Heaton Champion de Crespigny was born in 1796 in Wiltshire, the seventh child of William Champion de Crespigny (1765-1829) and Lady Sarah Champion de Crespigny née Windsor, daughter of the 4th Earl of Plymouth. He was my second cousin five times removed.

In 1820  Heaton, the second surviving son of Sir William Champion de Crespigny, married Caroline, daughter of the Bishop of Norwich, at Norwich.

Reverend Heaton Champion_de_Crespigny (1796–1858) by Philip August Gaugain Collection: Kelmarsh Hall retrieved from http://artuk.org/discover/artworks/reverend-heaton-champion-de-crespigny-17961858-49124
Caroline Bathurst (1798–1862) by Philip August Gaugain 1826 Collection: Kelmarsh Hall retrieved from http://artuk.org/discover/artworks/caroline-bathurst-17981862-49126
Norfolk Chronicle 22 July 1820 page 3 retrieved through FindMyPast.com.au

Image reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)


Six months before, on 22 December 1819, the Norfolk Chronicle reported that

At an Ordination held by the Lord Bishop of Norwich , on Sunday last, the following persons were admitted into Holy Orders; Deacons …

Heaton Champion de Crespigny, Student in Civil Law, Trinity-hall, Cambridge

At the time of his ordination Heaton had not yet graduated from Cambridge.

Adm. pens. at TRINITY HALL, Nov. 9, 1815. [4th s. of William Champion (1780), Esq. (afterwards Bart.) and grandson of Sir Claude Champion, Bart.] Matric. Michs. 1816; LL.B. 1825. from Alumni Cantabrigienses: A Biographical List of All Known Students, Graduates and Holders of Office at the University of Cambridge, from the Earliest Times to 1900

In April 1822, Heaton’s father-in-law, arranged for him to obtain the living of Neatishead in Norfolk. This was reported by the  Norwich and Bury Post of 8 May 1822.

The Rev. Heaton Champion de Crespigny has been Collated by the Bishop of Norwich to the Vicarage of Neatishead, in this county, vacated by the death of the Rev. A. Barwick.

Heaton was also appointed Rector of Stoke Doyle, Northamptonshire.

Heaton and Caroline had five sons:

  • Eyre Nicholas (1821-1895)
  • William (1822-1839)
  • Albert Henry (1825-1873)
  • Claude Augustus (1829-1884)
  • Augustus Charles (1837 – abt 1908)

By arranging for Heaton to have income from two livings, Heaton’s father-in-law had done much to set Heaton and Caroline up financially. However, on 25 January 1828 he wrote to his son, Henry:

Heaton and Caroline continue to go on well; but “laudo manentem,”* and I dare not be sanguine upon that point: he is certainly possessed of considerable natural quickness and very gentlemanly manners; if to these he added a well regulated mind and better temper, I should be glad: it is not however my intention to intimate that she is never to blame. (Memoirs of the Late Dr. Henry Bathurst, Lord Bishop of Norwich, p.289.)

*From Horace “I praise her (Fortune) while she stays with me …” roughly saying “touch wood”

The memoir records:

…and in 1828 the violent but still more disagreeable publicity of the Rev. H. De Crespigny. The Bishop’s son-in-law, harassed him; and still more was he harassed by the distressing state of the Rev. Gentleman’s finances, materially affecting the comfort and situation in worldly circumstances of the Bishop’s daughter, Caroline, his wife, – a young woman of great personal and intellectual endowments. (ibid., pp. 293-4)

The memoir records that in hindsight Caroline’s marriage to Heaton was probably not a good idea

… The Bishop must, on reflection, have been sensible, that his consent to the marriage of his son, (a studious and promising young man,) in circumstances advantageous to no party, was a step, like that of his daughter Caroline’s marriage with Mr. De Crespigny, which as a parent he ought not to have sanctioned. But the facility of his temper, and his love of ease, and above all the sanguine complexion of his mind, and favourable anticipations which he always encouraged of the future, ruled the heart; and to these causes we may fairly attribute the like facility with which he admitted into orders without a degree his future son-in-law, the same Mr. De Crespigny; though, be it remembered, that there was no substantial objection, at the time, of any sort to the character or habits of that gentleman; of whom it was only charitable, as it was not unreasonable, to expect that he might turn out a character as good as others in general. (ibid., p. 305)

 In 1828 Heaton fought a duel with Mr Long Wellesley, who had allegedly defamed Heaton’s father.
The matter later went to court, which found against Long Wellesley.  Heaton’s role in the affair was not to his credit.

Later in 1828 Heaton attempted to blackmail his cousin the Earl of Plymouth. That story will have to wait for another post.

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Further reading

  • Bathurst, Henry. (2009). Memoirs of the Late Dr. Henry Bathurst, Lord Bishop of Norwich (Vol. 1). London: Book digitized by Google from the library of Harvard University and uploaded to the Internet Archive. (Original work published 1837) retrieved from https://archive.org/details/memoirslatedrhe01bathgoog