Family of Sir Stamford Raffles



Singapore Infopedia

by Cornelius, Vernon

Background

Sir Stamford Raffles (b. 6 July 1781, off Port Morant, Jamaica–d. 5 July 1826, Middlesex, England), the founder of modern Singapore, was the son of a ship’s master, Captain Benjamin Raffles. Raffles married twice.1 His first wife was Olivia Mariamne Fancourt née Devenish, whom he married in 1805; she bore him no children.2 After her death in 1814, Raffles married Sophia Hull in 1817. Of the five children from his second marriage, Ella Sophia alone survived infancy. No progeny survived them.3

Parents
Father

Captain Benjamin Raffles (b. 1739, London–d. 23 November 1811, Deptford) had been master of the ship for various vessels engaged in the direct trade between England and the West Indies. The ships carried “dry goods” such as English manufactures and Irish agricultural produce, with return shipments of West India sugar and rum. Although some biographers have suggested that Captain Raffles had been involved in the West India slave trade, John Bastin and Julie Weizenegger (2016) vigorously refuted such claims by tracking down detailed shipping records of Captain Raffles’s voyages. Some of the ships on which he had served as ship’s master included the Morant, the Caesar, the Port Morant and the Ann. Stamford Raffles was born on the Ann in 1781.4

When Captain Raffles finally ended his involvement in the West India trade in 1800, it resulted in considerable hardship for his family. In fact, even before his seafaring career ended, the many changes made to his family’s places of residence from 1779 onwards indicated that Captain Raffles had already been under financial pressure.5 A shortage of funds in 1795 ultimately led to the removal of the then 13-year-old Stamford Raffles from his school and effectively concluded his formal education.6

Captain Raffles had many siblings as well as half siblings through his father Thomas Raffles’s second marriage. Thomas Raffles (b. 17 August 1710, London–d. 28 November 1784, London), Stamford Raffles’s paternal grandfather, was a record keeper’s clerk and Keeper of Wills in the Prerogative Office of Doctors’ Commons.7

Mother
Ann Lyde (b. 1755d. 8 February 1824, London)8

Wives
Olivia Mariamne Devenish
Stamford Raffles married Olivia Mariamne Fancourt née Devenish (b. 16 February 1771, Madras?–d. 26 November 1814, Buitenzorg) on 14 March 1805. Olivia was a widow who was almost 10 years older than him.9 Olivia’s first marriage was to Jacob Cassiveluan Fancourt, an assistant surgeon with the East India Company, on 26 May 1793. Fancourt was killed in Madras on 5 April 1800 during the Mysore War.10


Olivia suffered from poor health during the time that she and Raffles were in Java, when he was the lieutanant-governor of the island. She died at Buitenzorg (now Bogor) on 26 November 1814, aged 43, and was buried at the Tanah Abang burial ground (now the Taman Prasasti Museum) in Batavia (now Jakarta). Raffles was devastated by Olivia’s death, and this affected his health. He had erected in her memory a marble monument in the Botanical Gardens at Buitenzorg (now the Bogor Botanical Gardens).11

Sophia Hull
Stamford Raffles’s second wife was Sophia Hull (b. 5 May 1786, London–d. 12 December 1858, Middlesex) whom he married on 22 February 1817. After an illness, she died on 12 December 1858, aged 72, at her home in High Wood, Middlesex.12


Children
There is no record of children born from the union of Stamford Raffles and his first wife Olivia, although Demetrius C. Boulger (1999) had written in 1897 that “for about the same time” as the death of Olivia, Raffles had also “lost in quick succession the children she had borne him”.13 Charles Wurtzburg (1984), however, stated that there is no evidence of this and surmised that Boulger had been “misled” possibly by references of deaths to “the family”, a term that covered not only Raffles’s sisters and their children, but also his personal staff.14

Raffles’s second wife, Sophia, bore him five children as follows:15

Charlotte Sophia Tunjung Segara
Charlotte Sophia (b. 15 February 1818–d. 14 January 1822, Bencoolen) was born at sea on the journey to Bencoolen (now Bengkulu) from England. She died before the age of four, just a fortnight after the death of her youngest brother, Stamford Marsden.16 She had been battling a long bout of violent dysentery.17 Charlotte had been named after Charlotte, Duchess of Somerset, with whom Raffles had maintained a regular correspondence for the remainder of his life, as well as Princess Charlotte of Wales.18 At the suggestion of the Javanese Raden Rana Dipura, Charlotte was also given a local name Tunjung Segara, which means “Lotus of the Sea”.19 In a letter to the Duchess, Raffles had described Charlotte as a bright child who, at two-and-a-half years of age, could speak English, Malay and Hindustani, translating one language into another.20

Leopold Stamford
Leopold Stamford (b. 12 March 1819, Penang–d. 27 June 1821, Bencoolen) died at age two and four months after a short illness.21 He held a special place in his parents’ hearts, with Raffles describing Leopold in letters as “an exceptional child” and “the pride and hope of my life”.22

Stamford Marsden
Stamford Marsden (b. 25 May 1820, Bencoolen–d. 3 January 1822, Bencoolen) nicknamed “Marco Polo”, died at age one year and seven months from enteritis.23

Ella Sophia
In March 1822, having lost three children then, Raffles and Sophia hastily sent their only surviving child, Ella Sophia (b. 25 May 1821, Bencoolen–d. 5 May 1840, St Leonards-on-Sea, England) back to England from Bencoolen, in the care of their nurse Mary Grimes and a Eurasian servant named J. Rousseau.24 However, Ella too died tragically of illness just shy of her 19th birthday and before a planned summer wedding in 1840. She was to wed John Sumner, the eldest son of the Right Reverend Charles Richard Sumner, Bishop of Winchester.25

Flora
Flora (b. 19 September 1823, Bencoolen–d. 28 November 1823, Bencoolen) died at the age of two months.26

Of the five children, only Ella Sophia survived infancy but died close to her 19th birthday in 1840.27

Death
Stamford Raffles died on 5 July 1826, the day before his 45th birthday, in his home in High Wood. Sophia found his body at the bottom of the spiral staircase. An autopsy revealed that Raffles had died of arterio-venous malformation with resultant haemorrhaging. His remains were laid to rest at the Church of St Mary in Hendon, Middlesex.28



Author

Vernon Cornelius



References
1. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles: Book of days. (1993). Singapore: Antiques of the Orient, p. 127. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 SIR-[HIS]); Bastin, J., & Weizenegger, J. (2016). The family of Sir Stamford Raffles. Singapore: National Library Board and Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 13, 134. (Call no.: RSING 959.57030922 BAS-[HIS])
2. Wurtzburg, C. E. (1984). Raffles of the eastern isles. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 750. (Call no.: RSING 959.570210924 RAF.W-[HIS])
3. Bastin, J., & Weizenegger, J. (2016). The family of Sir Stamford Raffles. Singapore: National Library Board and Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 73, 107, 112, 153. (Call no.: RSING 959.57030922 BAS-[HIS])
4. Bastin, J., & Weizenegger, J. (2016). The family of Sir Stamford Raffles. Singapore: National Library Board and Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 15, 23, 29–30, 32, 34, 54. (Call no.: RSING 959.57030922 BAS-[HIS]); Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles: Book of days. (1993). Singapore: Antiques of the Orient, p. 127. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 SIR-[HIS])
5. Bastin, J., & Weizenegger, J. (2016). The family of Sir Stamford Raffles. Singapore: National Library Board and Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 45–49. (Call no.: RSING 959.57030922 BAS-[HIS])
6. Bastin, J., & Weizenegger, J. (2016). The family of Sir Stamford Raffles. Singapore: National Library Board and Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 49. (Call no.: RSING 959.57030922 BAS-[HIS]); Wurtzburg, C. E. (1984). Raffles of the eastern isles. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 17. (Call no.: RSING 959.570210924 RAF.W-[HIS])
7. Bastin, J., & Weizenegger, J. (2016). The family of Sir Stamford Raffles. Singapore: National Library Board and Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 23–25. (Call no.: RSING 959.57030922 BAS-[HIS])
8. Bastin, J., & Weizenegger, J. (2016). The family of Sir Stamford Raffles. Singapore: National Library Board and Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 34, 44, 131. (Call no.: RSING 959.57030922 BAS-[HIS])
9. Bastin, J., & Weizenegger, J. (2016). The family of Sir Stamford Raffles. Singapore: National Library Board and Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 57, 73, 107. (Call no.: RSING 959.57030922 BAS-[HIS])
10. Bastin, J., & Weizenegger, J. (2016). The family of Sir Stamford Raffles. Singapore: National Library Board and Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 59, 69. (Call no.: RSING 959.57030922 BAS-[HIS])
11. Bastin, J., & Weizenegger, J. (2016). The family of Sir Stamford Raffles. Singapore: National Library Board and Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 99, 101, 106, 109. (Call no.: RSING 959.57030922 BAS-[HIS])
12. Bastin, J., & Weizenegger, J. (2016). The family of Sir Stamford Raffles. Singapore: National Library Board and Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 112, 148, 188. (Call no.: RSING 959.57030922 BAS-[HIS])
13. Wurtzburg, C. E. (1984). Raffles of the eastern isles. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 750. (Call no.: RSING 959.570210924 RAF.W-[HIS]); Boulger, D. C. (1999). The life of Sir Stamford Raffles. Amsterdam: Pepin Press, p. 185. Call  no.: RSING 959.57021092 BOU-[HIS]
14. Wurtzburg, C. E. (1984). Raffles of the eastern isles. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 750. (Call no.: RSING 959.570210924 RAF.W-[HIS])
15. Wurtzburg, C. E. (1984). Raffles of the eastern isles. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 750. (Call no.: RSING 959.570210924 RAF.W-[HIS])
16. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles: Book of days. (1993). Singapore: Antiques of the Orient, pp. 63, 75. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 SIR-[HIS]); Bastin, J., & Weizenegger, J. (2016). The family of Sir Stamford Raffles. Singapore: National Library Board and Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 116, 125. (Call no.: RSING 959.57030922 BAS-[HIS])
17. Raffles, S. (1991). Memoir of the life and public services of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 504. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 RAF-[HIS])
18. Bastin, J., & Weizenegger, J. (2016). The family of Sir Stamford Raffles. Singapore: National Library Board and Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 116, 191. (Call no.: RSING 959.57030922 BAS-[HIS]); Wurtzburg, C. E. (1984). Raffles of the eastern isles. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 422. (Call no.: RSING 959.570210924 RAF.W-[HIS])
19. Bastin, J., & Weizenegger, J. (2016). The family of Sir Stamford Raffles. Singapore: National Library Board and Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 116, 191. (Call no.: RSING 959.57030922 BAS-[HIS])
20. Raffles, S. (1991). Memoir of the life and public services of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 476. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 RAF-[HIS])
21. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles: Book of days. (1993). Singapore: Antiques of the Orient, pp. 83, 123. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 SIR-[HIS]); Bastin, J., & Weizenegger, J. (2016). The family of Sir Stamford Raffles. Singapore: National Library Board and Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 125. (Call no.: RSING 959.57030922 BAS-[HIS])
22. Bastin, J., & Weizenegger, J. (2016). The family of Sir Stamford Raffles. Singapore: National Library Board and Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 125, 194. (Call no.: RSING 959.57030922 BAS-[HIS])
23. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles: Book of days. (1993). Singapore: Antiques of the Orient, pp. 59, 111. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 SIR-[HIS])
24. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles: Book of days. (1993). Singapore: Antiques of the Orient, p. 111. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 SIR-[HIS]); Bastin, J., & Weizenegger, J. (2016). The family of Sir Stamford Raffles. Singapore: National Library Board and Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 124, 126, 145. (Call no.: RSING 959.57030922 BAS-[HIS])
25. Bastin, J., & Weizenegger, J. (2016). The family of Sir Stamford Raffles. Singapore: National Library Board and Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 143, 145. (Call no.: RSING 959.57030922 BAS-[HIS])
26. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles: Book of days. (1993). Singapore: Antiques of the Orient, pp. 157, 181. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 SIR-[HIS])
27. Bastin, J,, & Weizenegger, J. (2016). The family of Sir Stamford Raffles. Singapore: National Library Board, Singapore and Marshall Cavendish Editions., pp.145, 153. (Call no.: RSING 959.57030922 BAS-[HIS])
28. Bastin, J., & Weizenegger, J. (2016). The family of Sir Stamford Raffles. Singapore: National Library Board and Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 134, 135, 153. (Call no.: RSING 959.57030922 BAS-[HIS])



The information in this article is valid as at 24 August 2016 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

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