Anspach, Margravine of
Lady Elizabeth Berkeley who later became Lady Elizabeth (more often Betty) Craven and then the Margravine of Anspach, was born in 1750, the youngest daughter of the fourth Earl of Berkeley. At age 16 she married William Craven, who two years later became the sixth Baron Craven. After 13 years of marriage and six children they separated - probably because of her many indiscretions - and she went to live in Versailles. After the Baron’s death in 1791 she married the Margrave of Anspach (a small principality in southern Germany), who died in 1806 leaving her a widow.
She cut a fine figure in society and appeared to live a brilliant social life both in this country and on the continent. She was friendly with many leading figures of the day, including Horace Walpole. Doctor Johnson described her as “beautiful, young and fascinating”. There are a number of portraits of her in the National Portrait Gallery, including an oil painting by Ozias Humphry, c.1780 (image 1). She aspired to be a writer and wrote a number of plays, some of which were performed professionally, but to no great acclaim.
She lived in Southampton intermittently from 1801 to 1812. She initially took a house on West Quay, which had been previously occupied by John Martin, manager of the nearby Long Rooms. Later she leased the house next door to make a large residence which she called Anspach House. The house was set in an acre of gardens with fine views of the New Forest shoreline. She acquired other properties in the town, including the private house next to the West Gate which later became the Royal Standard public house. She did not live in this house, although it is sometimes stated erroneously that she did. She published her memoirs in 1826 and died two years later.

Anspach House
An 18th century house that stood on West Quay nearly opposite, but slightly south of Blue Anchor Gate (image 2). It was named after its early owner Betty Craven, the Margravine of Anspach. It is shown and named on the Town Map of 1845-46 and shown but not named on the OS 1:2500 map (1867). After the Margravine left the town in 1812 the house remained unoccupied until 1819 when it was taken over by local MP Sir William Crespigny. In the mid-Victorian period it was occupied at different times by a Mr Stockham and a Mr Boyce, both of whom owned shipyards at West Quay. The house was destroyed by fire in c.1870.

Anspach Place.
‘Townsman’ (Southern Daily Echo 24th September, 1938) identifies the site of Anspach Place as being on the water side of the road at West Quay, near to Anspach House, from which it takes its name. ‘Townsman’ also states that there were other houses there, a grocers shop kept by a Mrs Macrow and the Royal Engineers public house. The street name tablet for Anspach Place was later affixed to the wall of the Royal Standard public house on the opposite side of the road.
L.A. Burgess (Topographical Dictionary of Southampton) locates Anspach Place as the space inside the town wall immediately to the north of the West Gate, near to where the Royal Standard public house now stands, i.e. on the opposite side of the road to where ‘Townsman’ locates it. However, Burgess may have been confused by the removal of the street name tablet from its original position.

1. The Margravine of Anspach

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Painting by Ozias Humphry, c1780-1783, now in the National Portrait Gallery

Anspach House

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A rear view of Anspach House from a ‘Townsman’ article in the Daily Echo 26/11/1938.

Newspaper clippings:

Lady Betty's Salon in Soton

Further reading:

The Beautiful Lady Craven, by A. M. Broadley and Lewis Melville. (HS/t)
'Lady Betty Craven', by J. E. Dengate in Southampton Local History Forum Journal, no 4, p 7-8 (HS/h)
‘Her Serene Highness of West Quay’, by John Edgar Mann in Hampshire, vol. 33. no. 8, p47-48. (H/y)
Southampton Occasional Notes(2nd Series), by ‘Townsman’, p72 (HS/h)


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