Nicholas Lechmere senior

1755 - 1817


Nicholas Lechmere (c.1755-1817) coffee planter and Ordnance storekeeper at Port Royal, Jamaica, was baptised 23/09/1755 at St John, Worcester, England, the son of Richard Lechmere and Elizabeth Swift nee Corfield. His father was the sixth son of Edmund Lechmere (1648-1703) and Lucy Hungerford (died 1719), the younger son of a younger son in a Worcestershire family which had risen rapidly to the heights of the late seventeenth century legal establishment.

Nicholas Lechmere had joined the Ordnance Service in 1768, and had been Ordnance Storekeeper at Port Royal since the 1780s with an approximate annual salary of £200. The completion of fifty years service would have earned him a bonus of £5,000, but he died in November 1817.

Between 1795 and 1812, Nicholas had six certain and probably seven children in Jamaica with a "free quadroon", Sarah Letitia Webster. Little is known of Sarah Letitia Webster herself, but we do have what must be her baptism record, as a "free mulatto" born on 24 March 1773, daughter of Gilbert Webster and Sarah Stanton, herself described also as a "free mulatto". By the time of her death, which occurred between the Kingston slave registrations of 1820 (she owned fifteen in 1817 and eight in 1820) and 1823, she seems to have been accepted as a "free quadroon".

Nicholas Lachmere owned a coffee plantation, Mount Atlas, in St Andrew, from at least the late 1790s, but in unclear circumstances he lost possession of the plantation shortly before his death in November 1817. His sister-in-law, Elizabeth nee Dashwood-King, believed the estate had been returned to its original owners. It isn’t clear who these original owners may have been but from at least 1820 until some time before 1826, Mount Atlas (or a reduced portion of it) was in the hands of Robert Taylor of Billiter Square and under the attorneyship of William Shand. Nicholas faced other financial difficulties; in 1821 Elizabeth, at Steeple Aston in Oxfordshire with a large family of her own and limited income, was faced without warning with a demand from the Board of Ordnance she make good deficiencies in his Port Royal Ordnance account, estimated by them at increasing levels between £3000 and £9,500. Her late husband William Lachmere had in 1811, unknown to her, signed a bond of caution for Nicholas's accounts in the penal sum of £2,000.

Nicholas Lechmere’s children may not have been known to Elizabeth Lechmere individually by name – she refers refers to them as "his illegitimate children". They were certainly known to her Lechmere sister-in-law, Lucy Tompkins, (1758-1833) widow of an Inns of Court bencher and former Buckinghamshire Lord Lieutenant, of the manor of Weston Turville, near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. A hint of how things stood with his family after Lechmere's death is given in an 1823 brief on Elizabeth Lechmere's behalf for Counsel's opinion, to John Bell of Lincoln's Inn: “Mrs Tompkins, sister of Mr Lechmere, applied to Burley and Burley [ the family's London solicitors] and procured for the illegitimate children all the money in his agent's hands in England.” These agents may possibly have been connected with her friends and legatees, the Shepheards, who had certainly handled some affairs for Nicholas in the 1790s and were Lechmere kin by marriage.


Worcester Archives and Archaeology Service 1822-3 705:134/10062/i/1-67 mainly Elizabeth Lechmere at Steeple Aston's correspondence with the Board of Ordnance re alleged deficiencies in Nicholas Lechmere's Port royal accoutant, also with G.R. Minshull, the Duke of Wellington, and others.

Baptism of children from, Jamaica Church of England Parish Register Transcripts, 1664-1880 [database online]. With both parents named they are: Sarah (baptised 1795 but not found in any later records), Charles (born and died in 1800), Nicholas (baptised 1804), Elizabeth (baptised 1808) and Mary (baptised 1812). Frances's parents were not named on her baptism record (1796) but the will of Lucy Tomkins identifies her as the daughter of Nicholas Lechmere. See entry on Lucy Rattray nee Lechmere for her baptism.

Will of Lucy Tompkins PROB 11/1811.

Slave registers for Mount Atlas: in 1817, T71/125 p. 317; in 1820, T71/126 p. 97. Slave registers for Kingston slave-owning: in 1817, T71/77 p. 222; in 1820, T71/87 p. 131; in 1823, T71/93 p. 204.

We are grateful to Jim Brennan for compiling this entry.

Further Information

[With Sarah Letitia Webster] Sarah (1795-), Charles (1800-1800), Nicholas (1804-), Lucy (1806-), Elizabeth (1808-), Mary (1812-). Probably also Frances (1796-1857)
Coffee planter and Ordnance store-keeper

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
1809 [EA] - 1817 [EY] → Owner
1817 [EA] - → Owner

Relationships (8)

Extra-marital relationships
Father → Natural Daughter
Father → Natural Daughter
Father → Natural Daughter
Father → Natural Daughter
Father → Natural Son
Father-in-law → Son-in-law
Father-in-law → Son-in-law

Addresses (1)

Worcester, Worcestershire, West Midlands, England