John Tharp IV, of Good Hope and Chippenham Park

1744 - 1804


Born in 1744, son of Joseph Tharp and Margaret nee Frost. Inherited Batchelor's Hall and Pedro estates in Hanover, Jamaica, from his father and grandfather by 1754. Educated at Eton and Trinity, Cambridge.

Married Elizabeth Partridge in 1765 and through her he acquired Potosi estate in St James, which he sold in 1769 (apparently subject to a mortgage to the buyer, give that ownership returned to him by the time of his death) choosing to invest instead in land in the newly formed parish of Trelawny. Acquired further estates in the area, eventually owning 10 estates in total. Member of Assembly for Trelawny in 1772.

Five surviving children with Elizabeth: Joseph (bap. 1767), John (bap. 1771) [John VI], William Blake, Thomas Partridge (bap. 1773) and Elizabeth Partridge (bap. 1773). His first wife Elizabeth died in 1780.

John Tharp contributed £50 to the University of Pennsylvania following Dr John Morgan's fundraising tour of the West Indies in 1772-1773.

John had an illegitimate daughter, Mary Hyde Tharp, born 07/08/1782, by Hannah Philips. She was baptised in Trelawny 16/04/1784. He bequeathed to her £100 p/a to age 21 and £1,200 at age 21. Mary Hyde Tharp married (1) 1800, Robert Hayward of Fordham, Cambridgeshire (who died in 1830, aged 50, described as “an opulent miller and eminent agriculturalist”) and (2), 1834, Robert Dix. She died, a widow, at Fordham, 24/02/1864; probate value under £4,000; her only child, Mary Ann Hayward married, 1833, Tansley Hall (later ordained; curate of Fordham from 1841, by which date Mary Ann had died).

In 1794 he remarried, to the widowed Ann Gallimore (nee Virgo). She was considerably younger than him. In their marriage settlement, John received Lansquinet and Cheshire estates, with 750 acres and 375 enslaved people. In return, Ann was guaranteed £1,200 Jamaican currency p/a should she outlive John. John and Ann left Jamaica for England in 1795, where they lived at John's Chippenham Park estate in Cambridgeshire and at his townhouse at 41 Portland Place.

John Tharp bought Chippenham Park in Cambridgeshire for £40,000 in 1791. The house history online describes him as 'a hugely successful sugar baron' and states that he 'had a large fortune from Jamaican sugar plantations.'

By 1801, Ann had had an affair with the husband of John's daughter, Elizabeth Phillipson nee Tharp, and was pregnant with an illegitimate child. Richard Burton Burton Phillipson was a wealthy clergyman and he lived near John Tharp's Cambridgeshire estate. On discovering the affair, John obtained a legal separation from his wife, allocating her a substantial income and receiving a guarantee that she would have no further contact with Richard.

John Tharp returned to Jamaica in 1802. He died at Good Hope in Trelawny in 1804. His heir was his grandson John Tharp VIII (q.v.), declared lunatic and committed, with his uncle John Tharp VI as committee.

The Jamaican inventory of John Tharp, dated 01/03/1805, values his moveable estate at £362,262 19s 11 3/4 d, of which over £14,248 was 'book debts'.

The family of Behaviour of Good Hope Plantation was among the many families enslaved by Tharp.

We are grateful to Anthony Gambrill, Paul Hitchings, and Julie Coleman for their assistance with compiling this entry.


'The Tharp Papers', [accessed 11/10/2015]. PROB 11/1423/18. Sarah M. S. Pearsall, Atlantic Families: Lives and Letters in the Later Eighteenth Centry (Oxford, 2008) chapter 7; Sarah M. S. Pearsall, ''The Late Flagrant Instance of Depravity in My Family’: The Story of an Anglo-Jamaican Cuckold,' William and Mary Quarterly 60, no. 3 (2003);, Jamaica Church of England Parish Register Transcripts, 1664-1880 [database online]; [accessed 26/02/2016]. Email from Anthony Gambrill sourced to John Tharp Details of Inventory Volume 104 Folio33 April24 1805.

C. S. Graubard, 'Documenting the University of Pennsylvania's Connection to Slavery (2018) via [accessed 16/01/2019].

Information on Mary Hyde Tharp: Huntingdon, Bedford and Peterborough Gazette, 05/06/1830; Cambridgeshire Chronicle and Journal, 26/04/1833 and 11/07/1834; National Probate Calendar 1864;, Cambridge University Alumni, 1261-1900 [database online].

There is a detailed account of the development of the Tharp estates written by Alan Furness and now published by the Friends of the Georgian Society of Jamaica, at [accessed 30/04/2018]. We would like to thank Rosemary Dodd and Robert Barker of the FGSJ for drawing our attention to this material.

For a family tree of the family of Behaviour, see An index to the names of all the people enslaved on Good Hope, Covey, Top Hill Pen and Chippenham Park Pen in that period has been produced by Prof Julie Coleman at [accessed 17/05/2024].

Further Information

[1] Elizabeth Partridge [2] Ann Gallimore nee Virgo
With [1] Joseph, John, William Blake, Thomas Partridge, Elizabeth Partridge

PROB 11/1423/18 - precis.

John Tharp of Good Hope in Trelawny, Jamaica, and Chippenham Park in Cambridgeshire, Great Britain.

Debts and legacies to be chargeable on all my estates both real and personal.

By marriage settlement with my present wife Ann Tharp to settled £1,200 Jamaican currency p/a on her for life should she survive me. My wife by her conduct rendered herself utterly unworthy of my affection and regard I do not add in any manner whatever to the said settlement but merely confirm the same.

My leasehold dwelling in Portland Place number 64[?] which I lately purchased from James Gibson, also its contents, my carriages and horses to be sold by my executors.

To my eldest son John Tharp all my wines and liquors at Portland Place and Chippenham Park. He to live at Chippenham Park until my grandson, named after my late son Joseph Tharp, reaches the age of 24 years.

To my said present eldest son John Tharp an annuity of £2,000 p/a for life. After the decease of John Tharp then £40,000 sterling for the benefit of every child of the said John Tharp lawfully begotten. £6,000 sterling for the benefit of such persons as the said John Tharp shall direct.

To my other son Thomas Partridge Tharp an annuity of £2,000 p/a for life and from his decease the sum of £30,000 for his lawful children. Also to Thomas Partridge Tharp £6,000 sterling for the benefit of such persons as he shall direct.

In case my dear daughter Eliza Partridge Phillipson shall find it expedient to live separate and apart from her husband Richard Burton Burton Phillipson I give and devise to her during such separation an annuity of £300 sterling.

To my granddaughter Charlotte Stewart Tharp £20,000 sterling on marriage. An annuity of £500 p/a to her from age 21 until marriage.

To my sister Sarah Brissett £50 Jamaican currency.

To my sister Rebecca Campbell any right I may have in Pedn[?] Penn in Hanover, Jamaica. Also to her an annuity of £100 sterling p/a.

To my reputed daughter Mary Hyde Tharp (now age 16 years or thereabouts) £2,000 at age 21 or marriage. An annuity of £100 sterling until she reaches age 21.

To Mr John Harwood of Trelawny, planter, an annuity of £100 sterling p/a.

Lady Susan Tharp, widow of my son Joseph Tharp: I agreed to give her an annuity of £1,500 on the death of my son Joseph, or £500 p/a should she remarry, secured on my plantation called the Covey, plus £200 p/a for the maintenance of her two children. Whereas Lady Susan Tharp has since intermarried with John Drew Esquire and been recently widowed I ratify this agreement.

All rest and residue to Simon Taylor of Jamaica, William Miles and his son Philip John Miles, both merchants of Bristol, Sir GIlbert Afflect of Dallian Hall, Suffolk, William Green of Jamaica, planter, George Hibbert of the City of London, merchant, John Richard Dashwood of Cley in Norfolk, Charles Oswen late of Kingston, Jamaica, merchant and now of Great Britain as trustees for the following purposes:

To the use and behoof of George Brissett of Hanover, Jamaica, James Lawrence of St James, Jamaica, and Joseph Brissett of Hanover, Jamaica for 500 years until my grandson John Tharp, son of Joseph Tharp, reaches age 21. From age 21 to age 24, an annuity of £3,000 p/a for him. After the death of my grandson John Tharp then the estates to his eldest son, in default to Joseph Sidney Tharp, the eldest son of my son John Tharp, in default to my son Thomas Partridge Tharp and his male heirs...

Signed 13/03/1801. Codicil dated

Wealth at death
Eton College [1758-1760 ]
Cambridge (Trinity) [1761 ]

Associated Estates (21)

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] - 1834 [LA] → Previous owner
- 1804 [EY] → Owner
- 1804 [EY] → Owner
1804 [EA] - 1832 [LA] → Previous owner
1770 [EA] - 1770 [LA] → Mortgage Holder

A deed in the Tharp Papers records the mortgage by William Blake and his wife of their half of Potosi and the whole of Dean's Valley Waterworks to John Tharp IV in 1770.

1815 [EA] - 1832 [LA] → Previous owner
- 1804 [EY] → Owner
1815 [EA] - 1832 [LA] → Previous owner
- 1804 [EY] → Owner
1815 [EA] - 1832 [LA] → Previous owner

The enslaved people on Merrywood were registered to 'the heirs of John Tharp' between 1815 and 1832. It is known that the trustees of Henry Cuniffe (q.v.) sold the estate for £30,000 after the latter's death in 1803. It has been inferred by LBS that the buyer was John Tharp II just before his own death in 1804.

- 1804 [EY] → Owner
1815 [EA] - 1832 [LA] → Previous owner
- 1804 [EY] → Owner
1789 [EA] - 1789 [LA] → Mortgagee-in-Possession
1770 [EA] - 1770 [LA] → Mortgage Holder
1805 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Previous owner
1782 [SY] - 1804 [EY] → Owner

This estate was named by John Tharp IV after the estate in St James he had previously co-owned with and through his first wife, and was established by him in 1782. A. E. Furness 'The Tharp Estates in Jamaica' [accessed 06/05/2020].

- 1804 [EY] → Owner
- 1804 [EY] → Owner
- 1804 [EY] → Owner
1805 [EA] - 1832 [LA] → Previous owner

Legacies Summary

Cultural (1)

University of Pennsylvania...... 
notes →
C. S. Graubard, 'Documenting the University of Pennsylvania's Connection to Slavery (2018) via [accessed...

Physical (1)

Country house
Chippenham Park [Purchased] 
description →
John Tharp bought Chippenham Park c. 1791, and was responsible for significant landscaping and tree planting at the house. He had plans for a new house, never executed, drawn up by James Wyatt in...

Relationships (16)

Other relatives
Notes →
Ostensibly father and daughter, though Mary Ann might have been...
Son-in-law → Father-in-law
Notes →
John Tharp IV married Elizabeth Partridge c. 1765 after the deaths of Thomas Partridge and (probably) of Elizabeth's brother Thomas Partridge jun. ...
Father → Son
Grandfather → Grandson
Nephew → Uncle
First Cousins
First Cousins
Grandson → Grandfather
Father → Son
Father-in-law → Daughter-in-law
Other relatives
Notes →
Ostensibly his son-in-law although his daughter may have been...
Other relatives
Notes →
Ostensibly his grandson although his daughter may have been...
Nephew → Uncle
Son → Father
Grandfather → Grandson
Husband → Wife

Addresses (2)

41 Portland Place, London, Middlesex, London, England
Chippenham Park, Newmarket, Cambridgeshire, East Anglia, England