Isaac Lascelles Winn or Wynn

1736 - 1808


  1. The New-York Observer (1905) praised Isaac Lascelles Winn as ‘a benevolent Quaker’ for employing black Baptist preacher Moses Baker (q.v.) ‘to teach his slaves and prepare them for emancipation’ and for replacing previous ‘cruelties’ and ‘barbarity’ with his ‘mercy’, thereby ensuring that Marly Castle, where ‘Winn lived, is remembered as a landmark in human progress’. Winn’s employment of Baker did much to promote the Baptist cause on the island. No evidence, however, suggests Winn was preparing those he enslaved for freedom. His will directed his executors ‘dispose of all my property of every kind,’ which included 288 enslaved people on Adelphi and Marly estates. Winn’s will arranged nothing for their protection. Richard Hill, Governor Sligo’s black Secretary of the Special Justices' Department, considered the history of Winn’s Marly Castle as ‘unrivalled in importance in the religious history of the island, and in the immediate influence of religion on its last great political change, from slavery to equal laws and equal liberty.’ Nevertheless, Hill asked, if ‘our reforming Quaker’ ever considered whether ‘any thing more was possible for philanthropy, than to mingle… contentment with the lot of the slave?’

  2. Born in 1736 or 1737 to George and Elizabeth Winn. Registered with the Quaker Friends at Malton, Yorkshire. Isaac’s siblings included Elijah (1730-1807), who became a Master Mariner; Christopher (1742-1773), a merchant of Kingston, Jamaica, who bequeathed his siblings property in Jamaica; Mary, who married Richard Howson, mariner; and Hannah, who married Richard Hillary (1703-1789), ‘one of the principal West India and American Merchants at Liverpool’. Isaac’s mother Elizabeth ‘was a Lascelles, a member of an eminent Quaker family, with property in Jamaica and links to the Earls of Harewood.’

  3. Winn was a devout Quaker. Before the American Revolution, Winn had been a sea captain, making frequent calls at American ports. In the Frankland, he transported 192 German Protestants from Germany and Rotterdam to South Carolina, arriving in January 1766. In March, Winn left New York for Rotterdam.

  4. In 1769, Winn sailed from New York for England in the ‘Duchess of Gordon’. Moses Baker later remembered Winn ‘commanding a trading vessel called the Dutchess of Gordon, running between England and the American colonies.’ In 1772, Winn was renting a property in Christopher’s Court, immediately behind wharves on the Thames, in the area of St Katherine’s by the Tower, a hospital for the poor outside the walls of the Tower of London: this vessel and the wharves indicate some of Winn’s business infrastructure. His Tower-side location probably explains why it was Winn who, in 1773, in the Duchess, transported the tiger cat sent over by Lt-Col William Tryon, Governor of New York, ‘as a present to His Majesty, to be carried to the Tower’. In 1775 John Thomas of Montego Bay, Jamaica, was Winn’s attorney, perhaps handling Winn’s Jamaica trade and the estate of Winn’s recently deceased brother, Christopher. In 1775, Winn captained the sloop Hannah, ‘loaded with a West Indian cargo’, from Jamaica and New York for London. Philadelphia merchant Daniel Roberdeau wrote to Winn’s attorney John Thomas about credit and reported that lightening had struck the mast of his ‘worthy friend Winn’, obliging him to put into New York, having been refused entry to Philadelphia. After Winn sailed for Boston, New York’s Committee of Safety dispatched ships to detain Capt. Winn and his vessel. Upon examination, suspicions were judged groundless and Winn considered friendly to America’s liberties. The Committee issued Winn a certificate of good conduct to counter an unfavourable newspaper report. Winn was allowed to proceed with the voyage, ‘her cargo unmolested’. Around this time, Winn purchased the Sally brigantine at Boston in order to convey his family to England, she having been taken from the Americans by one of H.M. ships of war. Winn reached Swansea in 1776. At some stage, Winn, his nephew Richard Howson (son of Mary) and George Atkinson his clerk, became prisoners of Massachusetts state. His request to purchase or build a small vessel to carry them all to Jamaica was granted.

  5. In 1781 Winn was elected a member for St James parish for the next General Assembly. Also in 1781, he advertised the fine new frigate Fame, with 30 mounted pounders and one hundred men, to take freight from Jamaica to London. In 1762 Winn’s brother Christopher, captain of the Polly, had brought bale goods from London to Philadelphia and took provisions outward to Jamaica. Christopher’s natural son William was born to ‘Elizabeth Davidson a free mulatto woman’ in 1772. Isaac Winn was still acting as executor in 1794 for his deceased brother Christopher, merchant of Kingston. Winn was likely developing his deceased brother’s holdings. In 1793 Pierce Butler, Founding Father and one the US’s largest slaveholders, described his dear friend Winn as ‘the benevolent enlightened friend of mankind’. In 1794 Winn announced all debts paid, his own and his brothers’. In 1789 Winn was building a house at Montego Bay; by 1799 was a Director of the Close Harbour Company, developing Montego Bay; and by 1800 Director of the Falmouth Water Co.

  6. By 1774, Winn was in possession of the Stretch and Set (later, Adelphi) sugar estate, located in St. James Parish near Montego Bay. He likely inherited from his deceased brother or another family member. In the mid-1780s Winn purchased some more enslaved people at Kingston, who were church members of black Baptist preacher George Liele or Lisle, the founder of Jamaica’s Baptist Mission. They were greatly distressed at losing their religious teacher. Winn sincerely sympathized with them in their sorrow, and in 1788 he persuaded the free black Baptist preacher Moses Baker to instruct them, from which grew Baker’s Baptist mission in north-western Jamaica. From 1794, Baker, a refugee from America, was also preaching on Samuel Vaughan’s Flamstead and Crooked Spring estates and elsewhere. By 1793, Winn had renamed the Stretch and Set estate Adelphi, meaning ‘brothers’.

  7. Later, BMS missionaries reported ‘Mr. Wynne appears to have been a truly generous man, who felt much concern for the spiritual well-being of his slaves, and exposed himself to some obloquy by allowing his negroes to be instructed; but he was in part seconded by Samuel Vaughan (q.v.), a man of considerable influence in the district.’ Vaughan induced the Baptist Mission Society in 1813 to commence a mission to the island.

  8. Probably in the early 1770s, Winn married Susannah (1749-1818) and had a daughter Emily Providentia (1776-1834) and son George Sidney (1777-1802), who all seem to have moved to England in the late-1770s. In later life Susannah and Emily were not in membership with the Quakers. Winn had a second family, with ‘Grace Davis a free Quadroon,’ including William Davis Winn (b.1786), George Davis Winn (1788), and Mary Gwynn Winn (1790). A fourth natural daughter, Maria, died in 1798.

  9. Winn probably established good relations with the nearby Trelawny Town Maroons, recognising the mutual benefits of alliance. In 1795, writing just before the Second Maroon War began, Winn advised caution. His neighbour Mr Love’s land adjoined Maroon territory. Winn decried Love, who warned of hostilities, as ‘an ignorant credulous babbling creature, on whose report no confidence can be placed’: ‘this cloud seems dispersing, without producing the storm it once threatened’. Governor Balcarres ignored the advice of local planters like Winn and ordered his forces to put down the Maroons of Trelawny Town. Fighting began in mid-August.

  10. Winn erected Marly Castle, ‘a little miniature fortress, crowning an abrupt cross elevation between two ridges of hills’, probably in the late-1790s. In the so-called Baptist War of 1831-2, ‘the spirit of impatience grew up into rebellion’ among Marly’s Christian converts: Adelphi (249 enslaved) was one of the properties which suffered damage during the Sam Sharpe Rebellion, with its great house, sugarworks, and enslaved houses destroyed.

  11. Winn held Adelphi and three other or related properties in St James in late-1790s. Around 1805 he entered a deed with his daughter Emily Providentia Winn and wife Susannah Winn, both in England, at Bath and Ross; John Jarrott of Freemantle, H. Newton Jarrott, John Henry Tilson, and Isaac Lascelles Winn of St. James's in Jamaica, lands in Trelawny in Jamaica.

  12. Winn died 04/04/1808, ‘at his estate, near Montego Bay, Jamaica, Isaac Lascelles Winn, Esq. (of the Society Friends), aged 73; a gentleman, whose enterprising mind occasioned him to be well known, not only throughout that Island, but the Mother Country, and the United States.’ He was buried the next day at Marly.

  13. In his 1808 will, Winn left one third to Pierce Butler; one-third to the children of his brother Elijah; and one third to Hannah Maria Head, daughter of his sister Mary Howson. He left £500 each to 'W. Thomas Sidney Winn; my cousin Isaac Wynne, now with me; and William Fisbrooke, my clerk.' Winn’s property, however, had already become entangled with litigation that would last years. His will declares that ‘the bulk of mine estate depends’ on the case of Hillary vs Winn in Chancery, for which his friend Pierce Butler had already advanced him money and promised to provide what else was necessary to prosecute the cause. The Hillary here is either or both nephews Richard and William Hillary. These brothers had an interest in the Adelphi plantation (probably through their mother and her brother Christopher) and on it had borrowed £19,607 15s 8d from the Hibberts. The Hibberts brought a suit, expecting not to leave much over for other creditors. Sir William Hillary fled in 1808 to avoid his debts (and later instituted the RNLI). The compensation awards were taken by John Vincent Purrier, as receiver in the Hibbert vs Hillary and Hillary vs Winn suits. In 1843 Purrier was eventually awarded £2,819 8s 11d compensation money. In 1855, 21 years after her death, the solicitors of Winn’s daughter Emily Providentia invited creditors, following a Chancery order from the case Badham v. Hillary, Baronet (i.e. William).

  14. In 1818, Winn’s nephew, T. S. Winn, was inviting subscriptions for his book ‘The Playful Philosopher, or Recollections through Life, with Recollections on the Island of Jamaica, and of the United States of America, after a residence in those countries’. Soon afterwards T. S. Winn was writing in favour of emancipation in Emancipation; or Practical advice to British slave-holders.

  We are grateful to Steven Carter for his assistance in compiling this entry.


  1. New York Observer v. 83, 18 May 1905, p.1. PROB 11/1916/366. The 1811 Almanac at Royal Gazette of Jamaica , Saturday 6 May 1815, p.16. Hill, Richard. Lights and Shadows of Jamaica History: Being Three Lectures, Delivered in Aid of the Mission Schools of the Colony, Ford & Gall, 1859, pp.75, 87.

  2. RG6/1325; RG6/907 p.89; RG6/1122 p.37. Leeds Intelligencer and Yorkshire General Advertiser , 27 Nov 1764, p. 2. Gleeson, Janet. The Lifeboat Baronet: Launching the RNLI, p.35. History Press, 2014.

  3. Revill, Janie. A Compilation of the Original Lists of the Protestant Immigrants to South Carolina, 1763-1773 , p.52-56. The State Company, 1939. E.B. O'Callaghan (ed.), Calendar of historical manuscripts in the office of the secretary of state , p.754. Terry W. Lipscomb (ed.) The Letters of Pierce Butler, 1790-1794: Nation Building and Enterprise in the New American Republic , 2007, p.241.

  4. William Vincent Byars (ed.), B. and M. Gratz: Merchants in Philadelphia, 1754-1798: Papers of interest to their posterity and the posterity of their associates, H. Stephens Printing Co., 1916, p.103. Richard Arthur Roberts (ed.), Calendar of Home Office Papers of the Reign of George III, 1773-1775,, HMSO, 1899, pp.155, 509. Richard Hill, Lights and Shadows of Jamaica History: Being Three Lectures, Delivered in Aid of the Mission Schools of the Colony, Ford & Gall, 1859, p.78. City of London Land Tax Records, 1692-1932, St Katharine by the Tower, 1772, p.28. William Bell Clark (ed.), Naval Documents of the American Revolution , vol. 2, US Government Printing Office, 1964. pp.33, 40, 98. Y Cymmrodor, Cymmrodorion Society., 1917 p.258. Clifford, John Henry, Wheeler, Alexander Strong, Williamson, and William Cross. The Acts and Resolves, Public and Private, of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, Wright & Potter, 1918, pp.615, 829.

  5. Royal Gazette of Jamaica, Saturday 24 February 1781, p.14. Royal Gazette of Jamaica Saturday 11 August 1781, p.3. Long, Edward. The History of Jamaica: Or, General Survey of the Antient and Modern State of that Island: with Reflections on Its Situation, Settlements, Inhabitants, vol. 1, T. Lowndes, 1774, p.113. Royal Gazette of Jamaica, Saturday 18 October 1794, p.15. Jamaica, Church of England Parish Register Transcripts, 1664-1880, Kingston Baptisms 1722-1792 , vol. 1, image 121, p.233; RG Dept., Spanish Town. Jamaica Almanacs of 1789, 1799 and 1800.

  6. The Evangelical Magazine, 1803, pp.365-371, 550-551. Clark, John., Dendy, Walter., Phillippo, James Mursell. The Voice of Jubilee: A Narrative of the Baptist Mission, Jamaica, from Its Commencement; with Biographical Notices of Its Fathers and Founders , J. Snow, 1865, p.33. Richard Hill, Lights and Shadows of Jamaica History: Being Three Lectures, Delivered in Aid of the Mission Schools of the Colony, Jamaica: Ford & Gall, 1859, p.77.

  7. The Missionary Herald: Containing Intelligence, at Large, of the Proceedings and Operations of the Baptist Missionary Society, G. Wightman, 1864. p.10. Clark, John., Dendy, Walter., Phillippo, James Mursell. The Voice of Jubilee: A Narrative of the Baptist Mission, Jamaica, from Its Commencement; with Biographical Notices of Its Fathers and Founders , J. Snow, 1865, pp.35-36.

  8. Lawrence-Archer, James Henry. Monumental inscriptions of the British West Indies from the earliest date , Chatto, 1875, p.321. Worcester Journal, Thursday 27 August 1818, p.3. RG 6/850 p.60; RG 6/926 p.16.

  9. Robert Charles Dallas, The History of the Maroons , Longman and Rees, 1803. pp.330-332. Helen McKee, From Violence to Alliance: Maroons and white settlers in Jamaica, 1739–1795, Taylor and Francis Online, 2017, pp.27-52. Richard Hill, Lights and Shadows of Jamaica History: Being Three Lectures, Delivered in Aid of the Mission Schools of the Colony , Ford & Gall, 1859, p.83.

  10. Richard Hill, Lights and Shadows of Jamaica History: Being Three Lectures, Delivered in Aid of the Mission Schools of the Colony, Ford & Gall, 1859, pp.75-99. Jenny Jemmott, The Parish History of St James , pp.33, 53, available online:

  11. James Robertson, Map of Jamaica, 1804. Caribbeana , vol. II - 'Deeds Relating to the West Indies - Jamaica' p.348.

  12. Gentleman's Magazine, v.103 1808, p.557. Hereford Journal, 15 June 1808, p.3. Worcester Journal,16 June 1808, p.3. Ipswich, August 9, 1834. Jamaica, Church of England Transcripts, St James 1770-1809, vol. 1, p.391. Royal Gazette of Jamaica, Saturday 11 April 1818, p.19.

  13. PROB 11/1916/366. Donington, Katie. The Bonds of Family: Slavery, Commerce and Culture in the British Atlantic World. Manchester University Press, 2019. Ipswich Journal, 20 January 1855, p.2.

  14. Royal Gazette of Jamaica, Saturday 11 April 1818, p.19. T. S. Winn, Emancipation; or Practical advice to British slave-holders: with suggestions for the general improvement of West India affairs. W. Phillips, 1824.

Further Information

[With Grace Davies] William Davis (1786-), George Davies (1788-), Mary Gwynn (1790-)

Transcript at

Isaac Lasselles Winn of the parish of St James, Jamaica.

John Perry Esquire of St James, Jamaica and Pierce Butler Esquire of the City of Philadelphia sometime a senator of Member of Congress of the United States of America to be executors and trustees.

All my estates in trust, to pay debts and the residue to be divided into three equal parts. Mention of the bulk of estate involved in Chancery. One-third to be paid to Pierce Butler, he has advanced me money for this case. One third to be divided between the children of my late brother Elijah Winn. One third to be paid to Hannah Maria Head, widow of the late Benjamin Head, and daughter of my late sister Mary Howson. Before partition, from the residue of my estate to be paid: £500 to W. Thomas Sidney Winn now or late of Southampton; £500 to my cousin Isaac Wynne now with me; £500 to William Fisbrooke my clerk.

Signed 30/03/1808.

John Parry and Pierce Butler died without taking upon themselves the execution of the will. Proved 09/09/1839 by Edward Purrier Esquire, attorney of Ann Starrwood(?) now residing in Scarborough in Yorkshire.


Associated Estates (4)

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
1809 [EA] - 1839 [LA] → Previous owner
1774 [EA] - → Owner
1794 [EA] - 1794 [LA] → Attorney
1817 [EA] - 1820 [LA] → Not known

Relationships (3)

Notes →
Hannah, the sister of Isaac Lascelles Winn, married Richard Hillary on 07/11/...
Father → Daughter
Uncle → Nephew
Notes →
Hannah, the sister of Isaac Lascelles Winn, married Richard Hillary Sr. on 07/11/ 1764. See Janet Gleeson, The Lifeboat Baronet: Launching the RNLI. The History Press,...