Hon. Thomas Walpole

1727 - 1803


MP and merchant, cousin of the diarist Horace Walpole and a slave-owner on Grenada and Tobago, in financial difficulty after c. 1774. He was one of the large-scale speculators in property in the early years of the Ceded and Neutral Islands, as well as a leader in land schemes on the River Ohio and elsewhere in the American colonies. His estates on Tobago and Grenada have not yet been identified, but his son was party to a Chancery suit over the St George estate in Grenada in 1808 arising from a mortgage held by Hon. Thomas Walpole. Two other estates associated with him and with William Alexander & Sons in Grenada were sold in 1790 for £100,000. These might have been the two estates shown as purchased by James Baillie of Bedford Square and Ealing Grove.

  1. His financial difficulty appears to have flowed from his exposure to the firm of William Alexander and Co. of Edinburgh, but the interaction of that firm with his own investment in the Ceded Islands is not entirely clear from the account in History of Parliament, which says that after giving support to William Alexander & Co. c. 1772 'he was forced to pledge certain estates in Grenada and Tobago to the Bank of England' and that '[w]hen the Alexanders defaulted, Walpole began an action against them to gain possession of the estates in Grenada and Tobago. This dragged on in Chancery until 1779, in which year the French captured Tobago. The Alexanders then fled to France, claiming French citizenship, and Walpole was forced to begin actions in the French courts to establish his claim. He was himself being pressed by the Bank of England. In 1778 it was rumoured that ‘Walpole had contracted a debt of near £100,000 on West India projects, which money he had lost, and that, if his debts were called in, he would be worth nothing.’


Paul Kosmetatos, FINANCIAL CONTAGION AND MARKET INTERVENTION IN THE 1772-3 CREDIT CRISIS, Cambridge Working Papers in Economic and Social History No. 21 (2014), http://www.econsoc.hist.cam.ac.uk/docs/CWPESH%20number%2021%20October%202014.pdf [accessed 17/05/2018].

  1. http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1754-1790/member/walpole-hon-thomas-1727-1803 [accessed 19/12/2015].

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
- 1789 [EY] → Owner

Sold by Walpole to Robert Mitchell, 01/07/1789

1771 [EA] - → Mortgage Holder

Deed of 15/06/1830 in the Grenada Archives, ascribed to Grenada Registers of Records pp. 124-153.

Legacies Summary

Political (1)

election →
Sudbury Suffolk
1754 - 1761
election →
Ashburton Devon
1761 - 1768
election →
King's Lynn Norfolk
1768 - 1784

Relationships (3)

Principal → Agent
Business associates
Notes →
The nature of their interaction in Grenada and Tobago has not yet been...
Grantor → Annuitant