Pechell, Paul (DNB00)

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PECHELL, Sir PAUL (1724–1800), first baronet and soldier, second son of Jacob Pechell and of Jane, daughter of John Boyd, was born at Owenstown, co. Kildare, in 1724. His father, Jacob, served in the British army and adopted the war-office spelling, Pechell. His grandfather, Samuel de Péchels (1645–1732), a native of Montauban, was ejected from his estate upon the revocation of the edict of Nantes in 1685. In a brief narrative (printed in Sussex Archæological Collections, xxvi. 116) he relates how, after the entry of the ‘missionary’ dragoons into Montauban, he was first imprisoned at Cahors, and then in 1687 conveyed to Montpellier, whence he was shipped to the French West Indies. He managed to escape from St. Domingo to Jamaica in 1688, and, after many hardships, reached England in the autumn of that year. In August 1689 he accompanied William III to Ireland as a lieutenant in Schomberg's regiment, and in January 1690 the king granted him a pension. He subsequently acquired the estate of Owenstown, co. Kildare, and, dying at Dublin in 1732, was buried in St. Anne's Church in that city.

Paul himself entered the army as cornet-en-second in the royal regiment of dragoons (1st dragoons), 17 March 1743–4. He was promoted to be captain in Brigadier-general Fleming's regiment (36th foot), now the second battalion Worcestershire regiment, 12 Dec. 1746. At the beginning of 1747 the 36th regiment embarked at Gravesend to join the army of the Duke of Cumberland in Flanders. Pechell was present at operations near the frontiers of Holland, which led to the battle of Laffeld or Val, near Maestricht, 2 July 1747. His regiment lost two officers, two sergeants, and twenty-two rank and file, and he was among the wounded. He received from the Duke of Cumberland ‘the greatest commendation’ (Lond. Gazette, 27 July 1747).

After the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, 7 Oct. 1748, the establishment of the regiment was reduced on its return to England, and Pechell was gazetted captain in the 3rd dragoon guards, 31 May 1751. In the spring of 1752 this regiment furnished relays of escorts to attend George II to Harwich, where his majesty embarked on his way to Hanover, and for the next three years the regiment was on coast duty to put down the smuggling and highway robbery in Suffolk, Essex, and Devonshire. On 25 Nov. 1754 Pechell was gazetted guidon and captain in the second troop of the horse grenadier guards (now the 2nd lifeguards), lieutenant and captain 5 July 1755, major 7 Feb. 1759, and lieutenant-colonel 20 Jan. 1762.

He retired from the service on 24 June 1768, receiving a lump sum for his commis- sion. He was created a baronet on 1 March 1797, and died in 1800. He married, in 1752, Mary, only daughter and heiress of Thomas Brooke, of Paglesham, Essex, and left two sons and five daughters. His eldest son, Major-general Sir Thomas Brooke Pechell (d. 1826), was father of Rear-admiral Sir Samuel John Brooke Pechell, and of Admiral Sir George Richard Brooke Pechell, both of whom are separately noticed.

[Burke's Peerage, s.v. Pechell; Sussex Archæological Collections, xxvi. 113–51 (with pedigree); Benoit's Hist. de l'Edit de Nantes; Erman et Reclam's Mémoires des Réfugiés Français; Agnew's French Protestant Exiles; War Office Records; De Ainslie's First Dragoons; Cannon's First Dragoons and Third Dragoon Guards; Army Lists.]

B. H. S.