John Willett Willett senior, formerly Adye

1st Jan 1745 - 26th Sep 1815

Previous owner (non-claimant)


John Willett Adye (1745-1815), took the name Willett in 1795 when he inherited estates in St Kitts and Dorset from his cousin Ralph Willett.

  1. 2nd son of Stephen Adye of St Kitts (d. 1756) and Clara daughter of Abraham Payne of St Kitts. Living at Dean Street, Soho, 1779 when he was trustee in the will of Jas. Parson Ottley of St Kitts. Married (1) Catherine daughter of Henry Brouncker of St Kitts and Boveridge, Dorset and (2) Frances Wilson. Inherited estates in Dorset and St Kitts from his cousin Ralph Willett who had adopted him from infancy and took the name Willett by Royal License 28/02/1795. MP for New Romney 1796 and 1806. Died at Bath, 26/09/1815 age 71. Succeeded by his eldest son John Willett Willet (q.v.). Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and Fellow of the Royal Society.

  2. Fellow of the Royal Society, 08/12/1774. Nominated Sheriff of Dorset for the second time in 1809.

  3. Ralph Willett (1719-1795), from whom John Willett Willett inherited estates in England and St Kitts and whose name he took, was an 'immensely rich' book collector and connoisseur. 'With the depreciation of West Indian property in the early years of the ninteenth century Willett's collections were dispersed...'


T71/879 St Kitts claim nos. 747 (Red Gate) and 748 (Bevon Island).

  1. 'Adye of St Kitts' in Vere Langford Oliver, Caribbeana being miscellaneous papers relating to the history, genealogy, topography, and antiquities of the British West Indies (6 vols., London, Mitchell, Hughes and Clarke, 1910-1919) Vol. 2 pp. 242-250; for an account of his Parliamentary career see R. G. Thorne (ed.), The House of Commons, 1790-1820 (5 vols., London, Secker & Warburg for the History of Parliament Trust, 1986), entry for John Willett Willett, available at History of Parliament online [accessed 27/05/2012].
  2. See Cultural Legacies for source; Times 15/11/1809.

  3. Oxford DNB online, Marc Vaulbert de Chantilly, 'Willett, Ralph (1719-1795), book collector and connoisseur'

Further Information

Name in compensation records
John Willett Adye
Clara Payne
Annabella Willett (1781-1795), John Willett (1784-1839), Henry Ralph (1786-1857)

Associated Claims (3)

£4,275 6s 4d
Previous owner (not making a claim)
£1,424 1s 6d
Other association
£1,424 1s 6d

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
1817 [EA] - 1822 [LA] → Previous owner

Legacies Summary

Cultural (3)

'Portrait of Mr Adye's Children (The Willett Children)' by George Romney, 1789-1791, now in the Philadelphia Museum of... 
notes →
Royal Society...... 
notes →
For the full record of Willett's membership of the Royal Society see Royal...
Society of Antiquaries...... 

Physical (1)

description →
Garden design by Humphry Repton before 1797, shown as inconclusively documented in Gazetteer compiled with John Phibbs’ in Stephen Daniels, Humphry Repton, Landscape Gardening and the Geography of...

Political (2)

Local Government
office →
1809 -
Pittite (Tory) 
election →
New Romney Kent
1796 - 1806

Relationships (5)

Son-in-law → Father-in-law
Son-in-law → Mother-in-law
Father → Son
Father → Son
Legatee → Testator
Notes →
Ralph Willett adopted his 'cousin' [in fact, the child of Ralph Willett's cousin Clara Adye] John Willett Adye in the latter's...