top of page

1794: Killer flies - several men dead

Sir Watkin William Wynne's regiment of militia, intended for Brighton Camp, have been stopped at Cuckfield, owing, it is said, to a fever which has prevailed in the camp for some time past, of which several of the men have died. A great number of people are now ill at Brighton with a complaint in their bowels, which the' physicians attribute, in a great degree, to the vast quantity of flies which infest the liquids.

The Times, 27 August 1794

Who was Wynne?

The Parliamentary website tells us:

b. 26 Oct. 1772, 1st s. of Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, 4th Bt., of Wynnstay, and bro. of Charles Watkin Williams Wynn* and Henry Watkin Williams Wynn*. educ. by Rev. Robert Nares;1 Westminster 1784-9; Christ Church, Oxf. 1789-90; European tour (Brussels to St. Petersburg) 1792.2m. 4 Feb. 1817, Lady Henrietta Antonia Clive, da. of Edward Clive*, 1st Earl of Powis, 2s. 1da. suc. fa. as 5th Bt. 29 July 1789

Col Ancient British Drag. 1794-1800;

Williams Wynn, Sir Watkin, 5th Bt. (1772-1840), of Wynnstay, Denbighshire.

The third Sir Watkin of Wynnstay, who inherited at 17 an estate worth £32,000 p.a. from a father who was one of the most exquisite gentlemen of his day and often styled ‘The Prince of Wales’, presented something of a contrast to his progenitor: ‘a person of great weight in every sense of the word’, he caused chairs to collapse beneath the burden of his 17½ stone. Wynnstay in his time ceased to be a cultural centre and became a focus of military exercises, country sports, agricultural meetings and an appanage of Sir Watkin’s mother’s family the Grenvilles, under whose aegis, inevitably, he entered public life. To quote Lady Holland: ‘Sir Watkin is a Grenville in person and manner all over him; his tongue is immensely too big for his mouth, and his utterance is so impeded by it that what he attempts to articulate is generally unintelligible’.

Photo: Blowfly, (Calliphoridae) female, Austin's Ferry, Tasmania, Australia. Wikimedia public domain image.


bottom of page