Rt Rev. Henry Phillpotts

6th May 1778 - 18th Sep 1869

Claimant or beneficiary


The Bishop of Exeter and three others appear in the compensation records for Whitney and Rymesbury in Clarendon and New Yarmouth in Vere, all in Jamaica, because they were trustees and executors of the will of John William Ward, Earl of Dudley (q.v.) 

  1. Son of Henry Phillpotts of Bridgwater; matriculated Corpus Christi 07/11/1791 aged 13; fellow Magdalen 1795-1804; BA 1795; MA 179; BD and DD 1821; chaplain to Bishop of Durham 1806; Vicar of Kilmersdon 1804, Bishop Middleham 1805, Stanton-le-Street 1806, Rector Gateshead 1808, preb of Durham 1810-20, rector of Stanhope in Weardale 1820, dean of Chester 1828, visitor Exeter College 1831 and bishop of Exeter 1831[sic.], died 1869.

  2. Note that beside being Bishop of Exeter from December 1830 to 1869, Phillpotts was also a Canon of Durham from 1831 to 1869 (and received emoluments associated with that). Originally the bishop had hoped to continue to receive the emoluments from Stanhope, near Durham (one of the wealthiest benefices in the country), where he had been rector, but the Government did not allow it. Instead, the Bishop of Durham arranged for one of his Canons to move to Stanhope, so that the bishop could take his stall in Durham Cathedral.

  3. Ever since Eric Williams discovered the bishop’s name in the compensation records, several authors have claimed that the bishop was a slave owner, but there is no evidence of this. His name does not appear in the Jamaica Almanacs or in the Slave Registers. On the other hand, his brother Thomas (q.v.) was a slave owner in Jamaica and appears frequently in those records.


T71/859 Clarendon nos. 284 and 320; T71/857 Vere no. 70. He is given as 'Philpotts' in these records. See separate entry for John William Ward, Earl of Dudley (q.v.) for details of his will. See Morning Post 31/12/1862 for an interesting obituary of Phillpotts.

  1. CCEd [database online] Person ID: 28960, sourced to Foster.

  2. Email from Peter Wingfield-Digby 23/10/2019. The role of Phillpotts at Durham can be seen in the Clergy Lists.

  3. For more on Thomas Phillpotts see https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs//media-new/pdfs/phillpottsslaveowner.pdf. For an example of continued references to Henry Phillpotts as a slave-owner see Nigel Pocock and Victoria Cook, 'The business of enslavement', BBC History in depth http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/abolition/slavery_business_gallery_03.shtml [accessed 30/04/2012]: 'Phillpotts and three business associates invested in slave plantations in Jamaica, and when slavery was abolished they were paid compensation for the loss of 665 slaves. A bishop personally owning slaves must have been a powerful legitimating tool for Caribbean interests in Britain.'

We are grateful to Peter Wingfield-Digby for his assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

Name in compensation records
Rt. Hon. Rev. H. Philpotts
Oxford (Corpus Christi) [1791-1795 ]
Church of England

Associated Claims (3)

£5,480 13s 1d
Awardee (Executor or executrix)
£2,412 6s 8d
Awardee (Executor or executrix)
£4,836 4s 7d
Awardee (Executor or executrix)

Associated Estates (1)

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
06/05/1833 [SD] - → Trustee

Legacies Summary

Political (0)

House of Lords

Relationships (1)


Addresses (1)

Exeter, Devon, Devon & Cornwall, England