Followers of court building projects will recognize the name Francis Hamilton. He was deeply involved with the Washington effort in the 90s, the saving of the building at Troon from threatened demolition and with the near win in Edinburgh.

Fewer will know that he is a direct descendent of British General Robert Ross, who won the Battle of Bladensburg and led the burning of Washington in the War of 1812. At Bladensburg, the leader of the American forces, Commodore Joshua Barney, was wounded in the thigh and captured while slowing the inexorable British advance. Barney surrendered his sword and, because of his valor and that of his outmanned troops, General Ross paroled him rather than imprisoning him.

The sword, however, was passed down through the Hamilton family until Monday, October 20, when Francis presented it to the citizens of the United States of America at a ceremony at the Navy War Museum in Washington.

During their visit, Francis and his son, Thomas, both representing Hardwick House played a match against Temple Grassi and Haven Pell for the Fowler Hamilton Cup, originally donated by Hamilton and Ian Fowler, another founder of the Washington court, to serve as a prize for any contest between Prince’s Court and a touring side from England.

Grassi and Pell were victorious by 10-7 thus evening the Washington-sacking score albeit 200 years late. Since very few actually know who won the War of 1812 and since it was the last time England and the United States were on opposite sides in a war, the commemorative picture split the two teams rather than having the contestants stand on opposite sides of the cup, which is seen at hazard Hamilton (a.k.a. the door) commemorating an earlier act of generosity.