James Trecothick née Ivers

1754 - 1843

Claimant or beneficiary


James Ivers, nephew of Barlow Trecothick, from whom he inherited Addington Palace and completed the house begun by Barlow in 1772.

  1. Born c. 1754. Married 20/02/1777 Susanna Margaret, daughter of Sir Archibald Edmonstone. Derbyshire Record Office Fitzherbert of Tissington D239 M/E 24107 1777 shows the settlement of Boston plantation on the marriage of James Trecothick and Susanna Margaret Edmonstone 19/20 February.

  2. Death of James Trecothick registered Isle of Thanet Kent Q3 1843.   Burial of James Trecothick 22/09/1843 of Broadstairs Isle of Thanet Kent buried at Addington, Surrey aged 89: service performed by Benj. Harrison Domestic Chaplain to his Grace the Arch. Of Canterbury. The will of James Trecothick late of Cheltenham but now of Broadstairs proved 06/05/1844 left his house in Broadstairs to his four daughters, confirmed his settlement of £5000 on his eldest son Barlow, set up a trust for his daughters and left his estates in Grenada and Jamaica to his sons Barlow and James the younger (q.v.).

  3. Archibald Kerr in 1749 left an estate in Jamaica to the Royal Infirmary, which the Infirmary managers leased to James Trecothick né Ivers in 1801 for 35 years. In 1806 the Infirmary petitioned to be allowed to sell the estate (identified there as Red Hill Pen and described as largely pasture land at the time but with some 50 enslaved people in 1817 and beyond) to Trecothick for £7000. Their case however, appears to have been unsuccessful as the Infirmary continued to draw rents from Trecothick over subsequent decades. Research by Simon Buck at Lothian Health Services Archive in the Centre for Research Collections at the University of Edinburgh, conducted as part of a joint-commissioned project led by NHS Lothian and NHS Lothian Charity, shows that the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh eventually extracted compensation money (£797 17s 3d) and the interest accrued on it, from the claimant, James Trecothick.

A cash book used by the Managers of the Royal Infirmary shows that the organisation received £500 in 1836 as ‘share of compensation for loss of labour of the Negroes in the West Indies’. Over the next few years, the Managers of the Royal Infirmary wrote to Trecothick to demand the remaining funds along with delayed rents: with interest, this figure, they claimed, came to £832. The Managers’ solicitors, Murray, Rymer and Murray, were told by the Slave Compensation Commission office in London that Trecothick had claimed the ‘compensation for the loss of labour of the slaves of the Red Hill Penn Estate in his own name and as if he were the owner of the freehold’. In the solicitors’ letters to the Managers updating them on the case, they reported that officers at the Commission had told them of another compensation claim to ‘another estate belonging to another charity in Edinburgh derived under the same will’ that was put in the same name as the charity, with the claim paid directly to its treasurers. It is unclear which charity or estate this refers to.

When the solicitors confronted Trecothick, he appeared ‘either intentionally or constitutionally very oblivious upon all points’. In a letter to the Managers, the solicitors wrote ‘As to the compensation he at first appeared to forget all about it but we so shaped our questions as at last to extract from him his admissions that the claim was made in his own name and with other property belonging to him but he added that had he not done so as the time for making the claim would have gone by. Why, however, the demand on the Commissioners was not made by him in the name of the Infirmary, he could not explain. He has evidently been dealing with the Estate as if it were his own and some prompt and decided measures should be resorted to with the view to place the matter on a proper footing. We do not conceive that he was entitled to receive any portion of the compensation and we think that the payment of the balance of the £800 and odd should be insisted upon … He complains that he has written frequently to the Royal Infirmary but that no attention has been paid to his letter’. It is true that Trecothick did write several times to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh’s managers, including telling them that he was sending £500 of the compensation money; he never seems to have offered them the full amount.

In 1842, William Burge, a Privy Councillor, lawyer, and agent in Jamaica, led an arbitration to resolve the dispute between the Managers and Trecothick over the missing compensation money and late rents. This included several examinations and cross-examinations with those who knew the estate, some of which provide insight into insurrection among the estate’s apprenticed labourers, and their movement to Trecothick’s nearby Boston and Buckingham estates. An 1842 cash book shows that the Royal Infirmary’s received £721 through Burge’s award. This amount likely included rent (it is unclear how much rent was owed and rewarded: in 1832, the Infirmary had received £200 in annual rent from Red Hill) and missing compensation money: as Managers were successful in their claim, it seems likely the Infirmary received their desired amount of compensation money (£832), or at least very close to it.

Despite many efforts to sell the property over subsequent years, Red Hill pen remained in the ownership of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh until February 29, 1892, when it was sold to Julia Adelaide Cressar [?] for £650 (leaving around £600 to the RIE after paying expenses for solicitors and others costs.)

We are grateful to Dr Simon Buck for his assistance in compiling this entry.


'Addington', The Environs of London: volume 1: County of Surrey (1792) pp. 1-10. URL = http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=45369 [accessed 08/11/2010]. For an account of the family also see A.W. Streane 'Croydon in the past', http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/a-w-annesley-william-streane/croydon-in-the-past-historical-monumental-and-biographical-including-also-yor/page-21-croydon-in-the-past-historical-monumental-and-biographical-including-also-yor.shtml [accessed 20/02/2011]; Conrad Edick Wright, Revolutionary Generation: Harvard Men And The Consequences Of Independence (Cambridge, Mass., University of Massachusetts Press, 2005) pp. 70-72, 105, 217 for an account of Trecothick's life and inheritance; for a dispute over the will of Barlow Trecothick see William P. Mason, Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit Courts of the United States for the First Circuit (Boston, Hilliard, Gray, Little and Wilkins, 1828) pp. 16-45 which also sets out the background to James Trecothick's inheritance.

  1. www.familysearch.org batch no. M00145-2; Derbyshire Record Office Fitzherbert of Tissington D239 M/E 24107 1777.

  2. FreeUKGen, England and Wales Free BMD Database, Deaths, 1837-1983 [database online]; Ancestry.com, London, England, Deaths and Burials, 1813-1980 [database online]; PROB 11/1999/167.

  3. Email correspondence dated 05/01/23 with Dr Simon Buck, who conducted research funded by the NHS Lothian Charity into the Royal Infirmary’s historical connections with Atlantic slavery. The full report, "Uncovering Origins of Hospital Philanthropy: Report on Slavery and the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh", can be accessed at the following webpage: https://org.nhslothian.scot/AboutUs/OurHistory/Slavery/Pages/default.aspx.

Further Information

Susanna Margaret Edmonstone
James Trecothick the younger (1798?-)

Associated Claims (3)

£6,412 11s 5d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£3,834 13s 8d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£797 17s 3d

Associated Estates (6)

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
1778 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Owner
1784 [EA] - 1793 [LA] → Mortgagee-in-Possession
1786 [EA] - 1793 [LA] → Mortgagee-in-Possession
1788 [EA] - 1788 [LA] → Mortgage Holder
1775 [SY] - 1834 [LA] → Owner
1817 [EA] - 1832 [LA] → Lessee

Given as both 'Lessee from' (1820-26) and 'Lessee to' (1829-32) the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in the Slave Registers. He was awarded the compensation for the enslaved people on the estate in 1836. A petition to the House of Lords of 1806 to allow James Trecothick to buy Red Hill Penn from the Royal infirmary for £7000 showed that the Royal Infirmary had been left an estate in 1749 by Archibald Kerr [by inference, Red Hill Pen] and that James Trecothick had entered into a 35 year lease over the pen [and presumably the enslaved people] in 1801 at £350 p.a.

Legacies Summary

Commercial (1)

Name partner
Trecothick & Roper
West India merchant  

Physical (2)

Addington Palace 
description →
Landscaping by Capability Brown. 'Brown received £800 for work carried out in 1781-2. There are remains of a fine landscape on the periphery of the present golf course and notable cedar trees near...
Country house
Addington Palace [Built] 
description →
House started by Barlow Trecothick in 1772. Completion of house by his nephew and heir James Trecothick (ne Ivers)....

Relationships (3)

Business partners
Father → Son
Nephew → Uncle

Addresses (1)

Chandos Place, Broadstairs, Kent, South-east England, England