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Admiral Sir Charles Wager

A celebrated Admiral of this period was Admiral Sir Charles Wager, whose home was at Weybridge between his Mediterranean and West Indian Commands. He was a personal friend of Admiral Hopson, and as he lived in the High Street very near to Vigo House, the home of Hopson, the two old friends were familiar figures walking up and down the High Street. Admiral Wager is often quoted for not paying his rates in 1713. This as reported in the Vestry Minutes, and one an imagine these two old cronies discussing this unfortunate happening.

Admiral Wager came of a naval family; his grandfather was a mariner and his father (a Captain in the navy of the Commonwealth) brought Charles II here at the Restoration. Samuel Pepys, writing on November 2nd. 1665, recorded that Admiral Wager's father was "a brave fellow, this Captain is and I think very honest".

Admiral Sir Charles Wager served as a Captain in the "Hampton Court" under Lord Torrington who, it will be remembered, owned Oatlands House and the Estate for many years.

Sir Charles Wager, during 1706-1707, was Commander-in-Chief at Jamaica where he fought the battle of Cartagena. It was in 1707 that he became Admiral of the Blue. He returned to England a very wealthy man as a result of valuable prize money obtained by the capture of other ships, and he was knighted by the Queen for his achievements. Then, for several years, he had no service abroad, during which time he lived at Weybridge for long intervals from 1709 to 1714/15.

In 1718 he became one of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, and in 1733, a Privy Councillor and First Lord of the Admiralty. At his death in 1743, he was honoured by a tomb in Westminster Abbey. The Dictionary of National Biography records that he was "a man of the highest character, and to have enjoyed the distinction of having executed the most consequential Offices of State to the admiration of all, and to have died full of years and glory, as universally regretted and lamented as he lived beloved."


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