sudan) in 1885. Elizabeth went on to become a mountain climber and alpine expert. She married twice more and lived to the ripe old age of 73.