Isaac Pickering of Fox Lease, Lyndhurst

???? - 1829

Slave-owner and antecedent of claimant or beneficiary


Slave-owner in Trinidad and the Virgin Islands, dying in Britain c. 1829. The executor of Isaac Pickering (William Wilson of 7 Mincing Lane) counterclaimed for the compensation for the enslaved people under an award in the Virgin Islands. This was the Isaac Pickering of [Fox Lease] Lyndhurst Hampshire, whose will was proved 01/07/1829 and who was the son of John Pickering 'the lieutenant-governor.' Isaac Pickering and his son John were instrumental in shipping enslaved people from Tortola to Trinidad in the 1820s.

  1. The novelist Ellen Pickering (1801/2-1843) was the daughter of Isaac Pickering of Lyndhurst. The ODNB is silent on the names of her parents but says of her: '...lived in early life at Bath. Her family owned property in the West Indies, but losses and relative impoverishment after the abolition of the slave-trade compelled their retirement for some years to Hampshire.' Burke's Commoners shows Ellen Pickering as the 8th child and 6th daughter of Katharine Collins and Isaac Pickering of Foxleaze Hants. Burke shows Katharine's brothers as born in 1746 and 1753, which possibly makes her giving birth to Ellen c. 1801 problematic, but Isaac Berwick Pickering (presumably the Berwick Pickering shown by Burke as Ellen's oldest brother) was born c. 1794.

  2. The will of Isaac Pickering of (Fox Lease) Lyndhurst Hampshire, made 14/11/1826 and proved 01/07/1829, confirms the above parentage of Ellen Pickering and provides further detail. In the will he left his household effects to his wife Katherine, his two shares in the Kennett and Avon canal to his daughter Ellen, and his property in England and Tortola and elsewhere in the West Indies (except the part considered personalty in Trinidad) in trust to his wife, the Rev. Samuel Heathcote and William Wilson of Fenchurch Street. He specifies as his property in Trinidad the Palmiste estate in South Naparima and the Felicity Hall estate in 'Couva Savonetta', and a third estate whose name is omitted in the quarter of Diego Martin, which is almost certainly Cascade, 'and all my slaves, being about four hundred.' He left his 1/5th of his property to his wife, then one-third of the remainder to his eldest son John Ferdinando Isaac Pickering, and the other two thirds equally between his children John Ferdinando Isaac; Isaac Berwick; Henry; Emma, Ann and Ellen. He commented that he lived at a great distance from his eldest son and therefore they were ignorant of the 'existing situation' of each other. In a codicil of 06/11/1828, he expressed anxiety about the legal transmission of property in Trinidad and provided for an annuity of £500 p.a. to his wife and £600 p.a. to his five younger children, instead of the portions he had left in his original will (his understanding was that Spanish law would allocate 1/5th to his wife, 2/5ths to his elder son and the other 2/5ths to his other children). He had mortgaged the estates to Messrs Philip & George Protheroe of Bristol, who received all consignments and proceeds therefrom in exchange for an annuity of £1800 to his family. It had, he said, always been his intention to provided £4000 capital for each of his younger children. He recognised that a hasty sale of the estates would not realise enough capital to pay this £20,000 out without leaving his eldest son 'destitute' and accordingly he urged the retention of his estates, assuming the willingness of Protheroes to continue the £1800 p.a. annuity.

  3. Isaac Pickering of Fox Lease was the addressee of the annotated 1798 map of Tortola that gave the owners of 104 estates on the island.


T71/883 Virgin Islands no. 44; will of Isaac Pickering of Lyndhurst Hampshire PROB 11/1758/352. The Isaac Pickering of Tortola (whose estate on Tortola was left to his daughter Elizabeth and whose estates on St Croix went to his sons John Arthur Hodge Pickering and William Pickering) whose will was proved 29/3/1803 (PROB 11/1389) was the cousin of Isaac Pickering of Fox Lease Hampshire, Charles F. Jenkins, Tortola: a Quaker experiment of long ago in the Tropics (London: Friends Bookshop, 1923), p. 26; Angel Smith, 'AN ANATOMY OF A SLAVE SOCIETY IN TRANSITION: THE VIRGIN ISLANDS, 1807-1864' (unpublished PhD thesis, University of Hull, 2011), pp. 80-90.

  1. ODNB online, Elizabeth Lee, rev. Kathryn Sutherland, 'Pickering, Ellen (1801/2-1843), novelist'; John Burke, A genealogical and heraldic dictionary of the commoners of Great Britain, vol. 4 'Collins of Betterton', p. 617; Oxford University Alumni 1715-1886 Vol. III, 'Isaac Berwick Pickering' matriculated Brasenose December 1813 aged 19.

  2. PROB 11/1758/352.

  3. To Isaac Pickering Esqr of Fox Lease Hants this Plan of Tortola From actual Survey by George King is dedicated by His most obedient humble Servant Robt. Wilkinson.

Further Information

Katherine Collins
John Ferdinando Isaac; Ellen; Isaac Berwick; Ann; Emma; Henry

Associated Claims (1)

£1,019 2s 1d
Other association

Associated Estates (5)

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
- 1829 [LA] → Owner
1825 [EA] - 1829 [LA] → Owner
1831 [EA] - 1831 [LA] → Previous owner
- 1829 [LA] → Owner
1818 [EA] - 1822 [LA] → Owner

Legacies Summary

Commercial (1)

Firm Investment
Kennet & Avon Canal
Canal Company  
notes →
Left two shares in his will proved in...

Relationships (3)

Notes →
Also trustee-testator. The identification of the 'Isaac Pickering of Rockley' in the will made in 1783 of Joseph Berwick of Worcester as the same man as Isaac Pickering of Lyndhurst is cemented by...
Trustee → Testator
Father → Son

Addresses (1)

Foxlease, Lyndhurst, Hampshire, Wessex, England