Stephen Attlay

???? - 1786


Merchant and slave-owner in Jamaica, owner and probably establisher of Prospect estate in Portland Jamaica.

  1. Reportedly a native of Stockton-on-Tees, 'where he had failed in business as a butcher, proceeding to Jamaica, amassed an enormous fortune under government.' A register entry recorded that Stephen Attlay, 'commissary of stores in Jamaica, worth 100,000l, was buried in Seamer Chapel 24/04/1786.'

  2. Will of Stephen Attlay of Cheshunt House Hertfordshire proved 27/04/1786. In the will he left his wife Parnell an annuity of £500 p.a. secured on the Prospect estate, an annuity of £200 p.a. to his daughter Charlotte Sandon, and a single annuity of £50 p.a. among 'my five relations.' He left the remainder of his estate to his son Stephen Oakeley Attlay. The will of his widow Parnell of Monmouth made in 1814 and proved 19/06/1815 mentions her 'beloved and only daughter Elizabeth', not evident in the will of Stephen Attlay.

  3. 'Additional information about Attlay’s wealth and his activities as a merchant is provided in an inventory of Jamaican assets, compiled after his death in December 1786. This document valued Prospect Estate at £8,674. 5s. currency (£6,193. 15s. sterling): an under-estimate of its true value since the inventory excluded the land and sugar works, rating only the enslaved and moveable property. Interestingly, the sugar estate accounted for less than half of Attlay’s gross inventoried wealth on the island. In addition to Prospect, he was the owner of a livestock pen named Dirty Pit, which was leased to William Patrick Brown (a member of Jamaica’s Council) at £980 currency per annum. Alongside the 162 slaves at Prospect, a further 40 enslaved workers belonging to Attlay were rented to Brown valued at £2,340 currency. Brown was also a creditor of Attlay’s and in 1786 owed him £1,222. 7s. 6d. currency secured by bond. Six further debtors are listed in the inventory, which details £1,731.0s.6d. currency of loans granted by Attlay on the island between 1772 and 1784. In total, therefore, Attlay’ gross assets on Jamaica, exclusive of real estate, amounted to £14,947.13s. currency (£10,696 3s. 6d. sterling).'


  1. John Walker Ord, History and Antiquities of Cleveland (London, 1846) p. 482.

  2. PROB 11/1140/322. The will is indexed on TNA's site to Stephen Attlay of Chesham [sic] House Hertfordshire; PROB 11/1569/375.

  3. S. D. Smith, An Introduction to the Plantation Journals of Prospect Sugar Estate, with contents of the microfilm (2004), [accessed 22/03/2017]

Further Information

Parnell Oakeley
Stephen Oakeley; Charlotte; Elizabeth?

Relationships (3)

Father → Son
Uncle → Nephew

Addresses (1)

Cheshunt House, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, South-east England, England