Alexander Macdonnell [McDonnell]

1798 - 14th Sep 1835

Claimant or beneficiary


Partner and co-claimant with with James Macqueen (q.v.) for the compensation for the enslaved people on several estates in St Kitts, largely as mortgagees, and also unsuccessfully for two estates in Trinidad which they owned; Macdonnell died before the awards in the successful claims were made, and they appear under MacQueen's name alone.

  1. Born Belfast, son of Alexander Macdonnell (d. 21/04/1843), a Belfast physician. 'Carried on an extensive business at Demerara between 1820 and 1830. He became a vigorous propagandist for the slave-owning sugar planters in the West Indies...Soon after 1830 he was appointed secretary to the West India Committee of Merchants.' 'From the foundation of the Westminster chess club in 1831 Macdonnell was tacitly admitted to be the best English player.' His match in June 1834 against de Labourdannais was 'a landmark in the history of the game.' Died 14/09/1835 at the boarding house in Tavistock Square where he had long lived. Buried Kensal Green. 'The first great British [chess] player.'


St Kitts nos. 149, 743, 744 and 745

  1. ODNB online,Thomas Secombe, rev. Julian Lock, 'Macdonnell, Alexander (1798-1835), chess player.

Further Information

West India merchant
Oxford DNB Entry

Associated Claims (6)

£117 6s 11d
Deceased claimant successful (Mortgagee)
£1,164 6s 9d
Deceased claimant successful (Owner-in-fee)
Shown as owners-in-fee for St Kitts no. 744 by virtue of foreclosure
£1,939 13s 7d
Deceased claimant successful (Owner-in-fee)
£604 16s 2d
Deceased claimant successful (Assignee)
£1,317 14s 1d
Unsuccessful claimant (Owner-in-fee)
£2,770 6s 7d
Unsuccessful claimant (Owner-in-fee)

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
1831 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Mortgagee-in-Possession

Partner in the firm Macqueen McDonnell & Company of Glasgow.

1831 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Joint owner
1834 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Joint owner
1831 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Joint owner

Legacies Summary

Cultural (1)

Founder member
Westminster Chess Club...... 
notes →
De facto British chess champion from the foundation of the Westminster Chess Club in 1831...

Historical (1)

Considerations on Negro Slavery: With Authentic Reports, Illustrative of the Actual Condition of the Negroes in... 1824 

Relationships (1)

Business partners

Addresses (1)

Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury, London, Middlesex, London, England