James Ridge

???? - 1784


Apparently resident slave-owner of Irish origin, a connection of Edmund Burke and presumably either himself, or a relative of, the 'Mr Ridge' and 'Ridge' who appears in letters of Burke to John Hely Hutchison and J. Monck Mason in 1763 and 1765 complaining of Burke's treatment by William George Hamilton.

  1. Will of James Ridge of St Catherine Jamaica [made in 1783] proved 23/10/1794. Under the will he allowed his wife Mary Willikins or Ridge to stay on New Hall for life or as long as she remained unmarried, and left her one tierce of sugar and one puncheon of rum per annum, together with an annuity or rent charge of £700 currency p.a. and 10 named enslaved people plus two other female enslaved people of his wife's choice. He left an annuity of £50 p.a. to his mother Margaret Ridge of Loughrea in Ireland for life, and £150 p.a. to his nephew John Ridge son of his brother John Ridge of Dublin until 1789. He left New Hall itself in trust (trustees were Edmund Burke of Beaconsfield, Robert Cooper Lee and William Mitchell) until 1789, with instructions to the trustees to purchase enslaved people but no more than eight per year or 30 in total. After 1789 the estate was to be conveyed to his nephew John (son of his brother John Ridge, late of Dublin Esquire) failing whom to his [the testator's] brother Michael of Loughrea. Also mentioned in the will are his sister Nano or Honora Ridge, another sister Catherine Mitchell (wife of Thomas Mitchell), nephew and godson Edward Pusey Lyon (second son of his late dear and valued friend Benhamin Lyon Esquire and wife Elizabeth Ann).

  2. James Ridge was buried in St Catherine, 09/03/1784. The will of James Ridge of St. Catherine, Esq. was proved in Jamaica 22/04/1784.

  3. The newly built mansion house on New Hall belonging to the heirs of James Ridge was 'in ruins' after the 1785 hurricane, according to reports in Britain.


Harold J. Laski, Letters of Edmund Burke, A Selection [1920], pp. 30 and 34; P.J. Marshall, Edmund Burke and the British Empire in the West Indies: Wealth, Power, and Slavery (Oxford University Press, 2019) p. 230 identifies James Ridge more directly.

  1. PROB 11/1251/61.

  2. Familysearch.org, Jamaica Church of England Parish Register Transcripts, 1664-1880 [database online]; LOS 50.

  3. The Political Magazine, and Parliamentary, Naval, Military and Literary Journal for the Year MDCCLXXXV Vol. X p. 377.

We are grateful to Daniel Livesay and A. Jane Williamson for their assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

Mary Willikins or Wellekins

Associated Estates (3)

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] - 1783 [LA] → Owner
1784 [EA] - 1791 [LA] → Previous owner
1785 [EA] - 1795 [LA] → Previous owner

Relationships (2)

Testator → Executor
Uncle → Nephew
Notes →
Possibly through Ridge's wife's first...