James Williams of Bedford Square

???? - 1804


Owner of Unity Valley and Watermount, the latter through his marriage to Anna Petronella Woodart, the heir of her natural father William Foster of Jamaica.

  1. The marriage of Anna Petronella Woodart and James Williams took place 04/11/1762 at St Anne's Limehouse.

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

  3. Will of James Williams of Bedford Square proved 27/07/1804. This lengthy trust will has not been fully analysed but it entailed Unity Valley and Watermount to his children, the former estate to his daughters subject to a £300 p.a. annuity to his daughter Emma and £700 p.a. to his daughter Martha (although a codicil gave his daughter Martha the right to seek the sale of Unity) and the latter estate to his eldest son James (who was granted annuity of £1000 p.a. on it), subject to raising £12,000 to be divided between his son William and daughter Ann, so long as his whole estate was valued at more than £42,000 (including Unity Valley at £15,000 and his personalty at £1000). On the death of his daughter Martha Williams (q.v.) shortly after his own death, the Unity Valley estate passed in equal shares to Emma Williams and Ann Williams. His trustees were David Bevan, Samuel Orr formerly of Jamaica but now of Islington and William Dunkley of Eastcheap.


T71/1201: counterclaim under Portland 246 A&B for Unity Valley by John James Shean, now residing in Paris, by his attorney John Hopton Forbes. In the counterclaim, John James Shean stated that James Williams died in February 1806 [sic], leaving 1/2 of the plantation to his daughter Emma, who married Major James Shean. Mrs Anne Pearson was the sister of Emma Shean. Wm. Pearson was of 24 Oxford St., Middlesex. 'His marriage was solemnised without settlement.'

  1. Ancestry.com, London, England, Church of England Marriages and Burials 1754-1921 [database online]: the entry is indexed to Anna Petronella Woodard.

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

  3. PROB 11/1412/120.

We are grateful to Paul Hitchings for his assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

Anna Petronella Woodart
Ann; Emma; William; Martha; John; Mary Dorothy; James

Associated Estates (3)

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
1815 [EA] - 1832 [LA] → Previous owner
1787 [EA] - 1804 [EY] → Owner
1768 [EA] - 1804 [LA] → Owner

Legacies Summary

Cultural (1)

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

Relationships (8)

Father → Daughter
Father → Son
Husband → Wife
Father → Son
Father → Daughter
Grandfather → Grandson
Father → Daughter
Testator → Trustee

Addresses (1)

15 Bedford Square, London, Middlesex, London, England