Gilbert Petrie

1720 - 1807


Governor of Cape Coast Castle (in modern Ghana) and later Speaker of the House of Assembly of Tobago in 1795, where he had been an early purchaser of land, appearing in 1773 as 'Present proprietor' of Northeast division (St John parish) Lots nos. 21-24, which became Englishmans Bay.

  1. Will of Gilbert Petrie of Tobago proved 30/09/1820. The will sets out a long list of specific legacies to family and friends of £500-1500, including what must have been a satirical legacy of £50 to Sir William Pulteney 'of which I request his acceptance as a testimony of the sense I entertain of the service he has rendered me', and includes a codicil (07/06/1805) that if his brother John should contest the will, both John and his children would be disinherited. The will includes at the end a list of legatees among the enslaved peope on Courland (Alba £75; Tibby £25; Fanny, washerwoman £25; Mary, her daughter £25; Fanny, nurse £25; Quamino, Ranger £50) and Bon Accord (Mary Ann £25; Frances her daughter £50), and in the body included legacies of £500 each to Walter Robertson and Robert Johnson free mulatto men and Elizabeth Robertson free mulatto woman of Tobago, as well as £500 to John William Sandon [sp?] a free mulatto man residing in the town of Accra on the Gold Coast of Africa. The executors were the slave-trader Richard Miles, John Balfour late of Tobago but now residing in the Adelphi, and Gilbert Petrie's niece Margaret Ferguson, widow of John Ferguson late of Harley Street. The will established two trusts, for £12,000 for the children of his nephew Robert Mitchell of Tobago and £18,000 for the children of his brother John Petrie.

  2. Petrie acted as a slave-factor on Tobago. In the will of William Roberts [late] of Sion House, Accra, Gold Coast made 09/12/1795 and proved 18/04/1796, Roberts said he was travelling on the schooner Express, Captain Thomas Boland Commander, with ninety 'very prime slaves at present all well' on his own account, and thirty-seven more for James Bannerman. By his will he consigned these captive Africans to Gilbert Petrie of Tobago to be sold and the proceeds remitted to Messrs. Camden, Calvert and King in London. He was also due £7 10s each for a further three captive Africans who belonged to the schooner, which was to be deducted from the £1000 he had paid to charter the ship from Accra to Tobago.

  3. At Bath, Death of Gilbert Petrie esq. of the Island of Tobago 1807. He was buried 11/02/1807 at St Mary Lewisham, having died at Bath aged 87.


London Gazette 13847 22/12/1795 pp. 1468-1469; '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. 48-49.

  1. PROB 11/1634/409.

  2. PROB 11/1274/97.

  3. Universal Magazine Vol 7 p. 480 'Provincial Occurrence' May 1807;, London, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 [database online].

Further Information


Associated Estates (1)

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] → Owner

Shown as owner of the lots that became Englishman's Bay.

Relationships (4)

Testator → Trustee
Notes →
One of Gilbert Petrie's trustees was given in his will [proved in 1807] as John Balfour late of Tobago but now of the Adelphi. This was almost certainly John Crawfurd...
Uncle → Nephew
Business associates

Addresses (1)

Bath, Somerset, South-west England, England
Notes →

Died at Bath in 1807 aged 87