William Innes of Lime Street Square

1719 - 1795


London West India merchant, dying in 1795. He was a creditor of slave-owners, several of whom were named in his will: of these, only Thomas Joseph Gray's Somerton estate [and the enslaved people on it] appears to have been foreclosed and passed to Innes's heirs.

  1. Will of William Innes merchant of Lime Street Square [dated 1786 but signed at Brighton in 1790] proved 31/01/1795. He specified a monument to be placed in St Andrew Undershaft and another at 'Lewisham Parish Church' (near the memorial he had installed to his nephew Joseph Innes), including his date and place of birth, 29/07/1719 at Edinburgh. He left his wife Ann (with whom he had no children) £2000 and an annuity of £1000 p.a. He acknowledged he had given his notes to Mrs Agnes Palmer of No. 2 Union Court Broad Street for £300 p.a. to her and £100 or £150 p.a. to each of his natural children with her, William, Sophia, Ann and Harriet: he also left £1000 to Mrs Palmer and a further annuity of £300 p.a. to the three daughters. He left £1000 each to 15 nieces and nephews (and £5 each to two more, Alexander and David Littlejohn. He left £50 p.a. to his only sister and £200 p.a. to the widow of his nephew Alexander Innes. Then followed the provisions shown in No. 2 below. In a codicil he noted that Ann Palmer had married George Hanbury Mitchell [whom he added as executor], and that he [Innes] had given her £4000, to be deducted from the £5000 he had apparently left her in a separate 'abstract' dealing with his 'natural' family; he also clarified that his residuary heirs were his three natural daughters and not their brother William Palmer 'now in Jamaica' [he later modified this to give William 1/4 of the residuary estate]. He appeared to bequeath his continuing business to his executors, although limiting John Nichol his former clerk to only a 1/8th share. He left rings to the members of the Blackheath Golf Club [of which he had been Captain].

  2. The case of Stenhouse v Mitchell was based on the will of 'William Jones' [sic], and showed him the creditor of: John Crawfurd of Bellfield, due 1794 (altered to 1796); James Campbell of Duan Vale; John Campbell of Spotfield; Thomas Joseph Grey [sic] of Somerton and Eastham; and Hugh Barnett of Sportsman's Hall. He left all the debt owed by John Crawfurd of Bellfield to the eldest son of his late nephew Alexander Innes [later in the will identified as Thomas Innes] subject to him [the great-nephew] paying his brothers ('I think there are two') £100 p.a. each for life or £50 p.a. if the debt did not exceed £8,000; and the rest of the debts due to him from Jamaican slave-owners to his nephews Alexander and John Stenhouse, Alexander Hart, and James, William and David Innes. This case is in fact to do with the will of William Innes merchant of Lime Street Square.

  3. Debts owed to William Innes by the late John Crawfurd of Bellfield in Jamaica formed part of the case Innes v. Mitchell in 1801. The debt at the time of William Innes's death in 1795 was reported to be £15,405 2s 4d exclusive of judgements to the amount of £3855 8s 10d. The net proceeds of the crop from Bellfield for 1794 was given as £3,000, which formed credit on the account.


  1. PROB 11/1254/311; PROB 11/1272/88 will of William Innes wine [sic] merchant Lime Street Square proved 04/03/1796 is the same will for the same man, the second referring to the Abstract mentioned in the will itself..

  2. 'Stenhouse v Mitchell' (1805) (Boston, 1844) Vol. XI, p. 353.

  3. 'Innes v Mitchell' (1801), Francis Vesey, Reports of Cases argued and determined in the High Court of Chancery, from the year 1789 to 1817 (London, 1827), Vol. VI, 2nd ed., pp. 460-465.

Further Information

West India merchant

Associated Estates (1)

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
1789 [EA] - 1795 [LA] → Creditor

Legacies Summary

Commercial (1)

William Innes of Lime Street
West India merchant  

Cultural (2)

'The Blackheath Golfer', or 'William Innes, Captain of the Blackheath Club, and his Caddie a Greenwich Hospital pensioner (after Lemuel Francis Abbott)', by Valentine Green, ARA (1739 – 1813),... 
notes →
Royal Blackheath Golf Club...... 

Physical (1)

Joseph Innes [Built] 
description →
Memorial to Joseph Innes, nephew of William Innes, placed in the church of St Mary the Virgin in Lewisham by William Innes c. 1779. Willaim Innes also has a monument tin the church as he requested in...

Relationships (3)

Uncle → Nephew
Notes →
Also testator and co-heir...
Great-uncle → Great-nephew
Notes →
Also testator and...
Testator → Executor
Notes →
George Hanbury Mitchell married Ann Palmer, a natural daughter of William Innes...

Addresses (1)

Lime Street Square, City of London, Middlesex, London, England