Frances Cripps, née Southwell (ca. 1799–1886): a Timeline

1799/1800 Frances Southwell, daughter of William Southwell Senior and Frances, was born.1
1803 When in Dublin at the age of three, according to her grandson, Frederick Southwell Cripps, she remembered being carried on her father’s shoulders as they escaped after their house was set on fire by Irish rebels. This is consistent with the date of the Emmet rebellion in that city.
ca. 1807 She recalled being at boarding school in Liverpool when burglars came down the chimney into the room where she was sleeping and reported they were caught in the garden.
1818 She married Thomas Cripps, a ships purser at this time, on 31 January 1818 at St Pancras Old Church, London. Her father, William Southwell, signed the register as a witness.
1827 Her son Frederick was born. As an adult he went on to become a successful tailor in Worthing and was the father of Frederick Southwell Cripps (writer of the ‘Cripps letter’, 1911).
1841 Thomas Cripps died in Brighton on 2 April 1841 as a result of a fall off a ladder when cleaning windows. The couple had nine children before he died, leaving Frances widowed and in dire straits.

It appears she started a business as a milliner and dressmaker in this year. In subsequent years this was taken over and developed into a successful business by her daughter, Frances Ann, at 1, Steyne, Worthing.
1842 One of her sons, William, was convicted at Lewes on 7 December 1842 of stealing 8 pairs of slippers and 5 pairs of half boots. He was sentenced to 10 years transportation, arriving at Van Diemen's Land via the ANSON on 4 February 1844.

He went on to establish a well known family bakery business that grew into the largest automatic bakery in Tasmania by the late 1960s some 110 years later, Cripps Bakery.
1861 Frances wrote to her son William in Tasmania in response to the first letter she had received from him since his deportation almost twenty years earlier, bringing him up to date with family news. This included information relating to the circumstances of the death of his grandmother, Frances Southwell (wife of William Southwell Senior) in 1847 after a fall down a flight of stairs.
1886 Frances died of chronic bronchitis on 20 November 1886 at 1, Steyne, Worthing, aged 86 years.2

1 Her death certificate in 1886 gives her age as 86 years, establishing a birth year of ca. 1800. Later census returns record some confusion about her place of birth. In 1841 when living in Brighton, the ‘out of county’ column is ticked; in 1851 her place of birth is given as London, Middlesex; in 1861 and 1871 as Lancaster, Lancashire; and in 1881 as Chester, Cheshire. In the early years of the 18th century Chester was the main port of embarkation for Dublin, so it is possible she was born there when her mother was en route to Ireland with her father. It appears that she consistently subtracted several years from her age in the census returns, giving the impression that she was four years younger than her real age.
2 A copy of her death certificate, which has been consulted by the author, is held by David Cripps.
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