Part I Part II Part III

The Tharp Papers  -  18th century Jamaica Documents

Part I



The Tharp estates records are one of the few that have survived for 18th century Jamaica because of a prolonged lawsuit involving the Tharp family in the nineteenth century. In brief the original entrepreneur, John Tharp, disinherited his children in a family quarrel and left most of his property to his baby grandson but alas the latter turned out to be mentally ill. Attempts by a variety of people to get hold of the money lead to a horrendous lawsuit of the Jarndyce v Jarndyce variety. Happily this has preserved the records. I am told.a Tharp descendant in the female line still lives in their Cambridgeshire country house. The Tharp papers were deposited at Cambridge by one of John Tharp's descendants both as "well-deserved acknowledgement to the family and to help place the
collection in context."

The Tharp papers can be found at the Cambridge County Records, Shire Hall, Castle Hill, Cambridge, CB3 OAP, England, UK. To find it you leave the Cambridge of the colleges and sightseers north west by the Magdalene Bridge and go about 150 –200 yards up the hill, Castle Street. At the top on the right is the large County Hall administrative building where the reception will direct you.

The email address is

The County Archivist, Cambridgeshire County Council, is Mrs. E. Stazicker, her deputy is Dr Philip Saunders, Tel. No. (UK) 01223 717281

Photocopying charges are 25p per A4 sheet, 40p per A3 and there is a minimum charge of 2.00 for copies sent by post.

The Historical Research Service fees are 12.00 for half an hour and 9.00 for subsequent half hours up to a maximum of 2 hours.  Cambridge County Record Office is an increasingly busy office and in order to avoid disappointment, particularly for visitors coming from a distance, they strongly advise people to telephone in advance to book a seat in their searchroom.

There is a short pamphlet, Good Hope: Jamaica, a short history by Patrick J. Tenison, published in Jamaica 1971 that gives some details of one of these estates and the history of the dispute.

The lists of slaves mentioned give only first names, whether male or female, the skill of the relevant individual such as carpenter, smith, cooper and in one case a female cook and whether the person was mixed race (mulatto) the latter being rare at most about one in 20 or 30 I would think. In one case [RS.55.7.122(l) document 4] there is a surname, Jack Shaw, a house slave who waits at table. In at least one document [RS.55.7.122(m), document 6, 23 May 1777] slaves’ partners are given which implies a degree of recognition e.g. "Belinda’s Sammy" or perhaps "Sammy’s Belinda" while in another [R.55.7.123, first document, 1795-96] lists of slave children of the mother give the father’s name as well.

Some of the documents are in poor condition and the Record Office tell me that they are seeking a grant for preservation purposes for this part of the Tharp papers as its interest is far more than local.

Edward Crawford
Brunel University, UK

Tharp estates in Jamaica 1670-1870

Often the English and Jamaican estates are considered together in the High Court of Chancery. Therefore some further information about the estates will be found under:- R.55.7.106-119

{Notes that have been added by the library in manuscript to the original typescript index are enclosed in brackets thus {1809}. ERC 1998}

{Note: Only the number (and letter) on the left hand side of the slip are essential for a proper reference. The slip number, which runs with each group of records with the title, is not part of the document reference and the bundle numbers of deeds are now redundant.

e.g. R55.7.122(a) id the feoffment of 1000 acres in St James Parish to Thos Williams

R.55.7.128(i) is Produce returns from Jamaica estates etc}


R. Estate Plans. (1) JAMAICA.
1. 1 Dec., 1670 600 acs. in P. of St. James - Owner Sgt.-Major Rene Bayly.

Plan made by order of Sir Thomas Modyford.

Scale: 7 inches to 1 mile. {2 parts}

2. 18 Mch. 1670/1. 120 acs. in P. of St. James - Owners Mrs. Anne Cower and Mrs. Elizabeth Englut.

Scale: 15 inches to 1 mile.

3. 30 Apr., 1723. 300 acs. in P. of St. Elizabeth, - Owner: John Eastwick.

Ref. to Patent, 23 Oct., 1723.

Scale : 4 inches to 1 mile.

4. 26 Jan., 1745 600 acs. in P. of St. James – Owner: - Andrew Skelmedine.

Scale :- 4 inches to 1 mile. {2 parts}

5. 15 Feb., 1746/7. 300 acs. in P. of St. James – Owner: - John Skelmedine.

Scale :- 4 inches to 1 mile.

6. 8 Jan., 1755 300 acs. in P. of St. James – Owner: - Samuel Johnson.

Ref. to Patent, 11 Ap., 1755.

Scale :- 4 inches to 1 mile.

7. - Ap., 1755. 300 acs. in P. of St. James - Owner :- Thomas Lovejoy

Scale :- 4 inches to 1 mile.

8 8 Dec., 1777. 300 acs. in P. of Trelawney,- Owner John Tharp.

Scale 4 inches to 1 mile

9. - Nov., 1785. Survey of Merrywood and several neighbouring estates, belonging to various owners.

No scale.

10. Ap 1786. 191 acs. in P. of Trelawney - Owner - John Tharp

Part of Top Hill Pen estate

No scale.

11. 8 Aug., 1794 7 acs. 2 r. in P. of Trelawney - Owner - Hon. John Tharp.

Part of Top Hill Pen estate. No scale.

12 Mch., 1795. 212 acs. 2 r. 29 p. in P. of Trelawney Owner Hon.John Tharp.

Top Hill Pen estate. Scale :- 4 inches to 1 mile.

13 N.D 182 acs. 2 r. in P. of Trelawney – Owner - Hon. John Tharp

No scale.

14 N.D Rough plan of Merrywood, Top Hill Pen, Potosi, Peru and other neighbouring estates. {St. James}
15. N.D Disputed boundary between Chippenham Park Pen and Elgin Hall estates. No scale.



R. Estate Plans. (2) JAMAICA.
  1 June 1798 Plan for the hospital for sick slaves upon the Good Hope Estate, the property of John Tharp Esquire, situated in the parish of Trelawney.

West and North elevations and ground plan. In colour

R.55.7.122. Deeds, etc JAMAICA.

These deeds have been kept in their original numbered bundles.

A few, which were found loose, have been added and are marked * against the date.

Deeds which were "Enrolled in the Office of Enrolments" are marked (e).

Jamaica was divided into 3 Counties Cornwall, Middlesex and Surrey. These contained Parishes as below.

Cornwall. Middlesex. Surrey.
Hanover. St. Ann. St George.
Westmoreland. Manchester. Portland.
St. James. St. Mary. St. Andrew.
Trelawney. St. Thomas {Vale} Port Royal.
St. Elizabeth. St. John. St. David.
  Clarendon. St. Thomas {East}
  St. Dorothy {Kingston}
  St. Catherine.  
R.55.7.122.(a) Deeds &c JAMAICA.

Bundle 1. Title deeds of estates later Good Hope, Wales and Lansquinet.

1. 5 Aug., 1742.* King George II. to Thomas Williams, of Westmoreland.

Letters patent granting 1000 acs. land in P. of St. James. (e)

2. 9 Dec., 1743* King George II. To Thomas Williams

Feoffment of 1000 acs. land in P. of St. James.

3. 20 Aug., 1755. Lieut.-Col. Robert Spragge and Jane Stone, both of St. James, to Thomas Williams junr. of same.

Attested copy of Grant of land by Martha Brea River, in P. of St. James for building water mill to serve Williams' plantation.

4. 11 May, 1769. Thomas Williams and Sarah his wife to John Tharp of Hanover. grant of several parcels of land in P. of St. James, total 3089 acs.; sugar works called Good Hope; Wales and Keith Hall with slaves (listed by name), &c.(e)

Schedule of cattle, &c. attached.

5. 1 July, 1770. Thomas Williams of St. James to John Tharp of same. Grant of 55 acs. 2 r. land in P. of St. James which land was excepted in R.55.7.122.(a).4. (e)
6. 11 Oct.3 1770 John Straw of London and Katherine his wife to Thomas Williams of St. James. Grant of 1000 acs. land in P. of St. James being part of that included in R.55.7.122.(a).4. Attached 11 Oct., 1770. Affidavit attesting signatures to above.
7. 18 May, 1776. Thomas Williams of St. Catherine and Sarah his wife to John Tharp of Trelawney.

Confirmation of title to 1000 acs. now in P. of Trelawney as in R.55.7.122.(a).6.

R.55.7.122.(b).. Deeds, &c JAMAICA.

Bundle 2. Title deeds of Potosi estate.

1. 28 & 29 Jan., 1763. 1763
2. Thomas Partridge of Weston, Bucks., son and heir of Thomas {Partridge}deceased late of St. James, to Francis Eyre of St. Clement Danes, Middlesex.

Lease and Release of Potosi Estate with all lands, tenements, Slaves and other stock.

3. 30 & 31 Jan., 1763
4. Re-conveyance of Potosi Estate, by way of Lease and Release. Enrolled in Court of Common Pleas
5. 10 June , 1773. Affidavit attesting signatures to R.55.7.122.(b).1-4.
6. 31 Dec., 1766 John Marten Butt, executor of Thomas Partridge deceased, to John Tharp of Hanover.

Articles of Agreement granting to John Tharp, husband of Elizabeth joint devisee with her sister under Will of Thomas Partridge her brother to Potosi and Flamstead Estates, management of same until said devisees are both of age. (e)

7. 31 Dec., 1766. John Marten Butt to John Tharp. Bond to perform covenants.
8. 7 Mch,) 1768. Same to same. Assignment of moiety of annuity of 200 chargeable on Potosi and Flamstead Estates.
9. 13 Nov., 1775. Alexander Findlater of Westmoreland to John Tharp and Elizabeth his wife. Release of claim on Potosi Estate. (e).


R.55.7.122.(c). Deeds, etc. JAMAICA.

Bundle 3. Title deeds of Nutfield Estate.

1. 17 & 18 Feb., 1792.  
2.   James Godsell of Limerick and Samuel his son to John Tharp of Trelawney.

Lease and Release of lands specified in Indenture of 9 Feb., 1747 (possibly 500 acs. and 197 acs. of Nutfield Estate) remainder of lands of Henry Strudwick deceased which John Tharp had not previously acquired. (e)


3. 5 Mch., 1792. Affidavit attesting- signatures of attorney of James and Samuel Godsell to above


4. 17 & 18 Feb., 1792.  
5   Duplicates of R.55.7.122.(c). 1 & 2.


R.55.7.122.(d). Deeds, &c. JAMAICA.

Bundle 4. Title deeds of Henry Strudwick's estate Pantre Pant.

1. 5 Dec., 1760. Copy of Will of Henry Strudwick of St. Catherine who bequeathed estate in England (not specified) to Mary his wife with reversion to their daughter Mary, and estate in Jamaica (not specified) to trustees to provide annuities for relatives.

Probate, 2 Dec.., 1772.

2. 28 & 29 Oct. 1789.  
3.   Rev. George Wairrington of Wrexham and Mary his wife, daughter of Henry Strudwick, to John Parry of Gresford, Denbighshire. Lease and Release to bar entail of estate in Jamaica.

Attached:- 1 Nov., 1789. Declaration of Mayor of Chester attesting signatures.

5 Nov., 1789. Declaration of same attesting affidavit of John Humphries.

4. 30 & 31 Oct. 1789  

John Parry to Rev. G.. Warrington and Mary his wife. Re-

conveyance, by way of Lease and Release of estate as in


Attached: Declarations as to R.55.7.122. (d).3.

6. 4 &5 Mch., 1791.  
7.   George William Warrington of Wrexham, eldest son of Rev. G.. Warrington, and John Tharp of Trelawney to John Parry.

Lease and Release of estate and slaves in Jamaica, formerly Henry Strudwick's who was grandfather of G. H. Warrington.


7 Mch. 1791. )

8 Mch. 1791. ) 5 affidavits attesting signatures to above.

3 Aug., 1803)

8. 4 & 5 Mch., 1791.  
9.   Duplicates of R.55.7.122.(d). 6 & 7.
10. 12 Sept., 1796. Edward Strudwick of St. Catherine to Hon. John Tharp.

Discharge of arrears of annuity chargeable on Pantre Pant estate.


14 Nov., 1750. Plan of estate of 300 acs. formerly of Henry Strudwick.

20 Ap., 1795. Sarah W. Bolt to John Tharp. Receipt for annuity.

R.55.7.122.(e) Deeds, etc. JAMAICA.


Bundle 5. Title deeds of Cheshire estate, &c.

1. 4 Dec., 1773. Jane Spragge of Greenwich to James Kerr of Soho.

Articles of Agreement for Lease for 13 years 5 months 15 days of Cheshire Plantation and a moiety of Hambrocke Penn, both in P. of St. James, at 375 for first 4 years, 500 p.a. for next 9 years, and 500 for residue of lease.

2. 9 Aug., 1774. Same to same.

Further Articles of Agreement relating to Lease as above, and provision for re-valuation of estate.

3. 13 Oct., 1786 Articles of Agreement for 7 year lease of Cheshire Estate at 1000 p.a.

Enclosing 13 Oct. 1786. Draft of said Articles

4. 10 Dec., 1787. Robert Wadham Spragge and Jane his mother to Dugald and Elizabeth McLachlan of Marylebone.

Ref. R.55.7.122.(e).3. R.W. Spragge to receive two thirds and J. Spragge one third of 1000 p.a..

5. 24 & 25 Feb., 1792.  
6.   Robert Wadham and Jane Spragge to John Tharp of Trelawney, now residing in Great Cumberland Place.

Lease and Release of Cheshire Estate of 325 acs. in P. of Trelawney with mills, negroes and other stock; and of title to 300 acs. in Trelawney and 391 acs. near Martha Brae.

7. 24 & 25 Feb., 1792.  
8.   Counterparts of R.55.7.122.(e). 5 & 6.

Attached: 25 Feb., 1792. Affidavit attesting signatures to above.

9. 27 Feb., 1792. Same to same. Assignment of Bond of Dugald McLachlan, Elizabeth McLachlan and others to Robert Wadham and Jane Spragge, dated 10 Dec. 1787.


R.55.7.122.-(f).1. Deeds, etc JAMAICA.


Bundle 6. Title deed of land later part of Good Hope and Covey Estates.

  14 Ap., 1776. Samuel Whitehorne Barnett of Trelawney to John Tharp of same.

Grant of 1308 acs. land in Trelawney in 2 parcels marked A and D on attached plan. (e)

Attached: Diagramatic abstract of title.



R.55.7.122.(g) Deeds, etc JAMAICA.


The original Bundle 7 has not been found. This bundle comprises deeds found loose.

1. 21 Nov., 1769. Thomas Reid of St James to John Tharp now in Great Britain and formerly of Hanover

Conveyance of 520 acres in St James with tenements etc (e)

Plan attached

2. 11 Aug., 1771. Henry Cuniffe of Trelawney to John Tharp of same.

Grant of 150 feet land being, a wharf in Martha Brea. (e)

3. 4 May, 1775. Thomas Reid junr. of Trelawney to John Tharp of same. Fragments of Lease of Hother's Wharf.
4. N.D. (Late 18th. Century). Brief for John Tharp, plaintiff, in case of ejectment from 1000 acs. land in Trelawney; with observations.
5. 25 May, 1803 Copy of Will of Henry Cuniffe of Killtolla, Galway. Probate 28 June, 1803.
6. 30 Dec. 1803 Richard Grant agent for John Tharp to trustees of the late Henry Cuniffe

Agreement that Tharp be reimbursed the taxes he had paid since taking possession of the Merrywood. Estate and Summerhill Pen (formerly Cuniffe’s)

7. 1803-1804 Together with {3} letters of John Tharp and {of John Wedderburn}concerning this Property.
R.55.7.122.(h Deeds, etc JAMAICA.

Bundle 8. Title deeds of Pedro estate etc.

1. 2 June, 1766. John Tharp of Hanover, only son of Joseph Tharp deceased of same, to Archibald Frame of same.

Conveyance in trust to bar estate tail of Pedro Estate of 100 acs. and slaves (A in schedule), messuage and Batchelor's Hall Sugar Plantation of 260 acs Morris's Pen, and Old Pen of 150 acs., all in P. of Hanover, with slaves (B in schedule). (e)

Attached Schedule of slaves.

2. 3 June, 1766 Archibald Frame to John Tharp.

Re-conveyance of lands, &. as in R.55.7.122.(h).1. (e)

3. 3 May, 1769. Benjamin Mowat of Hanover and Elizabeth his wife to John Tharp of same.

Mortgage of Pedro Plantation of 212 acs. with slaves, &c. (e)

4. - Mch. , 1773. Edward Fleet of St. Catherine’s to John Tharp of Trelawney.

Grant of 240 acs. land, formerly in P. of St. James but now partly in P. of Trelawney. (e)

5. 29 May, 1773. James Risby Whitehorne of St. Annets and Jane his wife to John Tharp of Trelawney.

Grant of moiety of 120 acs. in Trelawney. (e)

6. 1 Oct 1773. Thomas Reid senr. of St. Janes to Thomas Reid junr. of same, Grant of 300 acs. called Palmeto Point in St. James. (e )Attached: Plan of estate.
7. 11 Oct. 1781. George Robinson Hamilton of Trelawney to John Tharp of same.

Assignment of Mortgage of 300 acs. in St. James and 2 negro women slaves. (e)

8. 29 Oct., 1783 George Reid of St. Thomas in the Vale and Elizabeth his wife to John Tharp of Trelawney.

Grant of 300 acs. in Trelawney, formerly in P. of St. James(e)

Attached: 9 Sept., 1751. Summary of letters patent granting said land to George Reid, with Plan.

9. 30 Dec., 1785. Agnes Chalmers of Scotland, widow of George Wood of same, and Elizabeth and Agnes Wood his daughters, to John Tharp of Trelawney. Grant of 189 acs. (194 in inquisition) in Trelawney. (e)
10. 20 June, 1789. Edmund Jackson of Trelawney and Catherine Haughton his wife to John Tharp of same.

Grant of 300 acs. in Trelawney. Plan attached. (e)

11. 1 June; 1790. Andrew Sims of Trelawney to Susannah O'Connor of same.

Grant of 300 acs. in Trelawney. Plan attached. (e)

12. 31 Jan., 1791. James Scarlett of Trelawney and Jane his wife to John Tharp of same. Grant of 23 acs. 4 poles land in 4 parcels adjoining Peru Estate in Trelawney. Attached:- Detailed plan.
13. 5 July, 1791 William Guthrie of Trelawney to John Tharp of same.

Grant of Hawkerton Plantation of 958 acs. and slaves. (e)

Attached: Plan of estate.



R.55.7.122.(i) Deeds, etc JAMAICA.


Bundle 9. Various estates: Pedro and Cacoon estates in Hanover, and estates in St. James,Trelawney and St. Anne.

1. 31 Jan., 1771. Charles Bernard of St. James and Rebeeca his wife to John Tharp senr. of Trelawney.

Grant of 2831acs. land near Martha Brea (sic) in P. of St. James. Plan of lands attached.

2. 18 Jan., 1777. John Morison of Hanover and Mary his wife to John Tharp of Trelawney.

Mortgage of Pedro Estate of 212 acs. in P. of Hanover with slaves and other stock. (e)

3. 11 Ap., 1778. William Stevenson of Trelawney and Mary his wife to John Tharp of same.

Grant of 300 acs. land in St. James. (e) Plan of estate attached.

4. 5 Aug., 1779. John Morison of Hanover to John Tharp of Trelawney.

Mortgage of mules, steers and horses on Pedro Estate.

5. 11 Sept., 1781. William Sterling of Trelawney and Elizabeth his wife to John Tharp of same,

Grant of equity of redemption of 300 acs. land, 2 negro women slaves and other stock in Trelawney. (e)

6. 10 July, 1783. John Tharp of Trelawney to James Smith of Hanover.

Assignment of Mortgage R.55.7.122.(i).2.

7. 12 May, 1786. Joseph Brissett of Hanover and Mary Poole his wife to William Miles of Bristol 7 John Tharp of Trelawney and others.

Mortgage of Cacoon Estate, P. of Hanover, of 568 acs. land with 147 slaves and other stock. (e)

Schedule of slaves attached.

8. 6 July, 1790. William Crouch of St. Anne's and Elizabeth his wife to William Hall of same. (e)

Grant of 600 acs. land in P. of St. Anne, Plan of estate attached.

9. 21 Dec., 1790 Susan O'Connor of Trelawney to Hon. John Tharp of same.

Grant of 500 acs. land in P. of Trelawney. (e)

Plan of estate attached.

10. 21 Ap., 1791. Hon. Charles Hall of P. of St. Andrews to Hon. John Tharp of Trelawney. Grant of 1498 acs. land in P. of Trelawney. (e)
11. 15 June, 1791. William Morris of St. James and Mary his wife to Hon. John Tharp of Trelawney.

Grant of 815 acs. land being part of Haddington Penn in P. of St. James. (e) Detailed and clear plan of estate attached.


R.55.7.122.(j). Deeds, etc JAMAICA.

Bundle 10. Miscellaneous.

1. 2 Feb. 1770* William Blake of Westmoreland and Elizabeth his wife to John Tharp of St. James.

Mortgage of Moiety of Potosi Estate of 600 acs. in P. of St. James, with slaves.

Dean's Valley Waterwork Plantation of 1400 acs. in Westmoreland with slaves. (e)

2. 9 May 1774* William Blake of Westmoreland to Robert Perris of same. Bond relating to purchase money for 16 negroes.

Endorsed: 14 May, 1776.

Robert Perris to Richard Watt and Alexander Allardyce. Assignment of Bond.

3. 31 May & 1 June 1775*  
4.   W. Blake, William Webber of Bloomsbury concurring, to Henry Fletcher of London and others.

Lease and Release of Dean's Valley Waterwork Plantation of 1400 acs. with slaves in trust to secure annuity of 570 to W. Webber and to other uses.

Schedules of slaves attached

Affidavit attesting signatures of Willian Blake attached.

5. 19 July, 1777 W. Blake and Elizabeth Anne his wife, at request of William Webber, to Henry Fletcher and others.

Confirmation of grant as in R.55.7.122.(j).4. and discharge of Sarah Blake’s right of dower in said lands. List of slaves attached.

Attached: 6 Aug., 1777. Affidavit attesting signatures.

6. 9 May, 1801. William Williams and Mary Ann Blake of Westmoreland, children of William Blake deceased - devisees of Charles Bernard deceased, John Tharp of Chippenham Park Cambs., and assignees of co-partners of Peter Holme deceased, bankrupt: all concurring - to James Hodge Byles of St. Catherine’s.

Conveyance (under decree of High Court of Chancery, Jamaica, to satisfy creditors and execute Will of W. Blake) of Dean's Valley Water-work Plantation of 2200 acs. with all stock. (e)

Attached :- Plan of estate; Schedules of slaves, cattle, &c.

7. 5 July, 1783. Katherine Hooke of Fulham, widow of Christopher Hooke, Elizabeth widow of Nathaniel Rench concurring, to David Jobson of Grays Inn Lane.

Assignment of annuity of 100, part of annuity bequeathed by Thomas Partridge first husband of said Katherine, chargeable on his personal estate in Jamaica, in trust to pay surplus, after annuity of 67 - 10s. to said D. Jobson had been deducted, to said Katherine.

Endorsed: 11 Mch. 1785. David Jobson to John Tharp.

Receipt for 29 - 10s. arrears of certain annuities, and release of annuity.

8. 7 June, 1784. Katherine Hooke to David Jobson. Grant of further annuity of 20 chargeable on annuity assigned as in R.55.7.122.(j).7.

Endorsed: 11 Mch., 1785. Memo. of discharge of above annuity by John Tharp.

9. 11 Oct. 1781 George Robinson Hamilton of Trelawney and Harriet his wife to John Tharp of same. Grant of 2 parcels of land - 396 acs. and 542 acs. - formerly in P. of St. James and now in P. of Trelawney.
10. 13. Apr. 1787 Opinion of George Ricketts concerning the Orange Hill case in which John Tharp was involved.
11. 5 Aug. 1790 John Jarrett formerly of Trelawney and now of Great Britain to Hon. John Tharp of Trelawney. Assignment of annuity of 1575 chargeable on Orange Hill Penn of 400 acs. with messuage and slaves, in trust to apply surplus of annuity to uses stated.
12. 1 Oct. 1791 John Tharp of Trelawney to Thomas Reid of Hanover md others, trustees.

Settlement on proposed marriage of John Tharp and Ann Gallimore widow both of Trelawney, of Lansquinet and Cheshire plantations now cultivated as one estate of 750 acs. in Trelawney with slaves, &-c. , in trust for uses stated.

Schedule of 375 slaves on estate attached.

Last Updated on 12/23/98
By David Bromfield

Last Updated on May 10, 2012 by  David Bromfield