The Trumpington Ansteys

by Gary. M. Anstey and Thomas John Ansteychief researchers of the Anstey story project.

Overview of the Trumpington Ansteys

The Trumpington Ansteys of Cambridgeshire are a sub-branch of the Blewbury Ansteys of Berkshire, headed by the famous 18th century poet Christopher Anstey. This sub-branch is also very closely connected to Walcot near Bath, Somerset.

Christopher Anstey the Poet (b 1724)

Christopher Anstey was born in Trumpington, Cambridgeshire in 1724 to parents Rev. Christopher Anstey and Mary Thompson. He attended Cambridge University, but was refused his M. A. in 1749 because during his address to the university authorities, he offended and belittled them by starting his speech with: “Doctors without doctrine, artless masters of arts, and bachelors more worthy of the rod than the laurel“.

When his mother died in 1754, Christopher Anstey inherited Anstey Hall in Trumpington and returned to live there. He married Ann Calvert, daughter of the extremely wealthy Felix Calvert of Albury Hall, Hertfordshire, in 1756, and then settled into a life of luxury. Christopher Anstey was made Sheriff of Cambridgeshire in 1771, however at almost the same time he decided to take up permanent residence in Bath, Somerset (which he had been visiting annually since 1760), living at No 4 Royal Crescent in central Bath until his death in 1805 at the house of Henry Bosanquet (his son-in-law) at Harden-Huish (next to Chippenham), Wiltshire. Christopher Anstey was interred at the church of St Swithin, Walcot, near Bath, in the vault holding the remains of William and William Thomas, his sixth and seventh sons, and of Sarah, his fourth daughter. His wife, Ann Calvert, who died on 31 January 1812, was also interred there.

Christopher Anstey is most famous for penning his poetical work ‘The New Bath Guide’, first published in 1766 to raving reviews such as containing “so much wit, so much humour, fun, and poetry, so much originality, [as] never met together before” [review by Horace Walpole the famous writer]. In remembrance of his life and contribution to literature, a monument to Christopher Anstey was placed near those of Shakespeare and Thomson in Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey, where it can still be seen today.

Christopher Anstey and Ann Calvert had a total of thirteen children, of whom eight outlived him – incredibly, despite having nine sons, only one of them (John Anstey) had sons of his own. This is confirmed by a letter sent by Rev. Henry Anstey of the Rugby Ansteys to fellow Anstey researcher Thomas John Anstey (Tom) in 1911, which stated “My great grandfather [Christopher Anstey the poet] aforesaid had several sons, but none of them left any son (or at any rate any legitimate son), except my grandfather John Anstey

Christopher Anstey and Ann Calvert‘s children were:

  • Rev. Christopher Anstey (b 1756 Trumpington, attended Trinity College, Cambridge University in 1775, married Elizabeth Grey and later her cousin, also Elizabeth Grey. They had no children and Christopher died in 1827);
  • John Anstey (b 1757 Trumpington- see below);
  • Robert Anstey (b 1760 Trumpington – an Anstey Hero);
  • Mary Ann Anstey (b 1762 Trumpington, died an infant)
  • Elizabeth Anstey (b 1763 Trumpington);
  • Arthur Calvert Anstey (b 1766 Trumpington, married Diana Ann Pierson in 1794);
  • Caroline Anstey (b 1767 Trumpington, married Henry Bosanquet in 1790 in Walcot);
  • Sarah Anstey (b 1769 Trumpington, married Rear Admiral Thomas Sotheby in Walcot in 1791. She died in 1802 “youngest daughter of Christopher Anstey Esq of Bath” and she is buried with her father in Walcot Church);
  • Thomas Anstey (b 1770 Trumpington, attended Peterhouse College, Cambridge University in 1789, went to India, died in Bath, Somerset);
  • William Anstey (6th son, buried with his father in Walcot Church);
  • William Thomas Anstey (7th son, buried with his father in Walcot Church);
  • Walter John Anstey;
  • Thomas Christopher Anstey (died an infant);

John Anstey (b 1757 Trumpington)

John Anstey (b 1757 Trumpington) attended Eton and then King’s College, Cambridge University in 1777. Like his father Christopher Anstey, John Anstey was also a poet, as well as a barrister of Lincoln’s Inn. In 1792 he married Helen Senior at Walcot Church in Bath, then in 1796, under the pseudonym of John Surrebutter, John Anstey wrote a didactic poem of the legal profession entitled ‘The Pleader’s Guide’, described as “containing the conduct of a suit at law, with the arguments of Counsellor Bother’um and Counsellor Bore’um, in an action between John-a-Gull and John-a-Gudgeon for assault and battery at a late contested election”. In 1808, John Anstey edited and published some of his father’s works in ‘The Poetical Works Of Christopher Anstey: With Some Account Of The Life And Writings Of The Author’.

In a a letter sent by Rev. Henry Anstey of the Rugby Ansteys to fellow Anstey researcher Thomas John Anstey (Tom) in 1911, he stated “[my grandfather]  John Anstey had five sons of whom three married and had several sons“. John Anstey and Helen Senior had children:

  • Christopher John Anstey (b 1794 Bath, never married or had children. He became a barrister and he sold Anstey Hall, Trumpington in 1838. In the 1861 Census he was an “unmarried barrister not in practice” lodging in Chelsea);
  • John Thomas Anstey (b 1795 Shirehampton – see below);
  • William Jekyll Anstey (b 1795 Bath – see below);
  • Helen Anstey (b 1796 Shirehampton, never married. She was an “annuitant” living in Southampton with her brother George and sister Caroline in the 1871 Census)
  • Charles Alleyne Anstey (b 1797 Marylebone – patriarch of the Rugby Ansteys);
  • George Anstey (b 1799 Marylebone, never married. He was “retired from audit office” living in Southampton with his sisters Helen and Caroline in the 1871 Census);
  • Caroline Anstey (b 1802 Marylebone, never married. She was an “annuitant” living in Southampton with her brother George and sister Helen in the 1871 Census);
  • Mary Ann Anstey (b 1804 Aldenham, died in 1806)

John Anstey died in 1819; he was buried in Trumpington, Cambridgeshire.

John Thomas Anstey (b 1795)

John Thomas Anstey was born in 1795 in Shirehampton, Gloucestershire (baptised in Westbury upon Trym in 1811). He married Charlotte Filmer in 1823 in Walcot and had children:

  • Rev. John Filmer Anstey (b 1825 India – see below);
  • Edmund Francis Anstey (b 1825 Madras, India – an Anstey Hero);
  • Charlotte Anstey (b 1826 Madras, India, married Thomas Bennett in Clifton in 1848)
  • Ellen Anstey (b 1828, India, married John Macron in Bath in 1850);
  • Caroline Anstey (b 1830 Bath, unmarried in 1857);
  • Arthur Anstey (b 1833 Walcot, died in 1847 in Bath, the family was living at 18 Lansdown Crescent, Bath)

John Thomas Anstey was an “esquire” who worked for the English Civil Service in Madras, India in the 1820s. By the 1841 Census the family had returned to England and were living at Notton House in Lacock. By the 1851 Census the family were living in Bath, Somerset; John Thomas Anstey was a “late Madras Civil Service – Fund holder“.

In 1857, according to a codicil of the will of Francis Filmer (uncle of Charlotte Filmer), there were five surviving children of this marriage, being “[Francis Filmer’s] great-nephews Rev. JOHN FILMER ANSTEY and EDMUND FRANCIS ANSTEY, £2,000, and to their sisters, CHARLOTTE BENNETT, ELLEN MARCON and CAROLINE ANSTEY £1,000 each“. Francis Filmer also bequeathed to John Thomas Anstey and his wife Charlotte rather a large sum of cash, plus he wrote that “I give and devise my Mansion House at Woodbury aforesaid, coachhouses, stables, outbuildings, offices, gardens and all other my messuages lands and premises in Woodbury aforesaid (except those hereinafter specifically devised) unto and to the use of JOHN THOMAS ANSTEY now residing at Bath Esquire his heirs and assigns for ever. I also give and bequeath to the said JOHN THOMAS ANSTEY and CHARLOTTE his wife, all and singular the household goods and furniture, implements of household, fixtures, books, linen, china, plate, pictures, prints, goods and other effects of what nature and kind so ever now being or which shall be in or upon the said Mansion House, and other the messuages, buildings, lands and premises hereinbefore devised to him as aforesaid.

John Thomas Anstey died in 1885 in Bath, Somerset, while living at 8 Lansdown Crescent; his son Rev. John Filmer Anstey was the sole executor. As both Rev. John Filmer Anstey and Edmund Francis Anstey only had daughters, this family became Anstey-extinct once Rev. John Filmer Anstey died in 1912.

William Jekyll Anstey (b 1795)

William Jekyll Anstey was born in 1795 in Bath, Somerset. He married Balbina Isabella Franchi (b 1799 Portugal) in Lisbon, St George, Portugal in 1818 and they moved to first Chelsea in London and then Jamaica in the West Indies. William Jekyll Anstey was the (Deputy) Postmaster General of Jamaica from 1824 to 1832, then on his return to England he became Postmaster of Bath from 1832 to 1833.

According to the ‘Blue Book 1824William Jekyll Anstey‘s “Salary of £400 Sterling pa with an extra allowance of £228-2-6 pa to cover the contingencies of Office. = £879-7-6 Currency. The Deputy Postmaster General enjoys the exclusive privilege of franking Colonial newspapers to all parts of the Island of Jamaica, from which a profit is derived of about £2000 Currency. Net amount received by the Principal = £2056-13-11 Sterling, £2879-7-6 Currency.

William Jekyll Anstey and Balbina had children:

  • Julia Helen Anstey (b 1821 Chelsea, married Henry Gawler Bridge Esq in 1852 in Thanet, Kent);
  • Balbina Emma Anstey (b 1824 Kingston, Jamaica, married Robert Alexander William Westley in 1849 in Kensington);
  • Sophia Caroline Anstey (b 1826 Kingston, Jamaica, married William Castle Smith Esq in 1846 – the ‘Morning Post‘ 21 November 1846 edition reporting “On the 19th inst at St Pancras New Church by the Rev. Charles A[lleyne] Anstey M. A. William Castle Smith Esq of Cambridge Place, Regents Park, son of the late William Smith Esq M. D. of Bideford Devon to Sophia Caroline, third daughter of William Jekyll Anstey Esq of Brompton Crescent, late Postmaster General of Jamaica“);
  • Louisa Matilda Anstey (b 1827 Kingston, Jamaica, married Heinrich Wilhelm Kern in 1873 in Hampstead);
  • William Wilson Anstey (b 1827 Kingston, Jamaica, an American Anstey pioneer and co-patriarch of the New York City Ansteys);
  • Frederick Thomas Senior Anstey (b 1829 Kingston, Jamaica, unmarried in 1851, died in 1857 in Kensington);
  • Laura Isabella Anstey (b 1831 Kingston, Jamaica, married George Gordon Forlong Esq in 1852 in Margate, Kent);
  • Robert Anstey (b 1833 Bath, an American Anstey pioneer and co-patriarch of the New York City Ansteys);
  • Frank Calvert Poussett Anstey (b 1836 Weymouth, Dorset. He married Ruth Jones in 1860 in St Martins in the Field, London. They had children Balbina Ruth Anstey (b 1862 Wandsworth); Frank Anstey (b 1865 Islington); Amy Anstey (b 1868 Highgate); Julia Isabella Anstey (b 1869 Highgate); Montague Percy Anstey (b 1871 Highgate); Jessie Anstey (b 1874 Highgate); and Edith Anstey (b 1876 Blackheath, Kent). In the 1881 Census the family were living in Epsom, Surrey – Frank (father) was an “accountant of an insurance company“. Frank (father) died in 1905 in Epsom, Surrey);
  • Herbert Anstey (b 1840 Plymouth, an American Anstey pioneer and co-patriarch of the New York City Ansteys);
  • Fanny Amelia Anstey (b 1846 Kensington, married Alfred Joseph Veale in Pancras, London in 1875).

In the 1841 Census the family were living at Chapel Street, East Stonehouse. In the 1851 Census William Jekyll Anstey, a “fundholder” and his family were living in Brompton Crescent, Kensington. In 1852 William Wilson Anstey won an award from the ‘Royal Humane Society‘ for “saving his father, Mr W. Jekyll Anstey, in the London Docks.

William Jekyll Anstey died in Kensington, London in 1868.

Rev. John Filmer Anstey (b 1825)

Rev. John Filmer Anstey (b 1825 India), attended Oriel College, Oxford University in 1843, and then married first Caroline Daubeny [Daubeney] in 1850 in Cirencester and later Anna Maria Daubeny, having a single child Caroline Mary Filmer Anstey (b 1869 Paddington – see below). As noted above, John Filmer Anstey was a major beneficiary of the 1856/7 will of Francis Filmer (uncle of his mother Charlotte Filmer). He was also the sole executor of his father John Thomas Anstey‘s will in 1885, of which he would have been the principal beneficiary as his brother Edmund Francis Anstey had already died.

John Filmer Anstey died in 1912 a very rich man indeed. ‘The Globe‘ newspaper of 24 December 1912 reported “LARGE ESTATES: The Rev John Filmer Anstey M. A. of St James Terrace, Regents Park, died on November 30th, leaving £142,026, all of which goes to his daughter Mrs Caroline Mary Samborne-Palmer absolutely

[Note: £142,026 in 1912 would be equivalent to around £10 million in 2021 money]

John Filmer Anstey is today remembered at ‘Anstey’s Chantry‘ in Westminster Cathedral where can be found the following dedication:

This chapel was given for the glory of God and in honour of St Paul the Apostle and to be a memorial to her beloved parents John Filmer Anstey and Anna Maria Anstey [nee Daubeny] by their daughter Caroline Mary Samborne-Palmer for whose intentions the holy sacrifice of the mass shall be offered daily in this chapel in perpetuity. 7 October 1913.

Caroline Mary Filmer Samborne–Palmer (nee Anstey) was John Filmer Anstey‘s only child (b 1869 Paddington). In the 1871 Census the family were living at Belvedere Road, Croydon. After her father’s death, Caroline Mary Filmer Samborne-Palmer become a very wealthy woman indeed, and in 1921 she filed for divorce from her husband Colonel Frederick Carey Stockly Samborne-Palmer, as reported in the ‘Sheffield Daily Telegraph‘ on 18 November 1921 where it states “WIFES INDEPENDENCE: Separation With Allowance for Husband. In the divorce court yesterday Sir Henry Duke heard the petition of Colonel Frederick Carey Stockly Samborne-Palmer of the Army and Navy Club, Pall Mall, for a decree for the restitution of conjugal rights against his wife Mrs Caroline Mary Filmer Samborne–Palmer (nee Anstey). The respondent replied that she had reasonable grounds for refusing to live with her husband and alleged that he had treated her with unkindness and cruelty and she had asked for a judicial separation. The petitioner denied his wife’s allegations. The onus being on the respondent, Sir Charles Gill opened the case on her behalf and admitted that the wife had withdrawn from cohabitation and refused to live with her husband. She said that her husband was suspicious, disagreeable, dictatorial, bad tempered towards her, used coarse and unkind and cutting remarks to her, used threats towards her and had assaulted her. The case was an exceptional one. The question was Under what circumstance was a woman justified in refusing to cohabit with her husband? ..the respondent was the only child of the Rev. John Filmer Anstey, a clergyman of the Church of England, and they were people of considerable means. After the marriage, petitioners description of his wife was written in a letter as follows:- Her simplicity and faith are something wonderful while her knowledge of the world can only be compared to that of a child of seven. She had been brought up like a hothouse plant, shielded from everything…

Further Details on the Trumpington Ansteys

We are actively on the lookout for Trumpington Anstey experts alive today who are willing to add their findings and knowledge to this project. We are particularly interested in research regarding Trumpington Ansteys who fought in World War One, preferably with personal souvenirs such as letters sent by the soldiers or military photos etc. 

Anybody who has such expertise and inclination, please contact us at research@theansteystory.com.

We have already uploaded bits of information and documentation about the Trumpington Ansteys, and continue to upload more all the time (see Project Updates), however it is spread over various segments of the website.

The best way to find said information is to enter ‘Trumpington’ in the search box at the bottom of this page and a list of relevant pages will appear.

Anybody who finds any mistakes on this page, please contact us at research@theansteystory.com and we will correct it.

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