Military Wiki
George Wade
Field Marshal George Wade
Born 1673
Died 14 March 1748(1748-03-14)
Place of birth Killavally, Westmeath, Ireland
Allegiance  Kingdom of England
 Kingdom of Great Britain
Service/branch  English Army (1690-1707)
 British Army (1707-1748)
Years of service 1690-1748
Rank Field Marshal

Field Marshal George Wade (1673 – 14 March 1748) was a British Army officer who served in the Nine Years' War, War of the Spanish Succession, Jacobite rising of 1715 and War of the Quadruple Alliance before leading the construction of barracks, bridges and proper roads in Scotland. He went on to be a military commander during the War of the Austrian Succession and Commander-in-Chief of the Forces during the Jacobite rising of 1745.

Early career

Born the son of Jerome Wade in Killavally, Westmeath in Ireland, Wade was commissioned into the Earl of Bath's Regiment on 26 December 1690[1] and served in Flanders in 1692, fighting at the Battle of Steenkerque in August 1692 during the Nine Years' War and earning a promotion to lieutenant on 10 February 1693.[1] He transferred to Sir Bevil Granville's Regiment on 19 April 1694[2] and was promoted to captain on 13 June 1695.[1]

During the War of the Spanish Succession he first served under Marlborough, seeing action in Flanders at the Battle of Kaiserwerth in April 1702, the Battle of Venlo in September 1702, the Battle of Roermond in October 1702 and Battle of Liège also in October 1702, gaining promotion to major on 20 March 1703 and to lieutenant colonel in October 1703.[1] In 1704 he joined the staff of Henri de Massue, Earl of Galway as adjutant-general in Portugal,[1] and distinguished himself as colonel of the Huntingdon's Regiment during the Battle of Alcántara during which he was wounded in April 1706.[1] He repelled a large force of cavalry at Vila Nova and then commanded the 3rd infantry brigade during the Battle of Almansa in April 1707.[1] He won promotion to brigadier general on 1 January 1708.[2]

He served as second-in-command to James Stanhope in Minorca in 1708,[1] leading one of the storming parties on Fort St. Philip, before returning to Spain in 1710, where he fought at the Battle of Saragossa in August 1710.[1] He earned a promotion to major-general on 3 October 1714[3] and became commander of the British forces in Ireland in November 1714.[2]

Wade returned home to join in the suppression of the Jacobite rising of 1715 and undertook security duties in Bath where he unearthed a haul of Jacobite weapons.[2] He entered politics serving as Member of Parliament for Hindon in 1715.[4] On 19 March 1717 he became colonel of the Earl of Plymouth's Regiment of Horse.[2]

In 1719 he served as second in command to Viscount Cobham[3] during the War of the Quadruple Alliance when Cobham led a force of 4,000 troops on a raid on the Spanish coastline which captured Vigo and occupied it for ten days before withdrawing.[5]

He became Member of Parliament for Bath in 1722[6] retaining the seat for 25 years.[3] His house there is now a grade I listed building.[7]


The government of George I sent Wade to inspect Scotland in 1724.[3] He recommended the construction of barracks, bridges and proper roads to assist in the control of the region and on 10 May 1725 received appointment as Commander in Chief of His Majesty's forces, castles, forts and barracks in North Britain, tasked with carrying out his own recommendations.[8] Over the next twelve years Wade directed the construction of some 240 miles (390 km) of roads, plus 30 bridges (including the Tay Bridge at Aberfeldy).[2] General Wade's military roads linked the garrisons at Ruthven, Fort George, Fort Augustus, and Fort William.[9] A reference in verse is said to be inscribed on a stone at the start of one of his military roads in Scotland:

If you had seen this road before it was made.
You would lift up your hands and bless General Wade.[3]

Wade also organised a militia named "Highland Watches", calling on members of the landed gentry to sign up[10] and raising the first six companies in 1725 (three of Campbells and one each of Frasers, Grants, and Munros).[11] Also in 1725, Wade put down an insurrection after the Government attempted to extend the "Malt tax" to Scotland and enraged citizens in Glasgow drove out the military and destroyed the home of their representative in parliament.[12] He was promoted to lieutenant general on 15 April 1727.[13]

On 1 June 1732 he became Governor of Berwick upon Tweed[14] and on 19 June 1733 he became Governor of Fort William, Fort George and Fort Augustus.[15] He was promoted to general of horse on 17 July 1739.[16]

He raised four more "highland watch" companies in 1739: these were subsequently reorganized as the Black Watch regiment.[11] He still had the time to sign his support to the Foundling Hospital which was established in 1739 in London.[17] On 22 June 1742 he was appointed Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance[18] and on 24 June 1742 he was appointed a member of the Privy Council.[19]

War of the Austrian Succession

On 17 December 1743 he became a field marshal[20] with his appointment to the joint command of the Anglo-Austrian force in Flanders against the French in the War of the Austrian Succession.[3] Wade organised an advance towards Lille in July 1744 but the action became stalled in the face of logistical problems.[2] He resigned from his command in March 1745, returning home to become Commander-in-Chief of the Forces.[3]

Jacobite rising

Wade's Bridge over the Tay at Aberfeldy

In October 1745 during the Jacobite rising Wade focussed his troops on Newcastle upon Tyne on the East coast of England; however the Jacobite forces advanced from Scotland down the West coast of England via Carlisle into Lancashire and the speed of their advance left Wade scrambling.[3] In freezing conditions and with his men starving, he failed to counter their march into England or their subsequent retreat back from Derby to Scotland; Wade was replaced as Commander-in-Chief by Prince William, Duke of Cumberland who led the army to success at the Battle of Culloden in April 1746.[21]

Wade received mention in a verse used as part of God Save the King circa 1745:[3]

Lord, grant that Marshal Wade
May, by thy mighty aid,
Victory bring.
May he sedition hush
And, like a torrent, rush
Rebellious Scots to crush.
God save the King.

Wade died, unmarried, on 14 March 1748 and is buried at Westminster Abbey where his life is recognised by a monument created by Louis-François Roubiliac.[22]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Heathcote, p. 285
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 "George Wade". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 Heathcote, p. 286
  4. "No. 5360". 30 August 1715. 
  5. Rodger p. 229
  6. "No. 6045". 24 March 1722. 
  7. "Marshal Wade's House". Images of England. English Heritage. Retrieved 25 July 2009. 
  8. "No. 6371". 8 May 1725. 
  9. Mackenzie, Sir Kenneth (13 April 1897). Paper entitled General Wade & his Roads. Inverness Scientific Society. 
  10. "Highlander: The History of the Legendary Highland Soldier". British Commission for Military History. Autumn 2009. Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 "The Black Watch Regiment (1739-2006)". Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  12. Chalmers, p.871
  13. "No. 6572". 11 April 1727. 
  14. "No. 7097". 3 June 1732. 
  15. "No. 7205". 16 June 1733. 
  16. "No. 7823". 14 July 1739. 
  17. Royal Charter, p.10
  18. "No. 8129". 19 June 1742. 
  19. "No. 8130". 22 June 1742. 
  20. "No. 8284". 13 December 1743. 
  21. Pollard p.41-42
  22. Hiatt, p.4


  • Chalmers, George (1887). Caledonia, or, A historical and topographical account of North Britain, vol. 2. 
  • Heathcote, Tony (1999). The British Field Marshals 1736-1997. Pen & Sword Books Ltd. ISBN 0-85052-696-5. 
  • Hiatt, Charles (2009). Westminster Abbey : a short history and description of the church and conventual buildings with notes on the monuments. Forgotten Books. ISBN 978-1-4400-3478-7. 
  • Pollard, Tony (2009). Culloden: The History and Archaeology of the last Clan Battle. Pen & Sword Military. ISBN 978-1-84884-020-1. 
  • Rodger, Nicholas (2006). Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain, 1649-1815. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-102690-9. 
  • A copy of the Royal Charter establishing a hospital for the maintenance and education of exposed and deserted children. 1739. 

External links

  •  "Wade, George". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Reynolds Calthorpe, the younger
Member of Parliament for Hindon
With: Reynolds Calthorpe
John Pitt
Succeeded by
Henry Ludlow Coker
Preceded by
Robert Gay
Member of Parliament for Bath
With: John Codrington
Robert Gay
John Codrington
Philip Bennet
Robert Henley
Succeeded by
Sir John Ligonier
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Charles Wills
Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance
Succeeded by
Sir John Ligonier
Preceded by
The Earl of Stair
Commander-in-Chief of the Forces
Succeeded by
Duke of Cumberland

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).