Robert Stewart of Ryton Grove

1792 - 27th Jul 1881

Claimant or beneficiary


Awarded with his brother James Law Stewart, and possibly his niece Elmina Spooner (both of whom q.v.) part of the compensation for enslaved people on the Islington estate in St Mary. A further two awards related to Islington were paid into the Chancery suit of Stewart v Garnett. Probably the same man as the Robert Stewart awarded the compensation for the enslaved people on Robertsfield in Port Royal as owner-in-fee. Son of Hon. James Stewart of Jamaica. Born Jamaica c. 1792, died in Shropshire 1881 leaving over £100,000. For the reasons set out below, LBS has concluded that this was also the same man as Robert Stewart the husband of Mary nee Thomson and in that capacity an awardee of the compensation on Spring Valley in St Thomas-in-the-East.

  1. Will of James Stewart of St Andrew Jamaica proved 20/04/1825; 'The Hon. James Stewart OB 1828 Aet 66., a reputed descendant of a Stewart of Appin, married a lady named Law, by whom he had issue: two sons Robert, the younger, and James Law Stewart (viv. In 1869 aet. 86 [sic]) who married Anna Williamina [sic] Brissett by whom he had 1. James of Shaw Park late lieut., in the Army who married Dorcas [Northcott].. 2. Alexander; and three daughters viz Emma [sic], married 1st H. Spooner and 2nd Col. Eyre; Margaret Ann, married Revd. T. Niblet; Josephine, married R. Ewell.'

  2. Robert Stewart was the second son of Hon. James Stewart. He married according to Caribbeana 'Mary Headlam' of Ryton Grove Salop and died s.p. Mary Headlam has not yet been traced and the assertion appears erroneous. Hon. James Stewart left legacies to 'Thomas James Robert Dora and Mary', children surnamed Headlam described as the children of his daughter-in-law in his will of 1825. In fact these appear to have been the children of his step-daughter Dorothy Brooming Headlam nee Colburn. When the will of Mary Stewart formerly of Ryton Grove was proved 17/11/1886, her executor Jane Mary Cosens was identified as her niece. Jane May Cosens was the daughter of Grace Cosens nee Thomson (q.v.), the sister of Mary Stewart nee Thomson and Jane Lane nee Thomson, the co-owners of Spring Valley.

  3. Will with 3 codicils of Robert Stewart late of Ryton Grove near Dorrington in the County of Salop who died 27/07/1881 proved by Sir Charles Clarke bart., and widow Mary Stewart, personal estate £113,463 3s 8d. The couple, both born in Jamaica and both aged 89 in 1881, were shown at Ryton Grove in each of the censuses 1851-1881, with Robert Stewart described successively as 'barrister at law, not practicing' (1851), 'proprietor of land' (1861), and retired barrister (1871).


T71/856 St Mary nos. 135 and 136; St Mary nos. 135D and 136D; T71/864 Port Royal no. 31. C13/1782/17 1826 and C13/2027/27 (examination of Robert Stewart 1827).

  1. PROB 11/1698; Archer, Monumental Inscriptions of Parish of the British West Indies, Jamaica St James Montego Bay Church and Churchyard, p. 352. James Law Stewart's death registration in 1869 shows him as aged 82. There is also confusion about the children: the daughters listed appear to be the children of James Law Stewart. Certainly, Elmina Stewart was the daughter of James Law Stewart and married Henry Spooner and Col. Eyre; Margaret Anne Stewart was the daughter of James Law Stewart and married Rev. Edward Niblet; Roberta married Rev. Elwell; Josephine married (1) George Robbins (2) Rev. Alfred Clementson, [Vere Langford Oliver, Caribbeana being miscellaneous papers relating to the history, genealogy, topography, and antiquities of the British West Indies (6 vols., London, Mitchell, Hughes and Clarke, 1910-1919) Vol. III 'Stewart of Trelawny Jamaica', pp. 272-3, which notes inaccuracies in Lawrence-Archer].

  2. Caribbeana Vol. III 'Stewart of Trelawny Jamaica', pp. 272-3; National Probate Calendar 1886. In the will of Dora Headlam proved 21/01/1856 (PROB 11/2225/316), she left the dividends and interest from her holdings of '2000 stock' in the London & North Western Railway Co. and £700 due from Rev. Frederick Russell to 'my friend Jane Mary Cosens' and 'my friend Jane Lane widow of Henry Bowyer Lane' respectively (with the principal to her sister Eliza Headlam). As noted above, Jane Mary Cosens and Jane Lane (nee Thomson) were co-owners with Robert and Mary Stewart (nee Thomson) in Spring Valley, again suggesting a link between Robert Stewart the husband of Mary Thomson and the Headlam family. Genealogical materials suggests Robert Stewart of Ryton Grove was the step-brother of Dora Headlam's mother, increasing the likelihood that Robert Stewart husband of Mary Thomson was in fact the same man as Robert Stewart of Ryton Grove.

  3. National Probate Calendar 1881; censuses online 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881.

Further Information

Name in compensation records
Robert Stewart
Wealth at death
£113,463 3S 8D

Associated Claims (6)

£3,490 18s 1d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£3,723 15s 5d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£413 15s 1d
£483 16s 11d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£53 15s 4d
£4,044 17s 9d

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
1810 [EA] - 1839 [LA] → Owner
1817 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Joint owner

Shown as co-owner, in fact one-third of the estate had belonged to his wife. NB see the entry for Robert Stewart of Ryton Grove for the derivation of this linkage.

Relationships (7)

Notes →
James Simpson described his executor Robert Stewart as his brother-in-law in his will made in...
Uncle → Niece
Son → Father
Husband → Wife
Brother-in-law → Sister-in-law

Addresses (1)

Ryton Grove, Dorrington, Shropshire, West Midlands, England