Nicholas Lechmere junior

1804 - 1839

Claimant or beneficiary


Awarded a share of the compensation for two groups of enslaved people in Kingston Jamaica.

Natural son of Nicholas Lechmere senior (c. 1755-1817), Ordnance storekeeper and owner of Mount Atlas coffee plantation in Jamaica, and 'free quadroon' Sarah Letitia Webster. Born 13/09/1804 and baptised 16/08/1804 in Port Royal, Jamaica, he was one of six - probably seven - children born to this couple between 1795 and 1812.

Nicholas Lechmere senior lost ownership of Mount Atlas shortly before his death in November 1817. Further financial difficulties came to light in 1821 when Elizabeth Lechmere nee Dashwood-King, sister-in-law of Lechmere senior, was faced without warning with a demand from the Board of Ordnance she make good deficiencies in his Port Royal Ordnance account, estimated by them at increasing levels between £3000 and £9,500. Her late husband William Lechmere had in 1811, unknown to her, signed a bond of caution for Nicholas senior's accounts in the penal sum of £2,000.

Nicholas senior’s children may not have been known to Elizabeth Lechmere individually by name – she refers refers to them as "his illegitimate children". They were certainly known to her Lechmere sister-in-law, Lucy Tompkins (1758-1833), widow of an Inns of Court bencher and former Buckinghamshire Lord Lieutenant, of the manor of Weston Turville, near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. A hint of how things stood with his family after Nicholas senior's death is given in an 1823 brief on Elizabeth Lechmere's behalf for Counsel's opinion, to John Bell of Lincoln's Inn: “Mrs Tompkins, sister of Mr Lechmere, applied to Burley and Burley [ the family's London solicitors] and procured for the illegitimate children all the money in his agent's hands in England.” These agents may possibly have been connected with her friends and legatees, the Shepheards, who had certainly handled some affairs for Nicholas in the 1790s and were Lechmere kin by marriage.

The death in 1799 of her only stepson had left Lucy Tompkins as owner of the Manor House and associated property at Weston Turville. Her late husband was probably the source of the many legal connections she appears to have been able to access – these included Minshull, whose country house at Aston Clinton was nearby, and is one of the first two persons named in her will, charged with the duty of providing from her assets for her niece Frances Lyles (nee Lechmere, – q.v.). It seems likely that Lucy had at some point taken charge of Nicholas junior, and at least one road guide indicates that a person of the surname of Lechmere was resident at Weston Turville Manor with Lucy as early as 1808. In 1819 Nicholas junior was admitted as a cadet at Addiscombe for the East India Company's military service, eventually joining the artillery. Online research into his future son-in-law, the British Columbia gold-rush poet James Anderson, conducted by Richard Wright, seems to suggest that his parentage was not accurately recorded by the HEIC, which may have accepted that Nicholas had only a vague idea of a parent in the Ordnance service in 'one of the Colonies', but Lucy Tompkins ( who must have known the details) appears to have ensured that he was supported by a bond of £500 subscribed by Thomas Wakefield, of Wendover (among other things a former neighbour of Rear-Admiral William Lechmere who had lived nearby at Halton in the early days of his marriage before moving to Steeple Aston), and Matthew Raper, FRS, also of Wendover, but a London resident in his early eighties. At her death in 1833 she left Nicholas the manor house and associated property at Weston Turville, which in 1835 was sold to the Duke of Buckingham, and may have financed his promotion to Captain in that year, and his marriage.

His Indian artillery service had been with the Bombay army, reaching the rank of Captain in August 1835. At Belgaum in June 1837 he married Emelia Taylor (1822-1906) second daughter of Rev. J Taylor, who died in 1859, of the London Missionary Society, and Amelia van Someren (daughter of a Dutch Madras merchant). A daughter, Lucy, was born at Fort George, Bombay, in 1839, at about the time he had been posted to the artillery of the recently (1838) landed East India force on the island of Kharg (known to the HEIC as Karrack) in the Persian Gulf, where his son, Charles Spring Lechmere was baptised in October 1841. Nicholas Lechmere died there the following month.

Nicholas junior's daughter, Lucy, at 20, married on 21 March 1860 at Dollar Free Church, Clackmannanshire, James Anderson (1835-1922), son of David Anderson, writer, and Christina Bruce Brodie, of Pitfar House, Dollar. Lucy's husband left for the British Columbia goldfields in 1863 where he gained a reputation as "The Bard of Barkerville"; he had returned to Scotland by 1872 where he was a witness at the wedding of his brother-in-law Charles. Lucy Anderson died at Pitfar House of cancer in 1886. James Anderson, who had remained in Dollar, died at the age of 87 on a 1922 visit to his son at Stainforth, and is buried there.

Nicholas junior's son Charles Spring Lechmere became an Indian artillery cadet in 1859, gazetted Lieutenant in 1862 in the Bombay army and Captain in 1869. In 1872 he married, in Pitfar House, the thirty year old Janet Bruce Lindsay Taylor, a farmer's daughter from Dollar. She may have died shortly afterwards as in 1876 at Tanna, Bombay, Charles married Florence Taylor, the 17-year-old daughter of Andrew Taylor, Deputy Collector and magistrate. He had died by 1881 when Florence, then age 22 and a widow, was living in lodgings in St Andrews, Fife, with her sisters Maud (age 15), Ethel (age 14) and her daughter Edith (age 3); her mother-in-law Emilia Lechmere was visiting Florence at the time of the 1881 census.


T71/861 Kingston 296A-E and 298A-B, the latter identifying him as 'East Indies', joint owner.

Baptism from, Jamaica Church of England Parish Register Transcripts, 1664-1880 [database online], where is is indexed as 14/03/1819 but has a note in the register saying it had been omitted in the correct place.

See entry on Nicholas Lechmere senior for details of his slave-owning, financial affairs and parentage and for the baptisms of Nicholas junior's siblings.

Worcester Archives and Archaeology Service 1822-3 705:134/10062/i/1-67 mainly Elizabeth Lechmere at Steeple Aston's correspondence with the Board of Ordnance re alleged deficiencies in Nicholas Lechmere's Port royal accoutant, also with G.R. Minshull, the Duke of Wellington, and others.

Will of Lucy Tompkins PROB 11/1811.

For Nicholas Lechmere in India see . For Charles Spring Lechmere in India see For Nicholas Lechmere in the Bombay Artillery see F. W. M. Spring, Bombay Artillery List of Officers (Uckfield 2005), p 85.

Marriage of James Anderson and Lucy Lechmere: GROS 1860 467 004. Death of Lucy Anderson: GROS 1886 461 009. Stainforth and the Andersons see [accessed 13/05/2016].

First marriage of Charles Spring Lechmere: GROS 1872 461 006.

We are grateful to Jim Brennan for compiling this entry.

Further Information

Name in compensation records
Nicholas Lechmere
Emilia Taylor
Lucy (1839-1886), Charles Spring (1841-1922)
Soldier (East India Company)

Associated Claims (2)

£123 12s 6d
£58 12s 6d

Legacies Summary

Imperial (1)

East India Company
notes →
Of the East Indies, although his exact relations with the East India Company are...

Relationships (9)

Natural Son → Father
Brother → Sister
Brother → Sister
Brother → Sister
Brother → Sister
Natural Son → Mother

Addresses (3)

Bombay, India
Kharg, Iran
Weston Turville, Buckinghamshire, Central England, England
Notes →

Nicholas Lechmere inherited property here in 1833, which he sold to to Duke of Buckingham in 1835. From 1819 to his death in 1841 he was a soldier in India; it's not clear whether or not he spent time in Weston Turville although he very likely visited during the lifetime of his aunt Lucy Tomkins.