Amherst, Jeffrey, first Baron Amherst of Holmesdale was born on 29th January 1716/7 at Brooks Place, Riverhead, Kent, the second son of Jeffrey Amherst and his wife, Elizabeth, the daughter of Thomas Kerrill of Hadlow, Kent.
Amherst became a soldier at the tender age of 14. After service in the War of the Austrian Succession, he gained fame during the Seven Years' War, particularly in the North American campaign. The succesful Siege of Louisbourg in 1758 led immediately to Amherst taking command of all of England's armies in North America. Amherst's second in command was the young James Wolfe who played a crucial role at Louisbourg and subsequently in the liberation of Quebec. England was to concentrate most of its efforts for the duration of The Seven Years' War in North America; and, after four years of fighting, in 1763, at the Treaty of Paris, France gave up its North American possessions and, subsequently, North America, was to be dominated by English policy and language.
Today a single obelisk remains as a memorial to Jeffrey Amherst:
Dedicated to that most able Statesman during whose Administration, Cape Breton and Canada were conquered and from whose influence the British Arms derived a Degree of Lustre unparalleled in past ages.
|LOUISBOURGH surrendered and Six French Battalions Prisoners of War||July 26, 1758|
|FORT DU QUESNE taken possession of||Nov. 24, 1758|
|NIAGARA surrendered||July 25, 1759|
|TICONDERAGE taken possession of||July 26, 1759|
|CROWN POINT taken possession of||August 4, 1759|
|QUEBEC capitulated||Sept. 18, 1759|
|FORT LEVI surrendered||Aug. 25, 1760|
|ISLE OF NOIX abandoned||Aug. 28, 1760|
|MONTREAL surrendered and with it all Canada, and ten French battalions laid down their arms||Sept. 8, 1760|
|ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland, retaken||Sept. 18, 1762|
Circa 1752 Jeffrey Amherst had a son Jeffery by an unknown mother and he also became a soldier and rose to the rank of Major-General. On 20th May 1753 Jeffrey Amherst married Jane Dalison at Gray's Inn Chapel in London. Within a few years she succumbed to insanity and died on 7th January 1765. Amherst razed the family seat at Riverhead (which he had inherited in 1763 on the death of his brother Sackville) and built a new house that he christened "Montreal". On 26th March 1767, at St James's, Westminster, he married Elizabeth Cary, the daughter of Lieutenant-General George Cary. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries the house and family hosted an annual summer picnic for the children educated at the junior school they established in the village of Riverhead; the school still bears Amherst's coat of arms. With the decline of the family's fortunes the house was knocked down in the late 20th century to make way for a housing development.
In 1770, Amherst was appointed Governor of Guernsey and in 1772 Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance. In 1776 he received his peerage as Baron Amherst of Holmesdale. Subsequently, the latter part of his army career was less successful. He was appointed Field Marshal in 1796 but died a year later died at his home, Montreal, Riverhead, Kent, on 3rd August 1797.