Horace Bampfylde
Medium: Television, Book,
Nationality: British
Rank: Colonel (movie)
Captain (book)
Appearances: Sharpe's Siege TV Movie
Actor: Christopher Villiers
An officer of His Majesties Forces, he is both ambitious and foolish, and described as a man eager to be seen to behave heroically in all things.


Captain Horace Bampfylde of the Royal Navy first appeared in Sharpe's Siege. He meets Richard Sharpe in the officers' club watching the predations of an American privateer from the window overlooking the harbor, and is described a plump with pale blue-grey eyes. Sharpe hates him on sight.

Sharpe later finds himself tied to Bampfylde's ambitions as he lies about having marines available to fight, and thereby acquires Sharpe and two companies of Frederickson's 60th Rifles to aid in his ambitions.

When he produces over 100 marines with which to take the fortress at Teste de Buch, Sharpe spots the ambush waiting for him, takes the fort by deception, and rescues the marines without the marines engaging at all. Bampfyld, however, writes his dispatches without naming Sharpe. 

After William Frederickson gives the American privateers captured in the action his solemn word they would be treated with the dignity of war prisoners, Bampfylde ignores the promise, and the objections, and beats the American captain, planning to hang the entire crew as pirates after burning their letter of marque, and certificates of American citizenship. He is frustrated in this by Sharpe, who commands the force on land, and intends to have Fredereickson's word honored, so releases the Americans on parole.

With Sharpe out of the fortress, Bampfylde is convinced by le comte de Maquerre to abandon the fort, destroy its defenses, and that the Rifles have been captured in an action. He blew the gate, and the powder magazine, and sailed away abandoning the Rifles and 50 marines.

When Sharpe successfully completes his mission and returns to British lines, he finds Bampfylde happily regaling others with how he had captured the fortress, Sharpe, still bloody, exhausted, and battle-stained, confronts him, "You ran did not take the fortress, you bastard, I did. And then I held...." (Sharpe's Siege)

By Sharpe's Revenge, the enmity between the two men was resolved in a duel. Having chosen pistols, Bampfylde fired too soon, and missed Sharpe by an appreciable margin. Sharpe admitted to Frederickson, his second, that he tried to kill Bampfylde, but his pistol pulled left. The resulting shot took Bampfylde through the buttocks.

Sharpe was later told that for the good of the Navy it had been decided there would be no court martial, but that Bampfylde had left the service, "And that he still has difficulty with his bowels." (Sharpe's Revenge)


Colonel Horace Bampfylde was still in his twenties, "a very young colonel because his father is a very old general." Wellington promoted him to Command of the Prince of Wales Own Volunteers because if he got a good command, his father would give Wellington all the stores he needed to get to Paris.

He first encounters Sharpe during ladies' night at the officer's mess, he is loud, crass, and profane. Sharpe, holding his temper, asks that he behave as a gentleman as ladies are present, and then is forced to ask a second time. Bampfylde approaches Sharpe, intent on calling him out. Sharpe disdainfully points out Wellington has prohibited dueling. Frederickson steps in and identifies Sharpe to the intemperate colonel, the colonel has heard of Sharpe, and the Comte gave them both excuses to diffuse the situation.

When the colonel leads the regiment into France, he splits the forces, sending Sharpe and Frederickson and their rifles on a patrol of the roads while he takes the remainder on a futile assault of le Comte's castle which was serving as a French Garrison. Observing from a distance Rifleman Hagman, who had previously refered to the Colonel as 'Bumfylde,' damns him as a butcher, not a soldier. Frederickson points out the assault ladders aren't even long enough to reach the tops of the walls. The attack was repulsed with heavy casualties. It became apparent that Bampfylde was in far over his head.

When Sharpe and Frederickson and their Rifles later took the castle without loss, using a ruse de guerre, Bampfylde marched in after, "I'm in charge here," and then sent the Rifles back on patrol. He was then convinced by le comte de Maquerre to abandon the fort, and the wounded, destroy its defenses, that the Rifles had been killed in action, and return "to report."

Back in the English camp, his wounded Captain, Palmer, cites Sharpe as his rescuer and levels charges of cowardice, abandoning his post, his wounded, and conspiring with agents of Bonaparte against the colonel. Wellington has him placed under close arrested pending court martial.