Samuel Mitchell of Grenada

5th Oct 1750 - 4th Feb 1805


Samuel Mitchell was a long-term resident of Grenada, having gone out there around 1765. In 1790, or soon after, he purchased the Chemin plantation in Grenada, and changed its name to Hope Vale. There were other British plantation owners at this time, including Alexander Hamilton of the Retreat, Topsham, who owned the Samaritan Estate; his estate house still exists in the north of the island. The Chemin Estate was in the south of the island and although no trace of it remains, there is a village on the site named Hope Vale.

After the Treaty of Versailles, control of Grenada rested with the Governor, who represented the British Crown. Day-to-day matters were handled by the Island’s Council, headed by a President. Samuel Mitchell appears to have been an active member, and in 1790 he was appointed President.

When the Fedon rebellion against British rule erupted in Grenada in 1795, the rebels – led by Julien Fedon – captured British hostages, including the Governor Sir Ninian Home, who was subsequently killed. An Acting Governor was appointed, but he soon resigned. Samuel Mitchell then took over as Acting Governor. By the middle of 1796, Fedon’s followers were routed.

Samuel Mitchell’s plantation, like others on the island, was ruined, so he cut his losses and returned to England, where in 1798 he purchased the Newport estate in Topsham from Mr Thomas Floud, who was later twice Mayor of Exeter. On 7 September 1802 he got married in Topsham to Miss Mary Floud, sister of the same Thomas Floud, but he did not live long after that; he died in 1805.

In 1833 their daughter Mary Elizabeth Stewart Mitchell married Lt Gen. William James D’Urban, and in 1838 she built Newport House. R.W. Mitchell says (p.21) that their son William Stewart Mitchell D’Urban, then aged 2 and later to become the first curator of the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter, laid the first stone. By the time of the 1841 census, her mother Mary, then aged 65, was living there. Newport House was eventually demolished in 1980.


We are grateful to Peter Wingfield-Digby for compiling this entry.

Two useful sources of information are: Jan Betteridge (2018), 'Samuel Mitchell: From Plantation to Newport House, Topsham Times', Issue No. 21, pp. 24-35, Topsham Museum Society; R.W. Mitchell (1991), 'The History of Newport House, Topsham, Devon 1798-1980', (handwritten manuscript), West Country Studies Library, Devon Heritage Centre, Exeter.

Further Information

Mary Floud
Samuel Chandler (1803-1803), Mary Elizabeth Stewart (1803-1892)

PROB 11/1428/240. Will of Samuel Mitchell of Newport Topsham Devon [made in 1804] proved 26/07/1805. He left his estate in trust, and reiterated his marriage settlement under which his wife Mary was to be paid a jointure of £500 p.a. secured on Hope Vale. He urged that Hope Vale be supplied with everything required to allow its crop to reach its potential. He left her his Newport estate at Topsham for life, and £12,000. He freed Victoire his housekeeper in Grenada commending her on her prudence and regard for his interests, particularly during the rebellion. An undated note after the main will stated that 'Mr Forbes of Ely Place in London my solicitor' had recently paid off the mortgage upon Hope Vale.

Associated Estates (2)

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
- 04/02/1805 [ED] → Owner
1817 [EA] - 1823 [LA] → Previous owner

Legacies Summary

Physical (1)

Country house
Newport House 
description →
Purchased by Samuel Mitchell in...

Relationships (2)

Father → Daughter
Father-in-law → Son-in-law

Addresses (1)

Newport House, Topsham, Devon, Devon & Cornwall, England