Hornblower's Family

Below is a brief sketch of Hornblower's genealogy.  It is taken from the books (and as best as one can tell from the movies) rather than from Parkinson's Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower.

Horatio Hornblower

born July 4, 17761 in Kent, England2

died after 18483

son of Dr. (Unknown) Hornblower (d. between 1793 and 1803 according to the movies) and (Unknown) (d. prior to 1793)4

married (1) on April 2, 18035 by Rev. Clive at the Church of St. Thomas a Becket, Portsmouth, England6

Maria Ellen Mason6

died February 7, 1811 (in childbed) and was buried in the cemetery at the Church of St. Thomas a Becket, Portsmouth, England7

daughter of (Unknown) Mason (d. 1801 in HMS Hannibal according to the movies) and Phyllida8 (maiden name unknown)

Horatio and Maria Hornblower had three children, only one of whom survived childhood:

  1. Horatio Hornblower  - born January 1, 18049, died of smallpox 1807/180810

  2. Maria Hornblower - born January 8, 180611, died of smallpox 1807/180810

  3. Richard Arthur Horatio Hornblower12 - born January 1811 (Godfathers: Lords Wellesley and Wellington)

married (2) in October 1811

Lady Barbara Wellesley (Leighton)

born 1781/178613

Barbara was previously married to Rear Admiral Sir Percy Gilbert Leighton in March/April 181014.  Leighton died in October 1810 at Rosas Bay15.

1Mr. Midshipman Hornblower, Ch. 1

2Lord Hornblower, Ch. 16

3"The Last Encounter"

4Mr. Midshipman Hornblower, Ch. 1

5Horatio and Maria's wedding date would be later in the movies than in the books, and consequently, the birth date of their first child would be later as well.

6Hornblower and the Hotspur, Ch. 1

7Flying Colours, Ch. 17

8Barbara Flynn (the actress who played Mrs. Mason in HH3) christened Mrs. Mason, "Phyllida", according to her interview in the Behind the Scenes extras on the Japanese version of the DVD.

9Hornblower and the Hotspur, Ch. 17

10Hornblower and the Atropos, Ch. 21

11Hornblower and the Atropos, Ch. 5

12Flying Colours, Ch. 17

13Beat to Quarters, which takes place in 1808, gives Lady Barbara's age as 27 and gives Hornblower's age as 37.  Beat to Quarters was written prior to Mr. Midshipman Hornblower in which Hornblower's birth date is listed as July 4, 1776.  If you prefer to give the specific date of Hornblower's birth precedence and wish to maintain the ten-year age difference between Hornblower and Lady Barbara, use the 1786 date for Lady Barbara's birth.  If, however, you are more of a stickler for history (and don't wish to cast aspersions on the Duke of Wellington's mother...), nix the ten-year age difference mentioned in the books and go with the earlier birth year--Wellesley family patriarch, Garret Wesley, 1st Earl of Mornington, died in 1781 and, as such, couldn't have fathered any children five years later.

14Ship of the Line, Ch. 2

15Flying Colours, Ch. 15








Horatio Hornblower and Maria Mason were married April 2, 1803 (according to the books).  Lt. William Bush was Best Man at their wedding.  A wedding breakfast followed at the George Inn, Portsmouth.


Hornblower met Lady Barbara Wellesley aboard his ship Lydia in 1808.  Lady Barbara served as Richard Hornblower's guardian after the death of his mother during the period when England believed Hornblower to be dead.  Soon after Hornblower's return from France, he and Lady Barbara were married.