James Blair

1788 - 9th Sep 1841

Claimant or beneficiary


Slave-owner in British Guiana and MP for a series of boroughs 1818-1830 and 1837-1841. Son of John Blair of Co. Down, and heir of his uncle Lambert Blair (d. 1815).

  1. James Blair married Elizabeth Catherine Stopford 27/12/1815 at St Marylebone. Will of James Blair of Portman Square Middlesex proved 29/11/1841. Bequeathed £300,000 in personalty, inherited by his wife's family, the Stopfords (the Earls of Courtown).

  2. Blair's Penningham[e] estate in Wigtownshire went to his wife's brother, Col. William Henry Stopford, who changed his name to Stopford-Blair. When William Henry Stopford-Blair died in 1868 he left effects under £140,000. His son Edward James Stopford-Blair left £59,441 2s 5d in 1885, while his daughter Elizabeth Ellen Stopford-Blair married Edward Heron-Maxwell, who in turn added Blair to his name.

  3. Blair born and raised in Ulster, but family ties and interests in Wigtownshire, Scotland and estates in Berbice, Demerara and Surinam which he inherited in 1815 as coheir of his paternal uncle Lambert Blair, whose sister-in-law he subsequently married. At death left in estates in Scotland, England and Ireland and plantations in Berbice, India and South America.

  4. Member of the West India Committee and the 'Committee of April 25, 1823' formed to press the government for ameliorationist measures for the Crown colonies and to resist moves towards emancipation.


T71/885 British Guiana claim no. 15 (Blairmont); http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1790-1820/member/blair-james-1788-1841 and http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1820-1832/member/blair-james-1788-1841 [both accessed 09/07/2016].

  1. Ancestry.com, London, England, Marriages and Burials, 1754-1921 [database online]; PROB 11/1953; William D. Rubinstein, Who were the rich? A biographical dictionary of British wealth-holders Volume Two 1840-1859 (MS) 1841/28.

  2. Sir Bernard Burke, The General Armory [1878] p . 977, Stopford-Blair; Burke's Peerage (2003) through www.peerage.com [accessed 15/05/2011]. National Probate Calendar 1869 and 1886 [both under 'Blair'].

  3. D. R. Fisher (ed.), The House of Commons 1820-1832 (7 vols., Cambridge, Cambridge University Press for the History of Parliament Trust, 2009), vol. 4.

  4. Alexandra Franklin, Enterprise and advantage: The West India interest in Britain, 1774-1840 (University of Pennsylvania, Unpub. PhD, 1992), p. 214 citing West India Committee Minute Books, 25 April 1823.

Further Information

Elizabeth Stopford
Wealth at death

Associated Claims (1)

£83,530 8s 11d

Associated Estates (12)

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
1825 [EA] - → Owner
1818 [SY] - → Joint owner
01/06/1823 [SD] - 1831 [LA] → Owner
1825 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Owner
1818 [EA] - → Joint owner
1825 [EA] - → Owner
1818 [EA] - 1818 [LA] → Heir

James Blair was left the half-share in Courtland belonging to his cousin John McCamon in the latter's will proved in 1818, consistent with the will of Lambert Blair who bequeathed a share in the estates to McCamon on condition that he [McCamon] in turn left the shares to James Blair if McCamon died without issue.

- 1825 [EY] → Owner

The enslaved people were moved to Plantation Bathayock between the registrations of 01/01/1822 and 01/01/1825.

1818 [SY] - → Joint owner
1825 [EA] - 1825 [LA] → Owner

The enslaved people were transferred to James Blair's Blairmount estate in 1825.

1825 [EA] - 1825 [LA] → Owner
1818 [SY] - 1818 [LA] → Joint owner

Legacies Summary

Commercial (1)

Lambert Blair & Co.
West India merchant - British Guiana  

Political (1)

Tory / West India interest 
election →
Saltash Cornwall
1818 - 1820
election →
Aldeburgh Suffolk
1820 - 1826
election →
Minehead Somerset
1826 - 1830
election →
Wigtonshire Wigtonshire
1837 - 1841

Relationships (2)

Nephew → Uncle
Other relatives
Notes →
'Cousins' (not yet identified whether first cousins or...

Addresses (3)

12 Devonshire Place, London, Middlesex, London, England
3 Portman Square, London, Middlesex, London, England
Notes →

1838 Boyles Court Directory

Penninghame House, Wigtownshire, Southern Scotland, Scotland