William Lambert

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Baptised: 19 Apr 1759 Died: 1805/6 Married: Mother: Isabella Longmire Father: John Lambert Descendant: Anna Maria Lambert

William Lambert was a Lieutenant Colonel in the East India Company, stationed at Fort Tannah, near Bombay in India (now known as Thane near Mumbai).

Much of the information about William Lambert comes from two blog posts made by Margaret Makepeace, Lead Curator, East India Company Records, at the British Library:


William was baptised on the 19th April 1759 in Bolton, Westmoreland, England, his father was John Lambert.

His mother was Isabella Lambert (neé Longmire).

How do we know this is the record for the right William? After all William Lambert is a very common name. This is because his father John Lambert, Yeoman of Bolton, left a will in 1822 (he died in 1829), leaving one hundred pounds each to "my Grandson and Granddaughter viz Harry and Maria children of my late Son William Lambert of London". This matches almost perfectly to William's circumstances (dead by 1822, a son called Harry, and a daughter called Maria, well Anna Maria at least). John Lambert's eldest son was Thomas Lambert, which matches William's will which talks about an older brother called Thomas.

William Lambert sailed for India on the Hawke in June 1779, arriving in Bombay on the 23rd February 1780.


According to the Bengal Calendar, 1792 William Lambert was made a Lieutenant on the Jan 12, 1781 , and Garrison Quarter Master at Tannah.

On the 7th January 1794 a William Lambert was commissioned as a Captain, and appointed as Fort Adj. & garrison quartermaster at Paligautcherry (there seemed to be more than one).

A Captain William Lambert was deputy commissary of stores in Tannah near Bombay in 1798 (presidency of Bombay). Marine Battalion - Rank in the Corps. Jan. 15, 96. Army. Jan. 7, 96.

William Lambert was a Major in the Sixth Regiment Native Infantry on the 6th March 1800 (at Tannah Deputy commissioner of stores).

But confusingly a Captain W. Lambert was Deputy Commissary of stores at Tannah in 1801.

Army ranks go: Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Lieutenant Colonel, Colonel.

He had a brother, Thomas Lambert.


Oral history recounted by Claude Walmisley stated that the mother of Williams children was a Parsees (descended from a group of people who migrated from Persia to the West Coast of India during the Muslim conquest of Persia in the 7th Century).

He did not mention a wife in his will of 1803, instead leaving everything to his children (9 and 11 years old), which backs up the assumption that she was of Indian birth, and he did not marry her.


He had two children that we know of:

His son Harry died in 1849 according to an obituary in "The Gentleman's Magazine, volume 186":

May 14. In Chelsea, Harry Lambert, esq. son of the late Lieut.-Col. William Lambert, H.E.I.C.

And from the London Evening Standard 18 May 1849:

On the 14th inst., at Marlborough-square, Chelsea, Harry Lambert, Esq., son of the late Lieutenant Colonel William Lambert, H.E.I.C.

And from The Atlas 19 May 1849: Lambert, Harry, Esq., son of the late Lieutenant-Colonel William Lambert, East India Company's Service, May 14.

Marriage solemnized in the Parish of Saint George, Bloomsbury in the County of Middlesex in the Year 1817

Harry Lambert of this Parish Bachelor and Tabitha Hatchett of the Parish of Saint George Hanover Square, Spinster were married in this church by license (with consent of) this Eights Day of April in the Year One thousand eight hundred and Seventeen By me George Hunt, Curate. This Marriage was solemnized between us Harry Lambert and Tabitha Hatchett In the presence of John Harrison and Jane Colborn.


William died at Tannah (Thane) in India on the 3rd January 1806. The records of his probate tie him back to his daughter and brother:

In the Goods of William Lambert late Lieutenant Colonel in the Military Service of the Honorable United East India Company of Merchant Trading to the East Indies on their Bombay Establishment deceased.

A Tannah 2nd., February 1803.

I commend my soul to God in humble hopes of his mercy and my Body to the Earth to be Inter'd in the most private manner. I will give and bequeath / after all my just debts are paid / all and every thing I die possessed of Lands Money Plate Furniture ??? or whatever else or denomination it may be To be equally divided between my natural children Harry Lambert born in Tannah 4th May 1792, and Anna Maria Lambert born in Tannah 23rd September 1794, share and share alike or to the survivor / any watch and two Seals with on Ring all ?? cornelians which I give to my son / and if they die without children then my property to be equally divided amongst my surviving Brothers and/or sisters and request of my Oldest Brother Tho.s Lambert and my friends Fletcher Hayes Esq.re. and William Kennedy Esq.re. to be the executors of this my last will, for which I request they will each accept of a Ring as a token of Remembrance of the value of one hundred Rupees. Written and signed by me this day.

Wm. Lambert.

Mem.m of Debts and Credits 1st November 1805, In case of accidents which we are all liable too, I put down these little matters to prevent trouble. All the debts that I owe is to B.Meyer for a small cheese a Frazel of coffee two pints of oil and two pints catsup. To L.Jaques five rupees for a knife. To T.Hayes for a Plated Coffee Pot.

Due to me a small balance from Mr John Lukie, also from Mr Kennedy if a Mr Horkins has paid into his hands the 590.3 which I directed, also Mr Hayes for two ?? of Globe Lamps Six months off Recko rings from the Company for 1803/4 and twelve months ?? for 1804/5 also two pipes of Madeira Wine in Mr Kenndy's Godown and Six dozen of bottled beer one of old Adamson's five year old and one from Longhoran. Also in the hand of Cursettyie & Monackyie fifty five bags fine Bengal Rice which I have directed him to sell on my account || sold at 7 1/2 rupees per Bag to be settled. All the Cash Account that I have is an Account Current with Bhickagie? & Meyer 96.0? and the rest in Treasury Bills a correct list of which will be found in a Book on the writing table. Three of the Treasury notes are in the hand of Mancoba the Paymasters purser? that pays the Garrison and one years interest on one of them. My girl to have her Trunks Close and Toys? and two hundred Rupees abot? two Lamps, two chairs, two country table spoons a couch / her own copper ware is enough about 40 pieces / and any other small trifles to her with Coffee Boy none of my other servants on worthy of Rememberance? except their full month wages every thing else to be sold when where and how my Executors thing will be to the greatest advantages.

Tannah W.L.

13th January 1806 The foregoing will of William Lambert was duly proved before the Court of the Recorder of Bombay and Probate thereof granted in the usual form to Fletcher Hayes and William Kennedy of Bombay Esquires two of the Executors therein named reserving Power to grant them like Probate to Thomas Lambert the other Executor named in the said will when he shall appear and pray the same they having taken the necessary in such case required.

Thomas Lambert

It is possible that when William died his children Harry and Anna Maria Lambert came back to England to stay with his brother Thomas Lambert. According to Thomas's will, he was a timber merchant, of Lower Belgrave Place, Pimlico, in the parish of Saint George Hanover Square, in the county of Middlesex. In his will Thomas mentions his wife Rebecca, his son William George Lambert, his daughter Isabel Lambert (and her husband William Chapman), and his daughter Mary Eliza Lambert. He doesn't mention Harry or Anna Maria.

Other Records

However, I have now found an obituary for his son Harry Lambert in Marlborough Square, Chelsea where he died on the 14th May 1849 (and says his father was the late Lieut.Col. William Lambert. This leads us to an 1841 census return where he is married to a Tabitha. But this also says he was born in that county (Middlesex) not India, which is odd as William's will clearly says he was born in Tannah on the 4th May 1792... But perhaps he just ticked the wrong box. There is no Harry Lambert registered as having died in that time, however there is a Henry Lambert: Apr/May/June 1849, Chelsea, Vol 3, p55.

London Evening Standard 27 November 1903 Rigden.- On the 14th inst., at Elham, a loving and devoted mother, Maria Selina, widow of the late Robert Rigden, daughter of the late John Angus Walmisley, of Westminster and Atherstone, Warwickshire, and granddaughter of the late Col. Lambert, Governor of Bombay. (Note: this report is inaccurate - Jonathan Duncan was the Governor of Bombay for 16 years covering the time up to the death of Col. Lambert)

A William Lambert married a Lady Margaret Hope (widowed) in 24 March 1764 in Calcutta (a little early)

From the book "A compilation of all the ... orders 1750 to ... 1801... of the Bombay"

1802: G.O.C.O.F. 25th June.] In consequence of the orders of government in their minutes of council under the 19th instant, the commissary of stores will be pleased to receive charge of the store department at Tannah from major Lambert, for which purpose he will detach his deputy on the 1st of the ensuing month.

1804: G.D. 4th May. M.C. 2d May.'] Several officers of this establishment having the consequence of wounds or accidents been rendered incapable of performing active duty; resolved, that such as are at present unemployed be attached to the establishment of invalids and to companies as follows:-

Lieutenant colonel Lambert to be in charge of the establishment. 1st company, -- captain Angus Grant & lieutenant Brackinburry. 2d company, captain Benjamin Masson. 3d company, captain Charles Mellingchamp 4th company, captain lieutenant Samuel Alleyn.

The officers now on the effective list are not to loose the advantage of their regimental or line promotion but to remain attached to the invalids.

The off-reckonings of this corps are, as at present to be thrown into one fund. The officer in charge of the establishment to receive one half, and the other half to be equally divided among the officers in command of companies, whilst the present allowances for stationary &c. are to be continued.

G.O.C.O.F. 9th May.] Officers in charge of companies of invalids will make returns and reports to the commanding officer of the corps, lieutenant colonel Lambert ; who will make returns to the adjutant general's office according to forms that will be sent him.

I'm fairly positive this is not our William Lambert, I've not seen any connections to Wiltshire: Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette 22 September 1808 West-Lavington To be sold by auction, by R.KNIGHT, On Tuefday the 27th of September 1808: All the Neat and Modern HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE, LINEN, Town-Built CHARIOT, with other effects, of Colonel LAMBERT deceafed, at WEST-LAVINGTON, WILTS; including handfome test-bedfteads with chintz cotton furniture; fine feafoned goofe-feather beds, mattreffes, counterpanes, and blankets; Wilson and Kidderminster carpets, large fize mahogany Cumberland dining tables, Pembroke and card tables; neat painted wardrobe; bookcafe; chairs; chefts of drawers; 16 pair fheets; table linen; a fmall time-piece; culinary utenfils; a fmall ftack of hay; cleft woof; and other articles. The greater part new within 8 months may be viewed on the day preceding the fale. To begin precifely at eleven.

Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal 01 July 1808 Died:- Friday, at his lodgings, in Bath, Colonel Lambert, of Lavington, Wilts, and formerly of the Hon. East India Company's service, Bengal.

1900 Army list. William Lambert, Lt.Col. Indian Staff Corps, Lieut. 12 Nov.73, Captain 8 Jan. 85, Major 12 Nov. 93, Lieut. Colonel 12 Nov.99

In 1804 two Lamberts were listed as European Inhabitants (presumably not Army) in Bengal:

  • Thomas Lambert - mariner
  • William Lambert - up country trader.

Peter Lambert (Unrelated)

This Peter Lambert turned out to be unrelated, however he is useful as his situation (stationed in India) is very similar to William, and his details made me realise that Harry and Anna Maria were probably born illegitimately to a native of India. Peter's children are "natural born daughter" which is code of the time for illegitimate. Also the phrase "his girl" is probably referring to the mother of his children.

There is an biography entry for a Peter Lambert born in London in 1761/62 and died in 1796 which lists:

  • a brother William Lambert (of Bengal)
  • a brother Thomas Lambert (of Bengal)
  • a sister Jane Lambert

His will was dated 20 October 1795 and proved 3 Feb 1796, and lists:

  • a natural born daughter Eliza Jane Lambert (means born out of wedlock)
  • his mother (still alive in 1795)
  • sisters
  • brothers
  • a girl Newrun Nifsah (Nissah) - probably "his girl" meaning the mother of his child.
  • a sister Jane Lambert of London
  • a brother Thomas Lambert in India
  • a brother William Lambert near Calcutta (in 1795) - executor
  • a friend John Dickens at Calcutta to be protector of daughter Eliza Jane Lambert - executor

Baptism: St Mary Abbots Church, Kensington, 1800, October 1, Eliza Jane of Peter Lambert a Captain in the East India Company's service, and Newsum Nissah a Native Woman of India, born 3rd May 1793. Residence: Michaels Place.

An Eliza Jane Lambert married a Willam Shaw in Kingston-upon-Hull, after travelling to Three Rivers, Lower Canada before later dying in India. Probate (1843 Fort William in Bengal) mentions (executors maybe) husband William Shaw (mariner), a James Lambert (of the Bank of England - maybe another son missing surname), and her son John Campbell Shaw. Executor Jane?James? Dickison/Dickens of Three Rivers. Mentions deceased father Peter Lambert. E Lambert was on a St Lawrence Steamboat (Three Rivers) in 1829).

Other wills from India:

  • Thomas Lambert (proved 21 Dec 1812) - wife Eleanor Lambert, sister Charlotte Elton.

One Thomas Lambert married an Eleanor Blaney in Calcutta, Bengal, India on 24th January 1803.

One Lt. Col. W. Lambert, from the 88th Foot, retired on the 17 Dec 1780.