Jeremiah (Joseph) Crutchley
Jeremiah Crutchley was born in 1745. His father, Jeremiah Sr, had been a close friend of Henry Thrale's father - Ralph Thrale. The Crutchley family were successful dyers in Clink Street, Southwark where Jeremiah, Sr. also ran a brewery.
When Jeremiah, Sr. died1 at 43 years of age, Jeremiah, Jr., was six years old2, and the Thrales acted as guardians with both Ralph Thrale and Henry Thrale receiving bequests, and both serving as executors of his estate, together with Alice Crutchley, his widow, and Thomas Wimbush, his clerk. Henry continuing in this protective capacity after Ralph Thrale died.
When in his twenties, Jeremiah Crutchley, was to be a constant visitor to Streatham and to the Southwark house. He was also godfather to Anna Maria Thrale, an Executors to Henry Thrale's will, and present when Henry Thrale died. Mrs. Thrale began to think that Jeremiah Crutchley was her husband's natural son. However every legal source sustains Jeremiah's legitimacy.
Jeremiah Crutchley, Sr., was married at St. Paul's Cathedral on 4 March 1742 to Alice Jackson, from a good Devon and Cumberland family. Their first child was a daughter, Alice, who was born in June 1744 but lived for only a few days. Jeremiah was born on 20 December 17453; a daughter, Elizabeth, was born in October 1747; a second son, John, was born in October 1749 and died 1752; and another daughter named Alice in July 1751.
The Crutchley family Bible at Mappercombe Manor names all the godparents, and Henry Thrale appears, not as Jeremiah's godfather, as has sometimes been said, but as godfather to the younger son, John, who lived only to the age of two and a half, dying in 1752, ten days after his father. In his will Jeremiah, Sr., who died on 29 March 1752 provided generously for his wife and all his children, and showed his "dear son Jeremiah" the preference due to an elder son and heir.
Strangely mixed up of Meanness and Magnificence—liberal & splendid in large Sums, & on serious Occasions; narrow and confined in the common Occurrences of Life; warm & generous in some of his Notions.
Crutchley was elected as Member of Parliament for…
On 17 May 1781 Hester Thrale wrote the following account of Jeremiah Crutchley in Thraliana, as follows…
Mr Crutcheley lives now a great deal with me; the Business of Executor to Mr Thrale's Will makes much of his Attendance necessary; and it begins to have its full Effect in seducing and attaching him to the house: Miss Burney's being always about me is probably another Reason for his close Attendance, & I believe it is so—what better could befall Miss Burney? or indeed what better Cd befall him, than to obtain a Woman of Honour; & character, & Reputation for superior Understanding—I would be glad however that he fell honestly in Love with her; & was not tricked or trapp'd into Marriage poor Fellow: he is no Match for the Arts of a Novel-writer. A mighty particular Character Mr Crutcheley is: strangely mixed up of Meanness and Magnificence—liberal & splendid in large Sums, & on serious Occasions; narrow and confined in the common Occurrences of Life; warm & generous in some of his Notions, frigid & suspicious however for 18 Hours at least out of the 24. likely to be duped, though always expecting fraud; and easily disappointed in realities, though seldom flattered by Fancy. He is supposed by those that knew his Mother & her Connections, to be Mr Thrale's natural Son,& in many Things he resembles him, but not in Person; as he is both ugly & aukward. Mr Thrale certainly believed he was his Son, & once told me as much, when Sophy Streatfields affair was in question; but nobody could perswade him to court the S:S:5.
On 26 September 1778 Fanny Burney wrote…
The present chief sport with Mrs. Thrale is disposing of me in the holy state of matrimony, and she offers me whoever comes to the house. This was begun by Mrs. Montagu, who, it seems, proposed a match for me in my absence, with Sir Joshua Reynolds!-no less a man, I assure you!
When I was dressing for dinner, Mrs. Thrale told me that Mr. Crutchley was expected.
"Who's he?" quoth I.
"A young man of very large fortune, who was a ward of Mr. Thrale. Queeny, what do you say of him for Miss Burney?"
"Him?" cried she; "no, indeed; what has Miss Burney done to have him?"
"Nay, believe me, a man of his fortune may offer himself anywhere. However, I won't recommend him."
"Why then, ma'am," cried I, with dignity, "I reject him!"
This Mr. Crutchley stayed till after breakfast the next morning. I can't tell you anything, of him, because I neither like nor dislike him. Mr. Crutchley was scarce gone, ere Mr. Smith arrived. Mr. Smith is a second cousin to Mr. Thrale, and a modest pretty sort of young man. He stayed till Friday morning. When he was gone,
"What say you to him, Miss Burney?" cried Mrs. Thrale; "I'm sure I offer you variety."
"Why I like him better than Mr. Crutchley, but I don't think I shall pine for either of them."
Dr. Johnson," said Mrs. Thrale, "don't you think Jerry Crutchley very much improved?"
Dr. J.-Yes, madam, I think he is.
Mrs. T.-Shall he have Miss Burney?
Dr. J.-Why, I think not; at least I must know more about him; I Must inquire into his connections, his recreations, his employments, and his character, from his intimates, before I trust Miss Burney with him. And he must come down very handsomely with a settlement. I will not have him left to his generosity; for as he will marry her for her wit, and she him for his fortune, he ought to bid well, and let him come down with what he will, his price will never be equal to her worth.
Mrs. T.-She says she likes Mr. Smith better.
Dr. J.-Yes, but I won't have her like Mr. Smith without money, better than Mr. Crutchley with it. Besides, if she has Crutchley, he will use her well, to vindicate his choice. the world, madam, has a reasonable claim upon all mankind to account for their conduct; therefore, if with his great wealth, he marries a woman who has but little, he will be more attentive to display her merit, than if she was equally rich,—in order to show that the woman he has chosen deserves from the world all the respect and admiration it can bestow, or that else she would not have been his choice.
Mrs. T.-I believe young Smith is the better man.
F.B.-Well, I won't be rash in thinking of either; I will take some time for consideration before I fix.
On 17 September 1781 Hester Thrale wrote about Jeremiah Crutchley and Fanny Burney in Thraliana…
l begin to wish in good earnest that Miss Burney should make Impression on Mr Crutchley; I think She honestly loves the Man, in his Turn appears to be in Love with some one else—Hester6 I fear! Oh that would indeed be unlucky! People have said so a long while, but I never thought it till now: Young Men & Women will always be serving one so to be sure, if live at all together; but I depended on Burney keeping him steady to herself. Queeney behaves like an Angel about it.
Because Crutchley never married, his estate was inherited at his death on 28 December 1805 aged 60 by George Henry Duffield, the eldest son of his second sister, Alice, who took the surname of Crutchley. Jeremiah is buried in the same tomb with his father and his infant brother, John7 Because Crutchley never married, his estate was inherited at his death on 28 December 1805 aged 60 by George Henry Duffield, the eldest son of his second sister, Alice, who took the surname of Crutchley.
- 1. In 1752.
- 2. Jeremiah was born in 1745.
- 3. Henry Thrale at this time was 17.
- 4. Source: 'Parishes: Sunninghill', A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 3 (1923), pp. 134-136. Date accessed: 28 December 2009.
- 5. Sophy Streatfield.
- 6. Queeney.
- 7. Tomb 210, in the cemetery at Lee, a town which is now part of Kent.