Gilbert Francklyn

1733 - 1799


Gilbert Francklyn (sometimes given as Franklyn), partner from 1756 with Anthony Bacon in slave-trading and contracting, pro-slavery polemicist, father of John Gilbert Francklyn (q.v.), Charles Alfred Francklyn (q.v.) and Henry Francklyn (q.v.) and grandfather of Henry Gilbert Francklyn and Alexander Allan Webbe (ne Francklyn): the latter left £180,000 in 1868, apparently inherited primarily from his mother's family, notably Josiah Webbe of the East India Co., although the Webbe family was also active on Nevis. Apparently born May 1733.

  1. Gilb. et P Francklyn are given on the undated lists for 'Paroisse de Saint-George' provided by Lavaysse of 'proprietaires de l'ile de Tabago...lors de la paix d'Amiens.' Gilbert Francklyn does not appear among the original grantees in Tobago; the Hope estate in St George is shown as owned by heirs of Franklyn in 1832. 'Franklyns' in Tobago was granted to Anthy. Richardson, another partner of Anthony Bacon (and his cousin and ward), and was also connected with Gilbert Francklyn.

  2. By 1773: Gilb. & P. Francklyn were shown as the Present Proprietors of Barbados Bay division (St George parish) Lots nos. 1, 7 & 8 (which became the Hope estate); G. Frankyln with J. Simpson were shown as Present Proprietors of Courland Bay division (St David parish) Lot no. 1, which James Simpson had bought 12/05/1766 and which became Courland estate; and G. Francklyn was shown as Present Proprietor of Courland Bay division (St David) Lots nos. 12-14, originally purchased by Anthony Richardson, of which Lots no. 12 and 14 became Franklyns while Lot no. 13 formed part of Les Coteaux.

  3. Author of Observations occasioned by the attempts made in England to effect the abolition of the slave trade, shewing the manner in which negroes are treated in the British colonies (Kingston, Jamaica: reprinted London 1789).

  4. Witness at the 1789 Committee of the Whole House on the Slave Trade, when he provided a summary of his movements between England and the Caribbean. He had first gone to the West Indies (to Antigua) in 1766-7 and 1768-1770; he was in Tobago 1774-1776 'where I had purchased largely' and 1779-1788, before returning permanently to England.

  5. Will of Gilbert Francklyn of Wimpole Street proved 07/06/1799. Under the will he left an annuity of £800 p.a. to his wife, to be reduced to £400 p.a. if her entitlement in remainder to the estate of her father William Ottley should crystallise. He gave £4000 to his daughter Frances Edith Francklyn (to mirror he said the settlement he had made on his daughter Maria's marriage to Robert Lang) secured on his estate in Tobago, and subject to these annuities and some monetary legacies left his residuary estate to his sons John Gilbert, Charles Alfred and Henry as tenants-in-common.


ODNB, Jacob M. Price,'Bacon, Anthony (bap. 1717, d. 1786), merchant and ironmaster', in which Gilbert Francklyn is described as 'a young gentleman from Maidstone.' Birth details by email from Jonathan Spencer Jones 02/06/2020.

  1. Jean-Joseph Dauxion Lavaysse, Voyage aux Iles de Trinidad, de Tabago, de la Marguerite, et en Venezuela (Paris, 1813) Vol. II pp. 77-8, 'Liste des proprietaires de l'ile de Tabago, divisee par paroisses de l'eglise anglicane, lors de la paix d'Amiens', Paroisse de Sainte-George (these lists include men who died as far back as the late 1770s).

  2. 'Tables showing the Lots in each Parish, numbered as originally granted - the original Grantee - the name of the Lot, or lots, if one has been acquired, and the present Possessor where there is one' and 'A Table, showing the Estates in cultivation in 1832, and their Owners, in 1832, copied from the list appended to Byres' map of that date, with those in cultivation in 1862', Henry Iles Woodcock, A History of Tobago (Ayr: Smith and Grant, 1867; new impression London: Frank Cass and Company Limited, 1971); John Fowler, A summary account of the present flourishing state of the respectable colony of Tobago in the British West Indies illustrated with a map of the island and a plan of its settlement, agreeably to the sales by his Majesty’s Commissioners (London: A Grant, 1774), pp. 32-33; 36-7.

  3. Observations occasioned by the attempts made in England to effect the abolition of the slave trade, shewing the manner in which negores are treated in the British colonies (Kingston, Jamaica: reprinted London 1789).

  4. Minutes of the Evidence (1789).

  5. PROB 11/1325/168.

We are grateful to Jonathan Spencer Jones for his assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

Edith Ottley
John Gilbert; Charles Alfred; Henry; Frances Edith; Maria

Associated Estates (3)

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
1773 [EA] - 1773 [LA] → Joint owner
1773 [SY] - 1773 [EY] → Owner
1773 [EA] - 1773 [LA] → Other

Gilb. and P. Francklyn were shown as 'Present possessors' of the lots making up Hope c. 1773.

Relationships (11)

Business partners
Father → Son
Father → Daughter
Grandfather → Grandson
Father → Son
Brother → Sister
Father → Son
Son-in-law → Father-in-law
Notes →
Gilbert Francklyn was also trustee under William Ottley's will, where he is described as 'of...
Business partners