Wales

Dispute halts auction of Lord Raglan's Crimean collection

A portrait of Field Marshall Lord Raglan and artefacts in the collection
Image caption The collection comprises 300 lots and was expected to raise £750,000 before the auction was postponed

Campaigners in Monmouthshire are calling for Crimean War memorabilia belonging to Field Marshal Lord Raglan to be saved for the public.

The First Baron Raglan commanded British troops, including at the Charge of the Light Brigade in 1854.

Now, his family's home near Usk and his collection could be sold off.

However, a legal dispute regarding the estate of FitzRoy John Somerset, the fifth Baron Raglan, who died in 2010 put a hold on an auction of artefacts.

Meanwhile, a campaign group, Raglan Rescue, is trying to find ways of keeping together some of the items listed asThe Raglan Collection: Waterloo, Wellington and The Crimea on the website of auctioneers Christie’s.

It was due to be sold at action by executors of Lord Raglan's estate on Wednesday but has been put on hold following a court injunction on Friday.

'Amazing record'

It's understood he left the estate to one of two nephews and the will is now being contested.

A Christie's spokesperson said: "The auction has been postponed pending resolution of a legal claim filed by a family member."

One member of the Raglan Rescue campaign group, Bettina Harden, told BBC Radio Wales the collection has been hidden from public view for years and its possible sale revealed the extent and importance of the items.

Mrs Harden describes Field Marshall Lord Raglan as the "most terrific hero".

She says artefacts among the collection are an important part of history.

"It's the most amazing record of one man's extraordinary career, all coming up for sale and could be scattered around the world," she said.

"It's our heritage and we need to try and save it and keep it here."

Items include a bridle used in the Charge of the Light Brigade and a telescope used by Lord Raglan along with his medals.

He did not actually join the charge, but observed it through his telescope from a nearby hill.

The notorious attack on Russian artillery led to the deaths of 272 of the 673 British soldiers involved.

Another item is anIndian gold ringvalued at up to £15,000 that was presented to his wife by the Duke of Wellington.

Christie's website says Field Marshall Lord Raglan married Lady Emily Wellesley-Pole, the daughter of Wellington's brother William Wellesley-Pole, and Wellington's favourite niece.

The collection comprises over 300 lots and was expected to raise in excess of £750,000 before the auction was postponed.

It was collected by the First Baron Raglan as well as his descendants.

The house, Cefntilla Court, near Usk, was given to his family by admirers to the field marshal after his death in June 1855.

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