Simon Taylor of Jamaica

1739 - 1813


Biography

Major resident slave-owner in Jamaica, dying there in 1813. Brother of Sir John Taylor bart. and uncle of Simon Richard Brissett Taylor and Anna Susanna Taylor (each of whom q.v.). His personalty at death of £806,337 would have placed him among the top two dozen or so richest Britons dying in the first half of the 19th century.

Sources

Simon Taylor has been the subject of extensive work by Christer Petley, including 'Plantations and homes: the material culture of the early nineteenth century Jamaican elite', Slavery & Abolition vol. 35 issue 3 (September 2014) pp. 437-457 (his personalty is shown at p. 440); the Slavery and Revolution website which carries the Letters of Simon Taylor, https://blog.soton.ac.uk/slaveryandrevolution/category/the-letters/ [accessed 03/03/2017]; Christer Petley, ‘Taylor, Simon (1739–1813)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, May 2013 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/104876, accessed 7 March 2017]; and Christer Petley, White Fury: a Jamaican Slaveholder and the Age of Revolution (Oxford: OUP, 2018), which includes at p. 53 a summary of the number and value of the enslaved people attached to each of 12 estates or pens included in Simon Taylor's probate inventory, on which LBS has drawn under each of the estates associated with Taylor at the time of his death. Of the 12 estates or pens shown in the probate inventory, 8 are recorded as under Taylor's ownership, Batchelor Hall Pen (St Thomas-in-the-East) belonged to the Arcdeckne family) and three have not been identified in the Accounts Produce, Slave Registers or the compensation records: Morant Bay Pen (St Thomas-in-the-East); Anderson Pen (St Mary, which was reported with Flint River in some years); and Prospect Pen (St Andrew, described by Petley as Taylor's home outside Kingston) (the two Prospect Pens in St Andrew currently captured by LBS do not appear to fit with the size of the enslaved labour force - 70 enslaved people - in Simon Taylor's probate inventory for Prospect Pen). W.D. Rubinstein Who were the rich? Vols. 1 and 2 (second edition, 2017) shows 15 millionaires dying in Britain between 1809 and 1859.


Further Information

Will

£500 currency and an annuity of £100 currency to his free coloured housekeeper.

£1000 currency to his housekeeper's daughter and £2000 currency to his housekeeper's granddaughter.

£10,000 sterling to his nieces Margaret Graham and Martha Harriet Spiers.

£3,000 sterling to his nephew Nicholas Graham.

£5,000 sterling to his niece Eliza Mayne.

All land and enslaved people in Jamaica to his nephew Sir Simon Brissett Taylor.

Source: Christer Petley, '"Legitimacy" and social boundaries: free people of colour and the social order in Jamaican slave society', Social History, 30:4, 481-498, p. 496.

Oxford DNB Entry

Associated Estates (14)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1813 [EA] - 1813 [LA] → Previous owner

The probate inventory for Simon Taylor of 1813-4 included 97 enslaved people valued at £6,100 currency.

1786 [EA] - 1790 [LA] → Trustee
- 1813 [EY] → Owner

The 1813-4 probate inventory of Simon Taylor included 84 enslaved people on Flint River Pen, valued at £6,450 currency.

1787 [EA] - → Attorney
1794 [EA] - 1795 [LA] → Mortgagee-in-Possession
- 1813 [EY] → Not known

The 1813-4 probate inventory of Simon Taylor included 75 enslaved people on Haughton Court valued at £6,110 currency. The Accounts Produce show it against heirs of Sir John Taylor for 1787-1807 with 'in possession of Simon Taylor' in a single year, 1801. He was according to Petley life-tenant under his brother John's will.

1807 [EA] - 1807 [LA] → Owner

The 1813-4 probate inventory of Simon Taylor included 113 enslaved people on Haughton Grove valued at £9,710 currency. The Accounts Produce show it against heirs of Sir John Taylor for 1799-1804 with 'property of Simon Taylor' in a single year, 1807. He was according to Petley life-tenant under his brother John's will.

1771 [EA] - 1813 [LA] → Owner

Simon Taylor's letters show he paid £100,000 for the Holland estate, which he bought from John Kennion (q.v., under John Kennion of Liverpool) in 1771 together with Moro Penn (reportedly part of the Hordley estate) with 400 'Negroes'. In the probate inventory of 1813-4, the 610 enslaved people on Holland were valued at £50,120 currency.

- 1813 [EY] → Owner

The probate inventory for Simon Taylor of 1813-4 included 443 enslaved people valued at £33,560 currency on Llanrumney.

1779 [EA] - 1780 [LA] → Owner
1781 [EA] - 1813 [LA] → Joint owner

Shown only in the name of Simon Taylor 1810 and 1811 but as jointly-owned before and after with his brother Sir John Taylor and then Sir John Taylor's heirs. In the probate inventory of 1813-4, 341 enslaved people on Lyssons were valued at £28,245 currency, whereas the Jamaica Almanacs for 1811 and 1816 show 622 and 534 enslaved people respectively on Lyssons, implying the probate showed only Simon Taylor's share.

1817 [EA] - 1832 [LA] → Previous owner
- 1813 [EY] → Owner

The probate inventory for Simon Taylor included 184 enslaved people on Montrose Pen valued at £15,500 currency.

1783 [EA] - 1787 [LA] → Attorney

Relationships (10)

Brother-in-laws
Notes →
Robert Graham married Anne Taylor, sister of Simon Taylor. Petley White Fury p. 28 shows Robert Graham and Simon Taylor as partners in a Kingston merchant house until the early...
Extra-marital relationships
Brothers
Uncle → Nephew
Grandfather → Grand-daughter
Other relatives
Notes →
NB George Watson Taylor was married to Anna Susanna Taylor, niece of Simon...
Uncle → Niece
Father → Natural Daughter
Father → Natural Daughter
Son → Father