James Robertson of Orange River and Elgin

1753 - 1816


The pioneering map-maker of Jamaica, author of the 1804 map of Jamaica and owner of Orange River in St Mary, Jamaica. Born on Shetland, in Jamaica from c. 1778, becoming a 'planter' [i.e. a slave-owner] c. 1800. An absentee in Elgin by the time his will was made in 1806.

  1. Will of James Robertson [late of the island of Jamaica but now of] Elgin Moray proved 11/10/1816. In the will he confirmed his wife Maria's entitlement under their marriage settlement of 1789 of an annuity of £150 p.a. plus £20 p.a. for a dwelling house given that the one envisaged for her in Aberdeen had been sold, although he also left her his dwelling house and pleasure gardens at Moray for life or until her remarriage. He left to three of his children (the eldest James; Maria and Anna) £1620, £1650 and £1630 respectively, intended to be brought up to £2000 each by the time each was 21 by the £200 apiece from their great-uncle William Innes and by accumulated interest. He left more straightforwardly £2000 each at 21 to another five children, George, Alexander, Louisa, Sophia and Cecilia. He provided an 'Explanation' of provisions for £6000 apparently borrowed from Davidson and Barkly and secured on Orange River, the income from which was to support his children during their upbringing. In a further note dated 02/10/1815, in which he said that since making his will in 1806 he had visited Jamaica and found his affairs there in a very precarious state, with heavy debt due to his correspondents in England that might through a legal course lead to the estate being swept away at half its value. He therefore thought it prudent to enter into two deeds, the first to raise £4000 to pay his creditors around Elgin and the second to secure a further annuity of £300 p.a. for his wife (which would reduce and eventually cease as his children reached maturity) and £6000 for his children, both bonds senior to a mortgage of £12,500 to Davidson & Barkly on the estate, presumably to secure their prior lending on account to the estate.


James Robertson was the subject of an exhibition at Shetland Museum in late 2015: http://www.shetlandmuseumandarchives.org.uk/exhibitions/smaa-archive/james-robertson-the-shetlander-who-mapped-jamaica [accessed 08/08/2016].

  1. PROB 11/1585/73.

Further Information

James; Maria; Anna; George; Alexander; Louisa; Sophia; Cecilia

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
1817 [EA] - 1839 [LA] → Previous owner
1800 [EA] - 1816 [LA] → Owner

Legacies Summary

Physical (1)

Town house
North College Lodge [Purchased] 
description →
'Town house, that was originally one of the manses of the Cathedral (NJ26SW0001), called the manse of Inverkeithing, and that is now much altered and a private residence split into three separate...

Relationships (1)

Deceased Husband → Widow
Notes →
Widow and annuitant...

Addresses (1)

Elgin, Moray, North-east Scotland, Scotland
Notes →

Of Elgin in 1806 when he made his will and in 1815 when he annotated it.