Benjamin Hall, born in Golcar, joined Prices 14th Foot Regiment and fought at Culloden.
He was a Captain in the 62nd Regiment in 1760 and then Steward at Wentworth House.
He served as a Lieutenant Adjutant in Ireland and witnessed the French Invasion of Carrickfergus in February 1760 as detailed in the letter below:
Dublin, Feb. 24. This evening his Grace the Lord- Lieutenant received the following letter from Major- General Strode, dated at Belfast, Feb. 23, 1760, at six in the evening, viz.
"Information of Benjamin Hall, lieutenant and adjutant of my regiment, who, this moment, arrived here, on his parole, from Carrickfergus, in order to get provisions for the officers and soldiers of my regiment there, says, that on the twenty-first instant, three ships appeared off the isle of Magee, standing in shore, for the Bay of Carrickfergus; and at eleven o'clock came to an anchor, about two miles and a half to the north-east part of the castle, and within mus- quet shot of the shore at Killrute-point.
At this time the small number of troops belonging to the garrison were at exercise, about half a mile on the road to Belfast; and at a quarter after eleven o'clock, the guard was turned out, made up, and marched off, to relieve that on the French prisoners in the castle; the rest of the men continued in the field of exercise, where an account was soon brought, that the three ships, just come to an anchor, had taken and detained two fishing boats, and, with them and several others, were plying on and off betwixt the shore and the ships; on which immediate orders were sent to the castle for both guards to continue under arms, and double Gentries over the French prisoners, and be particularly strict and watchful over them, till such time as they could be satisfied whether they were friends or enemies; though, at the same time, a strong report prevailed with some, that it was an English frigate, and two store-ships: but to be convinced what they were, after the troops had assembled in the market-place, the said Lieutenant Hall, went off with a reconnoitring party, and took post on a rising ground, where he could plainly perceive eight boats landing armed men, and that they drew out in detachments, and took post on the dykes, hedges, and all the rising grounds, from whence they could have most extensive views; upon which he gave the necessary orders to his non-commissioned officers and men, to have a watchful eye of their approaches, and to take particular care they did not get round them, by going at the foot of the hill undiscovered: in order to prevent which, he posted them himself, and told them, as soon as ever the advance guard came within shot, to fire at them, and continue so to do, until they repulsed them, or if necessitated, to retreat, he likewise pointed that out to them, with orders to take every opportunity, on advantage of the ground, in their retreat, to retard the enemy's approach, and to be sure to keep a communication with the town as much as possible; and on this he immediately went to the town, and acquainted Lieutenant Colonel Jennings, where he found him with the troops on the parade, who immediately ordered detachments to be made to defend the gates of the town, and all the avenues leading thereto.
Soon after which the reconnoitring party retired, after having spent all their ammunition; during which time, the Lieutenant Colonel and chief magistrate of the town, sent off the sheriff, and Mr. Mucklewaine, (who is captain of the militia of the corporation), with orders to take off the French prisoners of war, and convey them with all speed to Belfast, where they were to receive further orders from me.
By this time the enemy were in full march for the town, which he computed to be near one thousand men; and two or three straggling hussars, on horses they had picked up after landing, attempted to enter the gates ; but on the first fire retired, but were soon supported by parties of foot, who attacked both the North and Scotch gates, as also the garden walls of Lord Donnegall, who were repulsed also, and kept back as long as the men had ammunition ; on which Colonel Jennings ordered the whole to retire to the castle; which he had sufficient time to do, as at this time the enemy was a little checked from our fire; and would have been more so, had the men had ammunition.
Before the gates of the castle were shut, they made their appearance in the market-place; and then it was in his opinion, the destruction of the enemy would have commenced, had it not been still (he begs leave again to observe) the then dreadful want of ammunition, notwithstanding the supply of powder they had a few days before, from Belfast, by my order, but were in want of ball, and even time, if they had that, to make them up; from which the enemy, finding our fire so cool, attacked the gates sword in hand, which, from the battering of the shot on both sides, the bolts were knock'd back, and the gates opened, and the enemy marched in; but Lieutenant Colonel Jennings, Lord Wallingford, Captain Bland, Lieutenant Ellis, with some gentlemen, and about fifty men, repulsed the enemy, and beat them back.
Here it was he saw great resolution in a few Irish boys, who defended the gate, after it was opened, with their bayonets; and those from the Half moon, after their ammunition was gone, threw stones and bricks. Had this attack of the enemy been supported with any degree of courage, they must certainly have succeeded in it, but they retired back under cover, leaving the gates open with our men in the front of it, which gave them a short time to consider what was the best to be done; first to see the men's ammunition, which, if they had had any, would have certainly sallied, and even so without it, had not Colonel Jennings, and all the officers thought the enterprize too hazardous.
Then they considered, if the gate could be defended, the breach in the castle wall could not, it being near fifty feet long; and having but a short time to deliberate, all agreed a parly should be beat, and Lieutenant Hall sent out to know on what terms they might surrender; which was accordingly done; and on his going out, found the greatest part of the enemy under shelter of the old walls and houses before the castle-gate; and after the usual ceremony, demanded of the Commandant, (the General being wounded), what terms would be given the troops on their surrender, and at the same time sent the drum to call Colonel Jennings out of the castle, in order to treat with the French Commandant on articles of capitulation, which, he says, as well as he can remember, were as follows: viz.
Colonel Jennings demanded, that the troops should inarch out with all the honours of war, and the officers to be on their parole in Ireland, and not be sent prisoners to France; the soldiers also to stay in Ireland, and that an equal number of French prisoners should be sent to France, within one month, or as soon after as ships could be got ready for that purpose. Granted.
That the castle of Carrickfergus should not be demolished, or any of the stores destroyed or taken out of it. Granted.
That the town and county of Carrickfergus should not be plundered or burnt, on condition the mayor and corporation furnished the French troops with necessary provisions. Granted.
This, as well as he can remember, was the verbal articles agreed on, though on writing them, the French Commandant, after consulting his principal officers, declared he could not by any means, answer to his master, the French king, granting to his BritanicMajesty the stores in the castle, which he insisted upon; and Colonel Jennings, to his great grief, had it not in his power to refuse, declaring solemnly, at the same time, with a grave countenance, that he had rather have been buried in the ruins. To which the French Commandant replied, that he could not insert it in the articles of capitulation, yet he would give his word and honour, and did so, that if there was nothing of great value in the castle, belonging to the king, besides powder, he would not touch it, (which there really was not) but how far he will keep his promise is not yet known. Likewise the magistrates of Car- rickfergus, not furnishing the French with necessary provisions, they plundered the town, declaring it was their own fault, as they were convinced they had it in their own power to supply them, as they had found enough in the town afterwards.
Mr. Hall further informs me, that he has discovered by some of the French, there was a disagreement betwixt their General and Captain Thurot, the General being for the attack of Carrick, and Thurot for landing at the Whitehouse, and attacking Belfast. He likewise judged the frigates to be, one of forty guns, the other two about twenty each.
Lieutenant Hall begs leave to present his duty to your Grace, and hopes your Grace will excuse any inaccuracy that may be in his description, as he was no ways provided with any papers, but his memory, and often interrupted by numbers of gentlemen of the militia, who were crowding perpetually in the room to receive orders.
I beg leave to subscribe myself,
My Lord, &c.
Will. Strode. Belfast, Feb. 23, 1760."
Captain Benjamin Hall burial details and funeral obituary by Earl Fitzwilliam at Wentworth
Within the Walls of this chapel lie intered the remains of Captain
Benjamin Hall who died the 13th day of April 1805 in the 84th year
of his age.
The fidelity, integrity, courage, fortitude, and temper which he displayed
in all the various series of a long life render him worthy to be
In his early days he entered into the service of his King and
country, in which on various occasions he distinguished himself by
those qualities which attracted the attention of his superiors, and led to
those marked distinctions and rewards that adorned the closing period
of his military life in 1763. At this period contrary to his earnest request
he was put upon the half pay list of his rank - a Captain in the army.
From that time Captain Hall was destined to act in a new situation.
He became superintendant of the works and House Steward to the late
Charles Marquis of Rockingham, and after his death to William Earl
Fitzwilliam his successor.
The same qualities of kind ensured the same success in a different
station and under new circumstances; without giving offence to any,
he did his duty with steadiness and impartiality. He afforded protection
to the employed while he did justice to the employer.
To commemorate the virtues of so faithful and meritorious a
steward, this tablet is placed here by his greatful friend and sincere
William Earl FitzWilliam
Composed and wrote by Earl Fitzwilliam
a few corrections by Lady Mith_
Will of Benjamin Hall Wentworth 1802
This is the last will and testament of me
Benjamin Hall of Wentworth House in the
parish of Wath upon Dearne in the county of
York, gentleman as follows. First I will that all
my just debts and funeral expenses be paid and
discharged out of my estate and effects hereinafter
made chargeable to and with the payment thereof.
I give and bequeath to the most Honourable Mary
Marchioness of Rockingham a marble medallion
of the late most Honourable Charles Marquis of
Rockingham by Mr Fisher. I give and bequeath
to the Countess Fitzwilliam the 'Heads of the twelve
Goebars set in pearl ornamented with Brilliants.
Also two large snuff boxes of ivory and tortoise
shell on the lids whereof are views of Rome and
Florence in gold plates. Also my cedar writing
box with a gilt silver ink stand, sand box
and wafer cup. Also a portrait of Right
Honourable Earl Fitzwilliam and a picture of
Mr Alderman Carr and his church all in gilt
frames. I give and bequeath to the said Earl
Fitzwilliam a whole length picture of the late Marquis
of Rockingham. Also a portrait of the Earl of
Dorchester and a medallion of the late Honourable
William Charles Lord Viscount Milton a a picture
of liberality and modesty, another picture of
Apollo rewarding merit and punishing arrogance
family in the Temple of Paris 20th January 1795 and
another picture also in a gilt frame representing Maria
Antoinette late Queen of France on the 16th of October
1793 at the time of her being conducted from prison
to the place de la Revolution where her life and
misfortunes terminated. Also a whole length of Venus
in ivory by John Rysbrack and my long mahogany
telescope. I give and bequeath to Peregrine Adentworth
Esquire my large silver cup with the silver cover
and silver stand, my best broad sword, a miniature
picture of the late Duke of Cumberland in silver and
my square silver snuff box. I give and bequeath to
Charles Bowns of Banklop Esquire a picture of the
late Marquis of Rockingham in an oak frame by
Hillingbeck. Also a microscope in a mahogany case
by Mr Rotherham. And also my silver mounted
sword with a silk belt and my silver mounted cane
on the head of which are engraved the initial letters
of my name. And my will and mind is that
the several articles and things before mentioned shall
be delivered to the respective persons to whom they
are hereinbefore given and bequeathed by my executors
hereinafter named so soon as conveniently may be
after my decease. I give and bequeath to my brother
Abraham Hall and Elizabeth his wife and the
survivor of them the sum of sixty pounds and
to my nephews and nieces sons and daughters of
the said Abraham and Elizabeth twenty pounds
apiece. I also give and bequeath to my nephews
and nieces sons and daughters of my late brother
John Hall, to my nephews and nieces, sons and
daughters of my late sister Mary Briam the like
sum of twenty pounds apiece and to Richard
Peele son of my late sister Alice Peele the sum of
five pounds. All which said legacies I will and direct
shall be paid to my said several and respective
legatees within six months next after my decease. And
charged and chargeable with the payment of my
debts the proving of this my will, my funeral expenses
and legacies aforesaid. I give and bequeath all the
rest residue and remainder of my goods, chattels, estate
and effects whether in money or otherwise unto my
nephew Joshua Briam his executors and administrators.
And I do hereby make ordain constitute and appoint him
the said Joshua Briam sole executor of this my
last will and testament hereby revoking and making
void all former and other will or wills by me at
any time heretofore made. In witness whereof I have
hereunto set my hand and seal this twentieth day
of October one thousand eight hundred and two.
- Benjamin Hall - Signed sealed published and declared
by the said Benjamin Hall the testator as and for his
last will and testament in the presence of us William
Hastings, William Wainwright
the first day of May 1805 the will of
Benjamin Hall late of Wentworth House
in the township of Wentworth in the parish
of Wath upon Dearne in the Diocese of York
Gentleman deceased was proved in the exchequer
court of York by the oath of Joshua
Briam his nephew and sole executor to
whom administration was granted he having
been first sworn duly to administer
There is a long series of letters from John Carr (an architect who designed many buildings at Wentworth) to his friend Benjamin Hall, the steward at Wentworth House, among the Fitzwilliam Papers in the Sheffield Archives.
There is a also a letter from Benjamin Hall, Wentworth to Fitzwilliam dated the 29th Jan 1803 concerning the amount of wine in the cellars and thanks for donations to 2 collliers injured in pits.
Ref WWM/F/106/97, held at Sheffield Archives.
Ref WWM/F/106/79-98 (1786-1805) - letters and miscellaneous accounts from Benjamin Hall