Service record for Lieutenant Rollings Edward Crouch

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stepmars
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Service record for Lieutenant Rollings Edward Crouch

Post by stepmars »

Hi,

I'm a student at the Univerity of Sydney researching Lieutenant Rollings Edward Crouch (1760-1813) and I'm hoping forum members might be able to point me in the right direction. I want to know if he was genuinely a RN officer as I suspect he may not have been. He used various surnames over his lifetime such as Crouch or Couch or Calvert. In 1785 he married in London as Lieutenant Rollings Edward Crouch but I've just read a book that describes him as only a midshipman. I've searched the National Archives on-line without any luck but have found service records for other
lieutenants who served at the same time (c. 1780-1800). I'm seeking suggestions of where else I could search and hopefully on-line searches as I'm in Australia.

Can I only search for officers or are there databases of lower ranks too?

If this man doesn't appear on such lists is it safe to assume he wasn't in the RN or are the lists incomplete?

Thanks for any help ypu can offer!

Regards,
Steve Marshall
Cy
Admiral of the Fleet
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Re: Service record for Lieutenant Rollings Edward Crouch

Post by Cy »

Three Decks has at least some records for 99% plus of all RN commissioned officers 1660-1815 and I have no records of an officer that would match. It is possible that he served as an acting lieutenant, but would usually have to have passed his lieutenants exam for that to be the case, and, again, I can find no record of that in "Royal Navy Lieutenant's passing certificated 1691,1902".

I know of no databases covering non-commissioned officers and crew other than Three Decks (which is very sparce at the moment), except oned for specific events, e.g. the Trafalgar rolls in the national archive site. So your only recourse would be ships muster or pay books, but they are not digitised and you would need to know the ships involved.

Ancestry.com has a record of his marriage, in "London, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials" at Richmond upon Thames
St Mary the Virgin, Twickenham for 9th January 1785 to Anna Maria Phillips, but that refers to him only as a bachelor, not a lieutenant.

There was however a Coronet of the 12th Light Dragoons, sometime between 1788 and 1804 with the same name. Which is some coincidence.

Given the above I think it highly unlikely thath he was a naval officer, and that the assorted references to Anna Phillips marrying a naval lietenant are erroneous.
OK, it was me, probably!
stepmars
Able Seaman
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2021 6:10 am

Re: Service record for Lieutenant Rollings Edward Crouch

Post by stepmars »

Thanks for your reply and the nice detective work. The marriage to Anna Maria Phillips and the Cavalry commission both relate to the man I'm researching. He and his second wife had two sons, the elder being Edward Calvert the noted British artist. I believe his army career was genuine but I have no proof he was in the navy.

Naval history is not my strength so I really appreciate hearing from people with greater knowledge than me!
Grammont
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Re: Service record for Lieutenant Rollings Edward Crouch

Post by Grammont »

His purchase of a commission as a cornet in the 12th Regiment of Light Dragoons is listed in the London Gazette of 28 October 1794 https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/iss ... /page/1076

War-Office, November 1

12th ditto [Regiment of (Light) Dragoons] Rollings Edward Crouch, Gent. to be Cornet, by Purchase, vice Kelly, who retires.
stepmars
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Re: Service record for Lieutenant Rollings Edward Crouch

Post by stepmars »

Thanks. I read that as meaning he did not enlist and work his way up but bought his way into the lowest of the officer ranks. Is that correct and did that happen in the navy also in the late eighteenth century?
Cy
Admiral of the Fleet
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Re: Service record for Lieutenant Rollings Edward Crouch

Post by Cy »

Yes, in the army you could buy a commission, with no experience.

That couldn't happen in the navy, you had to have had 6 years sea service, at least 2 as a midshipman or master's mate, and be at least 20 years of age (in theory) to even take the lieutenant's exam, which was no guarantee of receiving a commission even if you passed.

Having patronage helped of course.
OK, it was me, probably!
stepmars
Able Seaman
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Re: Service record for Lieutenant Rollings Edward Crouch

Post by stepmars »

Thanks again. All this information is very helpful!
Grammont
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Joined: Wed May 24, 2017 10:58 am

Re: Service record for Lieutenant Rollings Edward Crouch

Post by Grammont »

As she was a famous singer Anna Maria Crouch (nee Phillips) has an entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (DNB) (trapped behind a paywall) However in the 1st edition (published in 1888) her entry includes https://archive.org/details/dictionaryo ... 2/mode/2up

In the summer of 1783 Miss Phillips was engaged at the Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin. She played there again in 1784. In the latter year the son of an Irish peer eloped with her, but before they could be married they were overtaken, and in the following year she was married at Twickenham to Crouch, a lieutenant in the navy. She continued for some time to play under her maiden name, but after the birth of a child (which only lived two days) she assumed her husbands name. In March 1787 Michael Kelly [q. v.], on his return from the continent, met her at Drury Lane. Kelly hardly knew any English, and Mrs. Crouch undertook to teach him, while in return he taught her Italian vocalisation. On his debut at Drury Lane she played Clarissa to his Lionel. The intimacy thus begun increased to such a degree that Kelly took up his abode with the Crouches, and accompanied them on their annual tours to the country and Irish theatres in 1790 joining them in a trip to Paris. Mrs. Crouch's marriage was not a happy one, and in 1791 she and her husband agreed to separate by mutual consent, she making him an annual allowance. The cause of the rupture was said to be an intimacy which had sprung up between the Prince of Wales and Mrs. Crouch, though this was indignantly denied by her defenders. However, the friendship with Kelly still continued, and they lived and acted together until her retirement.

It may, or may not, be relevant that Crouch purchased his commission as a Cornet in the 12th Light Dragoons only after he had separated from his wife and started to receive an annual allowance from her.
stepmars
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Re: Service record for Lieutenant Rollings Edward Crouch

Post by stepmars »

Despite many references stating Rollings was a lieutenant in the navy, Michael Kelly said he was merely a midshipsman. As Kelly lived with them, and from the information kindly provided in this forum, I now believe that was correct. I'm certain his career in the cavalry was genuine and that he later served in Devon yeomanry brigades as a captain and I have copies of letters from the Devon Archives which confirm this.
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