James Langford Nibbs senior

1738 - 1795


Son of James Nibbs of Haddons and Mehetable Langford (his first cousin), and also cousin of James Nibbs of Upton House (q.v.).

  1. Will of James Langford Nibbs of Beauchamp Devon [made in 1792] proved 01/06/1796. The will opens with a recitation that his eldest son James Langford Nibbs was entitled to an annuity of £150 p.a. secured on the Haddons or Weeks [?] plantation on Antigua (which the testator confirmed), but had by imprudence reduced himself to 'straights' and assigned all his property including his reversionary interest after his parents' deaths under their marriage settlement and under his father's will to Thomas Oliver the elder of Mark Lane. Accordingly, James Langford Nibbs the testator left the two estates of Haddons or Weeks and Popes Head in trust for the benefit of his wife and his younger sons George, Richard and Samuel and daughter Barbara Nibbs. He left Beauchamp House to his wife for life to be sold after her death.

  2. James Langford Nibbs son of James of Antigua matriculated St John's Oxford 09/11/1758 aged 19.

  3. Rev. George Austen, Jane Austen's father, was a ‘trustee to preserve contingent remainders’ of James Langford Nibbs' marriage settlement of 8 and 9 February 1760. George Austen was Nibbs's Oxford tutor. All settlements of c.1740-1845 had such a device essentially as a formality. John Avery Jones describes the trusteeship as "purely nominal", and suggests that one "cannot deduce anything about his attitude to slavery from his acceptance of the trusteeship." John Avery Jones also mentions "the possibility that the Nibbs family and their Antiguan plantation inspired Jane Austen's creation of the Bertram family [...] in Mansfield Park.

  4. James Langford Nibbs was the godfather of Jane Austen's brother James.

We are grateful to John Avery Jones for his assistance in compiling this entry.


Vere Langford Oliver, History of Antigua Vol. II part II pp. 292-293.

  1. PROB 11/1276/15.

  2. Ancestry.com, Oxford University Alumni, 1500-1886 [database online].

  3. John Avery Jones, ‘George Austen as a (nominal) trustee of a plantation in Antigua: the legal position’, Jane Austen Society Annual Report (2021), pp. 33-49 (p. 33; 36).

  4. Ruth Perry, 'Austen and Empire: a thinking woman's guide to British imperialism', Journal of the Jane Austen Society of North America - Persuasions No. 16 1994, www.jasna.org.

Further Information

Barbara Langford
James Langford jun.; George; Richard; Barbara; Samuel

Associated Estates (2)

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
- 1795 [EY] → Owner
- 1796 [LA] → Owner

Legacies Summary

Physical (1)

Country house
Beauchamp House [Purchased] 
description →
Country house in Washfield, Tiverton Devon variously described as Beauchamp Hall or Beauchamp House which under his will (as Beauchamp House) James Langford Nibbs left in 1795 to his wife Barbara for...

Relationships (6)

Father → Son
Son → Father
First Cousins
Father → Daughter
Notes →
Barbara was co-heir under the will of her father James Langford Nibbs...
Deceased Husband → Widow
Father → Son

Addresses (1)

Beauchamp, Washfield, Devon, Devon & Cornwall, England