Sir William Young 1st Bart.

1725 - 1788


Slave-owner in Antigua and then in the Ceded & Neutral Islands, where he was Chief Commissioner for the sales of land and later governor of Dominica. His prosperity and conspicuous consumption in the 1750s and 1760s were overtaken by debt and contention with the British government over his misuse of the proceeds of land sales under his commission. He married as his second wife Elizabeth daughter of Brook Taylor, and together with her had Sir William Young 2nd bart. (q.v.) and John Young (q.v.). Sarah Elizabeth Ottley and Elizabeth Summers (each of whom q.v.) were his daughters, also by his second marriage (one of Sarah Elizabeth Ottley's children was named Brooke Taylor). In 1788 the 1st bart. bequeathed four estates (one in Antigua, two in St Vincent and one in Tobago, with a total of 896 enslaved people) to his eldest son William. Original grantee of Betsy's Hope in St Paul Tobago, and possibly also the original grantee of King's Bay and Merchiston in St Paul Tobago, although there is room in the case of the latter two for confusion with William Young of Auchenskeoch (q.v.). His estate in Antigua was almost certainly Old Road. The two estates in St Vincent were almost certainly Villa (St Vincent claim no. 559) and Pembroke (St Vincent claim no. 577).

  1. Nine estates of Sir William Young, four in St Vincent (Queensbury, Pembroke, and two unnamed on Bequia), three 'Woodland' estates on Dominica, one unnamed estate on St John, and one unnamed on Tobago, were advertised in October 1774 as to be sold by auction 01/06/1775. The Bequia estates were each of some 250 acres, bought in 1766 from French owners, Pierre and Jean Baptiste Duboye: one with an established sugar plantation worked by 'about thirty seasoned negroes'; most of the other was uncleared, but some of it was being used for provisions and pasture. Both were valued at £11,110 in 1773. His Dominican properties consisted of three lots of uncleared woodland in Dominica, probably when he was Governor of the island from 1771 to 1773. He seems to have made no effort to develop this land. It was given a 'supposed' value of £6,740. Queensbury (Queensberry) was the only sale actually completed out of what was intended to be a comprehensive disposal of Young's assets in order to pay off his debts to the crown.

  2. Will of Sir William Young of Delaford proved 30/07/1788. In the will he described the trust settlement for his estates which allowed him £1600 p.a. until he paid off the debt he owed to the British government.


E. I. Carlyle, ‘Young, Sir William, second baronet (1749–1815)’, rev. Richard B. Sheridan, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 [, accessed 1 Nov 2013]; an account of Sir William Young's ownership and activity in the West Indies, including his role as Chief Commissioner in the land sales in the Ceded and Neutral Islands, appears in P. J. Marshall, 'The Kentish Associations of a Great West Indian planter: Sir William Young (1725-1788) and his monument at Chatham', Archaeologia Cantiana Vol. 142 (2021) pp. 105-117.

  1. Email from Peter Marshall, 04/09/2017 sourced to: Bodleian Library Oxford, MS W. Ind, f.1 (notes this is the first volume of a collection of the papers of Young's son, the second Baronet; it largely deals with the management of his inheritance of West Indian lands from his father by Sir William Young the second); National Archives, TS 11/214-17; Public Ledger 03/10/1774 and further advertisements for the largely abortive sale of Young's assets that appeared in the London press between 1774 and 1776.

  2. PROB 11/1168/250.

The portrait, 'The Family of Sir William Young', by Zoffany, c. 1768, is held at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.

We are grateful to Peter Marshall for his assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

(1) Sarah Fagg[e]; (2) Elizabeth Taylor
With (2) Sarah Elizabeth; Elizabeth; William; John
Colonial administrator

Associated Estates (8)

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
- 1788 [EY] → Owner

The Wm Young who was the original grantee of Betsey's Hope under St Paul nos. 1 & 4 has been identified as Sir William Young the 1st bart. with Robert Stewart (d. 1773) as Present Proprietors of the lots Barbados Bay (i.e. St Paul) nos. 1-4 c. 1773, and the original purchaser on 12/05/1766 as William Young (lot no. 1 for 300 acres and lot no. 4 for 200 acres: lot no. 2 for 400 acres and no. 3 for 100 acres, which formed Delaford estate, went to John Dearman Nanton, probably the first baronet's half-brother).

12/05/1766 [SD] - 1773 [LA] → Joint owner
1766 [SY] - 1788 [EY] → Owner
1766 [SY] - → Owner

Tentative association: the original grantee was possibly William Young of Auchenskeoch (q.v.)

1773 [EA] - 1788 [LA] → Owner

Presumably inherited through his mother Margaret nee Nanton.

1741 [SY] - 1788 [EY] → Owner
1774 [EA] - 1788 [EY] → Owner
- 1775 [EY] → Owner

Legacies Summary

Cultural (1)

The Family of Sir William Young (c. 1767-1769), by Johan... 

Historical (1)

Considerations which may tend to promote the settlement of our new West-Inda colonies, by encouraging individuals to embark in the... 1764 

Relationships (8)

Beneficiary of Trust → Trustee
Notes →
Poole was made a trustee of Sir William Young's property in order to manage Young's debts to the Crown. ...
Father → Son
Father → Daughter
Notes →
Sarah Elizabeth Ottley's will of 1825 shows her 'dear father' Sir William Young of Delaford settling £10,000 upon her on her marriage to Richard Ottley....
Father-in-law → Son-in-law
Father → Son
Father → Daughter
Grandfather → Grandson
Son → Father

Addresses (1)

Delaford Park, Iver Lane, Iver, Buckinghamshire, Central England, England