Edward Parson I

???? - 1780


Landowner (and slave-owner) in Montserrat, living at Little Parndon in Essex when he wrote his will on 01/06/1771 bequeathing £1500 to each of his younger children. The wills of Edward Parson and Tabitha Parson formed the basis for the successful counterclaim of George Webbe Parson and William Woodley Parson (both q.v.) for Parson's Estate in Montserrat.

  1. Edward Parson 'brought several of his West Indian Negro servants to Little Parndon. He apparently altered and enlarged the house which in 1771 was a neat and elegant modern building, with a mid 18th century front of three storeys with full height bays at each end and a roof pediment. Parson also landscaped the park, adding lakes, a temple, and probably the 'ruins' which survived in the early 19th century.'

  2. Will of Edward Parson of Little Parndon, Essex, proved 17/07/1780. Under the will he left his wife the house and estate at Little Parndon for life, and an annuity of £700 p.a. in addition to the interest on two sums of £4000 and £2000 in cash under their marriage settlement, plus two payments of £500 each on his death. He left lump sums of £1500 each to his four younger sons John, James, Jasper and Read, and to four daughters Mary, Lucretia, Bridget and Frances. His heir was his eldest son Edward. His son William Woodley Parson (q.v., as William Woodley Parson of Great Marlborough Street) had predeceased him and is absent from the will.

  3. Edward Parsons' daughter Grace married William MacDowall Colquhoun, MP for Bedford 1784-1802, and himself a slave-owner in St Kitts, Nevis and St Croix. Grace does not appear in the will of her father, presumably because a marriage settlement had been made.


  1. 'Parishes: Little Parndon', A History of the County of Essex: Volume 8 (1983), pp. 223-227, available at www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=63856 [accessed 28/03/2012]; Hazel Lake, Sugar Planters in Little Parndon (Second Edition 2007), available from Museum of Harlow or from Ms. Lake, names James Lewis Woodley and Hester Woodley among the enslaved people brought to England by Edward Parson in 1741, and records that Hester Woodley is memorialised in the name of the local old people's home Hester House and was buried aged 62 13/05/1767 in Little Parndon (with a headstone erected by John Woodley of St James Westminster) and that James Lewis Woodley 'A Black' was buried at Hunsdon parish church 15/01/1745.

  2. PROB 11/1067/282.

  3. R. G. Thorne (ed.), The House of Commons, 1790-1820 (5 vols., London, Secker & Warburg for the History of Parliament Trust, 1986) pp. 484-485, available at http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=j0AsmWc5zYwC&pg=RA1-PA484&lpg=RA1-PA484&dq=edward+parson+Essex&source=bl&ots=mhdUBk1d41&sig=Fa7MOfsTyyjkOolBLYXFJYbRcZc&hl=en&sa=X&ei=f-1yT4qsFdTe8QPNtJ0-&ved=0CEoQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=edward%20parson%20Essex&f=false [accessed 28/03/2012].

Further Information

Mary Woodley
Grace, Edward, John, James, Jasper, Read, Mary, Lucretia, Bridget, Frances

Associated Claims (1)

£2,451 10s 9d
Other association

Legacies Summary

Physical (1)

Country house
Upper House, Little Parndon, Essex [Purchased] 
description →
Edward Parson 'brought several of his West Indian Negro servants to Little Parndon. He apparently altered and enlarged the house which in 1771 was a neat and elegant modern building, with a mid 18th...
notes →
Demolished c. 1830...

Relationships (9)

Father → Son
Notes →
William Woodley Parson predeceased his father, who was one of the executors of his son's...
Grandfather → Grandson
Notes →
Rev. William Woodley Parson b. c. 1774 could theoretically be the son rather than grandson of Edward Parson (d. 1780) of Little Parndon but (a) the heir of Edward Parson (d. 1780) was also named...
Father → Son
Father-in-law → Son-in-law
Father → Son
Grandfather → Grand-daughter
Father → Son
Father-in-law → Daughter-in-law

Addresses (1)

Little Parndon, Essex, South-east England, England