Francis Dennis

???? - 1795


Owner of Pembroke Hall and Prospect Pen in St Mary, Jamaica. Wrote his will 30/05/1792 and died 12/12/1795.

  1. Francis Dennis contributed £70 to the University of Pennsylvania following Dr John Morgan's fundraising tour of the West Indies in 1772-1773.

  2. Hon. Francis Dennis, Member of Assembly for St Mary, married Miss Bourke, daughter of Nicholas Bourke deceased, at Spanish Town, 1781.

  3. The mother of his daughter Mary is named as Hannah Woodcock (not Woodroff as in his will, below), a "free mustee woman", in the record of her baptism, 28/07/1783 (born 24/09/1781).

  4. Maria Frances, daughter by his wife Mary, was born 12/05/1785 and baptised 08/10/1785.

  5. Will of Francis Dennis of [the parish of St Mary Jamaica but now residing at Lower Tooting in Surrey] proved 04/01/1796. Under the will he left £2000 for his natural daughter Mary Dennis with his late housekeeper Hannah Woodroff, and an annuity of £500 p.a. to his wife Mary. He directed that half of the £10,521 0s 2d 'or thereabouts' he had in consols be given to each his two daughters Eliza Jane and Maria Frances at 21 or on marriage. He left several named enslaved people to each of his daughters (to Eliza Jane he left 'Cleopatra and her children Fanny, Amy, Lucy and Ophelia, Countess and her children Dalling and Tamar with their future issue and increase'; to Maria Frances he left 'Susannah, Mulatto Kitty, Pamela, Favourite and Hunter with their future issue and increase'). He left his Jamaica real estate [and the other enslaved people attached to it] to his [unborn] sons, then to his daughters, then to his wife and then to his natural daughter. In a codicil he left an estate at Wouldham Kent and land at Burham Kent he had recently purchased from John Wallace Esq. to his wife Mary.

Sources [accessed 29/03/2016].

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

  2. Royal Gazette of Jamaica, 01/12/1781 (marriage), 24/02/1781 (constituency).

  3., Jamaican Parish Registers, Kingston, Baptisms 1722-1792, p. 326.

  4. Maria Frances, daughter by his wife Mary, was born 12/05/1785 and baptised 08/10/1785.

  5. PROB 11/1270/19.

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

Further Information

Mary Bourke
Eliza Jane, Maria Frances (1785-)

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
- 12/12/1795 [ED] → Owner
- 12/12/1795 [ED] → Owner

Legacies Summary

Cultural (1)

University of Pennsylvania...... 

Relationships (11)

Son-in-law → Father-in-law
Husband → Wife
Father → Daughter
Father → Daughter
Father-in-law → Son-in-law
Father-in-law → Son-in-law
Grandfather → Grandson
Grandfather → Grandson
Grandfather → Grand-daughter
Grandfather → Grandson
Grandmother → Grand-daughter

Addresses (1)

Lower Tooting, London, Surrey, London, England