Monday, 26 November 2012

Tom Brown of Kirkleatham & Yarm, hero of Dettingen

William Hutton, in his A Trip to Coatham, gives a wonderfully vivid account of the story of Tom Brown, the hero of the battle of Dettingen 1743. 

While he was at Kirkleatham in 1809, Hutton went to find the site of Tom Brown’s birthplace and to visit the hero’s nephew (see p 166 of the scanned book):
It never occurred to my thoughts, when Tom’s exploit blazed over the world, that, sixty-six years after, I should see his portrait, handle his sword and record the fact.
Tom Brown was born in Kirkleatham, apprenticed to a shoemaker at Yarm, and enlisted in the Inniskillen Dragoons. 
He was five feet eleven, and well made, rather bony.  At the battle he was twenty-eight years old.
He served with outstanding valour at the Battle of Dettingen in 1743 in the War of the Austrian Succession - the last battle when British forces were led into action by their King.

Tom was terribly wounded – as can be seen from his portrait (to be found in this full account of the battle)

As William Hutton observed, the portrait
exhibits two wounds in the face; one is a cut, seemingly with the point of a sword from the top of the forehead to the corner of the left eye.  The other, across the upper part of the nose, which obliged him to wear a plate of silver; now lost.
He retired to Yarm with a pension of £30 a year from the King, and died there in 1746.

His grave is marked by a memorial erected by the Queen's Own Hussars in 1968. 

Do see Bob Scotney’s account, with details of the painted sign that used to be attached to Tom Brown’s house in Yarm – and a transciption of the Song of the Silver Nose.


  1. Hi. My name is Holly Wilkinson ad I am direct ancestor of Tom Brown and I am looking for as much information on him as possible on him as I only know about his battle exploits during the Battle of Dettingen in Germany. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.

  2. I am a direct ancestor of Tom Brown and I am trying to gather as much information on him as possible. All contributions are gratefully received. Thank you