Queely Shiell

1754 - 1847


Queely Shiell (1755-1847) was the largest landowner in Montserrat, awarded compensation for Richmond, Grove, Cove, Montpellier, Hope, Sweeney’s and Friers estates.

  1. Birthplace unknown but probably the Caribbean as a likely match for his parents are William Shiell and Margaret Queely who married in St Kitts on 17/06/1756. Aged 93 at his death in London in 1847, this would give his date of birth as 1754 or 1755. Queely Shiell is named as having been admitted to the Royal Company of Archers on 06/12/1775; the company's minute book describes him as a "student of physic, Edinr."

  2. Comptroller of Customs in Montserrat from 1805 to 1827 but described as “of Richmond in the Parish of St Anthony but now residing in England” in James Willock’s counterclaim for Richmond and Grove estates in the 1830s. He was a signatory at a call to a meeting of the West Indian colonies in the Times in 1832 and signed for his own compensation in London in the mid 1830s. The death of a daughter of A.H. Watson was reported in the Times “At Granard-lodge, residence of Queely Shiell” in 1840. Shiell himself was resident at Granard Lodge in Putney Park Lane between 1837 and 1841.

  3. Married to Ann (possibly née Gordon) and had at least five children from the 1780s: William (q.v.), John (q.v.) and Mrs Eleanor Allen who were mentioned in his will; Maria who died of smallpox as a baby in 1792; and James Phipps Shiell who died in 1834. The three sons all held public office in Montserrat. The novelist Matthew Phipps Shiel [sic] (1865-1947) was born in Montserrat, the son of Matthew Dowdy Shiell (1825-1888) and Priscilla Ann Blake (1830-1910) 'who was of mixed race': Matthew Dowdy Shiell was the son of James Phipps Shiell and hence likely the grandson of Queely Shiell.

  4. In the census of 1841 at Putney Park Lane, Putney, age 80 [sic?] with his wife Ann, son John and five Shiells who are likely John's family, daughter Eleanor and three Allens who are likely Eleanor's children, 6 female servants and 2 male servants. The discovery of the dismembered body of a young woman found in the stables at Granard Lodge in 1842, a murder apparently committed by his coachman, threw the Shiell family "into a state of the most painful distress" at the time they were "on the eve of removing from Granard Lodge, which ha[d] been disposed of, for Clarges-street, Piccadilly." Living at Clarges Street, Middlesex, when he wrote his will on 29/04/1844 and listed at 40 Clarges Street in Boyle’s Directory of 1846.

  5. Death at 40 Clarges St. in his 93rd year, Queely Shiell, late of the island of Montserrat. Will of Queely Shiell [formerly of the Island of Montserrat in the West Indies but now residing at] Clarges Street [made in 1844] proved 18/12/1847. He left his estates on Montserrat to his wife Ann for life and then equally to his children William Shiell, John Shiell and Mrs Eleanor Allen widow. He left annuities of: £40 p.a. to his granddaughter Mary Ann Allen and of £200 p.a. equally to his wife's sisters Mary Barratt and Harriett Gordon, to be funded from government stock. In a codicil [also of 1844] he said that he had 'been under the necessity of withdrawing large sums of money from my funded property in support of my West India estates', and he accordingly reduced the latter annuity to £100 p.a. He also made his funded property available to support the £800 p.a. annuity to his wife secured on the West India property. In a second codicil after his wife's death in 1845 he left his daughter an annuity of £500 p.a. and £300 p.a. to his granddaughters; and in third codicil of 1847 he amended the £300 p.a. to £400 p.a., payable only after the death of their mother.

  6. Queely's son William had an illegitimate son named William to a free person of colour shopkeeper Mary McNamara in 1823. He later married Mary Caby Semper and had two further sons named William who died before reaching maturity. His "natural" son left Montserrat for England in 1853 and sailed to Australia as 2nd Mate on board "The Gazelle", arriving on 23rd December 1853. Henry Shiell, son of James Phipps Shiell, also arrived in Australia in 1853. He was a Police Magistrate in Hay, New South Wales for a period and the Sydney Coroner from 1866 until his death in 1889. His sister Mary Ann and two nieces also came to Australia and stayed.


T71/888 Montserrat claim nos. 38 (Sweeney's), 99 (Friers), 100 (Richmond & Grove), 101 (Cove) and 186 (Montpelier & Hope).

For information on the Shiell family see publications by Dorothy Anderson and Richard Shiell, including Montserrat to Melbourne: the story of the Shiell family,(South Yarra, Victoria,1984).

  1. See http://www.alangullette.com/lit/shiel/family/Shiell_Queely.htm#_ftnref61 for a detailed biography of Queely Shiell, his children and descendents, and a transcription of his will [accessed 28/03/2012]. 

  2. http://www.alangullette.com/lit/shiel/family/Shiell_Queely.htm#_ftnref61 [accessed 28/03/2012]; for the counterclaim of James Willcock see T71/1261; Times 05/04/1832 p. 1; for the collection of compensation by Queely Shiell see NDO4/11; Times 03/03/1840 p. 7; Dorian Gerhold Villas and mansions of Roehampton and Putney Heath Wandsworth Historical Society 1997; James Balfour Paul, The History of the Royal Company of Archers, William Blackwood & Sons, 1875, p. 370.

  3. http://www.alangullette.com/lit/shiel/family/Shiell_Queely.htm#_ftnref61 [accessed 28/03/2012]; ODNB online, Albert R. Vogeler, 'Shiel, Matthew Phipps (1865-1947), novelist.' 

  4. 1841 census online; Bell's Life in London and Sporting Chronicle 10/04/1842; Boyle’s Directory (1846).

  5. Times 30/11/1847 p. 8; PROB 11/2066/490.

  6. Dorothy Anderson and Richard Shiell, Montserrat to Melbourne-the Story of a Shiell Family (Pakenham Press, 1984)

We are grateful for the help of Sean Creighton, Neil How, and Richard Shiell with this entry.

Further Information

Name in compensation records
Queely Shield
William, John, Eleanor, Maria, James Phipps

Associated Claims (6)

£4,175 8s 1d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£1,907 4s 3d
£6,231 7s 3d
£329 6s 6d
Awardee (Trustee)
£1,604 15s 10d
£519 13s 5d
Other association

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
- 1834 [LA] → Not known
1817 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Owner
1817 [EA] - 1817 [LA] → Owner

Legacies Summary

Imperial (3)

notes →
Several of his grandchildren had wider imperial connections: William (1823-1899, son of Queely's son John Shiell) emigrated to Australia in the 1850s and died in Sydney 1899; Louisa Gordon (1838-?,...
Sierra Leone 
notes →
Several of his grandchildren had wider imperial connections: William (1823-1899, son of Queely's son John Shiell) emigrated to Australia in the 1850s and died in Sydney 1899; Louisa Gordon (1838-?,...
Canada: Newfoundland 
notes →
Several of his grandchildren had wider imperial connections: William (1823-1899, son of Queely's son John Shiell) emigrated to Australia in the 1850s and died in Sydney 1899; Louisa Gordon (1838-?,...

Relationships (3)

Father → Son
Father → Son
Grandfather → Grandson

Addresses (2)

40 Clarges Street, Middlesex, London, England
Granard Lodge, Putney Park Lane, Putney, Surrey, London, England