Tilston Great House Blog
A View from Afar
I was driving between Wakefield and Deeside and noticed a beautiful great house in run-down condition on a hill overlooking the cane fields. I pulled into the works yard of the Everglades Sugar Company, but the foreman didn’t give me permission to go up the hill to take photographs. Maybe some other day. Just a few photographs is all I have.
John Simpson formerly owned Tilston Estate and it consisted of 2,197 acres. The great house is located on a rocky promontory in the Queen of Spain’s Valley that may have been a Spanish settlement. I couldn’t find much information on John Simpson or the Tilston Estate.
Additional information about John Simpson from E. Webb:
Just a little about John Simpson, based on my own research into his life in England after leaving Jamaica in 1792. He was the son of John the elder, almost invariably called “Simpson of Bounty Hall” but also owner of Tilston and Chester estates, and Elizabeth nee Lawrence, who was related to both the Kenyons and the Barretts (as in Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the poetess) also planter families, and brought land to her husband in her marriage settlement. John Snr died in 1785. John Jr lived in England from 1799 to 1823, where he had a house in the fashionable part of London and a country estate in Kent. He sold up and quit the country for life in France after falling into debts (I think his lifestyle was pretty extravagant) which even the income from his sugar estates could not meet. He was a friend of Thomas Pepper Thompson, who left Vale Royal, Maria Bueno and Lancaster to John by his will of 1819. In 1824, Simpson mortgaged Bounty Hall to a John Dunn, but never made any repayments. His sons John and Thomas were to have inherited the surviving estates, but the disposition of the lands which Elizabeth Lawrence had brought to the family in her marriage settlement was subject to a case in the Court of Chancery which dragged on for at least 20 years, and the inheritance, subject to all sorts of trusts and annuities, seems to have become badly tied up.
Tragedy stalked the family. The Tilston still-house caught fire in 1835, and John’s nephew died from terrible burns he received in trying to put it out. Then John’s son, John III, predeceased his father, dying after a fall into a chasm while hunting on the Vale Royal estate in 1844.
By 1845 all the Jamaica estates were in the use of Thomas Thompson Simpson, John Simpson’s youngest son. John himself died in 1847.
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