Sophia Hull



Sophia Hull (b. 5 May 1786, London–d.12 December 1858, Middlesex, England) became the second wife of Sir Stamford Raffles, founder of modern Singapore, on 22 February 1817.1 She bore him five children and is famed for penning his biography, Memoir of the Life and Public Services of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, which brought recognition to Raffles’s accomplishments.2

Early life
Hull was of Irish descent and named after her mother, Sophia. She was the second of 15 children, and the eldest of eight daughters.3 Her parents had married in Bombay (present-day Mumbai), India, where her father, James Hull, had worked as a writer for the East India Company (EIC).4


Marriage to Raffles
Hull met Raffles in Cheltenham in August 1816 where she was living with her mother. Hull was a family friend who was particularly close to Mary Anne, Raffles’s favourite sister.Hull and Raffles married on 22 February 1817 – within six months of their acquaintance – at St Marylebone Parish Church, London. The wedding was a quiet affair that had been kept a secret from even Raffles’s close friends.6 Hull, then 30, was considered past marriageable age, and Raffles at 36 had been a widower for slightly over two years.7 His first wife, Olivia Mariamne Fancourt née Devenish, whom he married on 14 March 1805 had passed away on 26 November 1814.8 A few months after his marriage to Hull, Raffles was knighted by the prince regent.By November 1817, both Raffles and Hull had set sail for Bencoolen (present-day Bengkulu City in Sumatra) on board the Lady Raffles.10

Accomplishments
Hull bore Raffles five children, four of whom died tragically from illnesses in Bencoolen before the family returned to England.11 After Raffles passed away on 5 July 1826, a mere nine years into their marriage, Hull was saddled with debts imposed by the EIC. This was because before his death, the EIC had declined to pay Raffles his pension, and instead demanded from him a sum of £22,272, which included money expended during his missions to Singapore and Aceh in 1819, as well as the reimbursement of the salary paid to him when he was in England between 1816 and 1817.12 Adding to Hull’s woes was the death of her last surviving child, Ella, on 5 May 1840.13 

Hull’s spirit, however, proved indomitable and she vowed that a biography about her husband would be written.14 


With little literary experience and a limited knowledge of Raffles’s early life and accomplishments, Hull penned his life story using information from his personal letters and notations, documenting his work between 1805 and 1816. She took liberties in deleting and adding to Raffles’s original writings. Her publication, Memoir of the Life and Public Services of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, remains the standard biography of Raffles because of the sheer volume of original materials used.15

The first edition, released under the title Memoir of the Life and Public Services of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, F.R.S. & C., Particularly in the Government of Java, 1811–1816, and of Bencoolen and Its Dependencies, 1817–1824: With Details of the Commerce and Resources of the Eastern Archipelago and Selections from his Correspondence, was published in 1830 by John Murray, a publisher noted for publishing works by authors such as Lord Byron and Jane Austen.16 A total of 1,500 copies were printed and sold at 2 pounds 12s. 6d each. The second edition, released in July 1835, was produced by publisher James Duncan. It was unveiled in two volumes at the cost of 1 pound 4s 0d.17

Family18
Father: James Watson Hull (b. 11 July 1758–d. 1831). 
Mother: Sophia Hull née Hollamby (b. 5 September 1762–d. 10 March 1836, Cheltenham). 



Author
Bonny Tan



References
1. Bastin, J., & Weizenegger, J. (2016). The family of Sir Stamford Raffles. Singapore: National Library Board and Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 112, 148, 188. (Call no.: RSING 959.57030922 BAS-[HIS]); Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles: Book of days(1993). Singapore: Antiques of the Orient, pp. 23, 26. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 SIR-[HIS]); Raffles, S. (1991). Memoir of the life and public services of Sir Thomas Stamford RafflesSingapore: Oxford University Press, p. vii. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 RAF-[HIS]) 
2. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles: Book of days. (1993). Singapore: Antiques of the Orient, p. 25. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 SIR-[HIS]); Raffles, S. (1991). Memoir of the life and public services of Sir Thomas Stamford RafflesSingapore: Oxford University Press, p. vi. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 RAF-[HIS]) 
3. Raffles, S. (1991). Memoir of the life and public services of Sir Thomas Stamford RafflesSingapore: Oxford University Press, p. vii. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 RAF-[HIS]); Lady Sophia Raffles. (1948, February 6). The Straits Times, p. 4Retrieved from NewspaperSG.  
4. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles: Book of days. (1993). Singapore: Antiques of the Orient, p. 23. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 SIR-[HIS])
5. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles: Book of days. (1993). Singapore: Antiques of the Orient, p. 23. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 SIR-[HIS]); Raffles, S. (1991). Memoir of the life and public services of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. vi. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 RAF-[HIS]) 
6. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles: Book of days. (1993). Singapore: Antiques of the Orient, pp. 6, 23. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 SIR-[HIS]); Raffles, S. (1991). Memoir of the life and public services of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. vii. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 RAF-[HIS]); Lady Sophia Raffles. (1948, February 6). The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles: Book of days. (1993). Singapore: Antiques of the Orient, p. 23. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 SIR-[HIS]); Raffles, S. (1991). Memoir of the life and public services of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. vii. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 RAF-[HIS]) 
8. Bastin, J., & Weizenegger, J. (2016). The family of Sir Stamford Raffles. Singapore: National Library Board and Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 57, 73, 107. (Call no.: RSING 959.57030922 BAS-[HIS])
9. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles: Book of days. (1993). Singapore: Antiques of the Orient, pp. 6, 23. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 SIR-[HIS])
10. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles: Book of days. (1993). Singapore: Antiques of the Orient, p. 23. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 SIR-[HIS]); Sir Stamford Raffles. (1913, May 29). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Bougler, D. C. (1999). Life of Sir Stamford Raffles. London: C. Knight, p. 261. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 BOU-[HIS])
11. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles: Book of days(1993). Singapore: Antiques of the Orient, p. 25. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 SIR-[HIS]); Raffles, S. (1991). Memoir of the life and public services of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. viii. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 RAF-[HIS]) 
12. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles: Book of days(1993). Singapore: Antiques of the Orient, pp. 25–27. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 SIR-[HIS]); Bastin, J. S. (2002). Sophia RafflesSingapore: Landmark Books, p. 91. (Call no.: RSING 959.5703093 BAS-[HIS])
13. Bastin, J., & Weizenegger, J. (2016). The family of Sir Stamford Raffles. Singapore: National Library Board and Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 145. (Call no.: RSING 959.57030922 BAS-[HIS]);Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles: Book of days. (1993). Singapore: Antiques of the Orient, p. 25. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 SIR-[HIS]); Raffles, S. (1991). Memoir of the life and public services of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. ix. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 RAF-[HIS]) 
14. Raffles, S. (1991). Memoir of the life and public services of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. ix. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 RAF-[HIS]) 
15. Raffles, S. (1991). Memoir of the life and public services of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. vi. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 RAF-[HIS]) 
16. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles: Book of days(1993). Singapore: Antiques of the Orient, p. 26. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 SIR-[HIS]); Raffles, S. (1991). Memoir of the life and public services of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. Singapore: Oxford University Press, pp. v, xxiii. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 RAF-[HIS]) 
17. Raffles, S. (1991). Memoir of the life and public services of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. Singapore: Oxford University Press, pp. vi, xxvi, xxvii, xxx. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 RAF-[HIS])
18. Raffles, S. (1991). Memoir of the life and public services of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. vi. (Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 RAF-[HIS]) 



Further resources
Bastin, J. S. (1994). Lady Raffles: By effort and virtue. Singapore: National Museum.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57021092 BAS-[HIS])

Bastin, J. S. (2002). Sophia Raffles. Singapore: Landmark Books.
(Call no.: RSING 959.5703092 BAS-[HIS])


Bastin, J. S. (2016). The family of Sir Stamford Raffles. Singapore: National Library Board, Singapore and Marshall Cavendish Editions.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57030922 BAS)



The information in this article is valid as at 2018 and correct as far as we are able to 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.

 

Subject
Colonial administrators
People and communities>>Social groups and communities
Raffles, Sophia, Lady, 1786-1858
Colonial administrators' spouses--Singapore--Biography
Personalities>>Biographies>>Colonial Administrators