Biography

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Hon. Henry Augustus Berkeley Craven ( 1776-1836)

Craven was born on 21 December 1776. He was a personal friend of the Duke of York. He was a great gambler and, following huge financial losses at the Derby in May 1836, committed suicide.

The Gentleman's Magazine, Vol V (New Series) MDCCCXXXVI January to June inclusive.

In Connaught-terrace, Edgware-road aged 60, the Hon. Henry Augustus Berkeley Craven, a retired Maj. Gen. in the army; uncle to the Earl of Craven. He was the second son of William 6th Lord and lst Earl of Craven by Lady Elizabeth Berkeley, afterwards Margravine of Anspach. He was appointed Captain of an independent company of foot 1794, placed on half-pay 1795, brevet Major 1803, Lieut.-Col. 1810, extra Aid-de-Camp to the King and Colonel 1814, and Major General 1825. It appears that he had been a considerable loser at the Epsom races which, it is supposed produced such an effect upon his mind as to induce him to commit suicide by shooting himself through the head. He married Dec. 26 1829, Mademoiselle Marie Clarisse Tribhault .

James Christie Whyte - History of the British Turf from the Earliest Times to the Present Day. 1840 Vol. II. pp. 367-8

Obituary -- May 20

On the 21st of May, an inquest was held at the Mitre Tavern, Edgeware Road, on the body of the Hon Henry Augustus Berkeley Craven, who shot himself at his residence in Connaught Terrace, on Thursday night after his return from Epsom. It appeared from the evidence, that the unfortunate gentleman had retired to bed at an early hour, much depressed in spirits, and was found the following morning in the back parlour, dead, with a pistol in his hand, which he had discharged into his mouth. Several letters addressed to different friends, and evidently written by him immediately before committing this fatal act, were found on his writing table; their contents however did not appear in the evidence.

It was proved that the deceased had exhibited considerable excitement at Epsom races on the day the Derby was run for; being heard to exclaim more than once during that race, "Jersey wins!" But no evidence was given that the melancholy event was caused by losses on the race and the jury returned their verdict "temporary mental derangement". The real cause, however, of this deplorable event, was the losses sustained by the unhappy gentleman in backing the field against Lord Jersey's Bay Middleton, for the Derby; and which it is believed would have made him a defaulter to the extent of nearly £8,000 on the 24th, the settling day at Tattersall's; a position his too sensitive feeling of honour made him unable to face. Mr Berkeley Craven's melancholy fate was deeply deplored by all who knew him, whether as a man or a sportsman; in which latter capacity he had ever evinced the strictest integrity. He was in his 60th year, was uncle to the present Lord Craven, and a member of the Jockey Club.


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