Statue of Sir William Nott, Carmarthen

Link to Welsh translationLink to French translationStatue of Sir William Nott, Nott Square, Carmarthen

Major-General Sir William Nott was famed for his colonial military exploits in the 1840s, and this statue of him was made from melted-down guns captured in northern India.

He was born in 1782. His father Charles kept the Ship and Castle Inn in Neath before taking over Carmarthen's Ivy Bush Hotel in 1794. William joined a volunteer soldier corps in Carmarthen four years later. He moved to India as a cadet in 1800, serving the East India Company, and retired in poor health to Carmarthen in 1826.

He went back to India after losing much of his wealth in a banking bankruptcy, and took part in the first Anglo-Afghan War. After the British suffered a humiliating and bloody rout from Kabul in 1842, General Nott repelled an Afghan attempt to take Kandahar. He later took an “army of retribution” to Kabul, after which he led a safe retreat to India. In 1843 he refuted “alleged excesses” by his men, writing: “Never did any army march through a country with less marauding and less violence than that which I commanded in Affghanistan.”

In 1844 he returned, unwell, to Carmarthen. He died on New Year’s Day 1845 at his home in Guildhall Square, leaving his second wife and four children by his first wife. He was buried at St Peter’s Church, after a funeral procession described as the largest ever in Wales.

The East India Company provided £200 towards a memorial in Carmarthen. Queen Victoria was among the other subscribers. The bronze statue, sculpted by Carmarthen-born artist Edward Davies, was cast from some of the 56 guns captured by British soldiers in 1843 in the Battle of Maharajpur, in what is Madya Pradesh state today.

In 1845 a Swansea ship owner named a new barque General William Nott. Its figurehead was a full-length carving of General Nott in uniform. It was wrecked by fire in 1848 while carrying copper from Cuba to Swansea.

Nott Square was formerly Carmarthen’s marketplace. A medieval town cross stood in this vicinity until a new cross replaced it in 1783. The new cross was demolished to make space for the statue.

Postcode: SA31 1PQ    View Location Map