An exceptionally rare sword that saw action at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 has been returned to the home of its 19th-century owner.
The weapon belonged to General Everard Bouverie, of the Royal Horse Guards, who lived in Delapré Abbey, in Northamptonshire, between 1858 and 1871.
The Abbey’s Preservation Trust acquired the sword for £15,000 at an auction in early April, after raising funds from the public in order to bid for it.
Born in 1789, Everard William Bouverie was the eldest son of Edward and Catherine Bouverie of Delapré Abbey.
He joined the army as a cornet in the Royal Horse Guards in 1812, and worked his way up the ranks. Bouverie saw action during the Peninsula War and later at Waterloo, where he was wounded.
He spent his entire working life in the army, later serving as an equerry to Queen Victoria. On the death of his father, Bouverie inherited Delapré, at the age of 69.
According to the auctioneer, the weapon was particularly valuable because it was a heavy cavalry officer’s sword, when usually only light cavalry swords come up for auction. Its known provenance and link to Waterloo added to its value, the auction house said.
The sword is remarkable, too, in that it was nearly stolen. The previous owner of the weapon, who has since died, was the victim of a burglary. Some items in their collection were taken, but fortunately the Bouverie sword and another remained.
Richard Clinton, chief executive of the Abbey’s Preservation Trust, said that, had the sword been stolen, finding it again would have been ‘almost impossible’.
Commenting on the sale, Clinton added that: ‘We are really thankful that we have been able to secure the Waterloo sword, and it is only the generosity of organisations and individuals across Northamptonshire and beyond that has made this possible.’
The Trust already owns Everard’s Waterloo medal and a cartoon of him from when he was in the Royal Horse Guards. The sword is due to go on display at the Abbey in May.