Apphia, Lady Lyttelton, neé Witts (1743-1840)
Apphia Witts was born 27th April 1743, in the reign of George II, to a prosperous Oxfordshire family. After the deaths of both of her parents, Apphia set sail to India at the age of 25 to marry her cousin Richard Witts. In the same year that Captain Cook discovered New Zealand, Apphia's arduous journey would have taken between three and six months in extremely uncomfortable conditions. Finally arriving in Calcutta in the early summer of 1769 Apphia was to discover the terrible news that her intended bridegroom had died six months before she had left England. During this time, Apphia was befriended by a Colonel Joseph Peach of the 1st Bengal European Regiment, twelve years her senior, Peach and Apphia married on 30th January 1770. Further tragedy struck when Colonel Peach died within six months of their union, having contracted a fever. Apphia chose to return to England in order to carry out the wishes of her husband in providing for his family and in particular her nephew by marriage Henry Peach, whom she referred to as her 'adopted Henry'. Apphia's next betrothal was not without scandal when she married the handsome and charming Thomas Lyttelton, a renowned scoundrel and libertine, who pressed marriage upon her having compromised her reputation. They married in June 1773, with Thomas deserting Apphia in the following September. They separated but never divorced, the Deed of Separation listing 'one pair Brilliant DiamondEarrings' among her possessions at that time. Upon Thomas's father's death in 1773 Apphia was made Lady Lyttelton, which she remained until her death. Lady Lyttelton spent the rest of her life living in Malvern, engaged in charitable works, funding a school and supporting her extended family. She died in 1840 at the age of 97, being buried in the family tomb alongside her beloved Henry Peach.