John Rycroft Best

???? - 4th Jan 1852

Claimant or beneficiary


  1. A 'plantocrat' and militia commander who played an important part in the suppression of the Barbados rebellion of 1816, though he was to withdraw from the Barbados Assembly committee which reported on the uprising.

  2. He played an important role in Barbados Council politics including, for example, rallying opposition to the impending threat of abolition. At a meeting of representatives of Barbados, Antigua, Demerara and Essequibo, Dominica, Grenada, Nevis, St Christopher, St Vincent, Tobago and the Virgin islands, chaired by Best, there were strong protests against the British Government’s treatment of the West Indies, the threat of abolition (unless there was adequate recompense) and praise for how the planters had improved the conditions of the slaves.

  3. Kathleen Mary Butler notes (p. 44) that Best managed 'his father’s' [in fact probably his cousin] Thomas Best's estates, Fairey Valley and Moonshine Hall. (He acted as executor for Thomas Best in claims Barbados 3213 and 3929.) His consignees, Thomas and John Daniel of Bristol held mortgages of £14,500 against the two estates. His compensation award was used to reduce the accumulated interest but the Daniels did not demand repayment of the principal while they also allowed him to retain the estates. Subsequently, Best used a strategy of reducing debt rather than expanding: see Butler, p. 86 for details.

  4. John Rycroft Best married Catherine Harriet [Henrietta] De Vins in Marylebone, 14/08/1799. Catherine Harriet was aunt to Catherine Selina Wade, the wife of William Chrystie (q.v.). John and Catherine Harriet had five children baptised in Marylebone: Louisa (1802), Frances Maria (1803), Charles Henry and Abel Dottin William (both 1806) and Helen Catherine (1818). Best's family did not remain in Barbados, though Best himself did. His son, also John Rycroft Best (whose birth record has not yet been located), died in Calcutta 23/12/1829 aged 29. He had been judge of Jessore, India. His second daughter, Frances Maria, married in Cheltenham, 2 June 1846. Helen Catherine Best married Binny James Colvin in 1841 in Cheltenham. Best's wife, Catherine Henrietta, died in Cheltenham in 1855.


  1. David Lambert, White Creole Culture, Politics and Identity during the Age of Abolition (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2005), pp. 122-3, 125-6; for the Assembly report on the rebellion see The Report from a Select Committee of the House of Assembly, appointed to inquire into the origin, causes, and progress of the late insurrection (Barbados, 1818)

  2. Meeting of 1 March 1831 (and subsequently): Morning Chronicle, 28 May 1831.

  3. Kathleen Mary Butler, The Economics of Emancipation: Jamaica and Barbados 1823-1843 (Chapel Hill and London, University of North Carolina Press, 1995), pp. 44, 86.

  4., London, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921 [database online]. See the will of Richard DeVins (d. 1808) PROB11/1473 for confirmation of the Chrystie-Best link., London, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 [database online]., London, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906 [database online]. Aberdeen Journal, 19 May 1830; Hampshire Advertiser & Salisbury Guardian, 6 June, 1846;, England & Wales, FreeBMD Death Index: 1837-1915 [database on-line].

We are grateful to Judith Witter for her assistance in compiling this entry.

Further Information

Catherine Henrietta Best
John Rycroft; Louisa (1802-), Frances Maria (1803-), Abel Dottin William (1806-), Charles Henry (1806-), Helen Catherine (1818-)

Associated Claims (8)

£1,899 4s 3d
£4,748 0s 9d
£3,353 14s 6d
£3,509 1s 7d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£2,823 11s 7d
£3,975 2s 11d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£5,645 4s 2d
£3,297 8s 4d

Associated Estates (19)

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] - 1817 [LA] → Attorney
1823 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Owner
1823 [EA] - 1829 [LA] → Attorney
1817 [EA] - 1826 [LA] → Attorney
1817 [EA] - 1826 [LA] → Attorney
1817 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Attorney
1817 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Attorney
1817 [EA] - 1823 [LA] → Attorney
1832 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Executor
1829 [EA] - 1829 [LA] → Attorney
1823 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Attorney
1817 [EA] - 1838 [LA] → Owner
1823 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Owner
1823 [EA] - 1823 [LA] → Attorney
1832 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Executor
1823 [EA] - 1823 [LA] → Attorney
1817 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Owner
1826 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Owner
1817 [EA] - 1817 [LA] → Attorney

Legacies Summary

Imperial (1)

East India Company
notes →
His son, of the same name, died in Calcutta 23 December 1829 aged 29. He had been judge of Jessore, India. In an LBS blog, Chris Jeppesen notes that the younger John Rycroft Best "obtained a...
sources →
[Chris Jeppesen, 'East meets...

Relationships (2)

Executor → Testator
Notes →
Butler gives John Rycroft Best also as the son of Thomas Best, but this appears erroneous. The two men were more likely...
Brother → Sister

Addresses (1)

Marylebone, London, Middlesex, London, England