The Reverend Charles Fanshawe (1806-73) was born in Warfield, Berkshire on 6 October 1806. He was the eldest of eleven children of the Reverend Charles Robert Fanshawe and his wife Margaret (known as Patty). Charles Robert Fanshawe (1780-1859) was educated at Trinity College, Oxford. He was appointed Rector of Dengey (Essex) in April 1804, Rector of Fawley (Buckinghamshire) in November 1817, Rector of Moreton-on-the-Hill (Norfolk) in 1826 and Rector of Coaley (Gloucestershire) in May 1835. In 1819 he was made chaplain to the Duke of Clarence (later King William IV). His wife was the daughter of the Reverend Robert Faithfull, formerly of Wadham College, Oxford and Vicar of Warfield from 1824 to his death in 1833. Charles Fanshawe was a scholar (holding a demyship) at Magdalen College, Oxford, matriculating on 26 July 1833, aged 16, and proceeding to BA in 1827 and MA in June 1830. He was ordained a priest on 19 December 1830, becoming chaplain to Lord Glentworth and succeeding his father as Rector of Fawley on 22 December 1832. He moved with his family to Southampton on his appointment by the church trustees as Perpetual Curate of Holy Trinity on 11 April 1832. Consecrated in 1828, Holy Trinity was originally the chapel to the adjoining female penitentiary, but was also open to public worship and, as the only district church in the extensive parish of St Mary's, was well attended. He relinquished the cure on 13 October 1846, nine months after being instituted as Rector of All Saints on 23 January 1846. This was an exchange of parishes with the current rector, the Reverend Henry Almack, who, in post for less than three years, had failed to engage with his parishioners. Almack served as Rector of Fawley until his death in November 1884. Fanshawe served at All Saints until January 1855. He was also officiating minister at St Paul's Chapel of Ease which - at the time of the 1851 religious census - was rented by the rector from its shareholders with a view to its future consecration. A martyr to asthma, Charles Fanshawe resigned from All Saints in January 1855, retreating to the less demanding parish of Upham with Durley near Bishop's Waltham. He held the rectory until his death on 6 May 1873, latterly at least as a non-resident priest. He is listed in Southampton directories between 1867 and 1871 at Bassett Heath. He died in Italy at the Villa Rosa in Bordighera, a retirement resort on the western coast of the Ligurian Riviera, at the foot of the Maritime Alps and commonly known as the City of Palms. He was buried at Bordighera on 11 May 1873.

The immediate family circle of the Fanshawes was both influential and exotic. Charles's paternal grandfather - Henry Fanshawe (1756-1828) - served as a general officer in the Russian army under the Duke of Wurtemberg after becoming one of the close retinue of Empress Catherine. He was appointed Governor of Kioo and subsequently Governor of the Crimea. He died a Russian senator. Three of Charles's uncles also served in Russia. William Simon Fanshawe (1784?-1829) and George Fanshawe (1789-1867) followed their father as generals in the Imperial army. George, a general in the "Guards of Jemenoffski", fought in the campaigns on the Caucasus and Finland, was present at the battles of Smolensk and Borodino and at the taking of Paris in 1814. He later helped to suppress the Polish insurrection, was ADC to Emperor Nicholas and the Grand Duke Constantine, and at his death was Privy Councillor, Senator and Permanent Member of the Council of State of Poland. Frederick Fanshawe (1788-1830) was Chamberlain to the Emperors Alexander and Nicholas and ADC to Alexander. He was assassinated by Polish insurgents. A fourth uncle - Henry Fanshawe (1778-1857) - entered the Royal Navy in September 1798, seeing active service until taken prisoner by the French in 1811. He became Captain in June 1814 and, now on the retired list, Rear Admiral in October 1849. His first wife (Anna Maria Jenkinson) was the daughter of Lt General John Jenkinson, Joint Secretary for Ireland and brother of the 1st Earl of Liverpool.

This last family connection was strengthened by Charles Fanshawe's own marriage - on 7 May 1833 at St Mary's, Bryanston Square, London - to Rosetta Maynard Ricketts (commonly called Rosa). She was the third daughter of Charles Milner Ricketts, second son of George Poyntz Ricketts, a Jamaican plantation owner later to be Governor of Tobago and Barbados, and, through his mother, cousin of the 2nd Earl of Liverpool (Prime Minister 1812-27). Charles's early career in India owed much to ministerial influence. Appointed writer to the East India Company in Bengal in 1792, he advanced - often to the chagrin of those denied such government interest - from opium agent, joint-inspector of opium, director of the Bank of Bengal, principal private secretary to the governor-general (Lord Moira, later Marquis of Hastings) to chief secretary to the government and president of the Board of Trade. Ricketts was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1820 in recognition of his 27-years observation of natural history in India. The children - Rosa, born 1813, included - were sent to England, where their welfare and education were overseen by Lord Liverpool. Charles Ricketts left India in January 1819. En route to England from Calcutta he had a four-hour interview at St Helena with Napoleon Bonaparte, his first English visitor for two years. Rickett's refusal to believe Napoleon's claim that sickness demanded his release from prison did much to condemn the former French emperor to a lifetime of exile on the island. Back in England, Lord Liverpool engineered a vacancy in the safe seat of Dartmouth (January 1820) to allow his cousin to form a new set of political and personal connections in England. Relations between patron and protégé however quickly disintegrated with allegations of Rickett's scandalous personal behaviour in India, leading to a deed of separation from his wife. Liverpool now vetoed any political or government preferment. Ricketts resigned his parliamentary seat in April 1822 and took refuse, sulking, on the continent. The new world now beckoned. Having learnt Spanish, Ricketts applied through his wife for consulships in Columbia, Cuba, Mexico and Puerto Rica. Liverpool still refused to recommend him. Despite this, he was offered the consul-generalship of Peru, worth £1,600 pa, in 1825. Although departing Lima in 1827, Ricketts retained the consulship until January 1830. He now largely disappears from public life. He died in September 1867, aged 91 years. A son, Charles Prendergast Ricketts, was governor-general of Sierra Leone in the 1820s.

In Southampton Charles and Rosa Fanshawe were part of those concentric, quasi-Bohemian circles of influence that centred on the Bullars and Brookfields: both the subject of entries in this gazetteer. Charles Fanshawe was an original trustee of the Royal South Hants Infirmary and in autumn 1840 took over as joint honorary secretary (with Dr William Bullar) from the Reverend William Henry Brookfield on his departure for London. Rosa Fanshawe became confidante to Jane Octavia Brookfield during her relationship with William Makepeace Thackeray and consequent near-breakdown of her marriage. Thackeray commonly referred to Rosa as "My dear little F" and more intimately as "Pincushion" in reference to her small stature. In 1850 Rosa was in London to help Jane convalesce after the birth of her daughter Magdalene. The Fanshawe's only child - Rosa Ellen Fanshawe, born 9 February 1834 at the Rectory in Fawley (Bucks) - was almost the same age as Thackeray's elder surviving daughter Anne Isabella. Given the inanity of Thackeray's own wife, Mrs Fanshawe became virtually a surrogate mother to Anne. Totty and Annie - to give them their respective pet names - became as close as sisters. We find them acting charades together at the Brookfields in Southampton and racing about the house. Anne Thackeray (later Anne Thackeray Ritchie, Lady Ritchie) became a celebrated novelist and novelist (see entry in Oxford dictionary of national biography). In her mid-30s Rosa Fanshawe married Dr Sanderson William Matthew Walker at the British Consulate in Turin on 27 June 1870. She died in Bordighera in 1876. The previous year she paid for the building of an English church there.


see also


Further reading:

Southampton Occasional Notes, 2nd Series, by ‘Townsman’, p51. (HS/h)
More Stories of Southampton Streets, by A. G. K. Leonard, p60. (HS/h)
The letters and private papers of William Makepeace Thackeray, collected and edited by Gordon N Ray, 4 volumes. (826 THA)


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