Some thoughts on the will of John Champain (died 1756)

What can we learn from the last will and testament of John Champain, the London citizen and wine cooper who died in 1756, and what light, if any, can it throw on the lives of his daughter Ann, her husband Richard Collins – and their sister-in-law, my 5 x great grandmother Elizabeth Gibson?

John Champain made his will in 1750, six years before his death. By this time, his son James Champain had been married to his first wife Hannah for six years and they had three young children. John’s other surviving child, his daughter Ann Champain, had been married to Richard Collins of Epping for three years. As for John himself, we learn that he is definitely ‘late’ of Thames Street, London, and now very firmly of Epping Long Green. This suggests that John might already have passed the family business on to his son James, who we know was living in London and working as a wine merchant. We can also assume, from the fact that she is not mentioned in the will, that John’s second wife Sarah Stumphousen, whom he married in 1735, had died by the time he made his will.

The most frustrating thing about John Champain’s will is that its main business appears to have been conducted elsewhere. We learn that John has already ‘fully advanced’ his daughter Ann (was this the marriage settlement of £1200 made in 1747, or does it refer to some other payment or legacy?), and at the same time his will gives no details of the remaining ‘Estates and Effects’ bequeathed to his son James. We know from his own will of 1781 that James Champain owned property in Essex, presumably inherited from his father, but that document is equally lacking in details.

Passmores House in 1974

Passmores House in 1974

Did John Champain’s bequest to his daughter Ann include Passmores, the country house in Great Parndon where Richard and Ann Collins would be living in the year after his death? (Great Parndon or Parringdon is about six miles north of Epping, and now part of the new town of Harlow.) We know that the couple had two children: a son, Champain Collins, and a daughter Ann. As yet I haven’t been able to find any evidence of the former’s birth, but some time ago I came across a reference to Ann’s baptism, on 26th April 1757, in the parish records of Great Parndon church. According to the register, Ann was the daughter of Richard and Ann Collins of Passmores.

We know that Passmores was still in the family in 1771 when, according to one source, ‘Mrs Collins of Epping’ held the manor (Ann had been widowed in the previous year.) The same source states that from 1775 Passmores was owned or occupied by ‘Mr. Collins.’ I believe that this was Richard and Ann’s son Champain, who is named as owner of the property, and ‘son and heir of Richard Collins’, in a document of 1778 concerning the assignment of a mortgage in relation to the ‘Manor of Passmores and capital messuage called Passmores and land in Great Parndon’, and a similar document concerning a mortgage of £1500. These documents concerned the transfer of the property to Francis Bayley, whose family was still living there in the 1850s.

Passmores certainly wasn’t among the properties left to Richard by his father Richard Collins senior. The latter did leave some land in Great Parndon to his second son John, and it crossed my mind that these might have passed to Richard, perhaps in the wake of family disapproval of John’s clandestine marriage in 1753 to my ancestor Elizabeth Gibson. However, the name of the property left by his father to John Collins was Deacons, and it is described as being at Stivyers (or Sivers or Chivers) Green, on the borders of Epping and Great Parndon, and thus encompassing land in both parishes. Once again, there is no mention of Passmores. Nor can the property have been inherited from Richard’s maiden aunt Elizabeth Collins, since she would not died until 1761; and anyway, she doesn’t mention Richard in her will.

Passmores and Epping Long Green are visible on this early 19th century map

Passmores and Epping Long Green are visible on this early 19th century map

Since Richard and Ann Collins were living at Passmores in 1757, the year after the death of John Champain, it’s certainly possible that Ann inherited the property as part of the legacy to which her father refers with such frustrating brevity in his will. Another possibility is that Richard Collins bought Passmores at some point. The only reference I’ve found to its earlier ownership is in a document of 1723 which names the owner at that date as Mr John Ellis ‘who holds it in the right of his wife’.

John Champain’s instructions for his burial are as oblique as his bequests to his children:

I desire to be buried according to such directions as I shall leave in writing for that purpose but in case I leave no such directions then I desire my Funeral may be decent and private at the discretion of my Executor. 

However, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I discovered a record of John’s burial in the parish registers, not of Epping or Great Parnford as one would expect, but of St Peter’s, South Weald, some eighteen miles away. On 4th April 1756, ‘John Champaigne Gentleman of Tower Street London’ was buried in the churchyard there. The reason for this choice of location remains shrouded in mystery, but the record caught my eye because, seven years later, my 5 x great grandmother Elizabeth Collins née Gibson, now a widow, was married for a second time – to Joseph Holdsworth, originally from Yorkshire but now a yeoman farmer in South Weald, the village where they would live for the next thirty years or so and where their seven children would be born.

Parish church of St Peter, South Weald (via photoanswers.co.uk)

Parish church of St Peter, South Weald (via photoanswers.co.uk)

We know that Richard and Ann Collins would be living in Shenfield, just two or three miles from South Weald, by the time Richard made his will in 1763 (the year of Elizabeth Collins’ marriage to Joseph Holdsworth); he would died seven years later in 1770. Perhaps John Champain, although officially resident at Epping Long Green, also owned property in South Weald, thus explaining his attachment to that parish? And perhaps he bequeathed that property to his daughter Ann, thus explaining how she and her husband Richard came to be living nearby seven years after his death?

I’ve yet to transcribe the last will and testament of Richard Collins, which might throw some light on some of these questions. I’ll share my transcription in another post.

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The last will and testament of John Champain, citizen and wine cooper

I’m continuing to explore the Champain family and their links with my Gibson and Collins ancestors. In earlier posts I’ve discussed James Champain and his family, and in the last post I began to write about his sister Ann Champain who married Richard Collins of Epping, Essex. Their father John Champain, a London wine cooper who retired to Epping Long Green, made his last will and testament in 1750 and died in 1756. In this post I’m sharing my transcription of John’s will, and in the next post I’ll discuss what it can tell us about him and his family.

Thames Street, London, looking towards All Hallows church (via www.londonancestor.com)

Thames Street, London, looking towards All Hallows church (via http://www.londonancestor.com)


This is the last Will and Testament of me John Champain late of Tower Street London Citizen and Wine Cooper but now of Epping Long Green in the County of Essex as follows (that is to say) I desire to be buried according to such directions as I shall leave in writing for that purpose but in case I leave no such directions then I desire my Funeral may be decent and private at the discretion of my Executor. Whereas I have fully advanced my only daughter Anne now the wife of Mr Richard Collins of Epping in the County of Essex Also I do therefore, subject to the payment of my Funeral Expenses and Just Debts, hereby give devise and bequeath all my Estate and Effects whatsoever and wheresover and of what nature or kind soever the same be unto my son James Champain his Heirs Executors Administrators and Assigns for ever And I do revoke all former Wills by me at any time heretofore made and of this my last Will and Testament I make and appoint my said son James Champain sole Executor. In Witness whereof I have to this my last Will and Testament set my hand and seal this third day of October in the twenty fourth year of the Reign of his Majesty King George the Second of Great Britain and so forth and in the year of our Lord Christ one thousand seven hundred and fifty – John Champain – signed sealed published and declared by the above named John Champain as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us who as witnesses to the same have in his presence subscribed our names – H. Bosworth – Jos. Dornford – Thomas Higgins.

 

This Will was proved at London the seventh day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and fifty six before the Worshipfull Arthur Collier doctor of Laws Surrogate of the Right Honourable Sir George Lee Knight also doctor of Laws Master Keeper or Commissary of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury lawfully constituted by the Oath of James Champain the son of the deceased and sole Executor named in the said will To whom Administration was granted of all and singular the Goods Chattels and Credits of the said deceased having been first sworn duly to administer. Exd.

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Ann Champain and Richard Collins

My recent posts have explored the life and family of eighteenth-century wine merchant James Champain, who died in 1785. James was the only surviving son of John Champain, also a wine merchant, who died in 1756. John also had a daughter Ann or Anna, and it’s to her story that I return in this post. I’m interested in Ann Champain because she married Richard Collins of Epping, and thus became the sister-in-law of my 5 x great grandmother Elizabeth Gibson, whose first husband was Richard’s brother John Collins. Ann Collins née Champain would have been an aunt to James Champain’s nine children, and her two children would have been their first cousins.

St Peter upon Cornhill (via knowledgeoflondon.com)

St Peter upon Cornhill (via knowledgeoflondon.com)

A record of Ann’s birth or baptism has yet to come to light. The first record we have for Ann is of her marriage to Richard Collins on 15th September 1747 at the church of St Peter upon Cornhill in the City of London. From this, we can probably place her birth some time in the mid 1720s. Like her brother James, Ann was certainly a product of her father John’s first marriage, and her mother (whose identity I have yet to discover) must have died while Ann was still very young. John Champain married again in 1735, to Sarah Stumphousen, and Ann would have grown up alongside her older step-siblings, Adam, Mary and Sarah Stumphousen, as well as her own brother James.

Ann’s brother James Champain married his first wife, Hannah Hawkins, in 1744, three years before his sister’s wedding. I conclude from James’ tax records and other evidence that he and his family probably lived in London, where he carried on his (and his father’s?) wine business. As for Ann, her marriage record describes her as, like her husband Richard, ‘of Epping’. We know that her father maintained a house at Epping Long Green, as well as an address in town, so it could be that Ann spent part of her childhood in each place. If so, then she would have had much in common with the woman who would become her sister-in-law, my ancestor Elizabeth Gibson, whose family also appears to have divided between its time between an address in Tower Hill and their country house at Woodredon, Waltham Abbey, just a few miles from Epping. It’s even possible that Ann and Elizabeth knew each other before their marriages, as neighbours in one of these two locations, though they were probably about ten years apart in age (Ann being the older of the two).

Countryside near Epping, Essex (via annierack.hoofbags.me.uk)

Countryside near Epping, Essex (via annierack.hoofbags.me.uk)

I’ve made reference in earlier posts to the marriage settlement of £1200 conferred ‘in trust for purchase of estate’ made on 14th September 1747 (i.e. the day before the wedding) between Richard Collins of Epping, gent.; John Champain of Tower Street, London, citizen and wine cooper and Philip Martin of Theydon Garnon, gent.; and Ann Champain, daughter of John Champain. Apparently settlements of this kind were a way of securing separate property rights and future income for a bride, at a time when a woman’s legal and financial identity was still subsumed into that of her husband.

If Ann Champain and Elizabeth Gibson knew each other as neighbours, then this must also have been true of the Champain and Collins families. They would have been members of a small circle of gentlemen and yeoman farmers in the Epping area, and a match between Richard, the eldest son of the landowning Richard Collins senior and the only daughter of his neighbour, a wealthy London merchant, must have seemed the most natural thing in the world.

Richard Collins senior (Ann’s father-in-law) died and was buried in February 1748. Since Great Britain did not change over to the Gregorian Calendar until 1752, it’s possible that this date is what we would understand as February 1749. In other words, Richard Collins senior might have died nearly two years after his son’s marriage. The elder Richard had made his will in 1742, leaving a considerable amount of property to his eldest son, including ‘all that my customary messuage or tenement called or known by the name of Turners otherwise Colports otherwise Colworthyes situate and being at or near Lindsey Street in Epping’ and its associated lands, amounting to about 15 acres; and another property in the same area called Hight Holes, together with a property known as Parklands, amounting to a further 15 acres. The only condition is that Richard junior is to pay his younger brother William the sum of 200 pounds, either within a year of their father’s decease or when the latter reaches the age of twenty-one. (Since he was born in 1739, William would not come of age until 1760.)

St George's Chapel, Mayfair in the 18th century

St George’s Chapel, Mayfair in the 18th century

In February 1753, some nine years after the marriage of Richard Collins and Ann Champain, John Collins, who I believe to have been Richard’s younger brother, married my ancestor Elizabeth Gibson at St George’s Chapel in Mayfair. The circumstances of this marriage remain shrouded in mystery. Why did it take place at a church notorious for clandestine marriages? Was this connected in some way with the (possible) imprisonment in the Fleet of John Gibson, Elizabeth’s father, for fraud? And did the secret nature of the marriage affect John’s standing in his family or the nature of his inheritance?

John Champain, father of Ann and James, died in 1756, having made his will six years earlier. I’ll discuss this document in another post, before going on to explore the married life of Richard and Ann Collins.

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Reflections on the will of Captain William Burgundy Champain

What can we learn from the last will and testament of Captain William Burgundy Champain, R.N., who died in 1818? We discover, among other things, that his friends included Lieutenant John Guyon, R.N., who (it turns out) served on the gun vessel Starling in the early 1800s and who was court-martialed and dismissed the service for ‘cruel and un-officer-like behaviour’ towards a seaman in 1815; and Charles Ruxton of Dublin, who was probably a member of the noted Ruxton family of Ardee, County Louth, and a relation of the Irish MP and landowner bearing the same name, who died in 1806. We also gain an insight into the prized personal possessions of a retired naval officer of the early nineteenth century, which included a gold snuff box; a gold watch, worn with gold chain and seals; a chronometer; and an encyclopedia.

However, for my current purposes, the main value of the will is in the information it provides about William Burgundy Champain’s relatives. Since he does not mention any wife or children of his own, we must assume either that William was a confirmed bachelor (the most likely option) or that his wife had died and they had no surviving children. The main beneficiaries of William’s will are his nephews and nieces, and it turns out that all of these are the sons and daughters of his older brother John Champain.

We know from the 1781 will of their father, James Champain senior, that his two elder sons, James junior and John, served in the East Indies. I’ve been unable to discover what became of James junior, but I’m fortunate that the family of his brother John has been researched by Christine Hoey, who has kindly shared her findings with me.

Calcutta in 1786. From an etching by Thomas Daniel. (Via sankalpa.tripod.com)

Calcutta in 1786. From an etching by Thomas Daniel.
(via sankalpa.tripod.com)

From Christine I learn that John Champain was appointed a civil judge in Dacca, India, in 1788, and that in the same year he married Margery Mackintosh in Calcutta. They had nine children between 1789 and 1802, when Margery died, shortly after giving birth to twin boys. Most of these children were born in India, but the twins were born in London in 1802, by which time the family had returned permanently to England. On his return, John Champain lived variously at Great Stanhope Street in Mayfair and at Gloucester Place, New Road.

The children of John and Margery Champain were: Hugh Henry; John; William; Ann; Agnew; Caroline Eliza; Julia Margaret; and the twins Gilbert and Mackenzie. All of these, apart from William, who died in 1809, and the twins, are mentioned in their uncle William Burgundy Champain’s will of 1815. In 1806 John Champain remarried, his second wife being Ann Douglas, widow of Captain Peter Douglas.

Henry Hugh Champain, who was appointed as executor of his uncle’s will, is described as being of the Middle Temple. In fact, having graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1809, Henry studied law at the Middle Temple in 1805 and was called to the Bar in 1813. However, he later took holy orders and served as curate of Winchfield in Hampshire, where he died in 1826. He left a wife named Mary. His younger brother John also trained as a lawyer: there is a record at Ancestry of his articles of clerkship to a William Greaves, dated 1810.

Julia Margaret Champain married Thomas Bateman at St Mary, Marylebone in 1823, and her sister Caroline Eliza Champain married Henry John Bowler at the same church in 1838. According to Christine Hoey, the twins Gilbert and Mackenzie Champain both joined the army and ended up migrating to Australia.

Tipu Sultan (en.wikipedia.org)

Tipu Sultan (en.wikipedia.org)

As for John’s son Agnew Champain, he also followed a military career, rising to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. His destiny seems to have been written in his name: he was probably named after Patrick Alexander Agnew (1765 – 1813) who was the first military governor of Ceylon and later major general of the East India Company. In his will of 1822, John Champain’s bequeaths to his daughter Julia a silver pot ‘which once belonged to Tippoo Sultan and was part of General Agnew’s prize money’. Agnew Champain married Rosaline Sarah Underwood at St Mary, Bryanston Square, in 1830. Among their children was Sir John Underwood Bateman Champain, born in 1835, who also had a distinguished military career; one of his children was a first-class county cricketer who became an Anglican bishop.

John Champain died in 1822 at Gloucester Place and was buried, like his wife Margery and son William, at the church of St Edmund King and Martyr in London.

At this point, I plan to leave the family of James Champain, London wine merchant, and return to his sister Ann, husband of Richard Collins of Epping, and the sister-in-law of my 5 x great grandmother Elizabeth Gibson (1733 – 1809). My exploration of James’ family in recent posts has proved interesting, in providing a broader context for my examination of Elizabeth’s life and times. I’m struck, too, by the parallels between James Champain’s family and that of Elizabeth’s younger brother, Bowes John Gibson (1744 – 1817). The latter was also employed by the East India Company, and he had two sons, George Milsom (1782 – 1814) and John Thomas (1785 – 1851), who served as military officers in India. Like John Champain, he also had a habit of naming his sons after military associates: his son Edmund Affleck Gibson bore the names of a celebrated naval officer and baronet, who was also a witness to Bowes John’s first marriage.

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The last will and testament of Captain William Burgundy Champain

Marine chronometer by Thomas Earnshaw (via www.britishmuseum.org)

Marine chronometer by Thomas Earnshaw (via http://www.britishmuseum.org)

Early 19th century gold pocket watch by Grimalde and Johnson (via www. bonhams.com, with thanks to Christine Hoey)

Early 19th century gold pocket watch by Grimalde and Johnson (via www. bonhams.com, with thanks to Christine Hoey)

I’m grateful to Christine Hoey for giving me permission to share her transcription of the last will and testament of Captain William Burgundy Champain, about whom I wrote in the previous post. The main reason for posting the will in full is that it provides valuable information about the wider Champain family. I’ll discuss what we can learn from William’s will in another post.

Abraham Rees' Encyclopaedia

Abraham Rees’ Encyclopaedia


 This is the last Will and testament of me William Burgundy Champain a post captain in the Royal Navy I bequeath my plate Linen china household furniture wearing apparel my Encyclopaedia by Rees and others and my Chronometer by Earnshaw unto my nephew Henry Hugh Champain of the Middle Temple Esq one of the Ex[ecut]ors hereinafter mentioned I bequeath my Gold Watch by Grimaldi and Johnson and the Gold Chain and seals which I wear with the same and all the rest of my Books and pamphlets unto my Nephew John Champain of the Middle Temple aforesaid and I bequeath my Gold Snuff Box to my Nephew Agnew Champain and I bequeath all the Rest and Residue of my personal estate and effects unto the said Henry Hugh Champain and his Ex[ecut]ors Ex[ecut]ors Adm[inistrat]ors and assigns upon trust thereout to pay my just Debts and to invest the Residue thereof at interest upon Government or real securities in their names and to vary and transfer such securities when and as they shall think fit and I declare that the said Henry Hugh Champain his Ex[ecut]ors Adm[inistrat]ors and assigns shall stand possessed of the said trust securities upon trust to pay the interest and dividends unto my Sister Mrs Ann Horabin for her life for her own use and benefit and after her decease to stand possessed of the said trust funds upon trust for my three nieces Ann Champain Julia Margaret Champain & Caroline Eliza Champain equally share and share alike as tenants in Common the said shares to be for the separate use of my said three nieces and not subject to the Debts or Control of any persons with whom they may respectively intermarry and I appoint the said Henry Hugh Champain Ex[ecut]or of this my will and hereby revoke all my former wills In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this eighth day of April 1815 at Bath Somerset Wm B Champain (S) signed published and declared by the said testator William Burgundy Champain as and for his last will and testament in our presences who at his request have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses Chas. Ruxton of Dublin John Guyon Lieut. Royal Navy of Bath Co Of Somersetshire.

Proved at London the 29th August 1818 before the worshipful Sherrard Beaumont Burnaby Doctor of Laws & solicitor by the Oath of Henry Hugh Champain Esquire the Nephew and the Sole Ex[ecut]or to whom admon was granted having both first sworn to admin[iniste]r.

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William Burgundy Champain (1759 – 1818)

James Champain, the 18th century wine merchant whose life and times I’ve been exploring in recent posts, had nine children by his first wife Hannah Hawkins, of whom eight seem to have survived. I’ve mentioned the marriages of three of James’ daughters – Elizabeth, Sally and Frances – in previous posts. They married William Edwards, William Walker and Joseph Fletcher respectively. I’ve also discovered that another daughter, Ann, married William Horabin in Exeter in 1782. As for James and Hannah Champain’s four sons, we know that the elder two, James junior and John, were both ‘in the East Indies’ when James senior made his will in 1781. The youngest son, George Hawkins Champain, was not yet of age at this date: I’ve yet to find any other references to him.

A midshipman or apprentice naval officer (Thomas Rowlandson, c. 1799, via en.wikipedia.org)

A midshipman or apprentice naval officer (Thomas Rowlandson, c. 1799, via en.wikipedia.org)

As for James’ third son, William Burgundy Champain, who was born in Edmonton in 1759, we know that he was already a lieutenant in ‘His Majesty’s Navy’ when his father made his will, and had been promoted to captain by the time his stepmother Ann Champain made her will in 1802. A number of records relating to William Champain can be accessed online, making it possible to construct an outline of his naval career.

Naval records in the National Archives chart Willaim Champain’s rise through the ranks. For example, he was an 8th Lieutenant in 1780, a 4th Lieutenant in 1782 and a 2nd Lieutenant in 1787. 

A ship of the East India Company at Blackwall

A ship of the East India Company at Blackwall

A register of ships employed in the service of the East India Company in the year 1785-6 notes that William Champain served on the Chapman which sailed to China under Captain John Fox. This suggests that, like his two older brothers, William spent at least part of his career supporting Britain’s expanding trade empire in the Far East. 

However, the conflicts between Britain and France sparked by the French Revolution of 1789 seem to have diverted William Champain’s naval career in the direction of the Americas. There is an account in William James’ Naval History of Great Britain of an attack in December 1798 on French positions on the Caribbean island of Margarita by troops from HMS Zephyr, commanded by Captain William Champain.

Apparently William was promoted to the rank of ‘post captain’ on 1st January 1801 (a post captain was a captain by rank, but without command of a ship). The National Archives seems to have a considerable amount of correspondence by William Champain, in its collection of Captains’ Letters from the early 1800s.

On 28th December 1804, William Champain, Captain R.N., wrote a letter, sent from his ship HMS Jason, then at Woolwich, to Colonel Thomas Picton, regarding the enquiry by Colonel William Fullarton into the colonial administration on the island of Trinidad during Picton’s time in office there. William Champain expresses ‘indignation’ at ‘the very malignant aspersions with which that gentleman [i.e. Fullarton] has thought proper to stigmatise the conduct of the naval officers during that period’. Champain claims that ‘every atom’ of what Fullarton has asserted regarding the navy is ‘perfectly false’. He refers to his own service at the time ‘on the Spanish main’ and rejects Fullarton’s claims that he and his fellow naval officers were involved in ‘predatory excursons…for private purposes’.

Apparently the Jason was launched at Woolwich in the same year, under the command of Captain William Champain, and served in the Leeward Islands as the flagship of Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane. William James’ naval history describes the capture on 13th October 1805, of the French ship the Naiade, by the Jason, under William Champain’s command (also mentioned here). 

HMS Jason capturing French frigate La Seine, 1798

HMS Jason capturing French frigate La Seine, 1798

Command of the Jason passed to another officer in 1806. According to one source, William Champain then commanded the Amelia, also in the Leeward Islands, from 1806 to 1807. 

William, who seems to have remained a bachelor, made his will in 1815, when he was 56 years old. By this time he seems to have retired to the city of Bath. However, I’m grateful to my fellow researcher Christine Hoey for pointing out that William actually died at Hythe, Kent, on 15th August 1818. I’ll share a transcript of his will in the next post.

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Reflections on the will of Ann Champain (died 1804)

Yesterday I shared my transcription of the last will and testament of Ann Champain of Abingdon, the second wife of London wine cooper James Champain. I noted that this document is a useful source of information about the Champain family, and in this post I want to summarise what it can tell us about them.

The first thing we learn is that, some time after the death of her husband James Champain in 1785, his widow Ann must have moved back to her home town of Abingdon. The will is also one of our main sources of information about Ann’s own family, providing us with the name of her brother George Hawkins and his wife Mary (thereby offering confirmation of Ann’s maiden name), and making reference to her daughter Sarah and the latter’s husband James Rose Clealand, whom I wrote about in an earlier post.

Parish church of St George, Bloomsbury (via londonancestor.com)

Parish church of St George, Bloomsbury (via londonancestor.com)

Ann Champain’s will also provides us indirectly with details about the marriages of two of her late husband’s daughters. Ann mentions Mrs Sally Walker, wife of William Walker Esquire, to whom she leaves ‘my Garnett Bracelets with the pictures thereto one is her father my late husband the other that of my daughter Mrs Clealand I also give the Mourning Ring I had for her Mother Mrs Hannah Champain also my diamond pin set round with pearls’. In other words, Sally was James’ daughter by his first wife Hannah Hawkins. Born in 1761, I’ve discovered that she married her husband William Walker, a bachelor of the Inner Temple, at the church of St George, Bloomsbury, in May 1801. One of the witnesses was her brother, W.B. (i.e. William Burgundy) Champain.

The will also mentions Frances Fletcher, wife of Joseph Fletcher Esquire, to whom Ann Champain bequeaths ‘my Snuff Box which was her Mothers’ – i.e. it originally belonged to James Champain’s first wife Hannah. Born in 1765, Frances Champain married Joseph Fletcher in London in May 1790.

Sadly, Ann Champain had to add a codicil to her will a year after writing it, since Sally Walker née Champain had died in the interim. She was buried at the church of St Mary, Harrow on 5th May 1803 (which a few years later would be the burial place of Lord Byron’s lover Claire Claremont and their daughter Allegra), just two years after her wedding. Perhaps, like so many women at this period, she died in childbirth. Ann Champain redistributes the items originally bequeathed to Sally to her sister Frances Fletcher and to her brother, William Burgundy Champain, who was already due to receive a number of items of silverware that had belonged to his father.

A View of Harrow, with St Mary's Church and the Old Schools Building and Yard, 1813

A View of Harrow, with St Mary’s Church and the Old Schools Building and Yard, 1813

In the two decades or so since his father’s death, William Burgundy Champain had been promoted from Lieutenant to Captain in the Royal Navy. I’ll have more to say about him in another post.

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