Isabella Hankey (née Alexander)

1768 - 1851

Claimant or beneficiary


Widow of the London West India merchant John Peter Hankey (1770-1807), mother of John Alexander Hankey (q.v.), and sister of Sir William Alexander (q.v.). She left personal estate worth £120,000 on her death in 1851. Although she does not appear in the compensation awards, she had inherited estates and enslaved people in Grenada, and appears to have actively managed her inheritance as an absentee owner.

  1. Will of Isabella Hankey widow of Grosvenor Square Middlesex proved 31/01/1851. In her will, made 06/06/1845, she left 'my manor or lordship of Essendine otherwise Essendon otherwise Essenden' in the county of Rutland to her oldest son John Alexander Hankey 'whether purchased by me of Thomas Earl of Clarendon the surviving trustee of the settlement of the marriage of James late Marquis of Salisbury then Lord Cranbourn or any other person.' Whereas she had charged her real estate with an annuity of £110 p.a. to her son Henry Aitchison Hankey, she provided that he should not benefit under her will unless he renounced this annuity. She recited that her husband John Peter Hankey by his will dated 07/12/1793 had left all his estates in Grenada including 'sugar works..negroes[,] slaves[,] plantation utensils' in trust (the trustees were his brothers Thomson Hankey and Frederick later Sir Frederick Hankey, his cousin Augustus Robert Hankey and Isabella's brother Sir William Alexander). Two-thirds of these estates were left to Isabella Hankey for her lifetime and after her death half of this interest (i..e one-third of the total) was to be disposed by her as she saw fit. Since the death of her husband, she said, 'I have purchased from Sir Morris Ximenes one undivided one-eighth part of certain plantation stock and the Island of Grenada known by the description Grand Bras estates.' She left this 'property' (the one-third of John Peter Hankey's estates and the additional purchase she had made) in trust to her son John Alexander Hankey and Thomson Hankey junior ('the eldest son of my brother-in-law Thomson Hankey') to divide equally among her four children: Julia, the widow of the Honourable Thomas Seymour Bathurst and her three sons John Alexander, Henry Aitchison and William. She left to her daughter Julia a portrait of her brother 'by Phillips' and 'the picture of herself by Sir Thomas Lawrence', together with other effects, but £20,000 to each of her sons.

  2. In a codicil dated 24/03/1848 she revoked her bequests under the will of one-fourth parts of her estate, including land at Finchley 'purchased by me', and of the £20,000 legacies to her sons, and instead left her estate divided three ways among her sons, while Juila Bathurst was left the house in Grosvenor Square.

  3. In a second codcil dated 15/08/1850 she noted that the Great Northern Railway had power to acquire compulsorily parts of the Essendine estate and she bequeathed any proceeds of such purchase during her life to her son John Alexander Hankey (rather than it flowing into her estate as a whole).

  4. Under the will of John Peter Hankey merchant late Alderman of the City of London of Mincing Lane proved 25/08/1807, the second of the two shares of one-third each passed to his wife was after her decease to be divided equally among his children. The missing third appears to have belonged to the family of Hankey's partner Peter Simond, who died in 1786 having adopted John Hankey as his son.

  5. Isabella's daughter Julia Bathurst (nee Hankey) died in 1877 also leaving £120,000.


  1. PROB 11/2125/306.

  2. ibid.

  3. ibid.

  4. PROB 11/1461/216.

  5. Rubinstein 1877/4.

We are grateful to Yvonne Roberts for her assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

Maiden Name
John Peter Hankey
John Alexander, Julia, Henry Aitchison, William
Wealth at death

Associated Claims (1)

£8,736 8s 9d
Beneficiary (Tenant-for-life)

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
1807 [SY] - 1851 [EY] → Tenant-for-life

Legacies Summary

Cultural (1)

Portrait of Mrs Seymour Bathurst by Thomas Lawrence c. 1828, commissioned and paid for by Isabella Hankey who left the portrait to her daughter Julia Seymour Bathurst in her will proved in 1845. Now... 
notes →
A SIR THOMAS LAWRENCE PORTRAIT The following essay is an article from the Dallas Museum of Art Bulletin_, Winter,1986/87._ The Dallas Museum of Art's newly acquired Portrait of the Honorable...

Relationships (5)

Sister → Brother
Mother → Son
Sister-in-law → Brother-in-law
Aunt → Nephew
Widow → Deceased Husband

Addresses (1)

Grosvenor Square, London, Middlesex, London, England