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Peninsular War Coldstream Guards Charger’s Throat Pendant, 1811
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Peninsular War Coldstream Guards Charger’s Throat Pendant, 1811

Measurements: Width: 12cm (4.75in)

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Provenance:
Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Woodford, Coldstream Guards, 1811-1814
by descent to the Rev. Adolphus Frederick Alexander Woodford (1821-1887)

Silver mounted crescent shaped throat pendant made from the conjoined tusks of an Iberian wild boar, complete with suspension loop, the silver mount inscribed ‘Worn during / The Peninsula War / by the charger which carried my father / Field Marshal / Sir A. Woodford. GCB, GCMG.’

The origin of this pendant may well have been a hunting expedition of the sort Guards officers in the Peninsula are known to have regularly enjoyed. Its crescent shaped design copies that of the brass half moon pendants typically suspended from French Napoleonic light cavalry bridles. The engraved inscription was added by the Field Marshal’s younger son, who held a commission in the Coldstream Guards before taking Holy Orders in 1847. If the inscription is to be believed the pendant must have been present with Colonel Woodford when commanding 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards at the Battle of Vitoria, the Siege of San Sebastián, the Battle of Nivelle, Battle of the Nive and the Battle of Bayonne.  

Field Marshal Sir Alexander George Woodford (1782-1870) was a grandson of the 3rd Duke of Gordon and entered the Army in 1794. He took part in the Anglo-Russian Helder expedition in 1799 and transferred to the Coldstream Guards the same year. He served in Sicily as an aide-de-camp to Sir John Stuart and in the Copenhagen expedition of 1807, before being sent to the Peninsula in early 1811. After arriving at Isla de León, he took part in the Siege of Cádiz, the Sieges of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz in March 1812, the Battle of Salamanca and Siege of Burgos. He was appointed an aide-de-camp to the Prince Regent with the rank of colonel on 4 June 1814. During the Hundred Days, Woodford commanded the 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards at Quatre Bras, Waterloo and the storming of Cambrai in June 1815. During the closing stages at Waterloo, he fought his way into the Château d'Hougoumont. Woodford was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath and a Knight of the Austrian Military Order of Maria Theresa and remained in command of 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards in Army of Occupation of France.

Woodford later became Colonel of the Scots Fusilier Guards, Governor of the Royal Hospital Chelsea and was promoted to Field Marshal in 1868. He had two sons one of whom, Charles John Woodford of the Rifle Brigade, was killed in action leading a charge at Cawnpore during the Indian Mutiny. The elder son, the Reverend Woodford, late owner of the present throat pendant, co-founded the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn - a secret society devoted to the study and practice of the occult and paranormal activities.

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