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.
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 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.
England has so many people waiting for other people to die.”
Kathleen Cavenagh Symes nee Cudmore (1908-2013)
On 4 January 1901 Charlotte Frances Champion Crespigny nee Dana, then living at Beaufort in Victoria, wrote to her daughter Ada in Melbourne with news of their English cousins and a letter describing their sad disappointment:
I send you poor Gwen’s letter… I am so sorry for them and it is very hard to lose so much money. Y[ou]r Uncle G[eorge Blicke] thinking Harry provided for by this wealthy man who adopted him, and Harry Trent, his godfather, left him nothing, Georgina getting George’s money.
“Gwen” was Gwendolyn Blanche Champion de Crespigny nee Clarke-Thornhill (1864-1923), who was the wife of George Harrison CdeC (1863-1945), known as Harry; they had married in 1890 and had three children. Harry was the son of George Blicke CdeC (1815-1893), an elder brother of Charlotte Frances’ late husband Philip Robert (1817-1889), so he was Charlotte Frances’ nephew by marriage.
The indication from Charlotte Frances letter is that since Harry CdeC was expected to receive a considerable legacy, his father George Blicke had bequeathed his own property to his daughter Georgina Elizabeth, Harry’s sister. She duly inherited after his death in 1893, but when Harry CdeC’s godfather Harry Trent died in 1899 it turned out that he had left nothing to his godson. So Harry CdeC and Gwen gained nothing from either source.
Gwen’s original letter has now been lost, however, and without its guidance Charlotte Frances’ text is misleading as it stands. The facts were a good deal more complex.
George Blicke ChC (1815-1893) second son of Charles Fox ChC (1785-1875), joined the Twentieth Regiment of Foot in the British army and rose to be Paymaster in the School of Musketry at Hythe in Kent, retiring with the rank of Colonel; he died at neighbouring Folkestone in 1893. In 1851 he had married Elizabeth Jane Buchanan, daughter of a leading lawyer in Montreal, Canada. Of their three children, Julia Constantia was born in 1852 and died in 1876, and Georgina Elizabeth was born in 1856 and died in 1938; neither married. George Harrison was their third child and only son.
In 1890 George Harrison CdeC married Gwendolyn Blanche Clarke-Thornhill. They had one son, George Arthur Oscar (1894-1962), and two daughters: Mildred Frances (1892-1946), who would marry a Major Harold Cartwright; and Gwendolyn Sybil (1900-1967), known as “Guinea,” who never married. Charlotte Frances had received photographs of the two elder children in February 1900, but Gwendolyn Sybil was not born until the following December; the letter from Gwen which Charlotte Frances discusses on 4 January 1901 must have been written in the last weeks of pregnancy.
The godfather of George Harrison CdeC was Harrison Walke John Trent (1830-1899); both godfather and godson were known as Harry.
Harry Trent was the son of Francis Onslow Trent (1797-1846) and the grandson of John Trent (1770-1796) of Dillington House in Somerset. Eliza Julia, wife of Charles Fox ChC, was the daughter of John Trent and the sister of Francis Onslow, so her three sons George Blicke, his elder brother Charles John and his younger brother Philip Robert, were Harry Trent’s first cousins. Harry’s grandfather John Trent had held property in Barbados, both in his own right and through his wife Judith nee Sober, but very little money had passed to later generations: a court case in 1804 found that the Dillington estate had limited value, and when Harry Trent’s grandmother Judith died in 1871 her property was less than £2000.
Harry Trent had joined the Sixty-Eighth Foot – the Durham Light Infantry; he was awarded medals in the New Zealand wars of 1864-66, and became Colonel in command of the School of Musketry where George Blicke ChC had been Paymaster.
Harry Trent did not marry until 1889, when he was aged fifty-nine. His wife Rose nee Plunkett was a sister of Frances the third wife of Charles John CdeC, elder brother of George Blicke, so there was already a family connection.
Rose had previously been married to Anthony Stoughton of Owlpen House in Gloucestershire, a wealthy landowner, Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant of the county. He died in 1886, leaving an estate probated at more than £14,000, and his widow received the bulk of that property. When Harry Trent married Rose three years later he obtained royal licence to take the name of Stoughton-Trent – a mark of the importance of the Stoughton inheritance – and when he died in 1899 his personal property was valued at just £1400, with his wife as executor and principal beneficiary. Rose had no children by either marriage, but lived a presumably wealthy widow until 1926.
Since most of the money was his wife’s, it does not appear that Harry Trent had a great deal to leave his godson. There may have been a token of goodwill, but nothing substantial.
While neither the Trent nor the CdeC families were particularly well off at this time, Harry CdeC’s wife Gwendolyn came from a prosperous background.
Gwendolyn’s father, born William Capel Clarke, married the heiress Clara Thornhill in 1855 and added her surname to his own. Their first child, Thomas Bryan, was born in 1857, and five more followed in the next six years. Gwendolyn, the youngest, was born at Eaton Square – a good London address – and her mother Clara died three months after her birth.
William Capel Clarke-Thornhill inherited his wife’s estate, which included the very large Rushton Hall in Northamptonshire with other properties in the country and in London, and he was a Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant of the county. Gwendolyn went to a private school at Brighton, and in the census of 1881 the staff at Rushton Hall numbered eighteen, while two porter’s lodges and other houses on the estate gave accommodation to gardeners, labourers and other servants. The house remained in the family until the 1930s, then became a school and is now a hotel.
Harry CdeC himself, moreover, may fairly be said to have had great expectations, for he had been adopted by Oscar William Holden Hambrough, the owner of Pipewell Hall, which was close to the Clarke-Thornhills’ property at Rushton Hall in the parish of Desborough. It is not known how Harry became acquainted with his patron, nor why the arrangement was made. It may have been through neighbourly connection, but it happened that the Hambroughs were linked by marriage to the Windsor family which held the earldom of Plymouth – and the baronet lineage of the Champions de Crespigny had also married with the Windsors. Though the connection was distant, Harry CdeC was considered to be a cousin.
Oscar had been born in 1825 on the Isle of Wight, where his father John Hambrough built Steephill Castle in Victorian baronial style. John died in 1863, leaving the castle to the family of his eldest son Arthur, who had died two years earlier, but Oscar received Pipewell Hall. As a leading landholder of Northamptonshire he became a Justice of the Peace and served a term as Deputy Lieutenant of the county.
In 1859 Oscar had married Caroline Mary Hood, daughter of the third Viscount Hood and descended from a noted admiral of the eighteenth century. The couple had no children, and Caroline died in January 1890.
In 1864 Oscar obtained royal licence to take the name of Holden Hambrough. His grandfather John had married Catherine Holden, daughter of a Lancashire family, and combined their surnames, but his son had chosen to drop the addition. Oscar now revived the connection, no doubt in part to distinguish himself from his brother’s lineage.
For his part, George Harrison CdeC was listed with the surname Champion de Crespigny in census records until 1881, but when he married Gwendolyn Clarke-Thornhill at Rushton on 18 December 1890 the parish recorded his surname as Champion Holden de Crespigny. We may assume that the adoptive relationship had been established in the course of that year, and George Harrison took the additional surname – albeit in curious and clumsy fashion – as acknowledgement of his new patron. Harry and Gwen’s only son, born in 1894, was christened George Arthur Oscar with the surname Champion-Holden de Crespigny.
A newspaper entry of 1893 summarises the situation, commencing with Dudley Arthur, the son of Oscar’s elder brother:
…Mr Dudley Arthur Hambrough … represents the elder branch of the Hambroughs of Steephill Castle, Isle of Wight, and Pipewell Hall, near Kettering, Northants. Mr D A Hambrough’s great-grandfather [John (1754-1831)] married into the good old Lancashire family, the Holdens of Holden, and added their surname to his own; but this distinction was dropped by Mr Hambrough’s grandfather [John (1793-1863)]. The latter, however, bequeathed the Pipewell property to his younger son, who revived the double patronymic, and still survives as Mr Oscar William Holden-Hambrough. He is married to the only daughter of the late Viscount Hood and sister of the present peer, and, having no issue, he is understood to have adopted as his heir Mr George Champion de Crespigny, a remote cousin of Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny, the Essex baronet.
Oscar Holden Hambrough had properties in London and elsewhere, and in the census taken on 5 April 1891 Harry and Gwen are recorded at Pipewell Hall with the surname Champion Holden de Crespigny. There were five servants in the house: a butler, a lady’s maid, a cook and two housemaids, with other workers on the estate housed separately. Though adequate for a new family, this was a much smaller establishment than the one maintained by Oscar Holden Hambrough ten years before: the census of 1881 had listed a staff of fourteen, including kitchen, laundry and scullery maids supervised by a house-keeper, together with footmen, a coachman and grooms – almost as many as the complement of eighteen at Rushton Hall.
Some time later, Oscar returned to Pipewell, and Harry and Gwen moved to the Manor House in Desborough itself. Now known as the Old Manor House, it is a substantial building of the seventeenth century, and though smaller than their previous accommodation it was not inappropriate to their needs and could be regarded as a place in waiting for the future residents of Pipewell Hall.
When Oscar died in 1900, however, the provisions of his will were somewhat unexpected. They were summarised by the Northampton Mercury:
Whereas Harry and Gwen had evidently believed that he would be the chief legatee, he now received only a life interest in some furniture – whatever that may have meant in practical terms – and a pension from the income of the lands at Desborough. It was not ungenerous, but it was not what they had hoped for and – allowing for the time that letters took to reach Australia by ship – Gwen was writing to Charlotte Frances quite soon after the provisions of the will were known.
The will itself must have been prepared some time earlier, for Oscar’s younger brother Windsor Edward, a clergyman, had died in November 1899. He was not wealthy – his estate was probated at just £156 – so the pension of £1 a week was not generous, while it appears that Oscar had no interest in his two nephews and a niece.
At the same time, the appointment of Otho as residuary legatee was a reasonable balance between Oscar’s obligations to his adoptive son and to his natural family. Otho was the fourth son of Oscar’s brother Albert John, but two older brothers were dead; by this means, once the life interest and trust had expired, all property would revert to the Hambrough lineage. In the event, Otho died in 1925, leaving no children, but George Harrison CdeC lived until 1945.
In immediate terms, the will must have been a disappointment: a life pension and a collection of furniture is not the same as full ownership of a large house with extensive grounds. Two further blows came at much the same time. Harry’s godfather Harry Trent died in August 1899, one month before Oscar Holden Hambrough, and he too left no substantial legacy – he had, as we have seen, limited money of his own; and Gwen’s father William Capel Clarke-Thornhill had died in June the year before, leaving an estate valued for probate at more than £100,000. Most of that property was real estate and the principal legatee and executor was naturally his eldest son Thomas Bryan; Gwen would already have received a marriage settlement, which meant she had small claim to more – and Harry’s expectations would have meant that her father, like Harry’s, felt there was no need. It must nonetheless have been galling to see her family home so near and yet so far removed.
On the other side of the family, when Harry’s father George Blicke CdeC died in 1893, his estate was passed for probate with a value of just £25; one must assume he had already passed most of his property to Harry’s sister Georgina. She died unmarried in 1938, with rather more than £11,000, and the major beneficiaries were her two nieces, Mildred Frances and Gwendolyn Sibyl, the daughters of Harry and Gwendolyn.
So Gwen and Harry had not done badly, but their immediate situation was disappointing. When the census was held on 31 March 1901, six months after the death of Oscar Holden Hambrough, the family was living at a house in Kettering named Bryher on a street named Headlands: husband and wife, three children – one aged three months – and three servants: a cook, a parlourmaid and a nurse for the baby. This was surely not the accommodation or the circumstances which they had expected. Not entirely surprisingly, the surname has reverted to Champion de Crespigny, without the Holden, while the six-year-old boy is listed as George A, with no mention of his first baptised name of Oscar; he would later be known as Arthur.
At the same time, however, by one route or another – possibly as a non-valued item in his father’s deceased estate – Harry had obtained the portrait of Dorothy nee Scott, mother of Charles Fox CdeC, which had been painted by the noted artist George Romney in 1790, and on 27 April 1901 the painting was sold at Christies for £5,880. Such an amount would have purchased a large house and land, and the proceeds were used to lease the Hall at Burton Latimer, a fine Elizabethan building in a village just east of Kettering. In another letter, written on Boxing Day 1902, Charlotte Frances expressed surprise that Harry had sold [the portrait of] his great-grandmother, but she admired the photograph of their house.
The staff now included a proper complement of servants, including a butler, a governess, a cook and maidservants, and three gardeners to keep the grounds in trim. Harry was a justice of the peace and an honorary colonel in the local militia, while Gwen – short and stout, with a formidable personality – was an energetic lady of the manor, holding garden parties for the aristocracy and gentry and quarrelling with the vicar of the local church.
So – with a little help from Harry’s great-grandmother – all ended well.
After the departure from Burton Latimer of the Villiers about 1904, the Hall was leased to Colonel and Mrs. George Harrison Champion de Crespigny who had three children, Arthur, Mildred and Gwendoline.
Col de C, a tall handsome man with a distinguished military bearing, was later appointed a magistrate for the Kettering bench. His wife was a short stout lady of very strong character who had been born a Clark-Thornhill of Rushton Hall.
Life at the Hall in those days was kept up in style, with a butler, two cooks and several house and parlour maids. Three gardeners maintained the grounds in a beautiful state – the lawns velvet smooth, the yew hedges clipped and the long herbaceous borders a riot of colour. The gardens were often opened for parties and charitable events.
Arthur was a Lieutenant in the Northamptonshire Regiment during the first world war and at home he had a favourite King Charles spaniel named “Pincher”.
Mildred was very fond of painting and about 1907 a well known artist, a Mr. Stannard stayed at the Hall to give lessons to the young ladies: some of their friends were also invited to join them at classes, and one was Mabel Talbutt the baker’s daughter from Church Street. Several of their paintings have survived, also Mildred’s easel.
Mrs. De C had her own little buggy or trap drawn by a brown pony which would take her into Burton or Kettering . Canon G.L. Richardson (Rector 1911-1920) incurred Mrs. De C’s displeasure one Sunday morning at Matins when he criticised in his sermon, people who preferred to be in their potting sheds rather than at church.
Col de C was fond of plants and also was not a regular churchgoer – so his wife took this as a personal slight – standing up in her pew she glared at the Rector and marched out of the church to the surprise and awe no doubt of the congregation.
Another unfortunate occasion in church – Mrs. De C arrived for service and was very annoyed to see a strange woman sitting in her pew. Not saying a word she sat very close to the unsuspecting visitor, but every time it was necessary to stand up to sing or kneel to pray, the “interloper” was gradually eased out into the aisle, until she had to find herself somewhere else to sit.
The great blizzard of March 1916 brought Mrs. De C out of doors on foot to make a call in Church Street, being heavily clad in furs and a cape, not to mention the large hat, she was probably not easily recognisable to the cheeky young machinists at Hart and Levy’s factory in Bakehouse Lane, who called out of the windows and poked fun at her. But the furious lady stopped in her tracks and let forth such language that the windows were hastily closed.
 His obituary was published by the Folkestone Express, Sandgate, Shorncliffe & Hythe Advertiser on 8 July.
 His obituary was published by the Bristol Times and Mirror on 5 August 1899.
 Wikipedia mentions a claim that Charles Dickens was a friend of Clare Clarke-Thornhill, that he visited Rushton Hall on several occasions, and that it became the model of Satis House, the residence of Miss Havisham in his novel Great Expectations.
However, since Dickens was born in 1812, he was twenty-four years older than Clara, and she was married at the age of nineteen. It is doubtful that her wifely and motherly duties would have allowed her much time to make his acquaintance, so the story is unlikely. Restoration House in Rochester, Kent, is a more convincing candidate for the original model.
 The house was demolished in the early 1960s and the land is now a housing estate: see Wikipedia and also “The Forgotten Castle” by David Paul (originally published in Wight Life, August/September 1973) at round-the-island.co.uk.
 The name appears sometimes with a hyphen – as Holden-Hambrough – and sometimes without: e.g. Bernard Burke, A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain & Ireland, 1898 edition at 717; and Kelly’s Directory of the same year, cited in note 9.
Kelmarsh Hall was once owned by George Granville Lancaster (1853-1907) and Cicely Lancaster née Champion de Crespigny (1874-1946). Cicely was a daughter of the fourth baronet, Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny (1847-1935) and his wife Georgiana (1849-1935). George and Cicely Lancaster had two children, Claude and Valencia. Between 1948 and 1953 Claude was married to Nancy Keene Perkins (1897-1994), whose first husband was Ronald Tree (1897-1976). The Trees rented Kelmarsh in the 1920s and Nancy, who became a noted interior designer, redecorated the Hall. Neither Claude nor Valencia had children. In 1982 to help conserve Kelmarsh Hall Valencia in accordance with her brother’s wishes set up a trust, called the Kelmarsh Trust.
My cousin Stephen Champion de Crespigny (1930 – 2019), an enthusiastic researcher of Champion de Crespigny family history, was a director of the Kelmarsh Trust, and for some years he lived at the Hall in the Coachmans Cottage and served as a volunteer guide. We had hoped to call on Stephen when we were in England. Sadly, in poor health for some time, he died on 18 May.
Kelmarsh Hall and its gardens looked lovely in the bright spring sunshine. Though I had seen reproductions of the family portraits I was very pleased to see the originals. The guides were friendly and helpful.
In the afternoon visited Houghton Mill, a restored National Trust flour mill on the Great Ouse near Cambridge. One of Greg’s ancestors was a miller. It was fun to learn about milling, and I now know why people with the surname ‘Miller’ often have ‘Dusty’ for a nickname.
We drove into Bury St Edmunds for dinner. The Abbeygrounds has a very pretty park. The town has no famous lichenologist, and has to do with Messenger Monsey, ‘a man notorious in London society for his bad manners’.
Abbey ruins now form a setting for gardens
West Front, Bury St Edmunds The historic conversion is now complete of the medieval remains of the flint coTimber-framed houses were constructed within the walls in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
Katherine Read PORTRAIT OF A WOMAN, PROBABLY ANNE CHAMPION DE CRESPIGNY (1739-1797), BUST LENGTH, WITHIN A DRAWN OVAL sold by Sotheby’s lot 54 29 October 2018
Last year on a visit to Kelmarsh Hall, the Northamptonshire country residence of the Lancaster family who were cousins of the Champion de Crespigny family, I took the opportunity to view the various de Crespigny and other family portraits on display.
The Kelmarsh collection includes oil-on-canvas copies of all four of the portraits sold in 1912. However, there are discrepancies between the names attributed to the sitters of the pastel portraits and those of the oil copies.
Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny (1734–1818), 1st Bt British (English) School Kelmarsh Hall Medium oil on canvas Measurements H 74 x W 62 cm
Susan (1735–1776), Sister of Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny, 1st Bt George Romney (1734–1802) (circle of) Kelmarsh Hall Medium oil on canvas Measurements H 75 x W 62 cm
Mary Clarke (1749–1812), Wife of Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny, 1st Bt British (English) School Kelmarsh Hall Medium oil on canvas Measurements H 75 x W 62 cm
Betsy Hodges (d.1772), Second Wife of Philip Champion de Crespigny George Romney (1734–1802) (circle of) Kelmarsh Hall Medium oil on canvas Measurements H 75 x W 62 cm
Kelmarsh Hall oil on canvas portraits of Claude, Susan, Mary, and Betsy de Crespigny
The first two portraits, Claude (1734 – 1818), the first baronet, in a plum-coloured waistcoat and Susan wearing a straw hat, are clearly copies of the pastels and there is no discrepancy as to who the sitters were.
Susan, Claude’s sister, was born 1735 and died in 1766, which means that her portrait was probably drawn before 1766. In 1765 Susan married Richard Sutton. It seems reasonable to suppose that this portrait was done about the time of her wedding.
The sitter of the third pastel portrait was identified in the 1912 Christie’s catalogue as Sarah (1763 – 1825), wife of Sir William Champion de Crespigny (1765 – 1829).
Kelmarsh Hall has a oil portrait said to be of Sarah, and in this she is wearing a blue dress with a yellow shawl not, as in the pastel, a yellow dress with blue scarf. She is very much younger than the other sitters.
Kelmarsh Hall also has a portrait of Mary (1747 – 1812), wife of Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny the first baronet. She is wearing a yellow dress with a blue shawl, as described in the 1912 catalogue. I think it more likely based on the description that the third pastel portrait in the 1912 catalogue is the portrait hanging at Kelmarsh and now said to be of Mary de Crespigny née Clarke.
Lady Sarah Windsor (1763–1825) British (English) School Kelmarsh Hall Medium oil on canvas Measurements H 74 x W 61 cm
Mary Clarke (1749–1812), Wife of Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny, 1st Bt British (English) School Kelmarsh Hall Medium oil on canvas Measurements H 75 x W 62 cm
Kelmarsh Hall: Lady Sarah Windsor (1763–1825) and Mary Clarke (1749–1812), Wife of Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny, 1st Bt
Claude and Mary married in 1764. I think perhaps the first and third portraits were done not long after their wedding, maybe about 1765, at the time when Susan’s portrait was done. It seems likely that the 1912 catalogue misidentified the sitter as the wife of the second baronet. She was in fact Mary, wife of the first baronet. The Kelmarsh Hall portrait of Mary seems to be a better match to the other three portraits and thus likely to be a copy of the third pastel sold in 1912.
There is another possibility: the third portrait is of Sarah Champion de Crespigny née Cocksedge, the first wife of Philip Champion de Crespigny who was the brother of Claude and Susan. Sarah de Crespigny died in 1768. It may be that the 1912 catalogue description correctly identified the sitter as Sarah de Crespigny but misattributed the husband as William de Crespigny (1765 – 1829) instead of his uncle Philip de Crespigny (1738 – 1803). I know of no other portrait of this Sarah de Crespigny.
The fourth portrait, of Anne, has been offered for sale several times since 1912, most recently in 2018. This portrait was probably of Anne Champion de Crespigny, the sister of Philip and Claude, not of her mother, Anne Champion Crespigny née Fonnereau (1704 – 1782), wife of Philip (1704 – 1765). The woman in the portrait, probably drawn in the 1760s, is too young to be the senior Anne de Crespigny.
Katherine Read PORTRAIT OF A WOMAN, PROBABLY ANNE CHAMPION DE CRESPIGNY (1739-1797), BUST LENGTH, WITHIN A DRAWN OVAL sold by Sotheby’s lot 54 29 October 2018
Betsy Hodges (d.1772), Second Wife of Philip Champion de Crespigny George Romney (1734–1802) (circle of) Kelmarsh Hall Medium oil on canvas Measurements H 75 x W 62 cm
The pastel portrait sold most recently by Sotheby’s in 2018 and thought to be of Anne de Crespigny, and the Kelmarsh oil on canvas portrait said to be of Betsy de Crespigny née Handly. I am reasonably certain the painting at Kelmarsh Hall is a copy of the pastel portrait and is thus of the same woman – so is the portrait of Anne or of Betsy?
However, the copy of the portrait identified in 1912 and 2018 as Anne de Crespigny is identified at Kelmarsh as being of Betsy Hodges née Handly formerly Borradale, second wife of Philip Champion de Crespigny brother of Claude and Susan and Anne.
Betsy was born in 1743. In 1765 she married George Borradale, a clergyman. They were divorced in 1769 and Borradale died shortly afterwards. In 1770 or 1771 Betsy married again, to Philip Champion de Crespigny, who had been widowed in 1768. Betsy died in May 1772, not long after the birth of her son Charles Champion de Crespigny (1772 – 1774).
It is hard to know if the pastel portrait with a copy at Kelmarsh Hall is of Anne or her sister-in-law Betsy.
At the time of the 2018 sale of the pastel through Sotheby’s, the description of the work stated that there was an indistinct inscription on the reverse. The lot includes a photo of the reverse but I am unable to make out any inscription. Perhaps in the early 20th century the inscription was clearer and thus the attribution of the sitter as Anne de Crespigny was based on that inscription.
If the inscription on the reverse of the fourth portrait could be deciphered it might give more certainty as to who the sitter was. Similarly if the third portrait re-appears, an inscription would also give some certainty as to who the sitter might be.
I suspect that the 1912 catalogue was correct in the names of the sitters, that is the four portraits were of Claude, Susan, Sarah and Anne de Crespigny. Confusion may have arisen because the 1912 catalogue was incorrect as to who were the husbands of Sarah and Anne de Crespigny. It also may be that Kelmarsh Hall has misattributed the sitters of the portraits of Mary de Crespigny née Clarke and Betsy de Crespigny née Handley. Without further documentation I don’t think it is possible to be certain.
My fifth great grandfather Edmund Dana (1739 – 1823) was born in Charleston, near Boston, Massachusetts to Richard Dana (1700 – 1772), a lawyer and a prominent local politician, and Lydia Dana nee Trowbridge (1710 – 1776). He was their second child.
Edmund entered Harvard in 1756 and graduated in 1759. After a brief apprenticeship with a local doctor, he travelled to England, never to return. By 1764 he was at Edinburgh, perhaps he was studying medicine and science at the university.
The Reverend Edmund Dana (1739-1823) A miniature in the possession of my father.
At Edinburgh Edmund Dana met the Hon. Helen Kinnaird (abt. 1749 – 1795), daughter of Charles (1723-1767), sixth Baron Kinnaird of Inchture, and his wife Barbara Kinnaird nee Johnstone (1723 – 1765). Edmund and Helen were married on 9 July 1765 at the church of St Cuthbert in Leith, Edinburgh’s port, a few miles from the city.
The couple moved to London where their first three children were born.
On 18 December 1768, at a ceremony in the Chapel Royal of Whitehall, Edmund was ordained a deacon of the Church of England. Two months later he was made a priest and appointed as Vicar of Brigstock Northamptonshire with the chapel of Stanion in the Diocese of Peterborough.
In a letter to his father Richard, written soon after his appointment to Brigstock he explained his new situation and his decision to abandon his medical studies:
My living has been magnified beyond measure, but I have great privileges in it [wh[ich] no other person ever had upon acc[oun]t of its being upon an Estate of Mr Pulteney. I really understood before I took the gown that whatever deficiencys it labor[e]d under Mr Pulteney w[oul]d make good.
In effect, therefore, Edmund had accepted the assurances of his wife’s family, notably of his wife’s uncle William [Johnstone] Pulteney (1729 – 1805), that a career in the church would be assured and well paid. The parish of Brigstock itself was controlled by the Crown through the Bishop of Peterborough, but Edmund’s letter indicates that the land was owned by William Pulteney and that his basic salary would be supplemented. Given the influence of his wealth and position, it would not have been difficult for Pulteney to persuade the bishop to find a place for his niece’s husband.
In November 1772 the Reverend Edmund Dana took up new duties as Vicar of the parish of Wroxeter in Shropshire, in the diocese of Coventry and Lichfield. Wroxeter is a village five miles east of Shrewsbury. William Pulteney had first entered Parliament in 1768 as member for Cromartyshire in Scotland, but he had substantial interests in Shropshire and had also contested the seat of Shrewsbury. Successful at the 1775 election, he held the borough until his death in 1805. Because of the property William Pulteney held, he was patron of several livings in the area: that is, he had authority to name the priest who would head the parish as rector or vicar. The previous incumbent at Wroxeter, Robert Cartwright, had died, and the vacancy was free for Pulteney to nominate his nephew by marriage.
Edmund Dana and his family settled in the region of Shrewsbury, and William Pulteney continued his support. In 1775 the living of Aston Botterell became vacant through the death of the former Rector Nehemiah Tonks, and Edmund Dana was appointed his successor.
In 1781 Edmund Dana received two further appointments as Rector: to Harley and Eaton Constantine. Both parishes were in the diocese of Coventry and Lichfield and both lay southeast of Shrewsbury, Eaton Constantine just two miles from Wroxeter and Harley a couple of miles further. The livings were formally in the gift of a certain John Newport, but Newport was under age and William Pulteney was his official guardian.
Helen continued to bear children: thirteen, nine girls and four boys, in twenty-one years. Three died in infancy. Helen died at Shrewsbury on 17 April 1795, aged about forty-five, and was buried at Wroxeter on 22 April. She and Edmund were married three months short of thirty years; he did not marry again.
Though Edmund Dana had no previous contact with Shropshire, the patronage of William Pulteney gave some status to the newcomer. Wroxeter is a notable parish: a short distance east of Shrewsbury, it occupies the site of the ancient Roman town of Uriconium. Some time after his arrival, Edmund Dana became a local magistrate.
An early supporter of the great engineer Thomas Telford, William Pulteney arranged for him to work on the refurbishment of Shrewsbury Castle during the 1780s, and a few years later had him appointed Surveyor of Public Works for the county, where he constructed roads, bridges and canals. Edmund Dana was a member of the trust concerned with roads and streets, so the two men were at least acquaintances. When Telford was commissioned to construct a new prison in the city, close to the castle, Dana had Telford construct a passage from the castle, across the line of the present-day railway, to the main entrance of the prison and then some distance along the River Severn. The route became known as The Dana, and local custom applied the same name to the prison itself.
Lancasterian School with Castle and Dana path. Before construction of the Railway Station in 1848. Shrewsbury Museums Service (SHYMS: FA/1991/125). Image sy8896
Former HM Prison Shrewsbury viewed across the road named The Dana at the end of May 2014. The prison constructed during 1787-1793, closed in March 2013.
Some sources claim that Edmund Dana lived in Castle Gates House, close to the entrance to the castle, and it is possible that for a while he did. From the time that he arrived there, however, all his children were born and baptised at Wroxeter, and his wife Helen died and was buried there.
In 1856 Edmund’s great-nephew Richard Henry Dana Jr (1815 – 1882), grandson of Edmund’s brother Francis, visited England and spent three days at Shrewsbury. On the first day he met his cousin Anna Penelope Wood nee Dana (1814 – 1890), Edmund’s grand-daughter. Anna’s husband William Henry Wood escorted him on a tour of the city. Richard Dana was shown the Dana Terrace, “principal walk of the castle, and named from the Rev Edmund Dana, who planned it.” He also saw an old house with black timber cross-beams, where the future King Henry VII was said to have spend the night on his way to defeat Richard III at Bosworth in 1485. There was no mention, however, of Edmund Dana living in the city and, since Anna Penelope Wood nee Dana was nine years old and living near Shrewsbury when her grandfather Edmund died in 1823, she probably would have remembered it if he had.
Richard Henry Dana’s diary entry for the following day, Sunday 10 August, records how he accompanied Mr and Mrs Wood to Wroxeter, where they attended the evening service. In somewhat romantic style, he tells how:
Wroxeter is a fair specimen of the old English parish Church, parsonage and village. . . The church stands in the midst of the graves of the villagers, and the vicarage opens into the Church Yard. In this vicarage, lived and died, Edmund Dana, my grandfather’s only brother. Here he officiated from 1766 to 1823 – a period of fifty seven years. Here he brought his beautiful noble bride, a peer’s daughter, in the bloom of her charm, and here he laid her, under the stone of the chancel, at middle life, the mother of twelve children, loved and honoured by all. Here he lies by her side, and here most of this children are buried. . . . . Here grew up, here played, here walked and studied, and loved, and married, those beautiful daughters, whom Mrs President Adams [ Abigail Adams nee Smith] says were the most elegant women she saw in England, and whom George III called the roses of his court.
He goes on to describe the church itself, with the tombs of Edmund Dana, his wife Helen, and several of their children, placed before the chancel.
Wroxeter Church, Shropshire. Watercolour. Artist: J. Homes Smith. Shrewsbury Museums Service (SHYMS: FA/1991/071/40) image sy1325
Richard Henry Dana remarked that the Wroxeter local bridge, a Roman column in the churchyard, and several trees were named in memory of Edmund Dana who had died 33 years earlier, while the old people of the parish still call him the “old gentleman”, and look upon the present rector, who has been here twenty years, as the “new vicar”, and complain of his innovations.
Excavation at Uriconium by Francis Bedford Retrieved from Wikipedia. Original from the Victor von Gegerfelt collection, Volume K 1:3, Region- och Stadsarkivet Göteborg.
Cicely was the second child and oldest daughter of Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny (1847-1935) and his wife Georgiana (1849-1935). She married George Lancaster on 19 March 1896 at Maldon, Essex, where the de Crespigny family lived at Champion Lodge.
Claude Lancaster inherited Kelmarsh when he turned 25. Not long afterwards, the Hall was leased, a ten year repairing lease, to Ronald Tree and his wife Nancy Tree nee Perkins formerly Field. Ronald Tree was a journalist and investor and later a politician. The Trees redecorated Kelmarsh. Nancy later become well known for helping to create the English Country House look.
When the Trees purchased a different house in 1933, Claude Lancaster moved back to Kelmarsh Hall, where he became an enthusiastic gardener. In 1948 he married the then-divorced Nancy Tree. Five years later, in 1953, the Lancasters were divorced. Despite the short marriage Nancy is best known by her third married surname, Lancaster.
At present times, Kelmarsh Hall is renowned for its gardens and for the interior decoration of Nancy Lancaster.
Claude Lancaster’s grandfather, Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny the fourth baronet, died in 1935. The title passed to one of his sons, Claude Raul Champion de Crespigny (1878-1941). When Raul died in 1941 the title passed to Raul’s cousins. None of the baronets had sons and the title was passed on three more times in the 1940s. The title became extinct in 1952 with the death of the eighth baronet.
At some stage, presumably in the 1940s, Kelmarsh Hall became the repository for a number of Champion de Crespigny portraits and family documents. The contents of Champion Lodge, including the pictures, were sold in January 1947 after the death of the sixth baronet, Henry Champion de Crespigny (1882 – 1946).
The pictures in the sale are not specified. Perhaps Claude Lancaster bought the family pictures at the auction; perhaps Raul or Henry had given the pictures to Claude Lancaster to be hung at Kelmarsh Hall. After Champion Lodge was sold, Kelmarsh Hall was the only home in the family that would be large enough to hang the pictures.
One of my 12th-great-grandmothers was Anne Bray nee Vaux (1550 – 1619), daughter of Thomas Vaux (1509–1556) and Elizabeth Vaux nee Cheney (1505 – 1556).
In 1556, when she was about six, Anne’s parents died: Thomas in October and Elizabeth in the following month, possibly from the plague. Her brother William was then 21, and sister Maud about 17.
The Vaux enjoyed considerable wealth. Their estate, Harrowden Hall in Northamptonshire, was
… a household of almost fifty people that included grooms, laundresses, the cook, the baker, an embroiderer, the chaplain and the steward. An account book survives for the year of [the birth of Anne’s brother William in 1535 showing] payments for a birdcage, soap, swaddling and, on 14 August, five shillings to buy ale for the nurse.
After her parents died Anne would have been placed in another household.
About 1568 Anne Vaux married Reginald (or Reynold) Bray (1539 – 1583), the fifth and youngest son of Reginald Bray and Anne, daughter and heiress of Richard Monington of Barrington in Gloucester. Three of Reginald’s older brothers died without issue. His brother Edmund inherited the estate of Barrington; the estate at Steyne (Stean) and Hinton in Northamptonshire was settled on Reginald.
Reginald, aged about 44, died in October 1583 and was buried at Hinton in the Hedges.
Anne and Reginald had one son, William, who died in his father’s lifetime aged about 7. They had five daughters, all Reginald’s coheirs:
Mary, born about 1569. On 16 August 1586 at Eaton Bray, Bedfordshire, she married Sir William Sandys (c 1562 – 1641) of Fladbury, Worcestershire. She appears to have died by 1597 about the time of his second marriage, to Margaret Culpepper. She appears not to have had children.
Anne, born about 1573; she was later the wife of John Sotherton (1562 – 1631), a judge and later a Baron of the Exchequer. John Sotherton married two more times and had two sons and a number of daughters. Anne was possibly the mother of one or more of these children. Anne had died by 1602..
Alice, born about 1577. In 1592 she married Nicholas Eveleigh, a lawyer. Nicholas Eveleigh died aged 56 in 1618 when the Chagford Stannary Courthouse collapsed killing him, two of his clerks and seven others, also leaving a further 17 injured. She secondly married Elize (Ellis) Hele, a lawyer and philanthropist who died in 1635. The trust from his will was used to found a number of schools including Pympton Grammar School. Alice died on 20 June 1635, probably childless. She and her second husband are buried at Exeter Cathedral. There is a monument to both of her husbands at Bovey Tracey Church.
Anne and her sister Maud however appear to have married Protestants.
Maud (abt 1539 – abt 1581) married Anthony Burgh / Burroughs / Burrows of Burrow on the Hill, Leicestershire. Following Maud’s death, her daughter Frances (abt 1576 – 1637) went to live with her cousin, Eleanor Brooksby nee Vaux, the widowed daughter of Maud’s brother William. Eleanor raised Frances as a Catholic. In about 1595 Frances joined the Canonesses Regular of the Lateran at Louvain in Belgium. According to one history of these Lateran Canonesses, as a child Frances was taken to with her family to attend ‘heretical’ (Protestant) services on Sundays and holy days, but during them regularly fell asleep, a sure sign of her firm commitment to Catholic orthodoxy.
That Anne Bray nee Vaux named one of her daughters Temperance is clearly a mark of her Protestant Puritan leanings. Thomas Crew, Temperance’s husband, was noted for his strong Puritan convictions.
Anne Bray died on 7 May 1619 at the age of 69. She was buried on 12 May at Hinton in the Hedges, Northamptonshire. A plaque in the chancel features the arms of Bray (Ar. a chevron between three eagle’s legs erased a la cuisse S. armed G.) and the arms of Vaux (impaling chequy Ar. & G. on a chevron Az. three roses O.) and the following text:
HERE LYES BURIED REYNOLD BRAY LATE OF STEANE IN THE COUNTY OF NORTH. ESQ. AND ANNE HIS WYFE, THE ONE, A YONGER SON OF REYNOLD BRAYE THAT WAS BROTHER TO EDMOND LORD BRAY AND THE OTHER A DAUGHTER OF THOMAS LORD VAUX OF HARROWDON: THEY HAD ISSUE ONE SON NAMED WILL’M THAT DIED OF THE AGE OF 7 YEARS, AND 5 DAUGHTERS. VIZ. MARY MARRYED TO WILL’m SAND ESQUIER, ANNE MARRYED TO JOHN SOTHERTON ESQUIER ALICE MARRYED FIRST TO NICHOLAS EVELEGH ESQUIER AND AFTER HIS DEATH TO ELLIS HELE ESQUIER, TEMPERANCE MARRIED TO THOMAS CREWE ESQUIER, & MARGERY MARRIED TO FRANCIS IN’COLDSBY ESQUIER. THE SAID REYNOLD DIED Ye 28th OF OCTOBER THE 25th OF ELIZABETH ABOUT THE AGE OF 44 YEARES. AND THE SAID ANNE DIED 7th OF MAY 17 JAC: ABOUT THE AGE OF 77 YEARES : AND THEY BOTH ARE NOW AT REST IN THE LORD.
The arms of Bray (Ar. a chevron between three eagle’s legs erased a la cuisse S. armed G.) and the arms of Vaux (impaling chequy Ar. & G. on a chevron Az. three roses O.) Bray arms by Wikimedia commons user Lobsterthermidor [CC BY-SA 3.0], retrieved from Wikimedia Commons. Vaux arms generated using Drawshield https://drawshield.net/create/index.html
My 11th great grandmother was Temperance Crew nee Bray (abt 1580 – 1619). She was the wife of Sir Thomas Crew (1564 – 1634), a lawyer and politician. His entry in the History of Parliament online mentions his marriage to her, noting that she was the daughter of Reynold Bray of Steane and a kinswoman of the 7th Earl of Shrewsbury, Gilbert Talbot (1552 – 1616). Temperance, her father who died in 1583, and her and Thomas’s son John, are also mentioned in her husband’s entry in the Dictionary of National Biography.
Temperance was the fourth of five daughters of Sir Reginald (or Reynold) Bray (c. 1550 – 1583) and his wife Anne Bray nee Vaux (c. 1550 – 1619). She was baptised on 6 November 1580 at Hinton in the Hedges, Northamptonshire.
Reginald Bray died in October 1583 and was buried at Hinton in the Hedges on 18 October 1583. Reginald was aged about 44.
Reginald had one son, William, who died in his father’s lifetime aged about 7. Reginald had five daughters who were his coheirs:
Mary, aged 14 in 1583 thus born about 1569. On 16 August 1586 at Eaton Bray, Bedfordshire, she married Sir William Sandys (c 1562 – 1641) of Fladbury, Worcestershire. She appears to have died by 1597 about which time Sir William Sandys married secondly to Margaret Culpepper. She appears not to have had children.
Anne, aged 10 in 1583 thus born about 1573; she was later the wife of John Sotherton (1562 – 1631), a judge and later a Baron of the Exchequer. John Sotherton married two more times and had two sons and a number of daughters – it is not certain if Anne was the mother of these children. Anne had died by 1602.
Alice, aged 6 in 1583 thus born about 1577. In 1592 she married Nicholas Eveleigh, a lawyer. Nicholas Eveleigh died aged 56 in 1618 when the Chagford Stannary Courthouse collapsed killing him, two of his clerks and seven others, also leaving a further 17 injured. She secondly married Elize (Ellis) Hele, a lawyer and philanthropist who died in 1635. The trust from his will was used to found a number of schools including Pympton Grammar School. Alice died on 20 June 1635, it would seem she had no children. She and her second husband are buried at Exeter Cathedral but there is a monument to both of her husbands at Bovey Tracey Church.
Temperance, aged 3 in 1583 (see below)
Margery, age 2 in 1583 thus born about 1581. She married Francis Ingoldsby of Boughton and they had a son John.
The chancel of Bovey Tracey Church, Devon looking eastward. On the left (north) side , the monument with effigy of Nicholas Eveleigh (d.1618); on the south side the monument with effigy of Elize Hele (d.1635), who married Eveleigh’s widow Alice Bray. Photograph by Wikimedia commons user Lobsterthermidor [CC BY-SA 3.0], retrieved from Wikimedia Commons
Effigy in Bovey Tracey Church, Devon, of Nicholas Eveleigh (d.1618) of Parke in the parish of Bovey Tracey. Photograph from Wikimedia Commons by user Lobsterthermidor [CC BY-SA 3.0]
Monument to Elize Hele in Bovey Tracy Church, Devon. Below his effigy are the kneeling effigies of his two wives, facing each other in prayer, behind the left one kneels his young son. Photograph from Wikimedia Commons by user Lobsterthermidor [CC BY-SA 3.0]
In 1596 Temperance married Thomas Crew (1665 – 1634). Temperance was a kinswoman of Gilbert Talbot, 7th Earl of Shrewsbury (1552 – 1616). Thomas Crew was in the service of the Earl. Thomas had been educated at Shrewsbury School and the Inns of Court.
Thomas Crew was first elected to Parliament in 1604 representing Lichfield.
Memorial to Sir John Curzon, All Saints’ Church, South Transept, Kedleston Photograph from Geograph.org.uk
Temperance Crew (abt 1609 – 1634)
Temperance married John Browne (c 1608 – 1691) and died without having children. She is memorialised at Steane. In June 1660 Samuel Pepys recorded in his diary that he went to visit Mrs Browne. The 2000 edition published by University of California Press has annotated that Mrs Browne was Elizabeth, second wife of John Browne, Clerk of the Parliaments: his first wife (d. 1634) was Temperance Crew, aunt of Montagu’s wife.
Silence Crew (abt 1611 – 1651)
Silence married Sir Robert Parkhurst (1603 – 1651) of Pyrford, Surrey, Member of Parliament. They had one son.
Salathiel Crew (1612 – 1686)
Attended Lincoln College, Oxford, matriculated 25 November 1631. Was a soldier. In 1641 there was a Certificate of residence showing Salathiel Crew (or the variant surname: Crewe) to be liable for taxation in Northamptonshire, and not in the half-hundred of Newport, Buckinghamshire, the previous area of tax liability. Salathiell Crew was appointed sherif of Rutland in 1652. Salathiel Crew was buried at Hinton in the Hedges. His will mentions his brother Thomas and two granddaughters, Isabella and Elizabeth. I have found no record of Salathiel’s marriage, children or military career other than the mention of militis in Oxford University Alumni.
Prudence Crew (1615 – 1641)
Prudence Crewe died unmarried in 1641. She left a will probated 10 June 1641.
Temperance Crewe died in 1619.
Sir Thomas rebuilt the chapel of St Peter at Steane in memory of his wife who was buried there and an altar Tomb bears her figure and that of Sir Thomas dressed in his Sergeants robes.On a tablet is this inscription:
“Temperans Crewe, the wife of Thomas Crewe, esq. And one of the daughters and coheirs of Reginald Bray, esq. By his wife Anne, his wife, daughter of Thomas Lord Vaux, died in the year of our Lord 25 October, 1619, in the year 38 of her age, and now restith from her labours, and hir works follow hir:
A daughter of Abraham here doth lye
Returned to her dust
Whole life was hid in Christ with God
In whom was all her trust
Who wifely wrought while it was day
And in hir spirit did watch and pray
To heare God’s word attentive was her care
Hir humble hart was full of holy feare
Hir hande which had good blood in every vaine
Yet was not dayntye nor did disdayne
Salve to applye to Lazarus fore
And was inlarged to the poore
Lyke God’s Angells she honor’d those
That taught his word and did his will disclose
And persons vile her hart abhor’d
But reverenst such as fear’d the Lord
A true Temperans in deed and name
Now gone to heaven from whence she came
Who with her lott was well contented
Who lived desired and dyed lamented.
Premissa non amissa, discessa non mortua
Conjux casta, parens foelix, matrona pudica,
Sara vivo, mundo Martha, Maria deo.” [Having never lost, went out without having died, = Not lost, but gone before A chaste wife, a happy parent, a modest lady, A living Sara, a worldly Martha, Maria of god.]
Photographs of the chapel and the monument can be seen by clicking the links below:
Thomas Crew served as speaker of the House of Commons from 1623 – 1625. Thomas Crew was knighted in 1623.
To the end of his life Sir Thomas Crew continued to practice law.
Portrait of Sir Thomas Crewe, Speaker 1623 – 1625. Given by his descendant Ralph Cartwright, Esq. 1805. In the collection of the UK Parliament (catalogue number WOA 2702) Crew displeased James 1 by upholding the liberties of Parliament as ‘matters of inheritance, not of grace’ but later said by the King to be the ‘ablest Speaker known for years’.
Crewe died on 1 Feb. 1634, aged 68, and was buried with his wife under the marble effigy in the chapel he had built at Steane. His funeral sermon praised the quickness of his wit, the firmness of his memory, and the readiness of his expression. He was said to be one who ‘set the stamp of religion on all his courses, in his whole conversation’, ‘a man exceeding conscionable’, ‘a marvellous great encourager of honest, laborious, religious ministers’, ‘the poor man’s lawyer’, and ‘a great lover of his country’.
Chancery: Inquisitions post mortem: Bray, Reginald: Northampt. Esc. 26 Eliz. n. 119. Reference C 142/204/119
Certificate of residence showing Salathiel Crew (or the variant surname: Crewe) to be liable for taxation in Northamptonshire, and not in the half-hundred of Newport, Buckinghamshire, the previous area of tax liability. Reference E 115/112/113
England, Select marriages ,1538 – 1973
Wills probated in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury
Cicely Valencia Lancaster (1898-1996), known as Valencia, was my sixth cousin once removed. Although ‘sixth cousin’ sounds quite distant, the acquaintance was a little closer. Because of our shared Champion de Crespigny family heritage, my family knew her well and my father stayed with her in London several times when he was studying at Cambridge in the 1950s. In 1986 my parents visited her at her home at Kelmarsh Hall, Northhamptonshire.
Cicely Valencia Lancaster (1898–1996) painted by Oswald Hornby Joseph Birley (1880–1952) (circle of). Portrait in the collection of Kelmarsh Hall.
Valencia was the oldest daughter of George Granville Lancaster (1853-1907) and Cicely Lancaster née Champion de Crespigny (1874-1946), who was the second child and oldest daughter of Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny (1847-1935) and his wife Georgiana (1849-1935). Cicely married George Lancaster on 19 March 1896 at Maldon, Essex, where the de Crespigny family lived at Champion Lodge. Valencia was born on 26 March 1898 at London and her brother Claude Granville Lancaster was born, also at London, on 30 August 1899.
At the time of the 1901 census, when Valencia was three, the family was living at Marston Hall, Shropshire. George Lancaster lived on his own means; the Lancaster wealth came from iron and coal. The household included ten live-in servants: a butler, footman, cook, housemaid, lady’s maid, two laundry maids, children’s maid and an under-nurse. At Marston Lodge, nearby lived a coachman and his wife and a groom and his wife. These too were probably associated with the Lancaster household.
At the time of the 1911 census Valencia was living with her mother in a flat in Bentinck Mansions, Marylebone, London. The household included a butler, cook, housemaid and German governess. Claude was at school in Kent
In 1946 Valencia’s mother Cicely died. It was reported at the time that for the entire war Cicely had lived with her daughter at North Audley Street, London. She was awarded the Civil Defence Medal for serving for five years as an Air Raid Precautions Warden (A.R.P.), in Westminster.
When he turned 25 Valencia’s brother Claude inherited Kelmarsh Hall. For a time the Hall was rented out but afterwards he lived there and gardened enthusiastically. Between 1948 and 1953 Claude was married to Nancy Keene Perkins (1897-1994), who previously had been married to Ronald Tree (1897-1976). The Trees had rented Kelmarsh in the 1920s with a ten-year repairing lease and Nancy, who became a noted interior designer, had redecorated the Hall.
Claude died in 1977 and Valencia inherited Kelmarsh. In 1982 she established a charitable trust to facilitate its conservation.
Kelmarsh Hall contains many notable portraits of the Champion de Crespigny family and documents. I am not sure when these were passed to the Lancasters. The baronetcy became extinct in 1952, Valencia’s uncles died without male heirs, and the baronetcy passed through cousins, but in the end there were no descendants in the male line.
The home of the fourth baronet was Champion Lodge at Essex. The sixth baronet Henry died in 1946 at Champion Lodge. By 1949 Champion Lodge was sold and no longer in the family. By then the former Champion Lodge was a country club. Amongst the family there were a few houses which could have been used to house the portrait collection.
On 29 November 1996 Valencia died, aged 98. Her funeral service was held at Kelmarsh on 9 December.
In 1997 it was reported that Valencia’s estate was worth over two million pounds. She left money to the RSPCA and other animal charities.
Census Returns of England and Wales, 1901. Class: RG13; Piece: 2551; Folio: 9; Page: 9. Retrieved through ancestry.com
1911 England census Class: RG14; Piece: 524 Retrieved through ancestry.com
“The Death Of Captain Claude Champion De Crespigny.” Times [London, England] 20 May 1910: 10. The Times Digital Archive.
“Births, Deaths, Marriages and Obituaries.” Essex Newsman [Chelmsford, England] 23 Mar. 1907: 3. British Library Newspapers.
In 1638 Charles Chauncy emigrated to America, and from 1638 to 1641 he was an associate pastor at Plymouth, Massachusetts. However, the Plymouth church community was dissatisfied with his advocacy of the baptism of infants by immersion. From 1641 to 1654 he served as pastor at Scituate, Massachusetts. From 1654 until his death in 1672 Charles was President of Harvard College.
Charles Chauncy and his wife Catherine Chauncy nee Eyre (1604-1667) had six sons and at least two daughters. All six sons were said to have been “bred to the ministry and graduates of Harvard”. Ichabod was the third child and second son.
The unusual name ‘Ichabod’ appears to be an allusion to an Old Testament story. In 1 Samuel 4, the Philistines defeat Israel and capture the Ark of the Covenant. At this news the wife of the high priest Phineas falls into labour and gives birth to a son whom she names ‘Ichabod‘, conventionally translated as ‘the glory has departed’. Charles Chauncey was very likely giving expression to his rather strong opinion of the the lapsed and degenerate state of the Church of England.
Ichabod was brought to Massachusetts in 1638, when he was about three years old. In 1651, at about the age of 16, he and his older brother Isaac graduated from Harvard College.
In 1682 Ichabod Chauncey was prosecuted for not attending church and was convicted and fined. In 1684 he was again prosecuted, imprisoned for 18 weeks, and was sentenced to lose his estate both real and personal, and to leave the realm within three months. He went to Leiden, Holland,and practiced as a physician there until 1686 when he returned to Bristol. There is a suggestion that Ichabod’s persecution may have originated in the private malice of the Bristol town clerk.
Ichabod married Mary King (c. 1646-1736) on 12 August 1669 at St Michael’s Bristol. They had eight children. Three sons survived him:
Stanton, who died in 1707
Charles 1674-1763 (my seventh great grandfather, who became a London merchant)
Ichabod Chauncey died at Bristol on 25 July 1691 and was buried on 27 July at St Philip’s Bristol.
Appletons’ Cyclopedia of American Biography, 1600-1889, Volume 1, Charles Chauncy, page 594 retrieved through ancestry.com
Stephen, Sir Leslie, ed.; London, England: Oxford University Press; Dictionary of National Biography, 1921-22, Volumes 1-20, 22;Volume: Vol 22; Page: 230 retrieved through ancestry.com
Farmer, John. A Genealogical Register of the First Settlers of New-England; Containing an Alphabetical List of the Governours, Deputy-Governours, Assistants or Counsellors, and Ministers of the Gospel in the Several Colonies, from 1620 to 1692; Graduates of Harvard College to 1662; Members of the Ancient and Honourable Artillery Company to 1662; Freemen Admitted to the Massachusetts Colony from 1630 to 1662; With Many Other of the Early Inhabitants of New-England and …, page 57 retrieved through ancestry.com
Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 10, Chauncey, Ichabod, by Augustus Charles Bickley