Admiral Brodrick

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Admiral Thomas Brodrick’s memorial may be seen in the chancel of the church.

He was an illustrious 18th-century sailor who, as a lieutenant in 1738, commanded the ceremonial parade when Admiral Vernon took Porto Bello. This victory was one of a few gains in the wretched Jenkins’ Ear affair. It started with the production, at the bar of the House of Commons, of an ear alleged to have been removed from Robert Jenkins by the Spaniards — to the accompaniment of jeers at our king. Normally phlegmatic, Britain when slightly crazy in its demands for reprisals.

Later, in the Seven Years War, Admiral Brodrick was sent to the Mediterranean with reinforcements for Admiral Byng, and when Byng was sent from under arrest for his failure at Minorca he sat on the court martial which sentenced him to death. After a career of high adventure he retired to the peace of Peper Harow where he lived in a gardener’s cottage. In old age he died and was buried in the little churchyard adjoining the park from which, 1,200 years ago, men dug black flint.

Nearby, among the yews, lie other Brodricks, whose Irish blood enriched the sturdy stock of southern England; and a most valiant soldier, Sir Henry Dalrymple White, who led his men in the cavalry charge at Balaclava.