I have written previously about my great great grandfather’s first cousin George Harrison Champion de Crespigny (1863-1945) and his wife Gwendoline (1864-1923).

George Harrison Champion de Crespigny, known as Harry, married Gwendoline Blanche Clarke-Thornhill (Gwen) youngest of six children of William Capel and Clara Clarke-Thornhill, on 18 December 1890 at Rushton, Northamptonshire.

“SOCIETY.” John Bull, vol. LXXI, no. 3,660, 10 Jan. 1891, p. 16.

In the census taken on 5 April 1891 Harry and Gwen, who gave their surname as Champion Holden de Crespigny, were living at Pipewell (pronounced Pipwell) Hall, a couple of miles from Rushton. There were five servants in the house: a butler, a lady’s maid, a cook and two housemaids. Other workers on the estate were housed separately.

Harry, who had been adopted by the owner of Pipewell Hall Oscar William Holden-Hambrough as his heir, now included ‘Holden’ in his surname.

Pipewell Hall Retrieved from Wikimedia Commons, photograph by user Maypm CC BY-SA 4.0
The hall was sold in 2021 and a video of the property can be seen on YouTube.
Pipewell Hall is between Market Harborough, Corby and Kettering. It is two miles from Rushton Hall, now a hotel, and eight miles from Kelmarsh Hall, which once had a de Crespigny connection and now displays several de Crespigny family portraits.

Harry and Gwen had three children: Mildred born 1892, Arthur born 1894, and Gwendoline born 1900.

On 28 February 1893 Gwen attended the Queen’s Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace. Her dress was widely described in the newspapers, with a report even appearing in Queensland. The Rockhampton ‘Capricornian‘ wrote:

Very effective and most successful was the Japanesque Court costume worn by Mrs. Holden de Crespigny, that is to say, Japanesque as to material, for the style was strictly modern English. The train was of white brocade made in Japan, the design a large floral one. At the corner of the left side it was trimmed back and faced with a piece of embroidery in golden thread, having a similar design to that in the brocade, raised from the surface in the rich metal. The dress was a very beautiful one, in soft Japanese satin, draped and trimmed with rare old lace.

There are several pictures of the Queen’s Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace that year. Sad to say, I haven’t found one of Gwen.

From The Graphic 11 March 1893 page 7 retrieved through British Library Newspapers
From The Graphic 20 May 1893 page 18 retrieved through British Library Newspapers
From The Graphic 13 May 1893 page 15 retrieved through British Library Newspapers

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