The battle of Waterloo in 1815 was a pivotal event in British history, signalling as it did the end of Napoleon Bonaparte’s quest for European domination.
An important feature of the battle was the farm of Hougoumont, situated on the right flank of the British line. The holding of the farm by the British was crucial to Wellington’s battle plan. If the farm fell to the French, the enemy would have been able to turn the British right flank. Wellington installed three companies of battle hardened Guards, reinforced by Brunswick jaegers and the Nassau regiment. Suffice to say the farm was the scene of fierce fighting, but was held by the British troops. A contributory factor of the victory was the successful closing of the farm gates.
Until recently the farm remained in private hands, but has now passed into the ownership of an alliance of local councils who own the rest of the battlefield.
The famous north gates which were the major feature are being remade in the yard at Petworth House, which is particularly significant as the house was the family home of Lt Henry Wyndham, of the Coldstream Guards, who himself played a significant heroic role in the closing and barring of the gates during the battle.