We are temporarily moving on from our features on the history of our local schools to look at famous people from the past who were born in Mid Cheshire, and we begin with General Charles Lee.

General Lee was from a long line of Cheshire aristocracy; his maternal grandfather was of landed gentry being, Sir Henry Bunbury, 3rd Baronet, and an MP for Cheshire.

His father was Major General John Lee, born 1694, who served in the British Army and who died in Mottram, Cheshire.

Charles was born on February 6, 1732, and had six older siblings, only one of whom, Sidney Lee, survived to adulthood.

She was four years older than Charles. Charles and his siblings were born in Darnhall, Cheshire, and his early life was spent there.

The exact location is not known, although reference has been made to Lea Hall.

Charles was a temperamental child who initially had home tutors and was then sent to a grammar school in Chester, followed by an academy in Switzerland.

Northwich Guardian: Charles Lee in BattleCharles Lee in Battle (Image: Rose Hurley)

Finally, he returned to England and attended a free grammar school, King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds, this being close to his uncle, Reverend William Bunbury.

This school still exists, now with more than 500 years of educational service. His father was the colonel of the 55th Foot (later known as 44th) in the British Army when he purchased a commission for Charles.

Charles served in the British Army during the Seven Years’ War, after which he sold his commission and then fought in the Polish Army for King Stanislaus II.

The Seven Years’ War took place in the 1750s and was a conflict between France and Britain over who would control the American northern territories and land claims.

In the 1770s, Charles moved to America and acquired the services of Guiseppe Minghini, who remained with him for the rest of Charles’ life.

Charles had at least six slaves and bequeathed them as a part of his estate on his death.

His initial servant Guiseppe and his housekeeper, Elizabeth Dunne, were the beneficiaries, as was his sister, Sidney.

Northwich Guardian: Christ Church PhiladelphiaChrist Church Philadelphia (Image: Rose Hurley)

It is reputed, although never completely evidenced, that whilst in the northern territories of North America, he became acquainted with the Native Americans and subsequently married the daughter of a Mohawk chief, with whom he had twins. The Mohawks knew Charles by the name Ounewaterika, translated as 'Boiling Water'.

In 1773 he bought an estate in Western Virginia. When the American War of Independence broke out in 1775, he volunteered to join the patriot forces.

In 1776 forces under his command prevented a British advance on the city of Charleston, and he was thought highly of by Congress for his actions.

Later in 1776, the British cavalry captured him in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, and held him captive until a prisoner exchange took place in 1778.

During the Battle of Monmouth, Charles led an assault on British forces which was unsuccessful.

At his own request, Charles was court-martialled on three charges: that disobedience of orders, misbehaviour before the enemy, and disrespecting George Washington.

Northwich Guardian: Darnhall Village HallDarnhall Village Hall (Image: Rose Hurley)

This was proved in several letters he wrote after the battle. He was found guilty and ordered to return home.

He made many enemies and was challenged to a duel by John Laurens, a supporter of Washington, who shot him, injuring but not killing him.

In 1780 Lee formally retired from the Continental Army and made his home in Philadelphia. He died there in 1782 and is buried in Christ Church, Philadelphia.

From a diminutive and rather sickly child born in Darnhall Cheshire, he led an extraordinary and full life across Europe and America.