Heyland of Waterloo: Part of our history

Major Arthur Heyland lost his life at the Battle of Waterloo

You've probably noticed that we've been mentioning the Battle of Waterloo a lot recently. Well, there's a good reason for this as today (June 17th) is actually the 200th anniversary of the battle.

There's also a bit of family history tied up in it, as Major Arthur Rowley Heyland is a descendant of our very own Paddy Heyland. It was him and his tragic story that inspired our latest soap book, which is a commemorative gift featuring two of our traditional soaps. We are also donating 10% of each sale to the charity Coming Home, which provides accommodation for soldiers left disabled in conflict.

While the bicentenary marks an important date in history, it is also a part of Heyland and Whittle's history. 

Sadly Major Heyland didn't make it through the battle, losing his life in the very last 30 minutes while commanding the 40th Regiment of Foot. The day before, he had actually written a letter to his wife Mary in case he didn't make it through.

"My Mary, let the recollection console you that the happiest days of my life have been from your love and affection, and that I die loving only you, and with a fervent hope that our souls may be reunited hereafter and part no more.

What dear children, my Mary, I leave you. My Marianna, gentlest girl, may God bless you. My Anne, my John, may heaven protect you. My children, may you all be happy and may the reflection that your father never in his life swerved from the truth and always acted from the dictates of his conscience, preserve you, virtuous and happy, for without virtue there can be no happiness.

My darling Mary, I must tell you again how tranquilly I shall die, should it be my fate to fall, we cannot, my own love, die together; one or other must witness the loss of what we love most."

You can find more of his letter in our commemorative soap book, while the whole thing is included in a compilation of soldiers letters called 'If You're Reading This...' 

My Mary, let the recollection console you that the happiest days of my life have been from your love and affection

Born on September 27th 1781, Arthur was just 34 years old when he was killed on the morning of June 18th 1815. He led his regiment to the battlefield between 9 and 10am after a short march from where they were stationed.27th 1781, Arthur was just 34 years old when he was killed on the morning of June 18th 1815. He led his regiment to the battlefield between 9 and 10am after a short march from where they were stationed.

The regiment remained as support at the farm of Mont St Jean until 2pm, at which time it headed to La Haye Saint. Here they had to stay stationary for hours at a time in order to act as support.

At around 7pm, the regiment were ordered to advance by the Duke of Wellington and so they began to clear the opposing soldiers from the farm buildings. Unfortunately, Major Heyland was killed by a shot to the neck just before the fight ended.

He had spent much of the day riding without his cap on an injured horse without his sword, which had become damaged earlier in the day. 

Major Heyland was buried in the village of Mont St Jean, with his grave being marked by a monument that was surrounded by an iron railing that his wife Mary paid for. 

The inscription on this monument says: "Sacred to the memory of Major Arthur Rowley Heyland of his Britannick Majesty's Fortieth Regiment of Foot who was buried on this spot. He fell gloriously in the Battle of Waterloo the 18th of June 1815 at the moment of victory and in command of the regiment. Age 34 years."

The monument was later moved in 1923 to the Wellington Museum at Waterloo, Belgium. 

Today, Paddy and Ursula are visiting the Arthur Heyland's death and will be going to a commemorative ceremony. Keep an eye on our Facebook page to find out more.