Theobold Taaffe

1708 - 1780


MP, adventurer and absentee slave-owner, benefitting from his wife's inheritance in Jamaica.

  1. Sold Seven Plantations in Clarendon Jamaica to George Chandler (q.v.), "subject to an annuity as by agreement to him". Date unknown but before George Chandler wrote his will in 1777.

  2. Born c. 1708, the eldest son of Stephen Taaffe of Dowanstown, Co. Meath and his second wife Mabel, daughter of Henry, 2nd Viscount Barnwell. He inherited Jamaican property through his wife Susanna, daughter of Henry Lowe of Goadby Marwood, Leicestershire, who was also an heir of her brother Samuel Lowe (c. 1693-1731). Described by Horace Walpole in 1751 as a "gamester, usurer and adventurer". MP for Arundel 1747-1754. Lived in Hanover Square, London, and an estate near Midhurst, Sussex, but spent much of the 1750s and 1760 in France (including at least two spells in prison there). According to Edward Gibbon in 1763, "He has settled with his English creditors and given up his estate at Jamaica for the payment of his debts. He wants to compromise with his other creditors, who are very numerous, but as they are convinced he wants to cheat them and that he only offers the same estate after the other debts are cleared which cannot be in less than ten or fifteen years they will hear of no compromise ... Mr. Taaffe’s scheme is to keep another estate in Jamaica clear of his creditors. They on their side want to starve him into giving up that estate likewise." Apparently by 1767 his estates in Jamaica were worth about £3000 a year but were in the control of trustees arranging payment of his debts and Taaffe was given an allowance of £500 a year.

  3. Theobald Taaffe was listed in the Jamaican Quit Rent books for 1754 as the owner of 5706 acres of land in Clarendon and 650 acres of land in St Dorothy, total 6356 acres.

  4. Will of Theobald Taaffe of Cadets Row Scotland Yard 03/07/1780. In the will he left his property in trust to Sarah Chandler (widow of George Chandler) and Duncan Davidson in trust to pay his debts and support his natural daughter Susannah Taaffe 'begotten on the body of Mary Read.'


  1. PROB 11/1055/59.

  2. [accessed 10/12/2013].

  3. 'A List of landholders in the Island of Jamaica together with the number of acres each person possessed taken from the quit rent books in the year 1754', TNA CO 142/31 transcribed at

  4. PROB 11/1067/133.

Further Information

Susanna Lowe

Associated Estates (2)

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
1752 [EA] - 1753 [LA] → Owner

Sold Seven Plantations estate in Clarendon to George Chandler (q.v.), date unknown but before George Chandler wrote his will in 1777.

1743 [EA] - 1744 [LA] → Joint owner

Legacies Summary

Political (1)

election →
Arundel Sussex
1747 - 1754

Relationships (4)

Son-in-law → Father-in-law
Son-in-law → Mother-in-law
Husband → Wife

Addresses (2)

George Street, Hanover Square, London, Middlesex, London, England