William Henry Ricketts of Canaan and Longwood Hants.

1736 - 5th Oct 1798


'Transatlantic' slave-owner, moving between England and Jamaica. Son of George Ricketts (d. 1760), brother of John Ricketts and Jacob Ricketts, father of William Henry Jervis ne Ricketts (d. 1805) and Edward Jervis Ricketts (later Edward Jervis Jervis, q.v.), and husband of Mary Jervis, the sister of the 1st Viscount St Vincent. To date no will or probate has been found for him.

  1. 'William Henry Ricketts, son of George, Isle of Jamaica, arm. CHRIST CHURCH, matric. 11/04/1761 aged 21 [sic]; of Longwood Hants., bar.-at-law, Gray's Inn 1755, bencher 1769, died 05/10/1799. See Foster's Peerage VISCOUNT ST VINCENT.'

  2. The movements of William Henry Ricketts between England and Jamaica are detailed in a number of accounts of 'hauntings' in England which include the experiences of Mary Ricketts nee Jervis (and her brother, John Jervis, later 1st Viscount St Vincent) at their rented house at Hinton Ampner, Hampshire between January 1765 and 1771. In 1772 Mary Ricketts wrote a Narrative, which she left to her children: a version was published in the Gentleman's Magazine, and a pamphlet version published by the Society for Psychical Research in 1893.

  3. The British Library has holdings of family papers for William Henry Ricketts and his wife Mary nee Jervis. Claims by both William Henry Ricketts and Mary Ricketts to the East Florida Claims Commission are catalogued by TNA.

  4. William Henry Ricketts bought Longwood in Owslebury, also known as Rosehill, from George Carpenter, 2nd Earl of Tyrconnell in 1777 for £5000. It was sold in 1792 to his son-in-law, William, 7th Earl of Northesk (married to Ricketts' daughter Mary and third-in-command at the Battle of Trafalgar).

  5. Hon. William H. Ricketts Esquire died in Westmoreland 05/10/1798 and was buried in the family vault at Canaan estate the following day.


  1. Ancestry.com, Oxford University Alumni, 1500-1886 [database online]. There must be an error in his implied date-of-birth of 1740 if it is true that he was of Gray's Inn in 1755.

  2. E.g. Roger Clarke, The Natural History of Ghosts: 500 years of Hunting for Proof (2012), pp. 35-69. The text shows William Henry Ricketts 'called back' to Jamaica in 1769; Mary Ricketts' Narrative from the Gentleman's Magazine is reproduced in Harry Price, Poltergeist over England: Three Centuries of Mischievous Ghosts (Country Life Limited, 1945), Chapter 11.

  3. BL Western Manuscripts, Add MS 30001-30013 'GENERAL correspondence and papers of the families of Ricketts and Jervis, allied by the marriage of William Henry Ricketts, of Longwood, co. Southampton, to Mary, dau. of Swynfen Jervis, of Meaford; 1726-1842. Thirteen volumes. Presented by Mrs. Martha Jervis'; TNA T 77/15/5 - Folios 63-67: William Henry Ricketts, claim no 253; T 77/15/4 - Folios 56-62: Mary Ricketts, claim no 59.

  4. http://www.parksandgardens.org/places-and-people/site/5810 [accessed 25/05/2016]; http://research.hgt.org.uk/item/longwood-park/ [accessed 25/05/2016]. Information on Longwood by email from Roger Chatterton-Newman sourced to the MS recollections of Lord Northesk's granddaughter, Georgina Bowden-Smith (nee Long of Preshaw, Hants, born 1820, died 1906), now in the care of Hampshire Record Office, Winchester (catalogue ref: 133A15/A6/1).

  5. Ocacle 03/01/1799 and 05/01/1799.

We are grateful to Roger Chatterton-Newman and Anthony Pincott for their assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

Mary Jervis
William Henry; Edward Jervis
Oxford (Christ Church) [1761 ]
Legal Education
Gray's Inn [1755 ]

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
1783 [EA] - 1799 [LA] → Owner

The death-date of William Henry Ricketts is given as 1799 in Oxford University Alumni. No will or probate has yet been found for him. The estate was reportedly in the hands of a receiver in 1798.

Relationships (9)

Father → Son
Notes →
Edward Jervis Jervis was the younger son but succeeded after the death of his brother William Henry Jervis Ricketts in...
Son → Father
Uncle → Nephew
Grandfather → Grandson
Father → Son
Grandson → Grandfather
Nephew → Uncle
First Cousins

Addresses (2)

Hinton Ampner House, Alresford, Hampshire, Wessex, England
Longwood House, Owslebury, Winchester (near), Hampshire, Wessex, England