Sir Joseph Senhouse

1743 - 1829


Early slave-owner in Dominica and Tobago. Brother of William Senhouse (q.v.).

  1. Joseph Senhouse (1743-1829), travelled with his brother William to Barbados and then, on 21 July 1771, left William on the island and went to Roseau, Dominica, to take up his new appointment as Collector of Customs. According to William's account, "Having received by express an account of the death of Mr Dewar, Collector of the Customs at Roseau in Dominica, I immediately appointed my bro" Joseph to the vacant office, and he left me on the 21st July in order to proceed to his appointment. However great was by regret on parting with this affectionate Brother, this faithful friend, it was nevertheless a pleasing consideration tht[sic] the cause was so good, for the Office was worth upwards of £2,000 Sterg p. A." Appointed Comptroller of Customs at Roseau, Dominica in 1774. After a year's leave of absence in England, he returned to the West Indies in 1776 and was appointed by his brother William to the Collectorship at Bridgetown, Barbados. Returned to England for good, August 1779. After 1782 became Sir James Lowther's political manager at Carlisle, elected mayor of the city and through Lowther's influence received a knighthood.

  2. 'Plantation and slave records comprise a considerable portion of the Joseph Senhouse Papers. On 2 January 1772 Senhouse purchased 293 acres of woodland in Dominica for £984 12s. The following month he purchased ten acres adjoining this woodland, of which six acres were cleared and planted with coffee and ground provisions. He called the plantation 'Lowther Hall' in honour of Sir James Lowther, his family's benefactor. By 1 January 1776, Lowther Hall had ten seasoned negroes and a slave boy of Malayan birth. Fifty acres had been cleared and partly planted with coffee and ground provisions and the appraised value of the plantation amounted to £11,607 15s Dominican currency. From the plantation journals and ledgers one can observe the numerous elements of cost, including land, slaves, livestock, foodstuffs, clothing, lumber, salaries, taxes; and the revenues which accrued from the sale of coffee, cotton and ground provisions. Expenses so far exceeded income by the end of the year 1777 that Senhouse was tempted to dispose of or abandon his plantation. Yet he wrote to a friend that he was a well-wisher to the island of Dominica and was entertaining thoughts of growing indigo. By 1782 the appraised value of Lowther Hall had been reduced to £3,312 Dominican currency. One of Senhouse's memorandum books concerns his lands in the island of Tobago, together with estimates for settling plantations of cacao, cotton, coffee and sugar.'


  1. Material relating to the West Indies from the Senhouse Papers, 1762-1831 in Carlisle Record Office Introduction to the microfilm collection by Richard B. Sheridan; Recollections of William Senhouse (1741-1800) which also appears in the Journal of the Barbados Museum Historical Society [copy sent by email, Michael Turnball, 28/07/2018].

  2. ibid. The land purchased by Joseph Senhouse was that for which he was shown as 'present proprietor c. 1773, St David Lot no. 50 (293 acres) which had been originally purchased by Alex. Burnet and Charles Dickinson.

We are grateful to Michael Turnball for his assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information


Legacies Summary

Political (1)

Local Government
office →
1782 - 1783

Relationships (3)

Uncle → Nephew
Brother-in-law → Sister-in-law

Addresses (1)

Carlisle, Cumberland, Northern England, England