Dr. Anthony Crisp (1814-1900)
Dr. Anthony Crisp was a prominent figure in the village of Martham for over 60 years serving the community as its general practitioner and registrar of births and deaths. He probably touched on the lives of more people than anyone who has lived in the village. As well as attending hundreds of births he was the District Medical Officer for West Flegg and Smallburgh Unions which meant he advised on the health and living conditions of the Workhouses at both Rollesby and Smallburgh. He also advised the Workhouse Management Boards on the health of those requesting assistance by way of grants or help with fuel. He was also the Medical Officer to the Port and Haven Commissioners. There are many newspaper reports mentioning him attending Coroner’s Court enquiries into deaths and he often appeared as a witness in court when assaults had allegedly taken place.
Born and baptised in 1814 at Great Yarmouth to Fortunatus Crisp & Hannah Maria, nee Townsend he became a qualified Member of the Royal College of Surgeons (M.R.C.S.E) and later was recorded as also being an Apothecary. When he was 26, he married Louisa Helsdon on 25th August 1840 at Gimingham, North Norfolk. They had two children; Mary Elizabeth Crisp who was born in 1842 at Martham and Charles Anthony Crisp who was born on 6th March 1844 also at Martham but died when he was eleven on 15th March 1855. Sadly, Louisa also died only four months after the birth of Charles.
Anthony’s second marriage was to Rebecca Manship, the daughter of Isaac Manship & Rebecca Green, on 7th November 1848 at St Mary’s. Isaac was from a local farming family. Anthony & Rebecca had at least ten children at Martham between 1851 and 1867 as follows:
- Louisa Ann Amelia Crisp was born in 1851.
- Ellen Rebecca Crisp was born on 5th September 1852. She never married and died on 29th August 1921 at Martham.
- Edwin Manship Crisp was born in 1854 and died on 11th January 1855 aged 11 months.
- Henry Daniel Crisp was born in 1856. He married and had many children. Having moved away he returned to Martham and died in the village on 21st May 1928.
- Eliza Parker Crisp was born in 1858. She married James Cooper Faulke from the village on 17th July 1879 at St Mary’s. Eliza died in 1915.
- Anthony William Crisp was born on 7th January 1860. He married Charlotte Septima Herring on 22nd July 1916 at West Dulwich. He died on 19th May 1931 at Martham.
- Emily Gertrude Crisp was born in 1861. She married Edward William Manship on 28th March 1892 at St Mary the Virgin.
- Thomas John Donald Crisp was born in 1863 at Martham and died at sea aged 21 and is commemorated on his parents’ gravestone.
- Emma Selina Crisp was born in 1865. She married John Wilson who was a mariner from Cape Town, South Africa. They married at Martham on 9th August 1892.
- Agnes Rosa Crisp was born in 1867.
After his first marriage, Anthony had moved into The Jasmines in Staithe Road, Martham (it was sometimes known as Jasmine Cottage). It was a large, thatched house with a big garden and a barn and no doubt it was needed for his large family which included servants. You can read more about the house by clicking on Jasmines.
In the early days he rented the house from the previous village surgeon Dr. John Gifford Jeffrey but bought it after Dr. Jeffrey died in 1949. The house also included in its grounds the very large barn on its west side and a large field opposite. In the 1842 Tithe Award these were shown as plot 16, which included the Jasmines, 17, with the barn and 9, being the field as shown on the map below.
Anthony lived in the house for the rest of his life and was recorded as living there and being the village doctor in all the following Directories:-
1845 – White’s Directory listed him as being a M.R.C.S.E. Surgeon.
1846 – The Post Office & Kelly’s Directories listed him as being a M.R.C.S.E. Surgeon.
1850 – Hunts Directory listed him as being a M.R.C.S.E. Surgeon.
1854 – White’s Directory listed him as being a M.R.C.S.E. Surgeon.
1864 – White’s Directory listed him as being a M.R.C.S.E. Surgeon.
1868 – Harrod Directory listed him as being a M.R.C.S.E. Surgeon.
1869 – The Post Office Directory listed him as being a M.R.C.S.E. Surgeon.
1877 & 1879 – Kelly’s Directories listed him as being a M.R.C.S.E. Surgeon.
1883 – Kelly’s Directory listed him as being a M.R.C.S.E. Surgeon.
1892 & 1896 – Kelly’s Directory listed him as being a M.R.C.S.E. Surgeon, the Registrar of births and deaths & the District Medical Officer for West Flegg and Smallburgh Unions.
In November 1892 there was a serious influenza outbreak in Flegg that laid many low and it was also extensive in Caister and Winterton as well as Martham. There was also an outbreak of typhoid fever in Martham in the autumn of 1894. Both kept Dr Crisp particularly busy as he covered several Flegg villages including Winterton as well as Martham.
He was held in such high esteem by some of his patients that one even presented him with a gold watch in 1895 in appreciation of the care he had given her husband and family and the gift was mentioned in an article published in the Yarmouth Independent newspaper dated 30th March 1895 which is shown below.
Anthony died at home on 13th July 1900, aged 86, having served the community as its doctor for 62 years. He was buried at St Mary the Virgin graveyard section H, plot G1 along with his wife Rebecca who died in 1906.