I is for Inns of Court

In 1713 my 7th great-uncle William Champion Crespigny (1698 – 1721) was apprenticed to Edward Mills, gentleman, of the Inner Temple. William’s father Thomas, who died in 1712, had been a soldier, but William was following in the profession of his uncle Pierre Champion Crespigny (1652 – 1739). William’s younger brother Philip (1704 – 1765) was also apprenticed to a lawyer in 1718.

The Inner Temple is one of the four London Inns of Court, professional associations which trained barristers. The others are Middle Temple, Lincolns Inn, and Gray’s Inn.

Each of the four Inns of Court has three ordinary grades of membership: students, barristers, and masters of the bench or “benchers”. The benchers constitute the governing body for each Inn, with the right to appoint new members from among their barrister members.

In the 14th century the Inner Temple began training lawyers. Many of this Inn’s buildings were destroyed in the Great Fire of London. Some of what remained was damaged in two more fires in 1677 and 1678.

William Champion Crespigny does not seem to have been admitted to the Inner Temple. His name is not recorded in the admissions register. He died in 1721.

There are two Edward Mills listed on the list of admissions in the seventeenth century. The master of William Champion Crespigny was probably Edward Mills, admitted 26 October 1673 and called to the bar on 12 February 1682. Mill’s occupation is given as ‘gentleman’ and his address City of London. Being ‘Called to the Bar’ was the formal ceremony by which student members were promoted to the status of barrister.

Members of the Inns of Court were in theory men who wished to become barristers. But besides these, many joined an Inn without going on to be called to the Bar. Before the twentieth century this second group was relatively numerous. Attending one of the Inns of Court was a way to make good social contacts, not necessarily to qualify as a barrister.

The admissions registers of the Inns have been digitised. I have looked for members of my family associated with them.

I have been unable to find anyone of the Champion de Crespigny family being admitted to the Inner Temple.

The admissions register of Middle Temple, however, shows Herbert J. W.S.C. de Crespigny admitted on 23 April 1822 and William O.R.C. de Crespigny admitted on 6 November 1807. Herbert Joseph Champion de Crespigny (1805 – 1881) and William Other Robert Champion de Crespigny (1789 – 1816) were my 2nd cousins 5 times removed. They were sons of William, the second baronet. William Other Robert was much lamented when he died very young, much like his great grand uncle William, who died at the age of twenty-three.

Another Middle Temple relative was Edward Mainwaring (1635 – 1703), one of my eighth great grandfathers, who was admitted to Middle Temple on 24 November 1652. The register of admissions states: EDWARD MAINWARING, son and heir of Edward M., of Whitmore, Staffs., esq. Edward, then 17 years old, was a student at Christ’s College Cambridge. There are other Mainwarings on the register of admissions to Inner Temple but none of them seem to be of the Whitmore Mainwaring line.

At Lincoln’s Inn, Claude Crespigny, gen., eldest son of Philip Champion C., of Doctors Commons, London, Esq. was admitted on 23 October 1750 aged fifteen. Claude Crespigny (1734 – 1818), my 6th great uncle, was Receiver-General of the Droits of Admiralty. He later became the first baronet. Claude Crespigny was educated at Eton, and became a Fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge. When he died in 1818 it was at his house at Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

Another of my Lincoln’s Inn relatives was George Crespigny (17), “2 s. Charles Fox Champion C., of Tally-Uyn Ho., co. Brecon, gent.”, admitted to Lincoln’s Inn on 4 November 1833. George Blicke Champion de Crespigny (1815 – 1893), my fourth great uncle, did not go on to follow the legal profession but joined the army ending up as Lieutenant Colonel and Paymaster.

I have found no de Crespigny family connection with Gray’s Inn. There is no one of that surname on the Register of Admissions 1521 – 1889. There is one distantly related Mainwaring, however: Philip Mainwaring (1589 – 1661), who was admitted to Gray’s Inn on 14 March 1609. Philip was my second cousin 12 times removed. He became a member of Parliament and Principal Secretary to the Lord Deputy of Ireland, Lord Strafford.


Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, with Sir Philip Mainwaring c.1639–40 by Anthony Van Dyck in the collection of the Tate, image retrieved from Wikimedia Commons

Inns of Court map

Sketch plan of the Inns of Court from The Inns of Court Author: Cecil Headlam Illustrator: Gordon Home first published 1909 and reissued as an ebook by Project Gutenberg

Legal London

Legal London, A Map showing the Inns of Court and places frequented by the Learned in Law, 1931 retrieved from the British Library


Further reading

H is for Hendon

In 1932 my grandmother Kathleen Cudmore (1908 – 2013) watched and filmed the air show at Hendon, an aerodrome 7 miles north of London.


Among experimental aircraft in the display were a Westland-Hill Pterodactyl flying wing, a tail-less aeroplane, and a gyrocopter.

The Hendon aerodrome is now the site of the Royal Air Force Museum London.

I have another small connection with Hendon. On 24 July 1801 one of my fourth great grandmothers, Ann Plaisted née Green (1801 – 1882), daughter of Charles Green and Sarah Green née Young, was baptised at St Mary’s Church there.

AtoZ map H

Hendon aerodrome is now the site of the Royal Air Force Museum seven miles north-west of London city and marked with an x

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G is for Game, children’s, ‘Oranges and Lemons’

I can remember playing ‘Oranges and Lemons’ in our school playground at recess and lunchtime. Looking back it seems a little strange, perhaps, that antipodean children should have been singing about London church bells. I had never heard a church bell, and I had no idea where the churches were whose names we chanted.

Oranges and lemons

10 girls playing ‘Oranges & Lemons’ in a government school playground, Melbourne, Victoria, 1954.  Retrieved from Museums Victoria.

‘Oranges and Lemons’ starts with two players holding hands to make an arch with their arms. The others pass through in single file. The arch is abruptly lowered at the end of the song, catching one of the children filing through. In the version pictured above the captured children join a team behind one of the two who form the arch. When everybody has been caught there is a tug of war. Another version has a pair of children being caught at the end. They make another arch. The song is repeated, and it becomes harder for the remaining children to escape being caught. This repeats until all participating children have been “beheaded”.

The rhyme goes:

Oranges and lemons
Say the bells of St Clements
You owe me five farthings
Say the bells of St Martins
When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey
When I grow rich
Say the bells of Shoreditch
When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney
I’m sure I don’t know
Says the great bell at Bow
Here comes a candle to light you to bed
Here comes a chopper to chop off your head
Chop chop chop chop the last man’s head!

There is a video of the game being played at

and of the song being sung at

Many of my Australian and English friends on Facebook remember playing ‘Oranges and Lemons’ but my much younger cousin who went to primary school in Canberra in the 1980s cannot remember playing it herself. Her experience is confirmed by a cousin who began her career as a primary school teacher in Melbourne in the 1980s. She told me that, ‘I don’t remember ever hearing kids sing or play it during my 36 years of teaching’.

The churches are not definitely identified, but the following have been suggested by the English folklorists Iona and Peter Opie :


The London churches associated with the ‘Oranges and Lemons‘ nursery rhyme, map created in Google Maps


St Mary-le-Bow cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Len Williams – geograph.org.uk/p/3756403


  •  I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford University Press, 1951, reprinted with corrections 1952), pp. 337–9.

F is for Fire following Plague

Earlier this year we were forced to flee from a catastrophic bushfire on the Australian east coast. It burnt out an area the size of England. Now, just a few months later, we’re self-quarantined against the COVID-19 plague, at home with the doors shut, permitted out only to buy food.

We Antipodeans, of course, got it the wrong way around. London had its plague first, from 1665, then its fire, in 1666. Whatever the order of events, of course, catastrophes are no fun for anybody.

In a year and half, the Great Plague of London – a rapid-spreading bacterial infection, rather than a virus – killed nearly 100,000 people, a quarter of the city’s population.

As it spread, a system of quarantine was introduced. A house where someone had died from plague would be locked, with no one allowed to enter or leave for 40 days. A plague house was marked with a red cross on the door and the words “Lord have mercy upon us”, and a watchman stood guard in the street.

L0016640 Nine images of the plague in London, 17th century

Nine images of the Great Plague of London in 1665 from The great plague in London in 1665 by Walter George Bell From the Wellcome Trust CC-BY-4.0,  retrieved through Wikimedia Commons 


I have an ancestor who was a doctor at the time, probably a plague doctor. This was Ichabod Chauncy (abt 1635 – 1691), one of my 8th great grandfathers. Like his father, Ichabod Chauncy was a clergyman, but in 1662 he was forced to leave the clergy, one of some 2,000 Puritan ministers forced out for what were deemed to be their unorthodox beliefs. He took up the profession of medicine instead, and in 1666 he was admitted to the College of Physicians. It seems very probable that Ichabod Chauncy treated victims of the plague and wore the plague-doctors’ beak-like mask filled with aromatic herbs designed to protect the wearer from putrid air, which according to the miasmatic theory of disease was the cause of infection.

Then came the fire, a huge conflagration which burned for four days in September 1666, completely destroying the medieval City of London inside the old Roman city wall. The homes of 70,000 people, more than three-quarters of the population of the city, were burnt to ashes. There were officially only six deaths; many went unrecorded.


Great Fire of London by an unknown artist about 1675 retrieved from Wikimedia Commons. “This painting shows the great fire of London as seen from a boat in vicinity of Tower Wharf. The painting depicts Old London Bridge, various houses, a drawbridge and wooden parapet, the churches of St Dunstan-in-the-West and St Bride’s, All Hallow’s the Great, Old St Paul’s, St Magnus the Martyr, St Lawrence Pountney, St Mary-le-Bow, St Dunstan-in-the East and Tower of London. The painting is in the [style] of the Dutch School and is not dated or signed.”

After the fire, London was rebuilt on essentially the same street plan. About three-fifths of the City of London had been destroyed: 13,200 houses, most great public buildings, St Paul’s Cathedral and 87 parish churches. Rebuilding housing took until the 1670s. Public buildings took longer, with St Paul’s finished only in 1711. This program had a modernising effect, for the city was now less dense, with only 9,000 houses rebuilt and not all churches and public buildings replaced.


Map of central London in 1666, showing landmarks related to the Great Fire of London. Drawn by Wikipedia user Bunchofgrapes and retrieved from Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA 3.0)


It is interesting that despite being separated from the events in London by 355 years and half way around the globe, we are experiencing similar catastrophes and coping along the same lines.

E is for emigration

In June 1839, at the age of twenty-three, Philip Lamothe Snell Chauncy (1816 – 1880), one of my 3rd great grandfathers, sailed from London for Adelaide in South Australia on the “Dumfries“, arriving in October 1839. On the passage Philip made the acquaintance of  Charlotte Kemmis (1816 – 1847). They married two years later, in 1841. Neither Philip nor his wife ever returned to England.

Dumfries 2004 From an original watercolour by John Ford F.A.S.M.A.

The “Dumfries” From an original watercolour by John Ford F.A.S.M.A. 2004 and reproduced with permission. The “Dumfries” was a barque, sometimes spelled bark, a square-rigged ship with the aft (mizzen) mast rigged fore-and-aft. Barques were easier to handle than fully square-rigged ships and so required a smaller crew. At some points of sail they were almost as fast. However, John Ford has let me know that according to his records the “Dumfries” was shipped rigged not a barque.

Late in life Philip Chauncy wrote a memoir including a description of his departure from London. A copy of the manuscript is deposited in the State Library of Victoria. Below are images of some of the pages.

On 14 June Philip did some sightseeing around London, visited the famous Tower, then went aboard the “Dumfries” moored immediately downstream of it at St Katherine’s Dock. There he shared a bottle of wine with his father, a brother and two of his sisters to celebrate his coming departure.

St Katherine's Docks from London vol 3 1842 Edited Charles Knight

from page 75 of London Volume III: Knight, Charles, 1791-1873, (editor), London Volume III . London Charles Knight & Company, 1842. Retrieved from archive.org

AtoZ map E

St Katherine’s Docks marked with an x is just downstream of the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge.

On 15 June Philip went to the zoo, and later he visited his various Snell and Chauncy relatives. He spent 17 and 18 June packing and getting his goods on board. On 19 June he visited his father at his home in Clapham. On 20 June he slept on board, where he had, he said, a bad bilious attack. He went ashore again the next day, his 23rd birthday, and dined with his family. They later came on board with him and bid him farewell.

The “Dumfries” set sail on 22 June at 5.45 pm and drifted 30 miles down the Thames to the Nore, a sandbank at the mouth of the Thames, where they anchored near the lightship.

Philip, of course, was sorry to be leaving his family. But he was joining his two sisters, Martha and Theresa, who had already emigrated and he believed his father would follow him out to Australia shortly. Everybody except for his sister Eunice did indeed emigrate as he had hoped. On the whole it appears that Philip left England without regret, looking forward to a new life in a new country.

On 23 June the “Dumfries” sailed from the Nore and anchored off the North Foreland, a chalk headland on the Kent coast. Philip wrote to his father and amused himself by fishing.


1848 chart showing the position of the Downs off the coast of Kent. (depths are in fathoms). From Admiralty Chart No 1895 England south coast sheet 7 Dungeness to the Thames including Dover Strait, Published 1848. Retrieved from Wikimedia Commons.


Vessels in the Downs Sketch in a book entitled ‘The Marine sketch book by H. Moses 1826‘. Retrieved from Wikimedia Commons.

On 25 June they anchored in the Downs off the Kent coast. The next morning Philip and six fellow cabin passengers went ashore a mile below Deal. They walked through the town, made some purchases, and returned on board with a cat.

From that time Philip began to keep a proper sea journal in a log book he bought for the purpose. He also started to read the two volumes of Major Mitchell’s recently been published “Three Expeditions Into the Interior of Eastern Australia“.

The ship “Dumfries” had been built quite recently. This was her second or third voyage. Philip notes that there were 16 cabin passengers including 3 children, 29 adults and 15 children in the intermediate class, 23 in steerage. There were 22 in the ship’s company, a total of 105 persons on board. (An Airbus A380 can carry 868 passengers.) Philip took a cabin with Henry Kemmis, his future brother-in-law, and they each paid 70 pounds. A school teacher’s annual salary was then about 80 pounds. An air ticket from London to Adelaide is for most people less than a weeks wage, and even a first class fare is a fraction of the annual salary of a school teacher.

The wind had been blowing a gale from the west. It finally moderated and veered to the east and at 3pm on 26 June they sailed from the Downs, tacking between Beachey Head and the coast of France. The “Dumfries” finally cleared the Channel on 1 July. During the stormy weather most of the passengers, including Philip, were seasick.

Dumfries June 1839 map

Map showing the places on the journey of the “Dumfries” as it left London. The ship sailed from St Katherine’s Dock on 22 June 1839 and anchored at the Nore sandbank. On 23 June they anchored off the North Foreland. On 25 June they sailed to near Deal and on 26 June Philip and some of his fellow passengers went ashore. In the afternoon of 26 June they sailed from the Downs near deal and it took them til 1 July to clear the channel tacking between Beachey Head and the coast of France.

The “Dumfriesarrived in Port Adelaide on Sunday October 11, 3 months 10 days after clearing the Channel on 1 July and 3 months 19 days after leaving London.

On page 91 of the memoir Philip wrote he was persuaded by his brother William to take out as a servant a man named Lowerburgh (or similar, MS unclear) and his wife and daughter. Philip wrote, “William had known them at Ascot, I did not want them but this was a cheap way for them to emigrate under the Commisr’s regulations.” I assume that the Lowerburgh’s are among the unnamed 27 in steerage mentioned in the South Australian Register‘s report of the arrival of the “Dumfries” on 19 October 1839. However, I have found no trace of them in South Australia under that surname or variants of it.

In later life Philip Chauncy expressed no regret about leaving England. He had made sure to do some sightseeing of London before emigration. He was consoled by the fact that his family intended to emigrate too (and that intention was indeed mostly fulfilled).

Below are pages from Philip Chauncy’s memoir concerning his departure from London, retrieved from the State Library of Victoria.

Chauncy PAC-10024086 memoirs page 113 of 220 pagesChauncy PAC-10024086 memoirs page 114 of 220 pagesChauncy PAC-10024086 memoirs page 115 of 220 pagesChauncy PAC-10024086 memoirs page 116 of 220 pagesChauncy PAC-10024086 memoirs page 117 of 220 pagesChauncy PAC-10024086 memoirs page 119 of 220 pagesChauncy PAC-10024086 memoirs page 118 of 220 pages


State Library of Victoria: Chauncy, P. Papers 1839-1878, [manuscript]. http://search.slv.vic.gov.au/permalink/f/1ojgog/SLV_VOYAGER1634281

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D is for Deptford

One of my fifth great grandfathers was Thomas Plaisted (1777 – 1832), who lived with his wife and family at Deptford, a dockyard district on the south bank of the Thames. Plaisted was the proprietor of a wine bar in Woolwich, five miles to the east. (When I last wrote about this, at “Plaisteds Wine Bar”, I was under the impression that his wine shop was in Deptford.)

Until recently much of what was known about Thomas Plaisted was based on Arthur Plaisted’s 1939 “The Plaisted Family of North Wilts“. In 2016, however, a new edition formatted by Claire Plaisted was published. She notes that Arthur Plaisted’s work on the Australasian branch of the family is unreliable. It should be pointed out, of course, that Arthur Plaisted was writing in the 1930s, without our easy on-line access to records and without the benefit of digitisation and machine text-searching.

When my fourth great grandfather John Plaisted died in 1858 in Melbourne, Victoria, his death certificate gave his parents as Thomas Plaisted and Lydia Plaisted née Wilks. Using the Australian system of birth, death, and marriage records, I have been able to trace my Plaisted relatives back to Thomas Plaisted – owner of the wine bar – and his wife Lydia.

On 10 June 1797 Thomas Plaisted married Lydia Wilks (Wilkes) at St Bride’s Church Fleet Street by banns. The witnesses were William Winstandly and W Finch.

Their son John was baptised on 27 April 1800 at St George the Martyr, Southwark, with seven other infants. The baptism record states that he was born on 7 April.

Two children of Thomas and Lydia had previously been baptised at the same church. Both were called Thomas, the first baptised 12 August 1798 and the second on 10 March 1799. The first Thomas died in December 1798 and was buried on 14 December at St George the Martyr. The second Thomas died about June 1799 and was buried on 2 June, also at St George the Martyr. Both infants were stated to be from New Colley Borough, perhaps near Colley Borough, a place mentioned in 1845 in the London Gazette in connection with the London-Brighton railway.

The next child whose baptism record I have seen is Tabitha, born in 1806. It seems unlikely that there were no other children born between 1800 and 1806, and I suspect their baptism records have not yet been digitised. I have found two possible burials. On 18 January 1803, Joseph from New Colley Borough, son of Thomas, was buried at St George the Martyr. On 28 March 1805, Lydia from New Colley Borough, daughter of Thomas, was buried at St George the Martyr.

While reviewing the records associated with my Plaisted forebears I discovered that the younger children of Thomas Plaisted and his wife Lydia Plaisted née Wilkes were baptised at the Ebenezer Chapel and the Plaisted family seem to have become Dissenters. Tabitha, Elizabeth and Thomas Wilks were all baptised on 8 April 1813. Lydia was baptised not long after her birth on 10 April 1814 and Ebenezer was baptised in April 1817.

Deptford Ebenezer Chapel

View of Ebenezer Chapel, an Independent Chapel that was situated on King Street in New Town, Deptford. 1840 Unknown artist. Retrieved from British Library.

On 17 June 1817 the births of these youngest 5 children were registered at Dr Williams Library:

  • Tabitha, born 25 August 1806
  • Elizabeth, born 7 March 1809
  • Thomas Wilkes, born 21 July 1811
  • Lydia, born 9 February 1814
  • Benjamin Ebenezer, born 31 January 1817

All the children were born in the Broadway parish of St Pauls Deptford.

Dr Williams’s Library was founded in 1729. Amongst its aims was that, for a small fee, it kept a central registry of births mainly (but not solely) within non-conformist families, to avoid the necessity of having to have a child baptised in the established Church of England.

John Plaisted, my fourth great grandfather, was not baptised at the Ebenezer Chapel and I have found no evidence that he was a Dissenter.

Deptford showing Ebenezer Chapel 1862

from an 1862 map of Deptford – orange arrows show the location of Broadway and the Ebenezer Chapel. Retrieved from mappalondon.com.

The Plaisted Family” has Thomas Plaisted born in Newnham-on-Severn, Gloucestershire. While it is not impossible that Thomas Plaisted moved from Gloucestershire to London, I think it is more likely that Thomas was the child of John Plaisted and Ann, born in Shoreditch on 14 October 1777 and baptised at St Leonard Shoreditch on 11 November 1777. I haven’t yet been able to verify this.

Arthur Plaisted gives Thomas’s death as 1860. In fact Thomas’s will was proved in 1832; Thomas died on 30 May one day after signing his will and was buried on 4 June at the Independent burial ground Deptford, High Street, formerly Butt Lane.

AtoZ map D

Map shows Deptford (D), Woolwich (W), St George the Martyr Southwark (So), St Bride’s Church Fleet Street (F), St Leonard Shoreditch (Sh)

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C is for Camberwell

In 1741 my 6th great grandparents Philip Champion de Crespigny (1704 – 1765) and Anne Champion de Crespigny née Fonnereau (1704 – 1782) moved to Camberwell from Knightrider Street, near Doctors’ Commons. Philip was a proctor, a legal practitioner, associated with Doctors’ Commons, a society of civil lawyers. From 1733 he had been the Marshal of the High Court of Admiralty.

The village of Camberwell, then part of the county of Surrey, lay south of London on the road to Brighton, 4 miles from St Paul’s Cathedral. The de Crespigny family moved into a house built in 1717. At first this was leased but then the freehold and 16 acres were purchased. The house was renamed Champion Lodge.

Claude and Anne’s youngest child Jane was born at Camberwell on 12 October 1742. She was baptised there at St Giles (destroyed by fire in 1841 and rebuilt).

(c) Kelmarsh Hall; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Champion Lodge, Camberwell by James Baker Pyne (1800–1870) now in the collection of Kelmarsh Hall

Champion Lodge no longer stands. The house was demolished and the land divided for housing in the 1840s by Sir Claude William Champion de Crespigny (1818 – 1865), the third baronet and great great grandson of Claude and Anne.

The name De Crespigny is still associated with Camberwell through a street name, De Crespigny Park.

AtoZ map C

De Crespigny Park in Camberwell and Knightrider Street in the City are marked with Xs

B is for Bailey, Old


The Old Bailey Sessions House by John Ellis, 1790

The Old Bailey, also known at various times as Justice Hall, the Sessions House, and the Central Criminal Court, was named after the street in which it stood, just off Newgate Street and next to Newgate Prison. Old Bailey Street follows the line of the original fortified wall, or “bailey”, of the City. The courthouse was conveniently close to Newgate Prison.

This 1808 sketch by Thomas Rowlandson and Augustus Pugin published in The Microcosm of London: or, London in Miniature shows a trial in the Old Bailey.


Thomas Rowlandson and Augustus Pugin – Ackermann, Rudolph; Pyne, William Henry; Combe, William (1904) [1808] “Old Bailey” in The Microcosm of London: or, London in Miniature, Volume 2, London: Methuen and Company

The courtrooms were arranged to emphasise the contest between the accused and the forces of the prosecution. The accused stood at “the bar” (in “the dock”), directly facing the witness box, where prosecution and defence witnesses testified, with the judge or judges seated on the other side of the room. Before the introduction of gas lighting in the early nineteenth century a mirrored reflector was placed above the bar to reflect light from the windows onto the faces of the accused. This allowed the court to examine their facial expressions and assess the validity of their testimony. A sounding board was placed over their heads in order to amplify their voices.

Rowlandson and Pugin’s illustration ‘represents the court employed in the examination of a witness, who appears to have just received the usual admonition upon these occasions, of ”Hold up your head young woman and look at his lordship.”’

Early on, the jurors sat on the sides of the courtroom to both the left and the right of the accused, but from 1737 they were brought together in stalls on the defendant’s right, sufficiently close together to be able to consult each other and arrive at verdicts without leaving the room. Seated at a table below the judges were clerks, lawyers, and the writers who took the shorthand notes which formed the basis of the Proceedings.

My fifth great uncle, his son, and his grandson were all victims of crime whose cases were heard in the Old Bailey:

  • George Bowyer transported for pickpocketing: My 5th great uncle Claude Champion Crespigny (1734-1818) was robbed of a pocket handkerchief in 1790. The thief was sentenced to be transported to New South Wales. He appears to have died on the voyage.
  • O is for Old Bailey Records: William Champion de Crespigny (1765-1829), my 1st cousin 6 times removed, accused his coachman of ‘stealing harness’ in 1789. The coachman was acquitted.
  • T is for trial for theft: In 1838 Herbert Joseph Champion de Crespigny (1805-1881), my second cousin five times removed, was driving a carriage. It overturned and he broke his leg. While being assisted he was robbed. The accused thief was found guilty.
AtoZ map B

The Old Bailey is marked with an X


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A is for Admiralty

The Admiralty was the government bureaucracy that managed naval affairs, the operations of the Royal Navy. The term is also used to refer to the physical offices, specifically the Admiralty Building in Whitehall.

I have at least three direct forebears who served in the Royal Navy:

  • Rear-Admiral Rowland Mainwaring, my 4th great grandfather, 1783 – 1862
  • Captain Gordon Skelly, my 6th great grandfather, 1741 – 1771
  • Captain Thomas Latham, my 6th great grandfather, who died in 1762

Claude Champion Crespigny (1734-1818) was my fifth great uncle. He was Receiver of the Droits of Admiralty for over 50 years.

DROIT (Fr. for “right,” from Lat. directus, straight), a legal title, claim or due; a term used in English law in the phrase droits of admiralty, certain customary rights or perquisites formerly belonging to the lord high admiral, but now to the crown for public purposes and paid into the exchequer. These droits (see also Wreck) consisted of flotsam, jetsam, ligan, treasure, deodand, derelict, within the admiral’s jurisdiction; all fines, forfeitures, ransoms, recognizances and pecuniary punishments; all sturgeons, whales, porpoises, dolphins, grampuses and such large fishes; all ships and goods of the enemy coming into any creek, road or port, by durance or mistake; all ships seized at sea, salvage, &c., with the share of prizes — such shares being afterwards called “tenths,” in imitation of the French, who gave their admiral a droit de dixième. (1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Droit )

Until 1854 the receiver-general of Admiralty droits was attached to the Registry of the High Court of Admiralty. Prize droits of Admiralty were distinguished from droits of the Crown, the latter being granted to commissioned captors of ships and cargoes taken at sea. Disputes which arose from time to time between the Exchequer, as the department entitled to droits of Admiralty, and commissioned captors as to the right to a particular prize, were settled in the Prize Court.

An example of the return by the Receiver-General in 1812 is at page 790 of the 1812 Journal of the House of Commons.

[image of page]

The Admiralty complex lies between Whitehall, Horse Guards Parade and The Mall and includes five inter-connected buildings. The oldest building is now known as The Ripley building after its architect, Thomas Ripley (1682 – 1758). It contained the Admiralty board room, which is still used by the Admiralty, other state rooms, offices and apartments for the Lords of the Admiralty.

Admiralty House is a mansion to the south of the Ripley Building, built in the late 18th century as the residence of the First Lord of the Admiralty from 1788. It served that purpose until 1964.

Admiralty Extension is the largest of the five buildings. Construction commenced in the late nineteenth century.

Admiralty Arch was commissioned by King Edward VII in memory of his mother Queen Victoria. It was completed in 1912. Admiralty Arch served as the official residence of the First Sea Lord and also housed various government offices, initially for the Admiralty.

The Admiralty Citadel is a squat, windowless World War II fortress north west of Horse Guards Parade.

AtoZ map A

The Old Admiralty Building, now known as the Ripley Building, is marked with an X

Tree progress March 2020

In May 2018 I calculated a simple index of my family tree’s so-called ‘completedness’: how many of my forebears could I name?

I was especially interested in the number of forebears I could name in the previous ten generations, that is, up to and including seventh great grandparents. The possible maximum, if you include yourself, is 1,023 individuals. [Cousins sometimes marry, so there might be duplicates, which in practice could reduce the actual number considerably.]

Looking at our tree from our children’s perspective the figure was then 31%, 319 of the possible 1,023 forebears.

In July 2019 Dnapainter.com introduced a tree function to generate trees and calculate tree completedness. This tree function can also be be used to mark ancestors shared with genetic cousins.

As of 31 March 2020 my tree shows 344 of the possible 1023 forebears, 25 more. This just is 33.6%, slow progress of 2% over nearly two years.


Direct ancestors whose names I know are coloured; blanks represent those whose names are unknown to me.

These numbers of course don’t show all we’ve learned about our forebears and their relatives. I have done a great amount of research about the lives of people in our tree. Moreover, our family tree including indirect relatives has grown by almost half again, from around 6,000 people to 10,481 people.

The large increase is mainly due to my adding genetic cousins to the tree, among these many descendants of my forebears. I try to verify all connections. Our tree on ancestry.com now includes 16,099 records, 2,109 images, and 289 stories.

Not all of the forebears in our tree have associated genetic cousins. Some cousins have not tested their DNA. Some have tested but I have been unable to verify the connection.

Even for the cousins where I have found a connection, the shared DNA is not necessarily attributable to a particular ancestor. [There are ways of developing confidence about these attributions, some of which I described in my account of the triangulation technique I used to verify that Matilda Sullivan formerly Hughes née Darby was the mother of Henry Sullivan.

I have made the least progress on my German forebears. My mother very kindly submitted her DNA for analysis, but dissappointly, I have made no connections through her DNA. She has very few cousins and they are not close: her father was an only child, and her mother’s siblings had no children. DNA testing is not popular in Germany. On the AncestryDNA site my mother has only 27 4th cousins or closer and 12,882 matches in total; her closest match shares only 50 centimorgans. By contrast my father has 358 matches of 4th cousin or closer, his closest match shares 570 centimorgans, and he has a total of 43,912 matches on the AncestryDNA website. My suave and handsome husband Greg (editor of this online research journal) has 320 matches that are 4th cousin or closer, his closest match shares 1003 centimorgans, and he has a total of 31,875 matches on the AncestryDNA website.

On the MyHeritage website my mother has 2,035 DNA matches and her closest match shares 39 centimorgans. My father has 10,244 matches and shares 777 centimorgans with his closest match. Greg has 5,976 matches and his closest match shares 1,035 centimorgans of DNA.

On Greg’s side of the family – the left hand side of the fan – I have still to make progress on his Young, Cross, Sullivan and Morley forebears.

DNA_Painter___Tree_-_2020_March_tree genetic

There is still lots of work to be done in identifying the relationships with genetic cousins, building the tree, and filling in the family history.

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