Stapleton Cotton, 1st Viscount Combermere

14th Nov 1773 - 21st Feb 1865

Claimant or beneficiary


Stapleton Cotton; Baron Combermere (from 17 May 1814); Viscount Combermere (from 8 February 1827), awarded the compensation for enslaved people on 'Stapleton's estates of Maddens/Russels Rest' on Nevis. He also shared compensation for enslaved people on Stapleton's plantation on St Kitts with his first cousin Barbara Yonge (q.v.).

Army officer. Second son and fifth child of Sir Robert Salusbury Cotton, 5th Bt. (c.1739–1809), of Combermere Abbey, Whitchurch, Shropshire, and Frances (d. 1825), daughter and co-heir of Colonel James Russell Stapleton of Bodrhyddan, Denbighshire.

Father was MP for Cheshire, devoted to country pursuits and "very hospitable": this led to selling the Stapleton estates for £200,000.


(1) 1 March 1801: to Lady Anna Maria Pelham-Clinton (1783–1807), eldest daughter of the third duke of Newcastle and his wife, Anna Maria.

(2) 18 June 1814: to Caroline (c.1793–1837), second daughter of Captain W. Fulke Greville RN; 1 son, Wellington Henry, second viscount (1818–1891), and two daughters. Marriage ended in separation, 1830.

(3) Mary Woolley Gibbings (d. 1889), only child of Robert Gibbings of Gibbings Grove, co. Cork. They had no children.

During the Napoleonic Wars, Cotton served mainly in the Iberian Peninsula.

1817: appointed Governor of Barbados and commander-in-chief for the Leeward Islands (until June 1820).

1822-1825: commander-in-chief in Ireland.

1825-1830: commander-in-chief in India.

"His last thirty years were passed in the performance of his parliamentary and social duties. An old-fashioned tory, he opposed Catholic emancipation, the Reform Bill, repeal of the corn laws, army short service, and other innovations."

Other offices included:

From 1840: provincial grand master of the freemasons of Cheshire.

1821-1852: governor of Sheerness.

1852: following Wellington's death, constable of the Tower of London.

1855: appointed a field marshal.

Died at Colchester House, Clifton, on 21 February 1865; buried in the family vault in the church at Wrenbury, Cheshire.

  1. Combemere's daughter by his second marriage, Hon. Caroline Stapleton-Cotton, (d. 1893) married the 4th Marquess of Downshire, in 1837.

  2. Combermere inherited his West Indian property from his mother Frances née Stapleton, daughter of James Russell Stapleton (1699-1743), and from his aunt Catherine Stapleton (1734-1815). The paternal grandfather of James Russell Stapleton was Sir William Stapleton, 1st Bart, Governor General of the Leeward Islands and founder of the Stapletons' West India fortune.


T71/882 Nevis claim no.102; T71/879 St Kitts claim no. 329 (Stapleton's).

H. M. Chichester, ‘Cotton, Stapleton, first Viscount Combermere (1773–1865)’, rev. James Lunt, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2004); online edn, Jan 2011 [accessed 29/10/2012].

  1. William D. Rubinstein, Who were the rich? 1860- (Volumes 3 and 4, manuscripts in preparation), reference 1868/76: the 4th Marquess of Downshire left £200,000.

  2. J.R.V. Johnston, 'The Stapleton sugar plantations in the Leeward Islands', Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, 48 (1) (1965), pp. 175-206.

Further Information

Name in compensation records
Lord Combermere
3 marriages: (1) 1801-1807: Lady Anna Maria Pelham-Clinton; (2) 1814-1830/7: Caroline Fulke Greville; separation, 1830; (3) 1838-1865: Mary Woolley Gibbings
With (1) no surviving children. With (2) Wellington Henry, second viscount (1818–1891)), two daughters. With (3) no children
Grammar school at Audlem, Denbigh; Westminster School (1785-) [28 Jan 1785- ]
Military Education
Private military academy, Norwood House, Bayswater, London
Oxford DNB Entry

Associated Claims (2)

£3,465 13s 0d
£3,739 7s 6d

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
1828 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Joint owner
1822 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Joint owner

Legacies Summary

Commercial (1)

Railway Investment
Shrewsbury and Birmingham [1846463]  

Physical (2)

Country house
Combermere Abbey 
description →
Grade I house, originally a mediaeval abbey, 'gothicised' by Stapleton Cotton 1814-1820....
Public memorial
Equestrian Statue of Viscount Combermere 
description →
Bronze statue on granite plinth. Figure about 3.4 metres high; pedestal about 3.7 metres high. Combermere in military dress. Pedestal has his name and details of military wars and conflicts he was...
notes →
Further details are in the Wikipedia entry and at Historic England. The statue is Grade II...

Political (1)

election →
Newark Nottinghamshire
1806 - 1814

Relationships (4)

Son → Father
Grandson → Grandfather
Nephew → Aunt
First Cousins

Addresses (3)

Colchester House, Clifton Park, Clifton, Bristol, Gloucestershire, South-west England, England
Combermere Abbey, Combermere, Whitchurch, Shropshire, West Midlands, England
Lleweni Hall, Denbighshire, North Wales, Wales