Nathaniel Wells

10th Sep 1779 - 13th May 1852

Claimant or beneficiary


Nathaniel Wells (1779-1852), son of William Wells, a sugar planter and merchant in St Kitts, and his enslaved house worker Juggy.

  1. Born 10/09/1779 in St Kitts. His father was William Wells (1730-1794), who moved to St Kitts about 1749 and eventually became owner of three sugar plantations, the largest of which was Vambells. His mother was Juggy, an enslaved house servant who took the name Joardine Wells on manumission. His father had at least six illegitimate children, as well as legitimate daughters, but Nathaniel was the only son and inherited the bulk of his estate on the death of his father in 1794 - three sugar plantations and money estimated at £120,000. Nathaniel was educated in England and bought Piercefield estate near Chepstow, Monmouthshire, for £90,000 in 1802. He was an integral part of Monmouthshire high society, becoming Justice of the Peace in 1806 and Sheriff of Monmouthshire in 1818. He served as church warden at St Arvan's, 1804-1843 and with the Duke of Beaufort paid for improvements to the building.

  2. Nathaniel Wells married Harriet Este 09/06/1801 at St George's, Hanover Square, London, and after her death, married Esther Owen 30/01/1823, also at St George's. He is recorded at Piercefield House with Esther Owen in the censuses of 1841 and 1851. He died at 9 Park Street, Landsdown, Bath, 13/05/1852. His memorial incription reads: "Sacred to the memory of Nathaniel Wells of Piercefield, Esq, a Magistrate and Deputy Lieutenant of the county of Monmouth, who died at Bath May 13th, 1852, aged 72 years. Also of Esther, widow of the above, who died on the 1st day of June, 1871, aged 67 years. R.I.P."

  3. Vambells estate is not identified in the Register of Claims for St Kitts, but appears to be the estate shown there as 'Middle Island.' .

  4. The will of Nathaniel Wells of Piercefield, Monmouthshire, was proved 28/07/1852. Under the will he reaffirmed his two marriage settlements, under each of which £10,000 was settled on the children of the respective marriage, and instructed his trustees to realise his real estate and divide his estate as to 3/5ths to the children of his first marriage and 2/5th to the children of his second marriage.


T71/879 St Kitts claim no. 685 (Fahies and Ortons).

  1. J. A. H. Evans, ‘Wells, Nathaniel (1779–1852)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 [ accessed 23/05/2012]; [accessed 23/05/2012]; J.A.H. Evans, 'Nathaniel Wells of Piercefield and St Kitts: From Slave to Sheriff', Monmouthshire Antiquary, XVIII (2002), 91–106.

  2., London, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921 [database online]; 1841 census online; 1851 census online; memorial inscription transcribed at [accessed 23/05/2012].

  3. T71/879.

  4. PROB 11/2157/51.

We are grateful to Rita Lamb for her assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

(1) Harriet Este (2) Esther Owen
With (1) ten children; with (2) ten children
Oxford DNB Entry

Associated Claims (1)

£1,400 9s 7d

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
1817 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Owner
1817 [EA] - 1822 [LA] → Lessee

Shown as lessee in 1817 but as proprietor in 1822.

1817 [EA] - 1824 [LA] → Owner

Legacies Summary

Physical (2)

St Arvan's Church 
Country house
Piercefield House [Purchased] 
notes →
The image is of Piercefield House circa 1840 from a painting by George Eyre Brooks. There is an account of the house's history in [Wikipedia](; and see...

Political (3)

Local Government
office →
office →
Justice of the Peace
1806 -
office →
1818 -

Relationships (1)

Natural Son → Father

Addresses (2)

9 Park Street, Lansdown, Bath, Somerset, South-west England, England
Piercefield House, Chepstow, Monmouthshire, South Wales, Wales