Although not the first burial at St Mark’s, James Crispe has the first headstone in this churchyard. Crispe, who came to the colony as a free man in 1823, bought the Myrtle Creek (now Tahmoor) Inn in 1835 and became known for ‘… his courtly bow and polite but somewhat grandiose welcome.’ He took great pride in his inn with gardens and a summerhouse ‘which was a wonder to visitors and radiant in green and many bright colours.’ Governors Bourke and later Gipps both stayed overnight at the inn.
James Crispe was also a brave man who had several encounters with bushrangers. On the morning of 10th March 1843 two local constables were having breakfast at the inn when Mr and Mrs George Barber of Glenrock came with news of being stopped on the road by two armed bushrangers. The constables and Crispe mounted horses and followed the path taken by the bushrangers. Crispe rode ahead and was soon confronted by the armed men and told to dismount. Crispe asked one the men to hold the horse’s bridle and as he dismounted grabbed the bushranger around the neck, holding him and taking his gun which he then pointed at the other bushranger. The constables then rushed out of the bush and arrested the men.
The economic depression of the 1840s saw James Crispe made bankrupt and the mortgagee took possession of Myrtle Creek Inn. Crispe then took up the license of The George at Picton. He died in 1858.
His headstone is of an early gabled design, roses symbolise his English origins and the crown is a symbol of sovereignty and the Glory of Christ. Nearby are the burial sites of several of his grandchildren, infants of his daughter Kate. She and her husband Joseph are also buried in St Mark’s.