Lieutenant-General Sir James Adolphus Oughton KB


1719 27th Oct. Born in London
1737 Cornet in 8th Dragoons
1741 Lieutenant
1742 Captain in the 37th Foot
1746 Major of Brigade at Battles of Falkirk and Culloden
1747 2nd Mar. Purchased his Majority in 37th
1747 Battle of Lauffeldt
1749 7th Aug. Lieut-Colonel without purchase
1759 1st Aug. Commanded 37th regiment at Minden
1759 20th July. Colonel of 55th Foot
1762 20th Aug. Colonel of 31st Foot
1767 March. Major-General
1770 30th Apr. Lieut-General. Deputy to C-in-C North Britain
1772 Appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Antigua
1773 22nd Feb. Knight Companion of the Order of the Bath (KB)
1778 Commander-in-Chief North Britain
1780 14th April. Died. Buried in Bath Abbey

James Adolphus Dickenson Oughton was the illegitimate son of Colonel Sir Adolphus Oughton who was Lt-Col of the Coldstream Guards in 1719 at the time of James's birth. His mother was Miss Frances Dickenson and it was with the name of Dickenson that James began his military career in the 8th Dragoons. His father had died in 1737 and he was left without funds so his father's friends helped him to gain a cornetcy in the 8th, where his father had been Colonel for 4 years. But by 1741 when he became a lieutenant he was able to use his father's name, Oughton, thanks to the kindness of his CO, Lt-Col Degge.

Oughton was also a well educated literary man, who wrote poetry and kept a journal of his campaigns. Whilst he was in Scotland he met James Boswell (in 1773) and Dr Johnson who said of Oughton: 'You will find few men, of any profession, who know more. Sir Adolphus is a very extraordinary man; a man of boundless curiosity and unwearied diligence.' Boswell said 'Sir Adolphus always inspirits me'.

He was a keen freemason and became Grand master of the Free Mason Society in 1769. He had a very active social life and networked tirelessly, through the Select Society, the Society of Arts and the Cumberland Society.

After his death in 1780 he was buried in Bath Abbey and a year later a memorial tablet was placed in Westminster Abbey.


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