A family history trip would not be complete without a visit to a cemetery.

A cousin of mine has very kindly sent me photographs of the graves at Leckhampton near Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, of my fourth great grandparents Eliza Julia Champion de Crespigny nee Trent (1797 – 1855), and Charles Fox Champion de Crespigny (1785 – 1875), and their grandson, Constantine Pulteney Trent Champion de Crespigny (1851 – 1883), my 3rd great uncle. Also the grave of their daughter, my fourth great aunt, Eliza Constantia Frances Crespigny (1825 – 1898).

The Gloucestershire Family History Society have transcribed the tombstone inscriptions for the burials in St Peter’s Churchyard, Leckhampton.

Leckhampton church

St Peter’s Leckhampton. I think the Champion Crespigny tomb can be seen on the right hand side underneath a cyprus.

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Leckhampton graveyard

The south side of the grave of Eliza and Charles Fox Champion Crespigny can be seen in the background – it is a large casket. In the foreground is the grave of their daughter Constantia, a cross on a three stepped plinth. The inscription on this side of the chest tomb has been transcribed: M11 Chest-tomb, on base, inward sloping sides, worn, once painted. Sc: LEWIS.Sc. South: IN MEMORY OF / CHARLES FOX CHAMPION CRESPIGNY, / BORN AT HINTLESHAM HALL NEAR IPSWICH 30TH AUGUST 1785, / DIED AT CHELTENHAM 4TH MARCH 1875. / IN SURE AND CERTAIN HOPE OF BEING RAISED WITH THE FAITHFUL IN CHRIST / TO EVERLASTING LIFE. / ALSO OF CONSTANTINE TRENT PULTENEY CHAMPION CRESPIGNY. / LATE OF H.M. 69th REGT BORN 5TH MAY 1851. DIED 26TH JANUARY 18–. / YOUNGEST SON OF PHILIP ROBERT CHAMPION CRESPIGNY / OF ST KILDA, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA / – – – – – – LL YE THAT LABOUR AND – – – HEAVY LADEN – – – WILL OF – – –

The verse under Constantine’s inscription is Matthew 11:28: Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. The verse for his grandfather is derived from the Book of Common Prayer but is not a direct quote.

Leckhampton CdeC tomb

The inscription on the tomb of Eliza wife of Charles Fox Champion Crespigny. Transcribed as IN MEMORY OF / ELIZA JULIA, THE BELOVED WIFE OF / CHARLES FOX CHAMPION CRESPIGNY ESQUIRE, / WHO DIED THE 17TH DAY OF JULY 1855, AGED 59 YEARS. PURE AND INNOCENT OF MIND, KIND AND BENEVOLENT, “HER WAYS WERE WAYS OF PLEASANTNESS, AND ALL HER PATHS WERE PEACE.” PROVERBS. III.17. UNTO YOU THAT HAVE MY NAME SHALL THE SUN(sic) OF RIGHTOUSNESS ARISE WITH HEALING IN HIS WINGS. MALACHI IV 2 I WILL RANSOM THEM FROM THE POWER OF THE GRAVE I WILL REDEEM THEM FROM DEATH. HOSEA XIII.I. – -EL- – – – NOT SHARE OUR SORROW, S——– THE -OT-E— BLESSED – – – – – – – A FUTURE LIFE – – – – – – – – – -SAVED – – – – – .

2017 7 Feb r L164 Crespigny Tomb, Leckhampton, Glos P1010691

L164 Cross on three plinths with kerbs, all of very worn concrete and extremely difficult to read. In the Registers was found: Eliza Constantine Frances Crestigey buried May 26 1898 aged 73 of 29 Kingsholm Road, Gloucester. The grave plan has Eliza Constantia Frances Crespigny, died 1898. Cross: JESU MERCY East. Plinth 1: IN LOVING MEMORY OF – – – – – – – – – – YOUNGER – – – – – – OF – – – – – – Plinth 2:——CHARLES?CRESPIGNY? ————R BORNATBO——-1825? DIED AT GLOUCESTER 2- — OF MAY 1898 AGED 75? Eliza was born July 1825 at Boulogne, France. She died 23 May 1898.

 

I am grateful for the photographs of the grave and I look forward to seeing it in person. I enjoy being at a place I’ve heard about and of course part of the fun is the journey there.

Charles Fox Champion de Crespigny inherited a considerable fortune but it dwindled away. I don’t know how he lost his money. Perhaps some of his investments failed or a bank collapsed. He does not appear to have been a gambler. Perhaps he was extravagant. The grave he erected for his wife and was later interred in certainly seems more overdone than most.

I am not sure why the family was living in Cheltenham, nor what the connection was to Leckhampton and why it was chosen for the grave of Eliza. Charles grew up in Suffolk. They married in London, and their children were born in Suffolk, Belgium and France. In 1841 they were living in Cheltenham, and although they were at Harefield Surrey in 1851 living with Charles’s brother Philip, they returned to Cheltenham after Philip’s death and were living there at the time of Eliza’s death. Leckhampton is only two miles south of Cheltenham. Perhaps it was the nearest graveyard to their residence, at 11 Royal Parade.

Around 1908, Charles Stanley Champion de Crespigny (1848-1907), another of the grandsons of Charles Fox Champion de Crespigny, wrote of his grandfather:

Ah well he lies buried in an old world Churchyard in the shadow of the Cotswold Hills & may the turf lie lightly upon him. I do not think he left an enemy behind him & if he had as many thousands a year at the beginning of his life as he had of fifty pounds at its close I believe he lived the life.

I look forward to visiting the old world churchyard in the shadow of the Cotswold Hills where my fourth great grandparents rest in peace.

Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree’s shade, 
         Where heaves the turf in many a mould’ring heap, 
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid, 
         The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep. 

Extract from “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” by Thomas Gray (1716–1771).

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