Villagers are to celebrate the life of a local man who almost exactly 200 years ago helped win one of the most important military showdowns in European history.
Exhibitions and talks will take place at St Luke’s Church at Gaddesby and a wreath will be laid on a striking statue which commemorates the service of Colonel Edward Hawkins Cheney at the Battle of Waterloo.
The colonel, who lived at Gaddesby Hall and was buried in the village churchyard, played a brave role in Wellington’s epic victory over Napoleon’s French forces at the battle in Belgium two centuries ago on Thursday.
Colonel Cheney showed enormous bravery to continually recover his composure after having five horses shot beneath him. Each time he remounted on a new animal and fought on with swords flashing around him and lead and cannon balls flying through the air.
Diana Pritchard, who is organising the events to mark the life of the colonel next weekend, said: “Everbody is very proud of his connection with Gaddesby.
“We decided to hold these special events to remember him.
“I have been in contact with Colonel Cheney’s great-great-granddaughter and we are hoping she will attend.”
The impressive marble statue in the church depicts the war hero, who fought with the Royal Scots Greys, sliding off a wounded charger at Waterloo.
It was created by Joseph Gott, of Rome, in 1863, and when it arrived it took 15 horses to drag it from Brooksby Railway Station.
The statue originally stood in Gaddesby Hall but was moved to the chancel of St Luke’s in 1917.
Ms Pritchard said: “The statue is a talking point when people visit the church.
“It was commissioned by his son after the Battle of Waterloo.
“Our village pub is called the Cheney Arms so there is also a link with his family there.”
Waterloo Day was celebrated for many years by Gaddesby people because of the colonel’s involvement.
He married Eliza Ayre, whose family had owned Gaddesby Hall since it was rebuilt on the site of an earlier house in 1734.
After Colonel Cheney’s death in 1848, he was succeeded by his only son, Edward Henshaw Cheney, who rode with the Quorn Hunt and who built the Barsby to Rearsby road which runs today past Gaddesby’s village pub. He is also buried at St Luke’s.
Visitors can view the exhibition, detailing the Battle of Waterloo and Colonel Cheney’s part in it plus a history of Gaddesby Hall, in the church between 11.30am and 4.30pm on both Saturday and Sunday, June 20 and 21, with refreshments served throughout.
Talks on the battle and a recollection of the colonel’s life will be given at 6pm on the Saturday when a wreath will also be laid on the statue in tribute to the village’s most famous son.