john everard

This is Timothy the tortoise in the garden of Powderham Castle in 1993. Despite the name, Timothy was actually a lady - and a rather special one. Her little tag reads: ‘My name is Timothy. I am very old – please do not pick me up.’ She was indeed very old, in fact a veteran of the Crimean War where she found herself the mascot of HMS Queen during the first bombardment of Sevastopol in 1854. She had been found aboard a Portuguese privateer the same year by Captain John Courtenay Everard, of the Royal Navy. Later she sailed aboard HMS Princess Charlotte and HMS Nankin, exploring the East Indies and China from 1857-60.

She retired from naval service in 1892 and found herself in the care of the Courtenay family, taken in by the Earl of Devon. From then until her death in April 2004, she lived at Powderham Castle. On her underside was etched the family motto, ‘Where have I fallen? What have I done?’ This little veteran was approximately 165 years old at the time of her death. She was the last survivor of the Crimean War.