Sir Ephraim Gerrish Stannus (Biographical details)

Sir Ephraim Gerrish Stannus (military/naval; Irish; Male; 1784 - 21 October 1850)

Also known as

Stannus, Ephraim Gerrish; Stannus, Ephraim Gerrish

Biography

Born 1784; from a wealthy Irish family with seats at Carlingford in county Louth, The Elms, Portalington in county Leix, and Baltiboys, Blessington in county Wicklow. 'Stannus was a splendid-looking man with a tall soldier-like presence' (Pl. 7; Vibart 1894, p. 107). Married Mary Louisa, 16 October 1829. Previously joined the service of the Indian army in 1800 and was posted to the Bombay European Regiment with which he served with distinction in the Kattywar and Mahratta campaigns. Promoted to Captain in 1811, rising to Colonel in 1829 (Vibart 1894, pp. 104-7; Crone 1937, p. 237; Burke's Peerage 1976, p. 1046). Served briefly as the East India Company Resident at Bushire (Bushehr) and produced an important report for the British government on the state of trade between Persia and India between 1817 and 1823 (quoted by Issawi 1971, pp. 89-91), During this posting he conducted excavations at Persepolis in 1825; he also moulded a number of the exposed sculptures at this site. He made casts from these and presented a set to his superior, Mountstuart Elphinstone (q.v.). He retired to England from this post on health grounds in 1826 but was later appointed Lieutenant-Governor of the East India Company Military Seminary at Addiscombe, near Croydon, on 13 March 1834. This promotion followed the resignation of his predecessor over growing criticism of the discipline at Addiscombe, the breakdown of which was attributed to 'the pernicious habit of smoking cigars' and the availability of pocket money (Broadfoot 1893, p. 651). However, 'though just and kindly, he was no administrator, and was systematically irritated by the cadets into extraordinary explosions of wrath and violent language. During the latter years of his rule at Addiscombe the discipline seems to have got very slack' (Lee 1898, p. 86). 'Notwithstanding his quickness of temper and his use of strong language, Sir Ephraim Stannus was a favourite with the cadets' (Vibart 1894, p. 109). In 1838 Stannus was promoted to the rank of Major-General and he remained in post here until he died of a heart attack on 21 October 1850, aged 66.

Bibliography

q.v. Stannus, 'Burke's Irish Family Records', p. 1046, London, 1976; St J. Simpson, ‘Rediscovering past splendours from Iran: 19th-century plaster casts of sculptures from Persepolis’, British Museum Magazine 36 (spring 2000), pp. 28-9.