Born: 1877, Woodford, Essex.

Died: 8th August 1900; age 23; Died of wounds received at Roodepoort at the Military Hospital, Kroonstad, Free State, South Africa.

Reported in The Standard newspaper – Friday, 22nd June 1900 – as being dangerously wounded on the 28th May 1900 at action at Roodepoort.

Residence: Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Family home at Sudbury, Suffolk.

Occupation: in the service of the African Banking Corporation, at the Port Elizabeth branch, South Africa.


Volunteered in February 1900 and was almost immediately appointed corporal. 


Rank: Corporal; Service Number: 109.

Regiment: 3rd South African Regiment, Eastern Province Light Horse.


Clasps Awarded: Cape Colony & Orange Free State – issued 25th February 1902.




1881   ‘Lyndock’ Margaretting, Essex.


Ernest was 4 years old and living with his parents & brother.

Leonard Butler Wrightson, 29, a Wholesale Tea Merchant, born Dalston, London.

Fanny Augusta Wrightson (nee Straight), 28, born Chelmsford, Essex.

Harold Davies Miller Wrightson, 3, born Margaretting.

2 general domestic servants.


1891   Christ’s Hospital School, King Edward Street, Aldersgate, London.


Ernest was 14 years old, he and his 13 year old brother, Harold were scholars and boarders at Christ’s Hospital. Head School Master – 31 year old, Walter Hugh Beaufort, a Clerk in Holy Orders.


Ernest was educated at King Edward VI Grammar School for Boys, at Chelmsford, Essex and at Christ’s Hospital School, King Edward Street, Aldersgate – entered 1885 – left 1891.


After leaving Christ’s Hospital School, Ernest joined the service of the Commercial Union Insurance Company, at London. In 1896, he travelled to South Africa for employment with the Harbour Commissioners, at Port Elizabeth. Whilst at Port Elizabeth he became a member of the PE Crusader Club where at 6ft 1in height Ernest was described as a very fine and dashing young fellow, quite the leader in all sports and athletics at Port Elizabeth.


Ernest’s father, Leonard Butler Wrightson, was a Tea Merchant, of Messrs. Wrightson & Co., the business included bonded tea warehouses at Trinity, John Street, Minories and at St. Olave’s Tower Hill, London. Leonard traded in Young Hyson, Pekoe, broken Pekoe, Souchong and other expensive kinds of tea. Leonard later became a Conservative Parliamentary Election Agent, and in February 1894, was elected the Conservative Agent for the South (or Sudbury) Division of Suffolk. Leonard, commonly known in the City as “the Alderman maker.” The selection to this office was held at the Victoria Hall, on Thursday afternoon, 21st February, with Colonel Nathaniel Barnardiston, D.L., in the chair. There were in all twenty-four candidates for the position. Leonard had filled similar positions both in Essex and in London, and had had a great deal of election agency experience as well as in revision courts, was unanimously appointed. This meant that the Wrightson family had to move from their home at Ingatestone, Essex to take up residence in Sudbury, Sudbury. An advert was submitted to the local newspapers seeking a 7 bedroomed and 3 sitting roomed house, with a good garden in or within a mile of the town of Sudbury – for immediate occupation. The Wrightson made their new family home at 17, Frairs Street, Sudbury.

Ernest’s maternal grandfather William Straight (born 1805, Chelmsford – died 1895, Chelmsford), of Guy Harlings, New Street, Chelmsford, continued in the Straight family business, as a Master Grocer, Tea Dealer, Fruiterer, Stationer and Merchant. William’s properties at Chelmsford, Writtle, Galleywood, Great Baddow, Margaretting, Hockley and Rettendon, included shops, farms, a blacksmiths, pasture land and meadow land.

Ernest’s father, Leonard Wrightson regularly wrote letters to newspapers with his viewpoint and opinion.

London Evening Standard – 1st August 1900 – TO THE EDITOR OF THE STANDARDSir, Since writing to you complaining of the extraordinary length of time it takes to receive an answer to prepaid telegrams addressed to “Casualty, Capetown,” which the War Office have admitted are rarely replied to in less than two or three weeks, I again applied to this authority to learn if they could not possibly give me some definite news regarding my son, officially reported “dangerously wounded” on the 22nd June, and from the following telegraphic reply, of which I send you a textual copy, it will be seen that the War Office authorities appear to have underestimated the length of time it takes for a prepaid reply to be received:-

“War Office, London, 28th July, handed in 1:10 p.m., received 1:43 p.m. – To Wrightson, Sudbury, Suffolk. – No further report of — — since that quoted. As name was not since appeared, it may be presumed that he is progressing favourably. Telegrams to Cape often take more than months to answer. Any further news will be sent immediately.”

It occurs to me – doubtless as it will to others – that if it takes “more than months” in which to elicit a telegraphic reply as to the condition of our wounded relatives and friends, it is quite useless to seek information through “Casualty, Capetown,” whose department must be a hopeless muddle.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

Leonard Butler Wrightson

Sudbury, Suffolk, 31st July 1900.


Probate to Leonard Butler Wrightson – father, an Insurance Inspector.


Leonard Butler Wrightson donated a bronze Medal of Honour, to King Edward VI Grammar School, in memory of his late son Ernest. The medal was first awarded in 1901, later in 1909, the medal was awarded for Shooting and Drill.


Ernest is also remembered on a memorial at King Edward VI Grammar School. The stained glass window of Leonidas at Thermopylae was unveiled by Head Master Mr. Frank William Rogers B.A., of Trinity College, Dublin and his wife Mrs. Sarah Ellen Rogers.


Extra Christ Hospital School’s information courtesy of Mr. Bill Richards.


The Boer War.

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