James Pownall

1807 - 11th Dec 1882


  1. Son of James Corne Pownall and "free mulatto" Sarah Watt. Baptised in Jamaica, 14/07/1807 age 5 months. Inherited a share in Silver Hill estate in St Andrew, Jamaica, in trust with his six siblings and six of his first cousins, on the death of his father in 1824. His father's will also provided for his maintenance and education as well as the sum of £1,000 for each reputed child to set them up "in any business and establishment that may seem to my trustees to be proper and adviseable or any lesser sum they may think fit to subsititute". His father also stated in his will, "It is my wish that my said son shall never reside in Jamaica."

  2. James Pownall became a surgeon and married Ann Lucretia Bishop in 11/08/1828 in Calne, Wiltshire, where he can be found at Curzon Street in the censuses of 1841 and 1851. In 1851 he had five patients living in his household, with his wife and three female servants. He took charge of an insane asylum from 1853 but experienced manic episodes and subsequently killed the housemaid of a house he was staying in. In December 1859, James was found not guilty of willful murder but judged to be insane, "to be kept in strict custody". He was admitted to Bethlem Asylum 09/01/1860 and transferred to the newly-built Broadmoor Hospital 06/02/1865, where he died 11/12/1882.


  1. Familysearch.org, Jamaica Church of England Parish Register Transcripts, 1664-1880 [database online]. Note: James' surname is indexed as Poronall. Will of James Corne Pownall, PROB 11/1719/375.

  2. Ancestry.com, England & Wales Marriages, 1538-1940 [database online]; Ancestry.com, England and Wales, Criminal Registry, 1791-1892 [database online]; Ancestry.com, UK, Lunacy Patients Admission Registers, 1846-1912 [database online]; David J. Vaughan, Mad or Bad: Crime and Insanity in Victorian Britain (2017) part 5, case histories. Note Vaughan describes Pownall as a magistrate and mayor.

We are grateful to Howard Mais, Rita Lamb and Jill Britton for their assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

Ann Lucretia Bishop

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
1824 [SY] - 1834 [LA] → Trust beneficiary

Relationships (16)

Nephew → Aunt
Natural Son → Father
Nephew → Uncle
Brother → Sister
Brother → Sister
Brother → Sister
Brother → Sister
Brother → Sister
First Cousins
First Cousins
First Cousins
First Cousins
First Cousins
First Cousins
Natural Son → Mother

Addresses (3)

Calne, Wiltshire, Wessex, England
Bethlam Royal Hospital, Lambeth Road, London, Surrey, London, England
Broadmoor Hospital, Crowthorne, Berkshire, South-east England, England