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Benjamin Hugh Crispin (1775-1836)

Benjamin Hugh Crispin was a Captain in the Royal Navy.  He settled in West Lulworth in about 1803 with his wife, Elizabeth Crispin nee White (-1831), and three children:

  • Elizabeth Crispin (1799-1861) – did not marry
  • Mary Ann Crispin (1800-1865) – did not marry
  • William Crispin (1802-1865) – see later

Benjamin and Elizabeth then went on to have another twelve children all born in West Lulworth:

  • Benjamin Crispin (1804-1864) – see later
  • James Crispin (1805-1814)
  • Robert Crispin (1806-1806)
  • Susanna Crispin (1807-1830)
  • Joseph Crispin (1809-1825)
  • Ellen Crispin (1811-1830)
  • Jane Crispin (1815- 1868) – did not marry
  • Sarah Crispin (1814-1891) – did not marry
  • James Crispin (1817-1817)
  • Henrietta Crispin (1819-1819)
  • James Crispin (1821-1898) emigrated to New Zealand
  • Robert Crispin (1822-1824)

All twelve children were baptised in the Roman Catholic Chapel at Lulworth Castle.

Benjamin’s father was a Protestant but Benjamin seems to have converted to Catholicism.

Six of the children died in childhood. 

Benjamin’s wife Elizabeth died in 1831 and was buried at Langton Matravers. Benjamin died in 1836 and was buried in West Lulworth. 

Eldest daughter Elizabeth never married and seems to have lived off her father’s pension and lived in West Lulworth all her life until she died in 1861. She lived with three of her sisters who also never married, Mary Ann who died in West Lulworth 1865, Jane who died in West Lulworth in 1868 and Sarah who died in Bristol in 1891. Sarah outlived her sisters and left West Lulworth at some point between 1871 and 1881. 

Two sons, William and Benjamin, went on to notable success: 

William Crispin (1802-1865)

William was a Captain in the Royal Navy, who also served in the Coast Guard from 1829 to 1844. In 1844 he became commander of the Royal Steam Yacht “Victoria and Albert”.  In 1845 he married Caroline Busfeild Ferrand, but tragically Caroline died giving birth to twin daughters in 1846 and is buried in the old cemetery in West Lulworth in the grave that is surrounded by iron railings. 

The daughters were named Victoria and Albertine and their baptism was sponsored by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. They were sent to live in West Lulworth with their aunts, Elizabeth, Mary Ann, Jane and Sarah Crispin. Tragically Albertine died in 1860 aged 13 and she is also buried in the grave surrounded by the railings.  (I was in Lulworth recently on holiday and uncovered the inscription, but unfortunately I missed the first few lines. If anyone could uncover them and send a transcript to me it would be much appreciated). 

Benjamin Crispin (1804-1864)

Benjamin was a Major General in the Indian Army and served there between 1820 and 1855, when he retired to West Lulworth. His wife Janet Bell married him in India but had one of their six children in West Lulworth by 1834, and was living there in 1841 and died in West Lulworth in 1844

The 1861 census shows brothers William and Benjamin Crispin living at Cliff Cottage and sisters Mary Ann, Jane and Sarah living at Bindon Cottage. Their older sister Elizabeth died 5 days before the 1861 census was taken. Do you have any ideas which buildings Cliff Cottage and Bindon Cottage were? They were listed in the census returns close to the Coastguard Cottages so I assume they are nearer the Cove. I would love to know where they were but they don’t seem to be shown on the old OS maps online.

As 5 of the 6 children of Benjamin Hugh Crispin (1775-1836) who lived in West Lulworth, died between 1861 and 1868 leaving just Sarah Crispin – she left after 1871 and the Crispin family ended their association with West Lulworth.

Mark Stevenson

Page last updated: 7 October 2021

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