Among the papers of my great grandfather Constantine Trent Champion de Crespigny (1882 – 1952) donated to the State Library of South Australia by his daughter Charlotte de Crespigny is a letter of bequest, giving directions about the distribution of the writer’s belongings after her death.

The bulk of her possessions she leaves to her niece and goddaughter Ada Isidora Crespigny. She also mentions Ada’s sister Viola, Philip Crespigny, and various relatives, including her grandfather Edmund Dana.

Anna Penelope Wood née Dana 1814 – 1890 and her father, William Pulteney Dana 1776 – 1861 – photograph mentioned in the bequest and now in the collection of my father

The author was fourth great aunt Anna Penelope Wood née Dana (1814 –
1890). Anna had no children to receive her possessions automatically upon her death; her bequest is rather a considered working-out of who should get what, an insight into her opinion of the people she regarded as suitable recipients.

It is interesting that Anna was still so closely connected with her Australian relatives, for following the emigration of the family to Victoria in 1851, Charlotte Crespigny and her daughter Ada never returned to England and Anna did not travel to Australia. But it is clear that they stayed in correspondence. Anna sent a copy of “Two Years Before the Mast” to her sister Charlotte, for example.

abbreviated family tree; Anna had no children nor did 4 of Charlotte’s 5 Crespigny children: Ada, Constantine, Viola or Rose. Philip had six sons: Constantine Trent was his 2nd son.

The following directions I wish to be faithfully fulfilled after my death.

To my niece Ada Isidora Crespigny I bequeath my evening dresses, lace dress, scarves, shawls, my dressing case (once belonged to my Father) & all the Jewelry & ornaments which it contains (except the Diamond ring and the plain torquoise ring which I leave to Mrs Greenham & her daughter after her – To Ada I Crespigny I also leave my Gold watch and bracelets containing the miniatures of my Grandfather the Revd Edmund Dana, also the portrait of him hanging over the piano. My great grandfather Charles 6th Lord Kinnaird – his likeness is the one in the scarlet coat – my grandfather is dressed in a blue velvet coat – I also leave the said Ada my brooches containing the miniatures of my Grandfather the Revd Ed. Dana my great grandfather the Revd Dr Grueber Provost of Trinity College.

…..

Dubin & My brother William Pulteney Dana, all the photographs of the Danas & George 6th Lord Kinnaird & George 9th Lord Kinnaird & of Queen Victoria also my photograph album, and other photos in cases and frames – all these family portraits I wish for Philip Crespigny and his sons to inherit after the death of Ada so that they and their descendants so that they may retain them in their family for ever. All my music books, work boxes & baskets all my fancy articles, I also bequeath to my niece and goddaughter Ada –

To Rose E Greenham I leave my amethyst brooch and bracelets my little fancy work bags and

…..

Longfellows poems. To Edith ? Greenham I leave my Indian pebble bracelets, my red leather writing case – To Katherine Maltby I leave my amethyst earrings. To Viola Crespigny I leave my cameo bracelets, the likeness of her mother when a girl, & the little dog lying on a red cushion which she worked. Also to Ada Crespigny I leave the portraits of the Countess of Chesterfield (the Honble Anne Forester) – the photograph of her cousins grouped together – the portrait of our uncle Sir William Rowan Hamilton & the photograph of our cousin Mrs Rathbone & the one of myself and our father grouped together – To the said Ada I also leave all my books among which are Dana’s and Longfellows’ works. To Alice Gough I leave my Indian Cedar Wood Chest which stands in the Drawing Room

…..

also a book called “The Land and the book” To Grahame Parry I leave my three Japanese China jars These are simple keepsakes to dear friends who have been kind to me – To my good and faithful Sidney Smith I leave my carbuncle ring Farrers Life of Christ & Picturesque Europe. To his brother Jasper I leave Capcis Family Bible for a keepsake. To Mary Ellen Jones I leave all my wearing apparel (except what I have left to Ada Crespigny) my sewing machine & all the odds and ends ?? ?? my clothing. I particularly desire that she will keep for her own use every thing that I have left to her. She is not to part with a single article. To my dear Wilfred I leave all the furniture books pictures plate ??? plate China House linen & whatever money or property I may possess on condition that he takes care of and provides fo as far as he is able Mary Ellen Jones & Catherine Wood as far as he is able as long as they live.


My father has some of the miniatures Anna mentions, for example the Reverend Edmund Dana and the Reverend Dr Grueber. He also has “the little dog lying on a red cushion which [Charlotte Frances] worked.” When I was a child this tapestry – later left to my grandfather Geoff CdeC by Viola’s younger sister Rose Beggs née Champion de Crespigny – hung in my bedroom.

Tapestry dog which we have now learned was worked by Charlotte Frances Champion Crespigny née Dana

Source

  • State Library South Australia Records of Sir Trent de Crespigny Number ACC 2898

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