Continuing my exploration of the life and times of John Collins of Epping (1733 – c.1763), the first husband of my 5 x great grandmother Elizabeth Gibson (1733 – 1809), I’m taking another look at what we know about John’s older brother Richard, and more broadly at the links between the Collins and Champain families. I have a suspicion that learning more about Richard and his immediate family might help me to understand some of the mysteries that still surround the lives of Elizabeth and John.

As I noted in the previous post, Richard Collins married Ann or Anna Champain in September 1747. I’ve written before about the Champain family, but I thought it might be useful to rehearse the information about them, particularly as new details have recently come to light. In this post, I’ll explore the family’s background, focusing mainly on Ann’s father John Champain, and in the next post I’ll write about the lives of his children.

An 18th century wedding (via

An 18th century wedding (via

The first point worth noting about the marriage of Richard Collins and Ann Champain is the date. We know that Richard was baptised in Epping on 16th December 1731, and yet his marriage to Ann took place on 15th September 1747, when he was not quite sixteen. Was Richard christened some years after his birth, or was there a reason for marrying so young? His father, Richard Collins senior, would die five month later, in February 1748: was it important to marry before his death?

A document in the Essex County Archives describes a marriage settlement of £1200 made on 14th September 1747, the day before Richard and Ann were married. The description reads as follows:

(i) Richard Collins of Epping, gent.; (ii) John Champain of Tower Street, London, citizen and wine cooper and Philip Martin of Theydon Garnon, gent.; (iii) Ann Champain, daughter of John Champain

On marriage of Richard Collins and Ann Champain

In trust for purchase of estate

Although the document is said to be ‘damaged by damp and rodents’, it would be fascinating to read it. ‘Richard Collins of Epping, gent’ must be Richard senior, and we know that Philip Martin of Theydon Garnon was one of the executors of his will and, according to that will, one of the guardians of his seven children, including Richard junior. The document is useful in confirming the identity of Ann Champain’s father: he was John Champain, a London wine cooper. However, we know from other sources that John also owned property in Epping.

There are land tax records for John Champain in the Tower ward of the City of London from 1726 onwards: so far, these are the earliest records that we have for him. I’ve also found an apprenticeship indenture from February 1730, when a certain Will Fisher was apprenticed to John Champain of London, wine cooper.

On 20th December 1735, a marriage was recorded in the Fleet Registers between John Champain of Epping, a widow, and Sarah Stumphousen of the same, a spinster. This John Champain was described as a farmer, but I have reason to believe it’s the same man. John was said to be a widower and Sarah a spinster. I’m certain this information is correct as far as John is concerned. We know from his will of 1756 that two children, James and Ann or Anna, survived him. Since the former was married in 1744 and the latter in 1746, they must have been born before 1735 and therefore be the product of their father John’s first marriage.

St Paul's, Deptford  (via

St Paul’s, Deptford

However, I believe that the marriage record is incorrect in stating that John’s bride Sarah was a spinster: I’m fairly sure that she was a widow, since we know that she had three children from an earlier marriage. Our main source for this information is the 1749 will of Adam Stumphousen of St Paul’s, Deptford, who was, like John Champain, a wine cooper, suggesting that his father might have followed the same profession and that this is how John Champain met Sarah. In other words, it would seem that in 1735 the widowed John Champain probably married the widow of one of his business associates.

In his will Adam Stumphousen refers to James Champain as ‘my brother’ and also mentions the latter’s sister, Anna Collins – i.e. the Anna or Ann Champain who married Richard Collins. Adam also refers to a sister of his own named Sarah Stumphousen, who presumably was unmarried, and to another sister named Mary, the wife of Robert Mills. Mary Stumphousen had married Robert Mills of Stepney at the church of St Peter Upon Cornhill, London, in 1739. Adam’s will also describes John Champain as ‘my father in law’, but I’ve come across other examples of this term being used for ‘stepfather’.

From parish records, we know that Adam Stumphousen was married twice. On 22nd October 1733 he married Elizabeth West of Deptford (perhaps explaining how he came to be living there) at the church of St Mary Magdalen in Bermondsey. Adam was said to be from the parish of All Hallows, Barking, in the City of London. Since, as I’ve noted before, the records of this parish are still in the process of being digitised, it might explain why I’ve been unable to find baptismal records for Adam or his siblings.

Adam Stumphousen’s first wife Elizabeth appears to have died in 1738, and on 21st January 1740 he married Margaret Walker at the church of St Mary At Hill , London. On 3rd July 1748 their son Adam was baptised at St Nicholas Deptford: the father was said to be a wine cooper in Kings Street. If Adam senior’s will is to believe, the younger Adam was the couple’s only surviving child. I have reason to believe that he grew up to be an important Dissenting minister who studied at the Countess of Huntingdon’s college at Trevecca, Wales, and later served at various nonconformist churches in Wiltshire, dying in 1819.

18th century wine coopers

18th century wine coopers

It’s likely that the three Stumphousen siblings – Adam senior, Mary and Sarah – were born some time in the 1720s, and that their father died some time around 1730. The Christian name ‘Adam’, and the profession of wine cooper, seems to have been in the family for at least a century before that, making it difficult to distinguish between individuals and generations. An Adam Stompenhowson (sic) married Anne Johnson in 1633 at St Augustine Watling Street, London. Two children with the name Adam Stumphousen, presumably the offspring of this marriage, were baptised in the same parish in 1645 and 1650. I’m not sure of the identity of the Adam Stumphousen who was buried at St Botolph Aldgate in February 1694.

The family seems to have crossed the Thames to the Surrey side at some point, since on 16th July 1678 another Adam, son of Adam Stumphousen, a cooper, and his wife Sarah, was christened at the church of St Olave Bermondsey. Despite the coincidence of names, I believe this birth is too early to be the Adam who died in 1749: his father would seem to be the Adam Stumphousen who was buried at the same church in 1682 and whose probate inventory can be found in the National Archives. If this were the right Adam, we would need to believe that his mother Sarah married John Champain half a century after the death of her first husband, and that her son Adam was in his fifties when he married for the first time. It’s much more likely that the Adam Stumphousen born in 1678 was in fact the father of the Adam who died in 1749, and therefore the first wife of Sarah who later married John Champain. I would hazard a guess that their marriage took place in the first decade of the 18th century, and that it’s either hidden in the All Hallows records, or waiting to be found in the Essex archives.

Since Stumphousen is such an unusual name, deriving perhaps from German or Dutch immigrants to London in the early 17th century, it follows that those who shared this surname probably belonged to the same family. For example, on 6th July 1657 a Katharine Stumphousen married someone with the surname Wobes (?) at St Olave, Southwark, and in 1661 an Anne Stumphousen married Richard Niblett by licence. In 1699 Roger Stumphousen married Elizabeth Carter at St James Dukes Place: he was said to be a cooper of St Olave Southwark and there are land tax records for him in the Tower ward in the City of London in 1703, 1706 and 1707: perhaps he was a brother of the Adam Stumphousen who was Sarah’s first husband? Interestingly, an Anna Stumphousen paid land tax in the same ward, in Petty Wales Precinct to be precise, in 1738. Her neighbour, just four doors away, was John Champain. Petty Wales, though not marked on Rocque’s 1746 map (see below) was next to Gloucester Court, which connected with Beer Lane. (Interestingly, this is also the district associated with the Boulton family, connected by marriage with my Alice Byne née Forrest, my 8 x great grandmother and Elizabeth Gibson’s great grandmother.)

As I noted in an earlier post, the first edition of Osborn’s ‘Compleat Guide to All Persons Who Have Any Trade or Concerns Within the City of London, and Parts Adjacent’, published in 1740, lists John Champain as a wine cooper with premises ‘at the corner of Beer Lane, Thames Street’. The third edition of 1744 describes him as a merchant of Tower Street. The 1741 edition of the Universal Pocket Companion also lists John Champain as a wine cooper at ‘the corner of Beer Lane, Thames Street’. The 1745 edition has an identical listing.

Part of Rocque's 1746 map of London, showing Tower Street and Beer Lane

Part of Rocque’s 1746 map of London, showing Tower Street and Beer Lane

Beer Lane ran north to south between Tower Street and Thames Street. Trinity House and the church of St Dunstan in the East were to the west, the Custom House to the south, by the river. To the east was the church of All Hallows, Barking, and beyond that Tower Hill, the London home of my 5 x great grandmother Elizabeth Gibson, who in 1753 would marry John Collins and thus become the sister-in-law of John Champain’s daughter Ann or Anna. Given that they lived so close together in London, and that they both possessed properties in or near Epping, it seems almost certain that the two families were known to each other, even without the connection by marriage via the Collins family.

In the next few posts, I’ll write about John Champain’s children, their families, and their connections with the Collins family.