Cumpston Research

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William Henry Cumpston YER/3/2/4/5/

William Henry Lowthorp Cumpston married Mary Ann Batchelor in Bermondsey, London (Dec Q 1852.


Their son was also called William Henry, born in 1863.  He had three sisters, Eliza J, born in 1858, Rosa born 1859, and Mary born 1867.  By 1868 his father had been killed in the Crimean War.  In the 1871 census he and his mother were living at 11 Princes Place, Hull aged 8.  William is my second cousin 3 x removed.


In 1882 he married Annie Chappell at Bridlington aged just 19.  They had three children, Lillian May, born 1883, Alfred Lidgett born 1885 and Beatrice M born 1887, all at Sculcoates, Hull.


What we do know is that he was a talented young man, and somehow he came to know Mrs Arthur Wilson, of Tranby Croft Hull.  I suspect this was through the background of his grandmother Jane Lidgett, whose father was a well known shipping merchant in Hull.  Arthur Wilson was one of the builders of the fleet of vessels known as the Wilson Line and one of the ablest of the business men who built up Hull.  He was known far and wide for his hospitality at Tranby Croft, his beautiful home at Anlaby,


Sir Arthur Wilson, born in Hull was shown as ‘aged 43, a merchant and steam ship owner’ in the 1881 census.  He had 15 servants at Tranby Croft. His daughter Ethel Mary Wilson married Sir Edward Lycett Green 2nd Bt. on 23 April 1885.


In 1887 William Henry published his first book of poetry, ‘Glimmerings of Truth’, and dedicated it to Mrs Wilson.  A copy of this book in my possession was published 1887 Hull and has the signature ‘Mrs Mabbott March 13 ‘87’ on the inside cover.  The dedication reads:



 Tranby Croft, Hull;




This Book is Dedicated,




The book 'The Wilson's of Tranby Croft  by Gertrude M Attwood [Hutton press] follows the fortunes of the family from c18 with 50 photographs including the founding of the Wilson Shipping Line, the building of Tranby Croft and the social climb of the Wilsons culminating in the Baccarat scandal.  The Royal Baccarat Scandal, also known as the Tranby Croft Scandal was an English gambling scandal involving the future King Edward VII.


I have photographs on file of Arthur Wilson and his wife 11 September 1890, 3 years after the publication of the poetry book.


Family rumour had it that after the publication of his poetry, William Henry left the country to emigrate to Canada, but this was not the truth.  He actually moved with his wife to Southampton where he became the editor of the Southampton newspaper.  So what happened to a young, literate and successful young man?


By 29 June 1889 he was before the court charged with the murder of Richard Nelson.


The Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle of Saturday 29th June 1889 is headed ‘Attempted murder at Southampton.  Exciting Shooting Affray’


On Monday, at about twenty minutes past eleven p.m., Inspector Curtis and others at the Southampton Bargate Police Station heard reports of firearms and a woman’s piercing shrieks.  They immediately rushed into the street, and saw outside All Saint’s Church some men struggling on the pavement.  They went up to them and found that one man was being held down by PC Cropp who was on beat there, and a young man named Harris.  Harris called out, “Look out for the revolver!” and Inspector Curtis went to his assistance.  Harris thereupon succeeded in wrenching a revolver from the hands of the other man, and he was taken into custody by the police.  This man’s name, it transpired, was William Henry Crumpston, proprietor, editor and publisher of The Southampton Herald, a gratuitously-circulated advertising publication.  


The person whom Crumpston had directed the shots was a man named Richard Nelson, landlord of the Blacksmith’s Arms, King Street, Rookery.  Crumpston and his intended victim were brought to the Police Station with the man named Harris and the woman – who proved to be Mrs. Nelson – and it was discovered that Nelson was shot through the cheek and wounded in the left leg, besides having received other injuries in the struggle.  He was at once taken to the Infirmary in a cab by his wife and Inspector Curtis.  The house surgeon examined his wounds, and pronounced them not of a dangerous character.  Inspector Curtis returned to the Police Station, accompanied by Mrs Nelson, who stated that she and her husband had known Crumpston for the last 12 months.  He lived in Pembroke Place where he publishes his newspaper.


They had been on friendly terms during the last twelve months.  On Monday, at about nine o’clock, he came to the Blacksmith’s Arms and inquired for Mr. Nelson.  Mrs Nelson said he was not at home, but would return about 10.30.  Crumpston left and returned at a quarter to eleven, when Nelson had returned, and they shook hands together.  Crumpston said to Nelson “I have done you wrong; will you come out and have a walk with me?”


Nelson replied “Will you stop and have some supper?” and Crumpston accepted the invitation, and had supper in the sitting room, remaining there until about 11.20 when Crumpston said “I am going home.”  Nelson replied “We will go together.”  They closed the house and left, passing through King Street, through East Street, and by All Saints’ Church.  When opposite Mr. Webb’s, hairdresser’s shop, close to the Liberal Club, they met Crumpston’s sister.  They shook hands, and wished each other “good night”.  The two Nelsons thereupon turned to go home, when Crumpston, without the slightest warning, suddenly discharged five chambers at Nelson.  Some of the shots struck Nelson, as stated, and the other bullets found billets in the shop fronts near by.  


A bullet passed through Mr Webb’s shop window at the height of about six feet and another about two feet higher.  A third bullet is said to have struck the Crown Hotel.  Nelson, on being thus assailed, closed with Crumpston, and they struggled together until the Police and Harris came up.


When Crumpston was seized he shouted, “I am the publisher of the Herald!  That is the vagabond who has seduced my wife!  It is jealousy that has done this!”  Crumpston was secured and placed in a police cell at the Bargate.  Prisoner, an intelligent looking young man, was brought up at the Borough Bench on Tuesday morning charged with attempting to murder Richard Nelson, landlord of the Blacksmith’s Arms, by shooting him with a revolver.


Superintendent Ellery said the injured man was unable to attend that day, and he would, therefore, simply offer sufficient evidence to justify a remand for a week.  Mrs. Nelson was then called, and gave evidence in the substance the same as particulars given above, after which the prisoner was remanded for a week.”


Wm Henry poet shooting 1889

Click on photo to enlarge


Sir Arthur Wilson, Mrs Wilson and His Royal Highness at Tranby Court 1890

Family connections:

William Henry Lowthorp Cumpston was born 2 July 1830, and christened on 8 September 1831 at Holy Trinity, Kingston upon Hull by his parents William George Cumpston and Jane Lidgett.  Jane’s parents were George Lidgett and Jane Foster.  William George Cumpston was the great grandfather of JHL Cumpston


William George's parents were William Cumpston and Millisint Watson, my 4 x great grandparents.  All these are mentioned in my  book ‘CUMPSTONs of Hull,  Master Mariners and their families’


Montreal Canada

Poems for the time

xxvii p LC class PS8455


Poet Amicus Archive Canada


Please let me know if a copy of this book is for sale.

The Graphic (London, England), Saturday June 11, 1887; issue 915


Recent Poetry and Verse:


'Setting aside the prefatory plea, which would have been excellent reason for NOT 'bringing the following collection before the public' there is something to please in 'Glimmerings of Truth' by William Henry Cumpston (Hull: A Brown & Sons).


The verses are juvenile and the author has much to learn, both mentally and technically; but he seems to have a receptive mind and we were frankly pleased with a little piece entitley 'Bigotry'.