Slingsby Bethell

1695 - 1st Nov 1758


  1. Slingsby Bethell, Lord Mayor (1755-56), MP for London (1747-1758). As a young man went to Antigua where he purchased a large plantation. Sometime before 1730 he settled in London as a rich merchant, concerned in the African slave trade. He was an additional source of the interest of the Codrington or Bethell-Codrington family in slave-property in Antigua. Slingsby Bethell's sister Elizabeth was married to Sir William Codrington, first bart., of the Barbados family (himself an owner of estates in Antigua): in his will, Slingsby Bethell left monetary legacies to his sister and her children, but left the bulk of his real property, including possibly in Antigua [see 2. below], to one of these children, his nephew Christopher Codrington (later Christopher Bethell, d. 1797, q.v.). Christopher Bethell's property in turn passed to his own nephew Sir Christopher Bethell-Codrington bart (q.v.) and his siblings, the children of Edward Codrington (1732-1775). Slingsby Bethell was a co-founder and President of the British Herring Fishery Company.

  2. According to Vere Langford Oliver's summary, Slingsby Bethell's will proved in 1758 included the following provisions: 'My real estate in Antigua I purchased of Mr John Vernon, who has lately set up a very unjust claim thereto; My executors are to pay him £6000 if he release all claim; and it shall then be charged with £6000 for my nephews and nieces. All residue and my said plantation to my nephew Chr. Codrington.' It seems that Slingsby Bethell had been the mortgagee of this property, logically the Vernon's estate, and that his executors and heirs lost the claim in the Chancery suit arising from the contestation.


Will of Slingsby Bethell one of the Aldermen of the City of London proved 14/11/1758, PROB 11/841/325.

  1. Entry by Eveline Cruickshanks, History of Parliament online, accessed 18/01/2019, and, accessed 23/07/2021. Despite the clarity of the latter History of Parliament entry, which [sourced to the Journal of the House of Commons xxii (1732-37) p. 566] says 'Some information about his trade appears in the evidence he gave before the House of Commons on 16 Feb. 1736: he was sending ‘great quantities’ of English woollens to the Guinea coast, purchasing there negroes for the British plantations, and receiving in exchange ‘the produce of the said islands, and particularly cotton’', Bethell himself does not appear in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database. A connection with the Royal African Company is suggested by the records of litigation in Finch v Royal African Company in 1747 (C 11/816/47) and Finch v Boddicote in 1748 (C 11/870/27).

  2. Vere Langford Oliver, History of Antigua Vol. I p. 43; Notes and Queries 4th series II (October 24, 1868) p. 394 asserts the mortgage by the Vernons to Slingsby Bethell, and connects it to Col. the Hon. John Vernon; William Fuller Maitland, The London Chronicle Vol. 11 (1762) p.105 shows the settlement of the cause 'so long depending' between John Vernon and the executors and heirs at law of Slingsby Bethell over a very large estate in Antigua in favour of the said John Vernon Esq.

Further Information

Merchant and former slave-trader

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
- 1762 [EY] → Mortgage Holder

Slingsby Bethell reportedly held a mortgage c. 1750 over property of the Vernon family on Antigua that became the subject of a Chancery suit which Bethell's heirs lost in 1762. It has been inferred to have related to the Vernon estate.

Legacies Summary

Political (1)

election →
London London
1747 - 1758

Relationships (2)

Uncle → Nephew
Uncle → Nephew