by Gary. M. Anstey, chief researcher of the Anstey story project.
Edmund Francis Anstey, a member of the Trumpington Ansteys, was born in 1825 in Madras, India, to parents John Thomas Anstey (an “esquire” who worked for the English Civil Service in Madras, India in the 1820s) and Charlotte Filmer. During Edmund’s childhood the family returned to England, where they were living in Lacock, Wiltshire in 1841 and Bath, Somerset in 1851.
In 1842, Edmund joined the 20th Foot Regiment (East Devonshire, later the Lancashire Fusiliers) as Ensign “by purchase“. In 1845 he became a Lieutenant “by purchase“, then in 1854 he became a Captain of the 20th Foot Regiment “by purchase“.
He was stationed in Bermuda from 1844 to 1846; in North America from 1847 to 1850 and again from 1851 to 1853; then he was posted to Crimea on 14 September 1854 to fight in the Crimean War (1853-1856).
Edmund fought under General Lord Raglan at the Battle of Alma on 20 September 1854, part of the Siege of Sevastopol. The ‘Montrose Standard‘ on 20 October 1854 reporting that “First Battalion Scots Fusilier Guards Officers Wounded…Captain Anstey – shot in the neck“.
As a result, on 18 January 1855, Edmund “retired by sale of his Commission” and returned to England. Soon after, Edmund received £2,000 per an 1857 codicil to the will of his great uncle Francis Filmer.
In 1859, by now “Esquire“, Edmund became Captain of the 2nd Somerset Volunteer Rifle Corps, and in 1860 he became Captain of the 7th Somerset Volunteer Rifle Corps, which he resigned in 1861 on account of his leaving Bath – the ‘Bristol Daily Post‘ 22 February 1860 reported “BATH VOLUNTEER RIFLE CORPS.-Yesterday morning, Major Hume, unattached, sub-inspector of the Rifle Volunteers for Somerset, Devon, and Cornwall, inspected the second company of the Bath Volunteers, who assembled in a field at the rear of Pulteney-street. The men went through their evolutions under the direction of Captain Anstey, and afterwards marched to Laura-place, where they were briefly addressed by Major Hume, who expressed the pleasure the appearance of the company gave him on parade, and spoke favourably of their admirable marching order which reflected great credit on Captain Anstey، and their drill instructors. The men then dispersed. The first company will be inspected on Thursday week.“
Also in 1861, Edmund married Charlotte Maria Mogg (b 1839) in Weston, Somerset, the ‘Home News for India, China and the Colonies‘ reporting “MARRIAGES. ANSTEY—MOGG—at Weston, Edmund Francis Anstey. Esq., late Captain 20th Regiment, son of J. T. Anstey, Esq., of Bath, to Charlotte Marie, only child of the Rev. Mogg“. They moved to Oxfordshire, then Hanham in Gloucestershire where they had two daughters, Frances Charlotte Anstey (b 1862, “Birth: Jan. 14 1862, the Grange, Hanham near Bristol, the wife of Captain Anstey, a daughter” – she married Sidney Adolphus Wittmann in 1888 in Notting Hill – see also below), and Constance Harriet Anstey (b 1864, married “Frederick Carey Stucley, 13th Bengal Infantry” in Bombay, India in 1894 – see also below).
In 1866 there was a serious incident reported in many newspapers. For example in the ‘Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser‘ 1 October 1866 edition “Shocking Occurrence at Ramsgate: On the evening of Sunday last, an accident of a very shocking nature took place, which nearly resulted fatally to a young married lady named Mrs Anstey, then staying at Mr Sackett’s Nbr 6 Royal Crescent. It appears that the husband of the unfortunate lady, Captain Anstey, is an invalid, and when the occurrence took place, which was about 9:30pm he was fast asleep, but he was aroused by the piercing shrieks of his wife, and on rushing to her assistance he found her enveloped in flames. By an almost superhuman effort he succeeded in throwing her down, when her maid endeavoured to put out the flames by placing the hearthrugs and mats on her. The screams of the unfortunate lady were also heard by Mr and Mrs Sackett and they immediately ran upstairs to her assistance, and the former, on entering the room, commenced to tear away the burning clothes of the poor woman… she was found to be very much burnt, her arms, neck and the lower portion of her body having suffered severely from the effects of the flames...the lady, who is about 26 or 27 years of age, was attired at the time of the unfortunate occurrence in a light muslin dress, which perhaps accounts for the rapid spread of the flames“
The family later moved to Brighton, where Edmund died in 1869 – “Death: Capt. E. F. Anstey, late of the 20th Foot, Dec. 12 1869, at Grosmont House, Brighton“. His widow remarried William Filmer Gregory in Brighton in July 1870.
The ‘Edinburgh Evening News‘ 10 May 1884 reported “EXTRAORDINARY DIVORCE CASE. In the London Divorce Court on Thursday, the President had before him the case of Gregory v. Gregory. This was a wife’s petition for the husband’s cruelty and adultery, both of which charges were denied by the respondent. from the evidence given in support of the petition, it appeared that Mrs Charlotte Maria Gregory was a widow named Anstey at the time of her marriage with the respondent, William Filmer Gregory. The marriage was solemnised at Brighton in July 1870 the respondent being in that time, a commander in the Royal Navy. There were two children of the marriage, some incidents were stated in support of the charge of cruelty. They were not of a remarkable character; but the circumstances of the respondent’s adultery were somewhat extra-ordinary and called forth strong observations from the judge, When the petitioner and the respondent were at Mentone in 1879, she, by means of a of letter which had come into her hands, discovered enough to satisfy her that there were improper relations between her husband and a woman from this country. In order to put an end to those relations she paid that woman’s expenses home to England. In 1881 she herself and the respondent returned home and took up their residence at Bath. There he joined the Blue Ribbon army and made himself prominent in temperance and religious movements, attending meetings for the promotion of sobriety and pity; but it was discovered sometime after that he visited brothels. Letters written to him by women were produced, and prostitutes were examined to prove that he had committed adultery with them. It was stated that on one occasion he prayed with much unction over a sick child in one room, and then went into another and committed adultery. The petitioner and the witnesses on her side were cross-examined and early in the case the respondents counsel said they would put him in the box to deny the adultery; but they subsequently announced that they had determined not todo so,–The President, in pronouncing & decree nisi and giving the petitioner the custody of the children of the marriage, said he did not know that he had ever felt greater disgust in any case than he bad in this at the respondent having gone through the mock solemnity of praying over a sick child and immediately after committing adultery with a lewd woman“
The ‘Western Morning News‘ on 15 October 1885 reported “MARRIAGES. PALMER-SAMBORNE- ANSTEY.- October 13th, at St.Mark’s Tongway, by the Rev. E. Streeten, vicar of High littleton, Semerse:. the Rev. Richard Lane Palmer Samborne, rector of Ashreigny, Devonshire, to Charlotte Maria Anstey, widow of the late Capt. Anstey, and only daughter of Rev. H. H. Mogg, New bridge Hill, Bath“.
The ‘Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette‘ on 18 July 1901 reported “CORRESPONDENCE. ——— A CORRECTION. To the Editor of the “Bath Chronicle.” Sir,-My attention has been called to a summary of the will of the late Mrs. Harriet Ann Mogg, of Newbridge Hill House, Weston, in your number of the 27th of June, in which the names of her two grand-daughters, namely Mrs. Frances Charlotte Whitman and the late Mrs. Constance Harriet Palmer-Samborne, are not mentioned, although legatees under the will. If I venture to ask you to be kind enough to print this correction in your next number it is because there are persons still living in Bath and elsewhere within the radius of your paper’s circulation who are more or less connected with the family of my wife (née Francis Charlotte Anstey) her late sister (née Constance Harriet Anstey) to whom such an omission might possibly appear strange. SIDNEY WHITMAN. F.R.G.S.“
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