• Title
    Castle Wemyss Estate Papers
  • Held at
  • Reference
  • Date
    1802-1845, c1990
  • Creator
    Castle Wemyss estate, St James parish, JamaicaMore Info on Creator
  • Scope and Content
    The records comprise deeds and legal, administrative and financial papers relating to the Castle Wemyss Estate, Jamaica, belonging (during the period covered by the papers) successively to Gilbert Mathison, Simon Halliday and Rev Walter Stevenson Halliday. The deeds and legal papers record the ownership of the estate and financial claims upon it by other parties, as well as compensation claims under the Abolition Act. They include the title deeds to the estate 1802-1845; together with correspondence and other papers concerning financial claims upon it (particularly an annuity payable to Catherine Mathison, widow of Gilbert) 1830-1845, compensation payable under the Abolition Act 1834-1835, and the fate of the estate in 1843-1845 when it was no longer viable financially. The administrative and financial papers illustrate the management of a West Indian sugar estate by attorneys on behalf of absentee landlords, and the process of shipping the sugar and rum produced back to London for sale by a firm of merchants. A fairly complete series of correspondence between Simon Halliday and his attorneys and merchants survives for the period 1823-1828, giving many details of the practical problems of managing a sugar estate and of ensuring an adequate performance by the attorneys. There are many reports on the progress of crops, as well as references to maintenance work required, the need for new cattle (a continuing problem on the Castle Wemyss estate) and the work and health of the slaves. There is further detailed information on the slaves in a series of returns; in addition there are lists of them in the title deeds to the estate after 1807 (following the abolition of the slave trade). There are references to specific events involving the slaves in the correspondence and/or the returns: for example, the case of Catalina alias Susannah Mathison who induced an abortion by taking Vervain & Contrayerva in 1824; and allegations of mistreatment of the slaves by one of the overseers, in 1827. The correspondence of 1823-1828 also includes letters between Halliday and the firms of merchants he used in London to sell his produce. The state of the sugar and rum markets are regularly discussed, and both attorneys and merchants report on the despatch and receipt of shipments of sugar and rum, on which the successful running of the estate depended. There is one instance of a ship being wrecked and part of the cargo lost.There are also financial accounts, both of the attorneys and of the merchants, which illustrate the returns and financial problems of the estate.
  • Conditions of access
    Open for research although at least 24 hours notice required. However, access to individual items in the Institute of Commonwealth Studies Library archival collections may be restricted under the Data Protection Act or the Freedom of Information Act.
  • Extent
    5 boxes
  • Language
  • System of Arrangement
    The papers were originally arranged in several bundles, which have been retained as files in the present arrangement, these now being grouped into series according to the type of record. The series of deeds, legal papers and related correspondence is more or less distinct from the following series of correspondence, returns of slaves and accounts, which are closely related. There is a separate file containing a small quantity of records concerning another estate; and a further file of research notes and papers compiled by Mrs Halliday in the course of studying the history of the estate.
  • Finding aids
    Fully catalogued on this database. A handlist is also available in the Special Collections reading room: a pdf copy is attached to this description.
  • Related files
  • Related
    'Notices respecting Jamaica, in 1808-1809-1810' by Gilbert Farquhar Mathison (London: printed for J Stockdale, 1811) is available in Senate House Library (University of London).
  • Level of description
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