Sir Stamford Raffles (b. 6 July 1781, off Port Morant, Jamaica - d. 5 July 1826, Middlesex, England) founder of Singapore island, was the son of a ship's master, Captain Benjamin Raffles. Raffles married twice. His first wife was Olivia Mariamne nee Devenis; she bore him no children. After her death, he married Sophia Hull. Of the five children from his second marriage, Ella Sophia alone survived infancy. No progeny survived them.

Father: Captain Benjamin Raffles (b. 1739 - d. 1797?) was the ship's master of the Ann which was at the time of Raffles' birth
involved in the lucrative British slave trade centred on the Caribbean. Raffles strongly disagreed with slave trading and would not have seen eye to eye with his father's occupation. However, the senior Captain had incurred great debt despite the profitability in such a trade. By 1782, the Ann was sold off, indicating some measure of losses by the Captain. It is believed the Captain passed away early in young Raffle's life as the family had difficulty in financing for Raffles' education. Captain Raffles had only one other sibling, a half-brother William Raffles through his father Thomas Raffles' second marriage. Thomas Raffles had been a clerk at the Prerogative Office, Doctor's Commons.
Mother: Anne Lyde (d. 1824)

There is no record of children by his first wife, Olivia Mariamne, although some suggest that she bore him children who died soon after she did. Raffles' second wife, Sophia Hull, according to records, bore him five children as follows:

(1) Charlotte (b. 15 February 1818 - d. 14 January 1822, Bencoolen) born at sea on the journey to England from Bencoolen but died before reaching the age of four, succumbing to same illness that had taken her younger brother only 10 days earlier. She seemed to have gained the name of his last possible patron, the Duchess of Somerset, Charlotte. Although an elderly woman, Raffles seemed smitten by the Duchess according to Pearson and had written endless notes on his voyage out to Bencoolen. The journey on the Lady Raffles would be the last that Raffles would have contact with Duchess Charlotte as she died soon after. The Javanese prince Raden named the child a local name - Tunjung Segera, translated as "Lotus of the Sea" or "Lily of the Ocean". She was supposedly a gifted child who at the age of 3 could speak English, Malay and Hindustani, translating one language into another.

(2) Leopold Stamford (b. 12 March 1819, Penang - d. 4 July 1821, Bencoolen) died at aged 2 yrs 4 mths from possible case of cholera.

(3) Stamford Marsden (b. 25 May 1820, Bencoolen - d. 3 January 1822, Bencoolen) nicknamed "Marco Polo", died aged 1 yr 7 mths of enteritis

(4) Ella Sophia (b. 27 May 1821, Bencoolen - d. 5 May 1840, England). She returned to England in March 1822 with nurse Mary Grimes, Raffles having lost all their surviving children then. However, Ella too died tragically, on the eve of her marriage to John Sumner, eldest son of the Bishop of Winchester.

(5) Flora Nightingall (b. 19 September 1823, Bencoolen - d. 28 November 1823, Bencoolen) died at aged two months.

Of the five children, Ella Sophia alone survived infancy but died close to her 19th birthday. Sir Stamford Raffles died on 5 July 1826, the day before his 45th birthday. Lady Sophia died on 12 December 1858, aged 72 in England.

Vernon Cornelius

Pearson, H. F. (1957). This other India: A biography of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles (pp. 61-63). Singapore: Eastern Universities Press
(Call no.: RCLOS 923 RAF)

Raffles, S. (1991). Memoir of the life and public services of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles (p. 449-450, 461, 506, 564). Singapore: Oxford University Press.
(Call no. : RSING 959.57021092 RAF)

Sheppard, M. (Ed.). (1973). Singapore: 150th anniversary of the founding of Singapore (p. 91). Singapore: Times Printers.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 SIN)

Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles: Book of days (pp. 23-27, 59-75, 111, 123, 126, 157, 181). (1993). Singapore: Antiques of the Orient.
(Call no.: SING 959.57021092 SIR)

Wurtzburg, C. E. (1984). Raffles of the eastern isles (p. 15 - 17, Appendix V). Singapore : Oxford University Press.
(Call no.: SING 959.570210924 RAF)

The information in this article is valid as at 1999 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the library for further reading materials on the topic.



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