William Skirving

No Dates


Owner of Woodlands estate in Hanover, Jamaica, from at least 1823, in right of his wife Eliza Partridge nee Knowles.

  1. Eliza, eldest daughter of the late Edward Knowles esq married Dr .... Skirving at Orange Grove in St Ann, 09/10/1818.

  2. Living at Woodlands, Hanover, in 1823, described as white, aged 26. Also there were Elizabeth (aged 26), Mary (4), Edward (2.5) and Ann (1) Skirving, all white.

  3. Mary Helen Campbell Skirving, daughter of Doctor Skirving of the parish of Hanover and Eliza his wife late Knowles, was born 19/08/1819 and baptised at Florence Hall 19/08/1820.

  4. Described as “your surgeon” in a letter from Rev. Thomas Cooper to Robert Hibbert junior (q.v.) in 1824. Following the publication of Macaulay’s pamphlet “On Slavery”, with which Cooper had assisted, Skirving swore an affidavit in which he stated Cooper expressed astonishment at finding “the condition of the Negroes had been so much misrepresented in England and... the state of Slavery in Jamaica was so entirely different to what they [Cooper and his wife] had expected to find on their arrival”. In his letter to Hibbert, Cooper stated that Skirving “has sworn to much that he knows to be false and grossly exaggerated”, was “deeply interested in the support of Slavery in general”, and “confirmed to me that when attorneys visit estates they are known to employ the midwife to procure them some girl or girls whom she supposes to be pure”.

  5. Dr Skirving’s property of Woodlands was burned during the 1831 slave uprising.

  6. Deceased by July 1837 when his widow Eliza was buried in Trelawny.


  1. Royal Gazette 17/10/1818.

  2. Census of White and Brown Inhabitants and other persons of free condition of the Parish of Hanover, 1823 transcribed at http://www.jamaicanfamilysearch.com/Members/Cen23ha3.htm.

  3. Familysearch.org, Jamaican Parish Registers, Trelawny, Baptisms, Marriages, Burials 1771-1839 (page number obliterated).

  4. “A Letter to Robert Hibbert jun esq in reply to his pamphlet entitled ‘Facts verified upon oath in contradiction of the report of the Rev Thomas Cooper concerning the general condition of the slaves in Jamaica’ &c” (1824) pp. 17, 76-77.

  5. Schedule of properties burned during the 1831 slave uprising, as listed in B. M. Senior’s Jamaica as it was, as it is, and as it may be (1835)http://www.jamaicanfamilysearch.com/Members/buprisin.htm.

  6. Familysearch.org, Jamaican Parish Registers, Trelawny, Baptisms, Marriages, Burials 1771-1839 p. 323.

We are grateful to Paul Hitchings for his assistance with this entry.

Further Information

Eliza Partridge Knowles

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
1826 [EA] - 1832 [LA] → Administrator
1821 [EA] - 1832 [LA] → Joint owner

Relationships (2)

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