John Pretor Pinney

1740 - 1818


John Pretor Pinney, born John Pretor, cousin and heir of John Frederick Pinney MP of Racedown (q.v.), and father of Charles Pinney and John Frederick Pinney (each of whom q.v.). He has an entry in the ODNB as 'merchant and planter'. He was in Nevis between 1764 and 1783, expanding his holdings of land and enslaved people, then returned to England and established a merchant firm with James Tobin. William and Dorothy Wordsworth were his tenants at Racedown House or Lodge between 1795 and 1797. Of the estates associated with Pinney (Cresseys and Choppins in Gingerland parish, settled by Pinney; Charlots and Mountravers, improved and worked as a single estate; and Woodland or Cole, bought in the 1779s), only Mountravers appears in the Slave Registers or the compensation records.

  1. Pinney does not appear in Rubinstein's analysis of those leaving £100,000 in personalty: Richard Pares estimated his wealth including land but excluding amounts owed to him on mortgage, the value of ships and the current account in the mercantile business as £267,000.

  2. Among the enslaved people whom he was recorded as purchasing after his arrival in Nevis in 1764 were Bettiscombe, a mason, and Bridport, a carter, both purchased on 11/01/1765.

  3. Will of John Pinney of Somerton proved 09/06/1818. In the will he left Charles Pinney the land called Mountain Land 'held in common with the estate called Wansey's' on Nevis now in the occupation of John Henry Clarke, together with another lot of land let to Edward Brazier; he left £1000 to Charles Pinney for his [the testator's] beloved daughter-in-law Frances; and £2000 in trust with the income to be paid to two servants. The rest of his estate went to his eldest son John Frederick Pinney.


Kenneth Morgan, ‘Pinney, John Pretor (1740–1818)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2011 [, accessed 30 March 2016]

  1. The Mountravers estate, its owners, employees and enslaved people are the subject of a detailed longitudinal study by Christine Eickelmann and David Small at The University of Bristol, [accessed 03/04/2018]. Richard Pares, A West India Fortune. The apparent suggestion in Country Life 08/04/2010 [accessed 30/03/2016] that Pinney built the house at Somerton Erleigh does not appear to be substantiated, [accessed 30/03/2016].

  2. [accessed 30/03/2016].

  3. PROB 11/1605/155

We are grateful to Sean Creighton for his help with this entry.

Further Information

Jane Weekes
John Frederick; Charles; Mary
Merchant and plantation owner
Oxford DNB Entry

Associated Estates (3)

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
- 1808 [EY] → Owner

Sold by John Pretor Pinney in 1808.

1807 [EA] - 1810 [LA] → Mortgage Holder

Legacies Summary

Commercial (2)

Name partner
Pinney and Ames
West India merchant  
notes →
Formed 1783 by John Pretor Pinney and James Tobin as Pinney & Tobin (q.v. under Tobin &...
Name partner
Tobin & Pinney
West India merchant  

Physical (2)

Town house
The Georgian House [Built] 
description →
Townhouse and mercantile premises, completed in 1790 at 7 Great George Street, Bristol and now the Georgian House Museum....
Country house
Racedown House [Built] 
description →
'Racedown, house nearly 2¾ m. W.S.W. of the parish church [of Broadwindsor, Dorset], is of three storeys; the walls are of local brick in Flemish bond with blue headers and ashlar dressings and the...

Relationships (9)

Legatee → Testator
Executor → Testator
Legatee → Testator
Notes →
Father → Son
Father → Son
Father-in-law → Son-in-law
Father → Daughter
Business partners
Son-in-law → Father-in-law

Addresses (2)

7 Great George Street, Bristol, Gloucestershire, South-west England, England
Somerton Erle, Somerton, Somerset, South-west England, England