John Shakespear

22nd Mar 1718 - 1775


Alderman John Shakespear of Stepney Causeway, Master of the Ironmongers' Company in 1769, ropemaker to the Ordnance. Born 05/03/1718 and baptised 06/04/1718 at St Dunstan's. Married to Elizabeth Currie, grand-daughter of Col John Campbell of Black River (q.v.). Died in 1775. His eldest son Arthur was MP for Richmond 1798-1808 and Portarlington 1812-1816. Presumably had substantial investments in Jamaica given that, under the terms of his will, his wife Elizabeth was to have £1000 per annum for life raised in the first place from his Jamaican bonds, bills and debts. These financial assets in Jamaica probably arose from his mercantile partnership with Colin Currie (q.v.).


Aldermen of London, 1701-1800, [accessed 04/08/2020]; History of Parliament Online, [accessed 04/08/2020]. Lieutenant Colonel J. Shakespear, John Shakespear of Shadwell and his descendants 1619-1931. Northumberland Press, 1931, p. 21.

We are grateful to Paul Hitchings for his assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

Elizabeth Currie
Arthur, John, David, Colin, Samuel, Elizabeth, Ann, Sarah, Martha, Jane, Mary

PROB11/1009/5 - precis.

John Shakespear of Stepney Causeway, Middlesex, ropemaker and one of the Aldermen of the City of London.

To be interred without pomp or pageantry in the vault (which I caused to be built) in Stepney Churchyard.

To my wife Elizabeth all my household furniture, jewels, plate, linen etc for her sole use and disposal. Also to her my dwelling house on Stepney Causeway with the garden, little field and all the outhouses for her natural life. Also to her £1000 per annum for life. It is my will and desire that the several securities of bonds, bills and acceptances for payment of the debts due in Jamaica shall first be liable.

To my eldest son Arthur Shakespeare and his heirs male all my freehold, copyhold and leasehold estate and after the decease of my wife my dwellinghouse and the rest of my real estates. In case Arthur should not have a male heir then the same to my second son John Shakespear and his male heirs and so on to my sons David, Colin, Samuel and their male heirs etc. Also £5,000 to Arthur.

To my sons John Shakespear and David Shakespear £4,000 each.

To my wife Elizabeth, my son Arthur and my much esteemed friends Mr Colin Currie of London, merchant, John Campbell esquire of Orange Bay and John Campbell esquire of the Hope the sum of £18,000 upon trust to place the same out at interest, in public stock or other good securities for the benefit of my dear children Elizabeth, Ann, Sarah, Martha, Jane, Mary, Colin and Samuel until the boys reach the age of 21 years and the girls age 21 years or marriage at which times the trustees to divide the sum of £18,000 in the proportions following:

£2,000 each to my daughters Elizabeth, Ann, Sarah, Martha, Jane and Mary

£3,000 each to my sons Colin and Samuel.

The interest meanwhile to be appropriated for their maintenance, education and support. Should any die before inheriting then their share to be equally divided amongst the others.

To the Treasurer and Governors of the London Hospital for the time being £100 towards the support of that useful charity.

To my brother-in-law Mr Colin Currie £100 and my best diamond ring.

To my esteemed friends John Campbell Esquire of Orange Bay and Jno Campbell Esquire of the Hope £100.

To my nieces Elizabeth Phillips and Mary Phillips £50 each for mourning.

To my friend Dr Philip De La Cour of Bath £5 guineas for a ring and the picture of an old woman by Lois.

To my cousin John Shaw £20.

To my friend and intimate acquaintance Mr Seymour Stocker of Limehouse, brewer, £10 guineas for a ring and also the statue of Shakespear which is on a bracket in my dining parlour.

To Mr Thomas Chillingworth, apothecary, £5 guineas.

To Mr James Brain, £50.

To the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen I would have rings sent and I leave it to the discretion of my executors to send rings to such of my friends as they shall think proper.

To my foreman George Godsell £10.

To each of the men and maid servants who shall have been resident in my family twelve months before my decease, 5 guineas.

All rest and residue to my wife Elizabeth Shakespear to be disposed of amongst my children by will in such proportion as she shall think them entitled to by their dutiful behaviour towards her. And I trust to her prudence and maternal affection that in case she should be disposed to alter her condition by marrying again she will first advise with the rest of the trustees and secure and settle the principal of her fortune in such a manner that my children may not be injured by her second marriage...

My wife Elizabeth, son Arthur Shakespear, Mr Colin Currie, Jno Campbell Esquire of Orange Bay and John Campbell Esquire of the Hope to be joint trustees and guardians of my children.

Signed 08/08/1772.

[Note stating that Arthur and Elizabeth Shakespear opened the will to see who were the executors, sealed it and then opened it again the same day in the presence of them both, John Campbell of Orange Bay and John Campbell of the Hope. Sworn 30/05/1775.]

Proved in London 01/06/1775.

Legacies Summary

Commercial (1)

Name partner
Currie & Shakespear
West India merchant  

Relationships (11)

Grandson → Grandfather
Business partners
Son-in-law → Father-in-law
Father → Son
Father-in-law → Son-in-law
Grandfather → Grandson
Grandfather → Grandson
Grandfather → Grand-daughter
Grandfather → Grandson
Testator → Executor
Testator → Executor

Addresses (1)

Stepney Causeway, London, Middlesex, London, England