Did Raffles really had a Mistress in Singapore?

Not too long ago, API recieved a request from a gentleman by the name of John Tan, who was looking for an ancestor’s grave in Bukit Brown Chinese Cemetery.

As it turns out, John is the person who claimed to be the indirect descendant of a lady by the name of Tan Chwee Neo, who died in 1904.

Mdm Tan Chwee Neo was the great great great grandmother of John Tan, and supposedly, the mistress of Singapore Founder, Sir Stamford Raffles!

You can read the newspaper story in our forum here.


According to the news report, there were 2 key points that lent credibility to the story:-

1. The location of Mdm Tan’s grave was in a prime area, along Stevens Road and next to House no. 52, thus indicative of a prosperous family background;

2. The important person, a governor, gave Mdm Tan a huge tract of land before returning to England.


Mdm Tan’s grave was exhumed in 2003, and for a certain period, was marked by a Timber Cross, erected upon the former site of her grave.

Before the demolition of House no. 52 and the removal of the remnants of the grave in 2009, a short wall, metal railings and the timber cross marked the spot of Mdm Tan’s grave.

 (The photo of the Timber Cross comes courtesy of the One North Explorers.)

API researched on the story and realised that there was indeed a large tract of land conveyed as mentioned in the news, and it was a staggering 35 acres of land!

The below photo comparism of the conveyed land will give you an idea of its size.


So… could it be true that Mdm Tan Chwee Neo was the Mistress of Sir Stamford Raffles?

API has concluded the research into this story, with facts but before publishing the final part, API has been trying to see if John could offer any documents to substantiate his claims, and is still waiting.