Rare medals awarded by Lord Nelson to local hero fetch £120,000

Sir William Hoste in Norfolk

Sir William Hoste. Medals awarded to him by Admiral Lord Nelson went under the hammer for a staggering sum. - Credit: Supplied

Medals awarded to Norfolk's Sir William Hoste - one of Admiral Lord Nelson's most highly regarded captains - sold for a staggering sum at auction.

Sir William Hoste Norfolk medal

The medal which went under the hammer - Credit: Supplied

The exceptionally rare Captain’s Naval Gold Medal awarded for the Battle of Lissa in 1811 sold in London. The medal had been estimated to fetch £60,000-£80,000 and was bought by an anonymous private collector bidding by telephone.

Captain Sir William Hoste - whom the Hoste Arms in Burnham Market is named after - came from Ingoldisthorpe, near King's Lynn.

He entered the navy at an early age and shortly after was introduced to Lord Nelson. This sowed the seeds of a firm friendship between the two, and soon after he was accepted to serve aboard the HMS Agamemnon.

Sir Hoste was by Lord Nelson’s side from 1793 and 1798 and was present at the Battle of St Vincent and the Battle of the Nile. Letters written by Lord Nelson to his wife during this time mentioned that he considered Sir Hoste to be ‘without exception, one of the finest boys I ever met with.’


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The medals had never appeared at auction before having remained in the collection of the Hoste family until now.

David Kirk, medal specialist at London auctioneers Morton and Eden, said: “We are delighted for the family and we feel that this result does real justice to what is, without doubt, a superb medal. 

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"Captain Sir William Hoste was an extremely important naval figure, as well as being a protégé and friend of Nelson.”

Sir William Hoste medal from Norfolk

One of the medals which went under the auction hammer - Credit: Supplied

Sir William died of tuberculosis in London in 1828.

The last member of the family to bear the name Sir William Hoste was killed in action in 1915, aged 20. This marked the end of the direct line of Hoste descendants, which then passed to other relations of the name Fortescue.

A Norfolk hero

Sir William Hoste was educated at King’s Lynn and then later at Paston School, which Horatio Nelson had also attended some years earlier.

In April 1817 he married Lady Harriett Walpole,  daughter of the third Earl of Orford, with whom he had five children. Sir William was buried in St John's Chapel, London. There is a memorial to him at St Paul's Cathedral.


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