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.

If you would like to receive future posts, via email, please join my blog online.

Tilston Estate Photo Gallery

Tilston Estate Location Map

Jamaica-Trelawny

Advertisements

Tags: , , ,

About Dr. Raul A. Mosley

Raul is the founder of the Fort Worth Portrait Project (FWPP). He holds a Ph.D. in Public Affairs & Issues Management from Purdue University. After teaching for 16 years as a university faculty member at both Purdue and Indiana University, Raul moved to Fort Worth and founded the FWPP in 2014.

30 responses to “Tilston Great House Blog”

  1. EW says :

    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.
    And now, a couple of questions. Firstly, would it be OK for me to use your photos of Tilston and Vale Royal to help illustrate my project on Simpson’s life in England? I’ve been looking for pictures for so long, and had almost given up hope when I stumbled onto your site.
    And secondly, do you know whether any of the fabric of the Bounty Hall great house in Trelawny survives, please?
    Thank you for your blog and your assistance.

    Like

    • mwmosley68 says :

      Sorry about the late reply. Feel free to use any of my photographs. May I use this information to up-date my blog? I was unable to penetrate the defenses around the Tilston Great House but I hope to get permission from Everglades Sugar Company to visit it next month and hopefully more photos will be forthcoming. Join my blog and you will receive any of my posts via email. I’ll try to remember to check on Bounty Hall.

      Like

      • EW says :

        Thanks for the reply and no need to worry about it being late – my own project is a long and ongoing written one here in England, and I am pleased that I will be able to add some Jamaica photos to it, now, thanks to you. Do please use the information about John Simpson on your website. And if you do manage to find anything on Bounty Hall I shall be triply pleased! I’followed’ your blog when I first found it, so shall know if you post anything relevant. Best regards.

        Like

    • Michele says :

      My 3rd Great Grandfather was Thomas Thompson Simpson. I’m trying to figure out if this is the same Thomas as you are writing about here. I’d love to chat with you.

      Like

      • mwmosley68 says :

        Michele,
        See the updated Tilston Great House Blog. Some additional information from E. Webb.

        Michael

        Like

      • mwmosley68 says :

        Michele,
        Also see my post on Stokes Hall Great House.
        Michael

        Like

      • EW says :

        Hi, Michele. I’ll be happy to help if I can. Unfortunately I don’t have my notes to hand at the moment, but when I’ve had a chance to refresh my own mind will gladly fill in more gaps if you and Michael wish.

        Like

      • Michele Fendler says :

        Anything would be great. I can’t seem to find any info on Thomas other then my 3rd great grandmothers name was Emma. Please feel free to email me outside of this thread so that I don’t hog this blog with my family tree!

        Thank you!

        Like

      • mwmosley68 says :

        Hog all you want. Did you see my post on Stokes Hall?

        Liked by 1 person

      • EW says :

        Do you have an approximate age for your Thomas Thompson Simpson? I recall that his baptism in Kent was in 1817. Does that sound right?

        Like

      • EW says :

        Hello again Michelle. I’m not sure whether you’ve seen my last comment regarding Thomas P T Simpson’s birth date. Does a year of 1817 sound too early?

        Like

      • Michele Fendler says :

        Sorry!! I just saw this. I believe my Thomas might have been born in 1843. I can’t confirm that because I can’t find him on records.

        Like

      • jenifer says :

        Hello Michele, my great-grandmother was the daughter of Thomas Thompson Simpson’s second wife, Rosalie. I believe our Thomas Thompson Simpson was the son of Thomas Thompson Simpson, born in Kent in 1817. My grandmother told me many years ago that her grandfather Thomas’s father was named Thomas and his grandfather was John. She seemed to know nothing more about the Simpsons, which is perhaps not surprising as Thomas (jr) died when my great-grandmother was a small child. Like you, I am not able yet to connect the two Thomases in the records. It seems likely these records are not yet indexed. However, upon learning that Kenyon was the middle name of your ancestor, Alfred, Thomas’s and Emma’s son, I felt this to be a strong indicator of the connection. Would love to connect with you about the family.

        Like

      • Michele Fendler says :

        Hi Jennifer!

        I’d love to chat as well. If you are on Facebook you can find me under Michele Fendler. Can we post emails on here?

        Like

  2. Michele Fendler says :

    Jenifer,

    Please email me at michelef@roadrunner.com. We are cousins. I’d love to talk.

    Michele

    Like

    • jenifer says :

      Hi Michele, sorry for my delayed response. The whirlwind of the holidays was followed by a bad cold. I’m so pleased you would like to make contact. My great-grandmother was Eva Simpson. Depending on which generation you are, we are likely third cousins or perhaps third cousins once removed. I’ll send a follow-up message to you directly at your email address below. Thanks!

      Jenifer

      Like

  3. EW says :

    Dear Michele and Jenifer – this is really exciting! I am so happy that Michael’s blog and my comments have enabled you to find each other and piece together more of your mutual family history. The inter-marriage of Jamaica planter families makes research challenging, for sure, but it is so rewarding when you make a breakthrough! Do let me know via comments here if I can add anything more to help build up the picture.
    Wishing a Happy New Year to both of you and to Michael, without whom none of this could have happened.

    Like

    • jenifer says :

      Hello, thank you so much for the helpful information you posted about the Simpsons on this blog. I’m very grateful to you and to Michael Mosley (will write a separate comment to Michael directly).

      It’s been a journey discovering the Simpsons and their family connections with the Kenyons, Barretts and Lawrences. I managed to piece together some relationships of John Simpson of Bounty Hall plus John Simpson the younger, who lived at Fairlawn in Plaxtol, Kent, and his sisters. All of your information was new to me about the court case, John Simpson the younger’s retrenchment to France, John III’s untimely death at Vale Royal, and the fire at Tilston still-house. There were two nephews (born in Trelawny) listed in the household of John Thomas Simpson’s natural son in the 1851 UK Census. For some reason I always presumed the nephews to be John III’s sons, as the elder nephew seemed a bit old to be Thomas’s. Given John III’s early death, it does seem possible they were sent back to family in England.

      In a strange coincidence, my grandfather and grandmother lived at Georgia Estate (Vale Royal), where my grandfather worked, in the 1950s. There, my grandmother ran into a woman who said that her grandfather made the casket for Thomas Thompson Simpson (jr). This woman said Thomas had died after falling into a sinkhole. Perhaps this woman mixed up the victims, and it was John III’s casket. It would be the most amazing coincidence if both John Simpson and his nephew died in this way. (Without double-checking, I believe Thomas jr died in 1886 at the age of 43.)

      Thank you for kindly offering to help build up the picture for Michele and me. It sounds as though you have done significant research, and I’m sure we’d both be most grateful for any additional information you can provide. Will follow up through these comments once Michele and I communicate further.

      Wishing you all the best for 2016. Happy New Year!

      Like

      • EW says :

        Hello again, Michael, Michele and Jenifer. While doing some more work on my own project, may I please ask that if any of you happen upon a portrait of John Simpson the younger (the one who lived in Kent England), could you please let me know? I seem to be drawing a blank so far, but since he served as High Sheriff for Kent I imagine there must be an image somewhere! Good luck again with all your ongoing research, and – Michael – if you do manage to visit Bounty Hall (if there’s anything left to see) I look forward to a post in due course. With many thanks. EW

        Like

      • Michele Fendler says :

        I would love to find photos of all the Simpsons, but yes of course, if I get lucky I’ll absolutely pass it on to you!

        Like

  4. Michele Fendler says :

    Yes thank you! I look forward to talking to Jenifer and trying to figure out our tree. Thank you and Michael!

    Like

  5. jenifer says :

    Hello Michael,

    Thank you for allowing Michele and I to connect through your blog. I’ve visited your blog numerous times, and the information and photos of the various great houses are all very interesting. Jamaica has a long and difficult history, but it is the island’s history. Thank you for documenting it.

    Just before Christmas, I showed your photographs of Tilston to my grandmother, who is now almost 104 years old. It was very meaningful to her to see the house for the first time. I’m so grateful to you for making that possible.

    Happy New Year! I’ll look forward to your future postings and photos in 2016.

    Jenifer

    Like

  6. Michele Fendler says :

    Jenifer,

    Oh! You’re from the Romney side then! How neat! Look forward to talking to you! Happy New Year to all of you!

    Michele

    Like

  7. Michele says :

    Would any of you know anything about Emmaus Pen? If so, would you send me an email regarding it since it has nothing to do with this blog?

    Like

    • EW says :

      Hi, Michele,
      I don’t have your email address so I’m preying on Michael’s goodwill – again.

      I find University College London’s Legacies of British Slave-ownership project a really useful resource. It lists those who received compensation (yes, it’s true) when slavery was abolished, so it gives a good jumping-off point in terms of names and ownership. They have a page on Emmaus Pen, Jamaica here: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/claim/view/22678.

      Hope it helps.

      Like

    • EW says :

      P.S.
      I’ve just found this from http://www.antonymaitland.com/jamgenrl.htm:

      “St. Elizabeth was famous for breeding thoroughbred racehorses. Black River had a fashionable racetrack and grandstand, and some plantations such a Emmaus Pen, just adjoining Ashton Pen, even had their own private racetracks. Race meetings were crowded events, attended in force by the local Gentry, and visitors from other parishes, anxious to show off their new carriages and the latest fashions from Europe. The Highgate Hunt, supported by the local Anglo-Irish gentry such as The Cuff family, frequently met in St. Elizabeth, to ride to hounds. Later on there was Polo at Gilnock Hall Estate, Tennis and Golf at Malvern, and weekend Shooting Parties on all the country estates during “The Season”. Shooting began in Jamaica on “The Glorious 12th” of August, exactly the same as in Scotland, and guests were invited down for the long weekend from Kingston and Montego Bay and even came out for the Winter from England, to shoot quail, snipe, plover, wild pigeon and wild duck. These were elaborate social affairs, each with an army of beaters and bird dogs and the usual servants and shooting luncheons. There was even the occasional crocodile hunt in the swamps of the Black River.”

      Like

      • Michele Fendler says :

        Thank you for both links. My Great ++Grandmother was a Cuff. Michael Cuff Esq was her father. I’m trying to learn as much as I can on all the Plantations and Pens they had in Jamaica. It helps when doing family history.

        Thank you so much for the response.

        Michele

        Like

      • EW says :

        Hi again, Michele.
        I see from the death notice of George Cuff (died 4 August 1858), second son of Michael Cuff, that the family estate in Ireland was Forthill, County Mayo. I am sure you have that information, but thought it couldn’t hurt to check with you.
        Family history leads us in so many directions. I hope you are enjoying the journey.

        Like

      • Michele Fendler says :

        I do have that! Thank you so much for thinking of me! I appreciate the message.

        Family history sure does lead us in so many directions. It’s also very frustrating! Usually when I get to,that point I quit for a bit and focus on a different part of my tree.

        That’s probably why my Jamaican side has taken so long to work on!

        Again, thank you!

        Like

  8. Cindy Grealis says :

    My wife’s family is related to the Cuff Family of Emmaus Pen in Jamaica. While researching her family history we hit a block trying to tie Michael Cuff (1772-1825-26) to his Irish roots. I speculated that he may have been a younger son of the wealthy Cuff Family in County Mayo and thus left to make his fortune in Jamaica, his older brother James ( his will’s executor) being the one who inherited the title and family assets.
    Anyone who offer help would be most welcomed.
    My wife’s 2nd Great Grandmother is Georgianna Cuff daughter of George Cuff (1815-1858)

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: