Widdrington, Samuel Edward (DNB00)

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WIDDRINGTON, SAMUEL EDWARD (d. 1856), writer on Spain, was the eldest son of Joseph Cook (1759–1844) of Newton Hall in Northumberland, vicar of Chatton and Shilbottle in the same county, by his wife Sarah, daughter of E. Brown and great-niece and coheiress of Nathaniel Widdrington of Hauxley in Northumberland; Sarah and her son afterwards assumed the name of Widdrington. Samuel entered the English navy on 31 Dec. 1802. During the first years of his service he was employed against the French batteries and flotillas in the neighbourhood of Boulogne. He was afterwards sent to the West Indies, where in June 1805 he obtained special mention for his conduct at the capture of the Concepcion, a large felucca. He saw much boat service on the coast of Cayenne and Surinam, and on 10 July 1809 he was appointed lieutenant to the Fame, 74 guns. While serving as first lieutenant with Captain Edward Reynolds Sibly in the Swallow sloop, in the neighbourhood of Port d'Anzo in Tuscany, he led a successful boat attack on the Guerrière, a French brig, on 16 Sept. 1813. He served with the same captain in the Niemen on the establishment of peace, and with Captain Charles Dashwood on the Windsor Castle, a 74-gun ship. The Windsor Castle being at Lisbon during a popular commotion, Dom John of Portugal took refuge on board her, and Cook was in consequence presented with the order of the Tower and Sword, and on 3 June 1824, at the earnest request of the prince, was promoted to the rank of commander.

He retired soon after from the navy, and in 1829 went to Spain. After residing there for more than three years he published in 1834 ‘Sketches in Spain during the years 1829–32’ (London, 2 vols. 8vo). The work, which was dedicated to Lord Algernon Percy, baron Prudhoe, was the most complete account of Spain which had then been published in the English language. In 1840 he assumed the surname of Widdrington, and in 1843 he paid a second visit to Spain, and on his return published his experiences under the title ‘Spain and the Spaniards in 1843’ (London, 1844, 2 vols. 8vo), dedicated to the Duke of Northumberland.

Widdrington was elected a fellow of the Royal Society on 22 Dec. 1842, and was also a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He died at Newton Hall on 11 Jan. 1856. He married, on 18 Sept. 1832, at Trinity Church, Marylebone, Dorothy, second daughter of Alexander Davison of Swarland Park, Northumberland, but left no children. He was succeeded in his estates by his nephew, Shalcross Fitzherbert Jacson, who assumed the surname of Widdrington.

[Gent. Mag. 1856, i. 305; Burke's Landed Gentry; Allibone's Dict. of English Lit.; O'Byrne's Nav. Biogr. 1849.]

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