Henry Cuniffe

???? - 1803


Henry Cuniffe or Cunniffe was a major slave-owner in Trelawny Jamaica and the founder of the town of Martha Brae, who returned or moved to Ireland before his death, when he left estates in Co. Galway. In litigation in the 1820s his death-date was given as 1810, but this appears erroneous: the London Gazette gave 1803.

  1. Member of Assembly for St James, 1768; Judge of Common Pleas, St James, 1776; Custos and Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, Trelawny, 1782 and 1784.

  2. Two children of Henry Cuniffe and his wife Martha were baptised in St Ann: Samuel Barrett (born 18/08/1771 in St James, baptised 23/01/1772) and Mary Jane (born 02/07/1773, baptised 12/02/1775).

  3. Administration of the will of Henry Cuniffe of Kiltolla County Galway [made in 1803] was granted 24/05/1815. In the will he mentioned an estate in Jamaica whose name is illegible but was Merrywood, which he had charged with £10,000 for his daughter the deceased wife of Capt. Bingham of Galway, and with £1000 p.a. to his son Henry B. Cuniffe, and after the latter's death the income to Dominick Beytagh and Henry Concannon and their heirs. The will was subject to the Chancery suits of Broughton v Wedderburn and D'Arcy v. Beytagh. Henry Barnett Cuniffe, Henry Cuniffe's son, was subject to a lunacy proceeding and died in 1806. The Jamaica estate was sold after 1803, reportedly for £30,000.


  1. Fuertado's Personages transcribed at http://www.jamaicanfamilysearch.com/Members/b/bfeurtado02.htm; Jamaica Almanacs (1776, 1782, 1784).

  2. Familysearch.org, Jamaica Church of England Parish Register Transcripts, 1664-1880 [database online].

  3. PROB 11/1568/307; London Gazette, 17671 20/01/1821, p. 164; Reports of Cases in Chancery 1840-1842 (Dublin, 1843), pp. 164 et seq., 'D'Arcy v Beytagh' (1842).

We are grateful to Paul Hitchings for his assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information


Associated Estates (8)

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
1769 [EA] - 1772 [LA] → Trustee
1785 [EA] - 1798 [LA] → Owner

An online source, http://www.cockpitcountry.com/holland.html [accessed 02/11/2016], shows Henry Cuniffe to have owned Garredu, as well as Merrydown, Black Garden and Holland (for all of which his ownership has been verified) and a further estate named Nottingham that has not yet been traced. His ownership of Garredu has not yet been verified elsewhere.

1785 [EA] - 1792 [LA] → Owner
1785 [EA] - 1794 [LA] → Owner

Understandably appearing as Cunliffe in some of the Slave Registers.

1785 [EA] - 1803 [LA] → Owner
1773 [EA] - 1775 [LA] → Trustee
1776 [EA] - 1779 [LA] → Attorney

Legacies Summary

Physical (1)

Urban Development
Martha Brae, Jamaica [Built] 
description →
Henry Cuniffe was the early developer of Martha Brae (which he named Lyttleton) in 1762 in what became Trelawny, Jamaica. Jean Besson, Martha Brae's Two Histories pp. 55-56....

Addresses (1)

Kiltolla, Co. Galway, Ireland