Several years ago I wrote about a child who I could not connect to the family tree: Richard Henry Crespigny (1891-1894) a workhouse inmate. A cousin, NF, has recently written to me:

I think that I may have a plausible explanation regarding Richard Henry de Crespigny.

You have a Eliza Clarissa Emelia Toker in your tree.

She married Richard Bulkley Twyford Thelwall 1824-1878.

They had six children and their youngest was baptised Richard de Crespigny Thelwall.

Now Richard de Crespigny Thelwall is shown as being in Medical School at St. Mary’s Hospital London in 1888/89

For some reason he does not finish his studies. My GF always maintained that a family member was thrown out of Med School for getting a young lady pregnant. Did this Richard drop the Thelwall on the birth record of Robert Henry, being a poor student and merely disappearred?

At a later date Richard Thelwall marries an Anna Hamilton Lang (Long?) and they have five children all with the middle name of de Crespigny. By 1897 Richard is a well established clergyman.

Clarissa Champion Crespigny (1776 – 1836) was the daughter of my 5th great grandfather Philip Champion de Crespigny (1738 – 1803) and his 3rd wife Clarissa Sarah Champion de Crespigny nee Brooke (1755 – 1782).


Clarissa Champion de Crespigny and two of her children by George Romney. It would seem that the daughters shown are Clarissa born about 1775 and Maria born about 1776.

In 1801 the younger Clarissa married Edward Toker (1777 – 1849) of Ospringe, Kent. They had eight children. The eldest son, Philip Champion Toker (1802 – 1882) married Elizabeth Jeanette Branthwayt (1808 – 1889) in 1830. They had seven children. The eldest child was Eliza Clarissa Emilia Toker (1831 – 1888).

In 1855 Eliza married Richard Bulkeley Twyford Thelwall. They had seven children; the youngest was Richard de Crespigny Thelwall born 19 May 1871 at Batcombe Somerset.  He was baptised on 14 July 1871 at Batcombe. His father’s occupation was adjutant of volunteers. The 1871 census was taken on the night of 2 April, just before Richard’s birth. At the time of the census the Thelwall family were living in Batcombe: Richard senior’s occupation was Captain and Adjutant 3rd Battalion Rifle Volunteers. As well as his wife Eliza there were two children aged 8 and 6 and two general servants. One son had died as a small child, two other sons were at school: one at St John’s College Hurstpierpoint, Sussex; another at Christ’s Hospital Educational Institution, St John’s Hertfordshire. I have not been able to locate the oldest daughter.

On 19 July 1878 Richard Bulkley Twyford Thelwall died very suddenly at Weston-Soper-Mare. He was late Adjutant 3d Battalion Somerset Rifle Volunteers and late 65th Regiment. (London Evening Standard 27 July 1878 page 1)

He was 54 and his youngest son Richard was only 7 years old.

Eliza Thelwall nee Toker died in 1888.

In 1889 Richard de Crespigny Thelwall was studying medicine at St Mary’s Hospital, London. (The Wellcome Trust; London, England; Medical Students Register; Reference Number: b24389602_i13752728 Description Registration Year: 1889. Retrieved through

At the time of the 1891 census Richard Thelwall aged 20 was living in Hustanton, Norfolk as a boarder. His occupation was Tutor School.

The 1897 UK clergy list indicates he entered the Anglican clergy in 1894 and from 1894 to 1897 was a curate of St. Paul, King-Cross, Halifax, Yorkshire.

In 1903 Richard de Crespigny Thelwall married. He and his wife had at least five children. Richard died in 1923.

Do you think Richard de Crespigny Thelwall was the father of Richard Henry Crespigny (1891 – 1894)?

Can you suggest any evidence that might be available? None of the documents I have relating to the child Richard Henry Crespigny, for example his birth and death certificates,  include his father’s handwriting.

update: Another cousin, JT, has written in February 2021

Richard de Crespigny Thelwall attended Medical School in 1888 and as the family said “he walked the wards” and hated it, and so left. He went on to try teaching and hated that too and finally attended Anglican College and became a priest.

Richard de Crespigny never had an illegitimate child/son.

Certainly his future father-in-law would never have allowed Richard de C. Thelwall to marry his eldest daughter, if this had been the case.

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