John Henry Deffell

1777 - 28th Oct 1847

Claimant or beneficiary


Major absentee slave-owner in Jamaica, son of John Deffell (q.v.). Reportedly a suicide, in 'a very extraordinary manner', in 1847. His suicide, if indicative of financial pressure, might call into question whether the legacies under his will were ever paid.

  1.  Married Elizabeth Mackenzie 'of this parish' 18/04/1805 St George's Bloomsbury. Death registered Q4 1847 East London (died 28/10/1847).

  2. Sale of J.H. Deffell's interests in Swansea Brown's Hall, Brown's Town (St John) and Hayes Penn and Browne's Pasture (St Dorothy) in 1856 as result of Scott v Deffell.

  3. Death on the 28th ult. (October 1847) John Henry Deffell Esq., of 38 Upper Harley Street aged 70.

  4. John Henry Deffell's son George Hibbert Deffell (1819-1895) has an entry in the Australian Dictionary of National Biography as 'judge'. John Henry Deffell's grand-daughter Georgina Harriet, 'daughter of Mr John Deffell an East India merchant', married Sir Frederick Pollock 'the eminent jurist' in August 1873 and died aged 89 in 1935. Pollock's own obituary in 1937 describes her as daughter of John Deffell of Calcutta.

  5. University of Hull Archives has papers of Crust Todd And Mills Solicitors of Beverley dealing with sale of John Henry [sic] Deffell's estate in Jamaica after his death c.1805.

  6. Will of John Henry Deffell of Upper Harley Street [made in 1843] proved 12/11/1847. He left £23,000 to his children (£4000 to five of them and £3000 to John Deffell). He had not, he said, made any provision for his son John Henry Deffell who had in 1841 received £4088 8s 2d 31/2% annuities and £347 13s cash from his business connection with Francis Henry Mitchell, for which connection he was indebted to his father the testator. He identified his estates as Swansea and Salt Spring.


Bury and Norwich Post Suffolk, England 3 Nov 1847 'COMMERCIAL INTELLIGENCE.'

  1., London, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921 [database online] St George Bloomsbury 1805; FreeUKGen, England and Wales Free BMD Database, Deaths, 1837-1983 [database online]. Charlotte, Francis and George Hibbert Deffell from, London, England Births and Baptisms 1813-1906 [database online]. John (Letitia Hill) and Henry Deffell (Harriet Susannah Green) are shown separately as marrying in 1843 and 1842 respectively, both giving John Henry Deffell as father [London, England Marriages and Banns 1754-1921]. A John Henry Deffell is shown born about 1809, dying aged 70 1879 Croydon [England and Wales FreeBMD Death Index 1837-1915] but this may be a confusion. John Deffell merchant died 03/06/1861 in Calcutta, leaving widow Letitia of 65 Schadow Strasse Dusseldorf Prussia, effects under £8000 [National Probate Calendar 1862]. Henry Deffell formerly of 17 Queen Anne Street Cavendish Square but late of Truro Tudor-road Upper Norwood died 06/02/1879 , personal estate under £3000, Harriet Susanna Deffell of Truro widow. Date of death of John Henry Deffell shown in London Gazette, Issue 20879, 21/07/1848, p. 2737 in context of Chancery suit Scott v Deffell.

  2. London Gazette, Issue 21946, 02/12/1856, p. 4095.

  3. Times 01/11/1847 p. 7.

  4. [accessed 07/10/2017]; Times 01/04/1935 p. 9 Obituaries 'Lady Pollock a Victorian hostess'. Times 19/01/1937 p. 14 Issue Obituaries Sir Frederick Pollock K.C. 'The "Old Broad Culture"'.

  5. University of Hull Archives, DDCV/198/1-DDCV/198/7; DDCV/25/28.

  6. PROB 11/2064/301.

Further Information

Name in compensation records
John H. Deffell
Elizabeth Mackenzie
George Hibbert Deffell (1819-1895), John Henry Deffell (1809-1879), John (?-1862), Charlotte (1816-), Francis (1827-), ?Henry (-1879)

Will dated July 8 1843; but cf London Gazette, Issue 21946, 02/12/1856 p. 4095 which gives date of death of John Henry Deffell as on or about the 28th day of October 1848.

West India merchant

Associated Claims (14)

£643 4s 9d
£592 4s 4d
£5,184 3s 8d
Awardee (Executor or executrix)
£3,421 13s 4d
Unsuccessful claimant (Executor or executrix)
£650 16s 8d
Other association
£3,401 14s 6d
Claimants in List E or Chancery cases (Trustee)
£1,539 7s 9d
Awardee (Trustee)
£316 2s 5d
£3,336 10s 9d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£1,267 6s 11d
£6,432 14s 6d
£3,224 15s 8.75d
£3,480 14s 8d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£3,881 1s 7d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)

Associated Estates (13)

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
1806 [SY] - 1839 [LA] → Owner

Although registered to 'John Deffell' between 1809 and 1815, John Deffell had died in 1806: these entries are either erroneous or refer to his son John Henry Deffell

- 1835 [LA] → Owner
1811 [EA] - 28/10/1847 [ED] → Owner
1829 [EA] - → Trustee
1829 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Trustee and Executor
1832 [EA] - → Not known
- 1835 [LA] → Owner
- 1825 [EY] → Mortgage Holder
1825 [SY] - 1839 [LA] → Owner
1826 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Tenant in possession
1829 [EA] - 1832 [LA] → Trustee
1809 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Owner
1809 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Owner

Legacies Summary

Commercial (3)

Firm Investment
John Deffell & Son
West India merchant  
notes →
1. J.H. Deffell is among the signatories calling a meeting of the Board of the West India Dock Company...
Name partner
J. H. Deffell & Co.
West India merchant  
West India Dock Co.
West India merchant  
notes →
1. J.H. Deffell is among the signatories calling a meeting of the Board of the West India Dock Company...

Imperial (2)

Australia: New South Wales 
notes →
John Henry Deffell's son George Hibbert Deffell sailed to Australia in 1855 and became a judge in NSW in...
sources →
East India Company
notes →
His son John Deffell was an East India merchant although his exact relations with the East India Company are...

Relationships (3)

Son → Father
Business partners
Notes →
Uncle → Nephew

Addresses (1)

38 Upper Harley Street, London, Middlesex, London, England