Charles Compton Rising (1841-1913)

Plus his wives Catherine Ursula Reynard (1847-1890) and Ellen Seymour (1859-1925)

Charles Compton Rising was born on 4th November 1841 at Horsey Hall, Horsey and was baptised there on 21st of the same month as the fifth child of Robert Rising & Elizabeth Parish. He had six siblings, namely: Mary, Emily, Robert,  Edward, Alfred and Henry.

He grew up in a privaleged household at both Horsey Hall and at an elegant gentleman’s residence on the seafront at Britannia Terrace, Great Yarmouth where he was living with his mother in 1851 when he was 10.

Horsey Hall
Britannia Terrace, Great Yarmouth

He joined the Royal Navy in 1856; was made a Lieutenant in 1863 and a Commander in 1865.  As a Commander he took charge of HMS Midge, in China in 1869. He was promoted to the rank of Captain on 10th December 1875 and was the Captain of HMS Eclipse from 1st January 1880 following which it sailed to the East Indies. There were problems with his command in 1881 and he left HMS Eclipse under a cloud of accusations – see the details below under ‘HMS Eclipse and Captain Charles Rising’.  It seems the accusations were never resolved but it caused a big scandal and some historians have said that as a result his father disinherited him and Charles received nothing in his Will after he died in 1885. However, this is not the case as Charles was named as the person that proved his father’s Probate and was an Executor to his Will in which he shared in the trust his father set up to benefit all five of the children.  

Just before he became a Captain, Charles had married Catherine Ursula Reynard on 7th November 1874 at St George’s Hanover Square, London. They had a son called Francis Simon Rising in 1878 who was born at Peterborough, Northamptonshire.
Catherine was born at Sunderlandwick Hall, Driffield, Yorkshire on 22nd August 1847 and was baptised at Great Driffield on 13th October that year as the eldest child of Edward Horner Reynard (1810-1883), a very wealthy landowner, and his wife Elizabeth née Mason (1828-1891).  In 1883 Catherine exhibited at the Ipswich Fine Art Society two watercolours ‘Sketch’ and ‘Gateway’ at Fountains Hall, Yorkshire. Catherine died on 8th December 1890. She was buried at Horsey on 12th December. Her mother had a stained-glass window placed in Horsey church depicting Catherine at her artist’s easel. You can read more about Catherine by clicking HERE.

After Catherine’s death Charles took up with a local woman called Ellen Gedge, née Seymour. She was 18 years his junior and the existing wife of Jonathan Gedge, with whom she had two sons, Frederick (born 2.3.1887) and George (born 2.12.1889). They had married at All Saints Church, Horsey on 23rd March 1880 and Jonathan was an agricultural labourer working for the Risings who owned just about all the village. This affair caused uproar in the tiny village and it was rumoured that Charles paid Jonathan a sum of money in 1891/92 and took Ellen and Jonathan’s two sons away with him. Jonathan claimed £500 damages when lodging a divorce petition in February 1892 on the grounds of adultery which was heard in the High Court and was, perhaps surprisingly, dismissed. Ellen was clearly with Charles as their first son was born barely ten months later. The divorce did not take place so Ellen remained married but left Jonathan and lived with Charles for the rest of his life. Although unmarried she had four children with Charles who were:-

  1. Frank Rising was born on 7th December 1892 in Norwich, Norfolk.
  2. Helen Rising was born in 1895 in Norwich, Norfolk.
  3. Robert Rising was born in 1897 at Seymour’s Farm, Stradbroke, Suffolk.
  4. Elizabeth Rising was born in 1899 at Seymour’s Farm, Stradbroke, Suffolk.

They had a short spell living at Stradbroke, Suffolk from about 1897 to at least 1901 when the census tells us that Charles was a farmer. 

By 1911 they had moved to a modest three storey terraced house at 24 Withipoll Street, Ipswich where Charles died in January 1913. Ellen and her children George, Helen, Robert and Elizabeth emigrated to Ontario Canada, leaving Southampton on 4th June 1914. Ellen’s son Frank had emigrated there the year before and may have influenced his mother and siblings to join him. Frederick, the other son stayed behind in Ipswich. When she emigrated, Ellen took Captain Rising’s ashes, which now lay alongside her in Culross Cemetery, Ontario. Below is a photograph of the gravestone/memorial at Culross of Ellen, Charles and two of their children who also died in Canada.

HMS Eclipse and Captain Charles Rising

In Naval Military news reports of 1879, there are several stories about the commissioning, testing and sea trial of the Eclipse. The ship was commanded by Captain Charles Rising and by all accounts the trial went smoothly. The Eclipse came into service on 1st January 1880 commissioned for action in the East Indies and left Plymouth on 13th February 1880 headed for that  destination. Only a few hours after leaving she encountered a terrific gale which lasted for nine days. The ship had been hurried to sea before she was fully ready and leaked all over and proved very uncomfortable in the wet conditions. She reached Gibraltar after 13 days. The weather was fine through the Mediterranean and Suez Canal. The next port of call was Jeddah where recent troubles had seen the murder of the Sultan of Turkey by fanatics and locals were fearful of an attack on Jeddah itself by the insurgents. The arrival of the Eclipse calmed the fears. The Eclipse remained there until relief arrived and it did not leave until 12th April 1880. At Aden, 900 hundred miles south of Jeddah, orders were received from Rear Admiral Gore-Jones C.B. the Commander-in-Chief to join him at his HQ in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka (2,500 miles from Jeddah) and the Eclipse arrived there on 10th May 1880. It stayed there a month for refitting and making good repairs and left for Rangoon (the former capital of Burma, now Myanmar) on 5th June 1880 with Captain Rising as the senior officer. The Eclipse stayed at Rangoon from 12th June 1880 to 13th December 1880 all through the rainy season on account of military confusion over the Burma war effort. The long stay was to great detriment to the health of the crew and the unsanitary condition of the ship was reported back to the Admiralty. Captain Rising had apparently been given permission to cruise and visit other ports but had not done so. While at Rangoon various unpleasant occurrences had allegedly taken place on board and various disputes had arisen between officers which resulted in a court of enquiry suspending Captain Rising from command of the ship. The ship proceeded to Point de Galle, Sri Lanka (now Galle) where Captain Rising left the ship on 18th February 1881 and arrived back in England on 25th March 1881.

Nothing further seems to have happened because an article was published in The Times of India on 5th August 1882 – shown above on the right – claiming that it was high time that the accusations made by Rear Admiral William Gore-Jones and counter accusations made by Captain Rising about what was termed grossly insubordinate conduct should be investigated at an official hearing. The article from The Times of India is shown below.

I can find nothing more about any hearing but Captain Rising had no further commands and appeared in the 1881 England census living with is brother at Great Yarmouth. Rear Admiral William Gore-Jones (1826-1888) retired from the service in 1887. On 25th February 1888 a short notice appeared in the Hampshire Telegraph newspaper saying that in accordance with the provisions of Her Majesty’s Orders Captain Charles Compton Rising had been placed on the retired list of his rank.

Charles Compton Rising 1841-1913 ancestors chart

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