Wales

Raglan's Crimean War memorabilia goes to auction

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Media captionAround 300 artefacts, including cannon and medals, are being sold

Crimean War memorabilia belonging to Field Marshal Lord Raglan has been auctioned off after being kept for generations at the family home in Monmouthshire.

Lord Raglan was the Duke of Wellington's right hand man and later oversaw the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade in 1854.

Campaigners wanted to keep the collection in Usk.

Around 300 artefacts, including cannon and medals, sold for more than £2m.

They were acquired by Lord Raglan during his 40 years' service in which he was commander of the Crimean War campaign in the mid 19th Century.

This included the Charge of the Light Brigade, which saw more than 100 British troops killed after being sent on a frontal assault through a valley against Russian artillery. It inspired a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson and became a symbol of heroic failure.

Among items are Lord Raglan's medals and jewellery given to his wife by Wellington.

The most imposing artefacts are two cannon captured at the battle of Sevastopol in 1855. They were given a guide price of £40,000 each but made a total of £139,000 at auction in London.

An Indian antique gold ring, dating from the late 18th Century, made £140,500 - nearly 10 times its estimate.

The collection has been kept at Cefntilla Court in Monmouthshire, the ancestral home of the Raglan family since 1858.

Amelia Walker, head of private collections at Christie's, said Lord Raglan's many achievements are reflected in the size of the sale.

"He had a very long career so he collected a huge amount," she said.

"Through his connection with the Duke of Wellington - his wife Lady Emily Wellesley-Pole was Lord Wellington's favourite niece - he has a lot of artefacts collected from him.

"The collection was added to from further generations of the family - the 4th Baron Raglan was a great anthropologist."

Image caption The collection from Cefntilla Court in Monmouthshire had a total estimate of £750,000
Image copyright Christies
Image caption Big gun - a Russian cannon, captured in the Crimea, which was sold for £86,500
Image copyright Christies
Image caption The Duke of Wellington's office armchair is part of the collection - it was sold for £15,000
Image copyright Christies
Image caption The five clasps on a gold medal and a baton presented to Lord Raglan after a Crimean battle. His medal collection was sold for £290,500
Image copyright Hulton Archive/Getty
Image caption Lord Raglan was behind the notorious Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimea

A campaign group, Raglan Rescue, has been fighting to keep Lord Raglan's collection in the Usk area after the death of FitzRoy John Somerset, the fifth Baron Raglan in 2010.

Ann Morse, vice chair of Usk Civic Society, said Tredegar House in Newport would be a suitable home.

"I think a good opportunity has been missed. The National Trust operates Tredegar House, which has a Crimean War association with Godfrey Morgan, Viscount Tredegar, who was himself in the Charge of the Light Brigade and whose horse is buried at the house.

"It doesn't have much family memorabilia and it would have been appropriate with Lord Raglan very keen on supporting local associations."

Christie's say there has been interest from all over the world but campaigners are clinging to the hope they will be bought by someone willing to put them on public display.

The auction is due to finish on Friday.

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