Dom João VI of Portugal, formerly Prince Regent, bestowed various classes of The Military Order of the Tower and Sword upon British Royal Naval Officers of H.M.S. Windsor Castle (74 guns) (14 awards) and H.M.S. Lively (six awards) which were anchored off Lisbon and aboard which the King sought refuge, in May 1824, after his son Dom Miguel's coup d'etat. Vice Admiral Sir Charles Dashwood (1765-1847) Commander of H.M.S. Windsor Castle was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order.
The Windsor Castle diamond medal or 'jewel' was a personal gift of Dom João IV of Portugal, to the same officers, in gratitude for the refuge he found aboard the two British ships anchored off Lisbon in May 1824. Four distinct classes were presented, identified by the numeral engraved on the reverse of each medal beneath the recipient's name and also the number of diamonds on the obverse. In this example there are 13 diamonds. Additionally the 4th class was divided into two grades, one with diamonds the other without.
Captain Samuel Edward Cook R.N., K.T.S., F.R.S., F.G.S., (Widdrington) (1787-1856) was the eldest son of Rev. Joseph Cook M.A. of Newton, by Sarah Brown, grand-niece and co-heir to Nathaniel Widdrington (d.1780), the last of the line of the family of Widdrington, of Hauxley, Northumberland.
Cook obtained his first commission in June 1809. In June 1813 while serving as First Lieutenant with Capt. E. R. Sibly, in the Swallow sloop, he attacked with three boats the Guerriére French Brig, carrying 4 guns and 60 stand of arms, which had been taken in tow by several boats belonging to Porto d'Anzio. On this occasion two seamen were killed and four severly wounded in Lieut. Cook's boat.
He next served with Captain Charles Dashwood as First Lieutenant on the Windor Castle (74 guns). After Dom João VI of Portugal took refuge on board Windsor Castle, Lieutenant Cook was presented with the Order of the Tower and Sword and at the King's request promoted to the rank of Commander on 3 June 1824. After that date he was no further employed.
In 1840 Cook inherited part of the Widdrington Estate and took the name Widdrington; as did the other co-heir General Sir David Tinling Widdrington, K.C.H. Subsequently by purchase, Samuel Edward Widdrington became possessed of the whole Widdrington estate.
In October 1829, Capt. Cook went to Spain and after three years of extensive travels, he published in 1834, in two volumes, Sketches in Spain, during the years 1829-32. In 1843 he returned to Spain and in the following year published another book in two volumes, Spain and the Spaniards in 1843.
Captain Widdrington married in 1832, Dorothy, second daughter of Alexander Davison of Swardland Hall, Northumberland. He died on 11 January 1856 and was succeeded in his estates by his nephew, Shalcross Fitzherbert Widdrington (1826-1917).