James Wiles

16th Jan 1768 - 1851

Claimant or beneficiary


Born in Lincolnshire in 1768, the eldest son of the head gardener at nearby Holywell Hall. In 1782, following the death of his mother, he was sent to work as a gardener on the Chapel Allerton estate near Leeds. The estate was owned by Richard Anthony Salisbury who later became an eminent botanist and was a friend of Joseph Banks. Through this connection, James Wiles secured a position as First Gardener on Captain Bligh’s expedition to the South Seas in HMS Providence. One of the midshipmen on the voyage was Matthew Flinders (1774-1814) and the two became firm friends.

Following an 18 month voyage to Cape Town, Tasmania, Tahiti and St Helena, the Providence arrived at Port Royal, Jamaica, 05/02/1793. Within four days, Wiles was offered the post of gardener in charge of a Public Nursery at Bath.

James encouraged his younger brothers Henry and John (both q.v.) to join him in Jamaica in 1795 and 1797.

In 1803 he was appointed Island Botanist, was vestryman in St Andrew from 1805, joined the Island Militia being appointed a Lieutenant-Colonel in 1818 and in 1831 was appointed magistrate in St Andrew (Assistant Judge in the Court of Common Peace).

He owned two coffee plantations, Monmouth Mount and Mount Edwards in the parish of St. Andrew, which he bought from the East family.

Matthew Flinders informed him in a letter of 1811 that Cape Wiles in South Australia had been named after him.

James Wiles died in 1851 at his plantation, Monmouth Mount at the age of 83.


Biography of James Wiles by Chris J. Wiles published by the Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, available at http://www.anbg.gov.au/biography/wiles-james-1768-1851.html [accessed 02/03/2013].

The Jamaica correspondence of the Wiles family 1809-1852 is kept at Cambridge University Library.

We are grateful to Peter Holttum for his assistance in compiling this entry.

Further Information

Eliza or Elizabeth
Henry (1796-), James (1803-), Eliza (1804-), Charlotte (1806-), Catherine (1807-)

Associated Claims (2)

£1,580 4s 8d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£77 7s 1d

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
1809 [EA] - → Not known
1819 [EA] - → Not known
1826 [EA] - 1832 [LA] → Attorney
1811 [EA] - 1817 [LA] → Joint owner
1820 [EA] - 1839 [LA] → Owner
1817 [EA] - → Attorney

Legacies Summary

Imperial (1)

Australia: South Australia 
notes →
Matthew Flinders named Cape Wiles in South Australia after his friend James...

Relationships (2)


Addresses (2)

Holywell, Stamford, Lincolnshire, East Midlands, England
Chapel Allerton, Leeds, Yorkshire, Yorkshire, England