Dr Eyre Nicholas Champion de Crespigny is known mainly from his botanical specimens, which are to be found in many British herbaria, and his New London flora of 1877.
Despite his exotic sounding name, Swiss birth and German education, Eyre's family were English and well connected to English society. His father was the impecunious Rev Heaton Champion de Crespigny who had married Caroline Bathurst in 1820. Caroline was the youngest daughter of the Bishop of Norwich, from whom Heaton not only acquired a wife but also his Holy orders. Eyre was the first of three sons born of this marriage and his childhood can only be described as chaotic. His father, despite having the livings of Neatishead (Norfolk) and Stoke Doyle (Northamptonshire), became embroiled in scandalous court cases, a duel with the Duke of Wellington's nephew, a failed attempt at extortion and got hopelessly into debt. This eventually resulted in periods of imprisonment, leaving his wife and two young sons in desperate circumstances. Despite this Eyre managed to gain an education at Seagrave House School, Cheltenham from which he proceeded to St Paul's School, London at the age of 13. There may have followed a short period of family stability - his third sibling, Augustus, being born in 1836 - before he accompanied his mother to Heidelberg where he attended the medical school. His mother, Caroline, was by this time a respected poet with a high standing in the artistic English community which flourished there. His father left for the gold-fields of Ballarat, Australia, where he died in 1850. His mother died in Heidelberg in 1861.
It appears that he returned to London for a few years after his graduation in 1842, before departing for Bombay as an assistant Naval Surgeon in 1846. While in India he married Augusta Cunningham who bore him three daughters and two sons, only one of whom survived infancy. While in Bombay he was involved with the Government Botanic Gardens at Dapsorie. After 16 years in India, deteriorating health prompted him to return to England around 1862. He seems to have been financially sound at this point and does not appear to have needed to practice medicine. Although he was clearly involved in botanical work while in India, he can have had little practical experience of the British flora before his return home. Over the next few years he made botanical observations and collections within the vicinity of London, resulting in the publication in 1877 of his New London flora. This volume appears to have received much, justifiable, criticism. In 1876 he became a member of the Botanical Exchange Club,contributing a large amount of material. These specimens, mainly from the south-eastern counties, are now to be found in many herbaria. He died in early 1895.