Ballard Beckford I

1709 - 23rd May 1760


  1. There is some confusion between Ballard Beckford I and Ballard Beckford II. Feurtado appears to conflate the two: "M.A. St. George 1734. St. Mary 1735. 52. M.C. 1754. St. Catherine 1763. Died Sept. 1764. Leaving his widow Frances Gent and his daughter Mary Ballard Beckford. The widow married Donald Campbell 1766. He was appointed the first Provincial Grand Master of Freemasons in Jamaica 1742. He was the eldest son of Thomas Beckford, and grandson of Peter Beckford Senior. In 1767 a private act was passed for vesting in Trustees several messuages and tracts of land part. of the estate of Ballard Beckford Esqre., deceased in trust to sell and dispose of the same for payment of his debts and for other purposes therein mentioned."

  2. Ballard Beckford, son of Thomas and Mary Beckford, was baptised in St Catherine, Jamaica 28/07/1709. Ballard Beckford son Thomas Beckford of Opp. Hisp. Ins. Jamaic. [i.e. Spanish Town] gentleman, matriculated St John's Oxford 27/10/1726 aged 18. Ballard Beckford, son of Ballard and Lady Mary Beckford, was born 24/12/1732 and baptised in St Anne, Soho, London, 28/12/1732. Ballard Beckford, "a member of the Council" was buried in St Catherine, 24/05/1760 and Ballard Beckford Esquire was buried in St Catherine 09/09/1764.

  3. Ballard Beckford was listed in the Jamaican Quit Rent books for 1754 as the owner of 1020 acres of land in St Catherine, 3067 acres in St Mary, 1750 acres in St Elizabeth and 250 acres in St Thomas-in-the-Vale, total 6087 acres. This is Ballard Beckford I.

  4. It seems likely that the father predeceased the son: the elder Ballard must have been the one who was Member of Assembly for St George and St Mary in the 1830s and was very likely the Member of Council in 1754 (Ballard the younger would have been too young for such a position) and thus the Ballard Beckford, "a member of the Council" who died in 1760. The younger Ballard would therefore have been the Member of Assembly for St Catherine in 1763 and the Ballard Beckford Esquire who died in September 1764.

  5. There is only one probate record for Ballard Beckford in Jamaica. Ballard Beckford of St Mary, Esquire. Estate probated in Jamaica in 1766. Slave-ownership at probate: 537 of whom 290 were listed as male and 247 as female. 0 were listed as boys, girls or children. Total value of estate at probate: £56,797.73 Jamaican currency of which £21,523.12 currency was the value of enslaved people. Estate valuation included £0 currency cash, £22,750.53 currency debts and £475.83 currency plate. Presumably Ballard Beckford II would have inherited from his father by this point but without a probate record for Ballard Beckford I at an earlier date this must be the record for Ballard Beckford I and the source of some confusion in the death dates between the two.

  6. Attended Westminster School: "BECKFORD, BALLARD, son of Thomas Beckford, Spanish Town, Jamaica, and his first wife Mary Tolderby; bapt. 28 Jul 1709; adm. (aged 11) Jan 1720/1; in under school list 1723; St. John’s Coll. Oxford, matr. 27 Oct 1726; m. Ann, dau. of John Clark, Governor of New York; d. in Jamaica 23 May 1760."


  1. W. A. Feurtado, Official and Other Personages of Jamaica from 1655 to 1790 Compiled from Various Sources (1896), transcribed at

  2., Jamaica Church of England Parish Register Transcripts, 1664-1880 [database online];, Oxford University Alumni, 1500-1886 [database online];, London, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 [database online]. There is a death notice for Ballard Beckford I as well: Oxford Journal 23/08/1760: "On the 23rd of May died St. Jago de la Vega in Jamaica, the Hon. Ballard Beckford, Esq; several Years one of his Majesty's Honourable Privy Council for that Island."

  3. 'A List of landholders in the Island of Jamaica together with the number of acres each person possessed taken from the quit rent books in the year 1754', TNA CO 142/31 transcribed at

  4., Jamaica Church of England Parish Register Transcripts, 1664-1880 [database online]; Fuertado, op. cit. Note that some secondary sources (e.g. Betty Wood 'Letters of Simon Taylor' in Betty Wood, Martin Lynn (eds.) Travel, Trade and Power in the Atlantic, 1765-1884 Camden Miscellany XXXV (2002), p. 29) give Ballard Beckford I's life-dates erroneously as 1709-1764.

  5. Trevor Burnard, Database of Jamaican inventories, 1674-1784.

  6. The Record of Old Westminsters (1928), with improvements © Hugh Edmund Pagan MA FSA, available via the online catalogue for Westminster School's Archive & Collections, [accessed 05/01/2020].

We are grateful to Hugh Pagan, Bethany Duck and Elizabeth Wells for their assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

Westminster School [1720-1723 ]

Relationships (2)

Father → Son
Grandfather → Grand-daughter