James Pattle, English Judge, the greatest liar in British India!!

James & Adeline Pattle,their daughters.pattledomcreations.com

St. John's church, Kolkata. marble plaque,-James Pattle&  

James Pattle is considered to be the greatest liar in British India despite the exalted position he  had held during the British East India company's rule - Judge of the Calcutta High Court. Frankly speaking,  in democratic India there are scores of liars in Indian politics along with good and honest politicians and during election times these people work over time  and come up with all kinds of cock and bull stories to outwit the politicians on the opposite side to get the votes from the gullible people. The net result is the  Indian people at last get hoodwinked by their sentimental  stump speeches and their aspirations or grievances  will never see the light at the end of the tunnel.  If Mr. Pattle were alive to day, he would be just a pygmy before the Goliaths of Indian politics.    

James Pattle  was a member of the Bengal Civil Service, based in Calcutta (Kolkata, west  Bengal) in undivided Bengal during the British rule under the East India company and had been working there for some time. His brother  Colonel William (known as 'Jemmy Blazes' was  the leader of a famous charge against the Amirs of Sindh in 1843), it is believed, was also in the employ of EIC.  James died  in Calcutta on September 4, 1845 at the age of  69 and was buried in the graveyard of St John’s Church, Calcutta near Job Charnock’s (founder of Calcutta) mausoleum. James' wife Adeline died  on November 11 in the same year under mysterious circumstances. She was just 52.


Can you imagine one of the famous English writer Virginia's wolf's forefathers was James Pattle, who was a habitual, whooping liar. The story of James Pattle's mysterious corpse is bizarre and it is quite strange that it did not attract the attention of  the  then famous  Hollywood director Albert Hitchcock of Psycho fame.  James Pattle, Judge of the High Court  and  son of a director of the East India Company (1787-1795) - Thomas Pattle  and his wife, Sarah Haslesby, was born on 31 December, 1775, at Beauleah, Bengal  and died  on September 4, 1845  on Chowringee Road, Calcutta. James married Adeline De L'Tang, a French girl, daughter of the  Chevalier de L'Etang, one of Queen Marie Antoinette's pages in Calcutta.  Starting his  career  in 1792  with the help of his father (on recommendation from Warren Hastings, Governor General),  Pattle became a senior member in India of the Board of Revenue. Subsequently he became  a judge of the Court of Appeal at Murshidabad. Having put in  53 years of  service with the EIC, Pattle  had the distinction being "one of the longest-serving employees of the British company. He seemed to have lived in the Garden Reach area overlooking the Hooghly river.


'Seven generations of my family were born in Calcutta, there are three Dalrymples sitting inside St John’s graveyard', according to Dalrymple (a British historian, and writer, art historian and curator, as well as a prominent broadcaster and critic) his great-great-grandfather’s plaque is on the St John’s Church wall, James Pattle.

By the bye what was James Pattle famous for? What kind of  reputation did he have?  Surprisingly, this man, coming from a good family and parentage did not enjoy a good name. He was quite extravagantly a wicked man, a notorious, habitual  liar and drinker. Leading a riotous life far below the prestige of his family,  he was frequently referred to  "as the greatest liar in India" (in the words of Virginia Woolf, and James own great grandchild). After death he wanted his body to be buried in England by his wife (a condition mentioned in his will), who was the legal heir to his for

So after death,  Pattle was put in a cask with spirits to preserve him and embalmed. On the ship it was kept near the widow's room. In the dead of night the cask exploded,  the corpse popped up, sitting up in the cask half out like  jack-in-the-box right before the widow's eyes which gave her a heavy bolt. The sailors forced Mrs. Prattle to take the cask back to Calcutta. The charted ship carrying the cask  was, on the way, caught in a heavy storm, broken apart and washed ashore. Days  later  surprisingly the cask was washed ashore near Mrs. Pattle's house. She took the cask home and kept it near her bed room. As usual in the midnight, there was  an unexpected explosion and Mrs. Adeline Pattle, who had a horrible marital life with a drunk-husband, saw the corpse busting out and sitting in the cask. Mrs. Pattle  was terribly  frightened and  she fell ill soon after this bizarre incident.  The reason for the explosion was due to gas generated in the rum filled cask.

Virginia Woolf summed it all up by reporting "That Pattle had been such a scamp, the devil wouldn't let him go out of India." However, some of his great grand children do not believe that Pattle was a big liar and a drunkard as he has been projected. They claim that  it could be his brother  Colonel William Pratt.
Pinocchio, a symbol of untruthfulness. en.wikipedia.org

There is a monument to him and his wife Adeline (daughter of Chevalier de L'etang) in St. John's Church and is being visited by his great grand children.

Perhaps, it was Prattle's way to scare his wife silly, as it is likely that he was ill-treated by this wife, far beyond his level of tolerance!! It was God's edit that he should die in India and take an eternal sleep within the compound walls of St. James church, Kolkata.