John Wells

1761 - 22nd Nov 1848

Claimant or beneficiary


Politician, partner in the London bankers Whitmore, Wells and Whitmore (q.v.) which failed in 1841.

  1. Born 1761 and baptised 17/02/1760 at West Malling, Kent, son of William Wells (1729-1805), shipbuilder, and Susanna, daughter of James Neave of London and Walthamstow. He married, 03/09/1796, Esther Puget of Wickham.

  2. He joined the family firm Wells, Wigrams and Green but left it about 1814. Became a partner in the London banking form Whitmore, Wells, and Whitmore in 1821. The bank failed in July 1841.

  3. Bought Bickley Hall in Bromley, Kent, from his brother Thomas Wells in 1812 and lived there until the early 1840s when, probably as a result of the failure of his bank, he moved to 53 Cambridge Terrace, Hyde Park, where he died 22/11/1848.

  4. His political stance against slavery was at odds with his claim for compensation as a partner in Whitmore, Wells, and Whitmore. "On 17 Mar. 1826], when he commented that slavery was inimical to the liberty of the subject and ought to be abolished, he remarked that in his visits to France he had attempted to persuade the minister, Villèle, of the need to empower their navy to stop the trade... The local Tory newspaper reported that as a result of his anti-slavery speech, the ‘thinking part of our townsmen are resolutely determined to support Mr. Wells to the uttermost at the general election’. Indeed, a meeting in his favour, attended by over 200 freemen, 26 May 1826, revealed the extent of his popularity. He expressed his gratitude for their support in his address, in which he also stressed his independence of party. On the eve of the poll the following month, he confirmed his stance against Catholic relief and slavery."

  5. John's brother-in-law John David Puget was a Director of the Bank of England. Another brother-in-law, Peter Puget in 1791 was a Lieutenant on the ship Discovery, surveying the North American coast around Prince William Sound; Esther Island and Port Wells in Alaska are said to be named after her.


  1. [accessed 13/03/2013].

  2. Ibid.

  3. Ibid.

  4. Ibid.

  5. [accessed 13/03/2013]. For more on Peter Puget see Edmond S. Meany, Vancouver's Discovery of Puget Sound (London, Macmillan, 1907) pp. 148-152 available at [accessed 13/03/2013].

We are grateful to Sue Castle-Henry for her assistance in compiling this entry.

Further Information

Esther Puget
3 sons, 5 daughters
Banker and politician

Associated Claims (6)

£479 19s 4d
£600 8s 8d
£509 14s 5d
£137 16s 9d
£324 14s 0d
£553 19s 5d

Legacies Summary

Commercial (1)

Name partner

Political (2)

Local Government
office →
1812 - 1813
election →
Maidstone Kent
1820 - 1830

Relationships (1)

Father → Son

Addresses (2)

53 Cambridge Terrace, Hyde Park, London, Middlesex, London, England
Bickley Hall, Bromley, Kent, London, England