William King

1785 - 26th Apr 1861

Claimant or beneficiary


London merchant, partner in T & W King (q.v.), awarded the compensation for the Friendship, Sarah, Good Success and Good Interest estates in British Guiana, the Union estate in Trinidad and (as bond creditor) the Geneva estate in Dominica.  Possibly the man active as a slave-factor in Demerara c. 1805, who dealt primarily in the enslaved people shipped by Thomas King of London, although he would still have been a young man at that time.

  1. William King's father, Thomas King,'formerly of Stamford Hill Middlesex and the City of London, then of Bath' left £120,000. Thomas King was the slave-trader of Camden, Calvert & King. Thomas King's will, proved 18/02/1824, refers to his wife Sarah. He left £100 to Trinity House and to the Foundling Hospital of which he had been a governor 'for many years.' He names his sons as Anthony Calvert, George, Thomas Harper and William, the latter two among his executors. The will refers to his Friendship, Sarah and one other estate, Schoonhoven or Schoonhaven ['Clean Harbour'], in Essequibo or Demerara. 

  2. In 1841 William King merchant aged 55 was living at 'West Hill' Wandsworth with wife Elizabeth and daughters Sarah, Elizabeth and Isabella. Next door was Henry Rucker, age 25, "Colonial Broker", son of Siegmund Rucker (beneficiary of the will of John Anthony Rucker of West Hill, q.v.). In 1851 and 1861 William King aged 66/76 Merchant (General) born Middlesex/London was living at 16 Sussex Square with wife Elizabeth (aged 53 in 1851) born Pinner, daughters Sarah F Griffith (aged 23 in 1851) Elizabeth A King (aged 26 in 1851) and Isabella Mary (aged 18 in 1851), all born 'Surrey East End Wandsworth', and grandchildren.

  3. William King of Sussex Square's daughter Sarah Frances King married the 'ardent evangelical' John Griffith, Vicar of Aberdar, in 1847. The ODNB entry for Griffith identifies her as 'daughter of a West Indies merchant.'  

  4. William King of 16 Sussex Square was buried at All Souls Kensal Green aged 76 03/05/1861. Will of William King of 16 Sussex Square who died 26/04/1861 proved 04/06/1861, effects under £140,000. To date, William King's substantial wealth has not been traced. His widow Elizabeth left £10,000 on her death on 09/08/1868 at 134 Westbourne Terrace (one of her executors was a son, Charles, of North Lodge Potters Bar: the identification of this woman as William King's widow is cemented by the presence of an executor common to the wills of both husband and wife, Archer Thomas Upton of 20 Austin Friars). None of the four of William King's five children traced to date (Thomas Harper d. 1892; Charles d. 1913; Elizabeth A. Millar d. 1905; Isabella Mary Blyth d. 1913), nor John Giffith, the husband of the fifth child, left more than a few thousand pounds. Thomas Harper King was an architect in Belgium in the 1850s but appears as merchant of 35 Great St Helens who compounded with his creditors in 1865: presumably he had taken on his father's business.

  5. The link of William King of Sussex Square with the William King of the award and son of Thomas King is circumstantial but persuasive: a) a Chancery cause in 1866 'in the matter of William King, merchant, late of Great Winchester Street, city of London and Sussex Square deceased' ties together the William King who died 26/04/1861 and the merchant firm of Thomas & William King, shown at 37 Great Winchester Street in 1850.  T & W King had previously been at Old Broad Street between 1811 and 1840; b) in 1836 Lord Spence reportedly sold three parcels of land on East Hill in Wandsworth to 'Mr William King of New Court, Old Broad Street' for £1275. 'William King Esq., East Hill Wandsworth' was one of the subscribers to a volume published in 1828; by 1841 he was at West Hill (see 2., above).


T71/886 British Guiana claim no. 1146. T71/887 British Guiana claim nos. 2428 (Friendship), 2429 (Sarah), 2430 (Good Success), 2431 and 2527 (Good Interest); Trinidad no. 1636; Dominica nos. 336A & B and 778.

  1. William D. Rubinstein, Who were the rich? A biographical dictionary of British wealth-holders Volume One 1809-1839 (London, Social Affairs Unit, 2009) reference 1824/5, which has no details about Thomas King beyond his wealth and address from probate; PROB 11/1681. 

  2. 1841, 1851 and 1861 census online; George Frederick Prosser, Select Illustrations of the County of Surrey, comprising picturesque views of the seats of the Nobility and Gentry (London, 1828).

  3. ODNB online, Sian Rhiannon Williams, 'Griffith, John (1818-1885), Church of England clergyman' (which gives her as 'Sarah Francis'). 

  4. National Probate Calendar 1861 and 1868; London Gazette 22938 10 February 1865 p. 668.

  5. Ancestry.com, London, England, Deaths and Burials, 1813-1980 [database online]; National Probate Calendar 1861; C16/354/K40; P.O. London Directory 1850; 'R.H.H.', 'Further historical facts about Wandsworth in the days gone by,' Borough News June 14 1912, transcribed on the website of Mark McClellan, 'Gullible's Travels', 23/07/2009.

Further Information

Elizabeth A; Sarah F; Isabella M.; Charles; Thomas Harper
Wealth at death

Associated Claims (10)

£200 1s 10d
£17,617 11s 0d
£9,059 10s 0d
£9,864 19s 2d
£101 11s 10d
£5,573 8s 11d
Awardee (Executor or executrix)
£748 4s 1d
Unsuccessful claimant (Judgement creditor)
£726 12s 6d
Unsuccessful claimant
£5,646 4s 9d
Awardee (Judgement creditor)
£2,544 18s 5d

Associated Estates (4)

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
1824 [SY] - 1834 [LA] → Owner
1832 [EA] - 1832 [LA] → Owner
1826 [EA] - 1826 [LA] → Not known

'In lawful possession of William King and Charles McGarel'

1824 [SY] - 1834 [LA] → Owner

Legacies Summary

Commercial (1)

Senior partner
T & W King
West India merchant  

Relationships (3)

Son → Father
Executor → Testator
Notes →
William King was a creditor and executor of James Potter...

Addresses (3)

16 Sussex Square, London, Middlesex, London, England
New Court, Old Broad Street, City of London, Middlesex, London, England
West Hill, Wandsworth, Surrey, London, England