William Forbes-Stuart

???? - 22nd Mar 1866

Claimant or beneficiary


London merchant, awarded the compensation for Serge Island and Island Head in St Thomas-in-the-East Jamaica as executor of John Elmslie junior. Born in Banffshire, Scotland, William Forbes added Stuart to his name in compliance with the will of his uncle James Stuart, a London merchant, in 1821. Married into the Elmslie family in 1824.

  1. "The King has been pleased to grant unto William Forbes, of the city of London, Merchant, only son of Peter Forbes, of the parish of Kirkmichael, in the shire of Banff, North Britian, Gentleman, by Christiana, his wife, sister of James Stuart, late of Lower Thames-street, in the parish of St. Mary at Hill, in the city of London, and of Highbury-place, in the Parish of St. Mary, Islington, in the county of Middlesex, Merchant, deceased, His Majesty’s royal licence and authority that he and his issue may henceforth take and use the surname of Stuart, in addition to the surname of Forbes, and bear the arms of Stuart quarterly with those of Forbes, Stuart in the first quarter, in compliance with an injunction contained in the last will and testament of the said James Stuart, his maternal uncle; such arms being first duly exemplified according to the laws of arms, and recorded in the Herald’s Office, otherwise His Majesty’s said royal licence and permission to be void and of none effect: And also the command that the said royal concession and declaration be registered in His Majesty’s College of Arms."

  2. William Forbes Stuart of St Marylebone had married Helen Elmslie spinster 12/08/1824 at St Marylebone. John and James Elmslie (Helen's brothers, both q.v.) were among the witnesses. Earlier the same year, William Forbes Stuart, Thames-street, merchant, was named as an assignee of Shaw & Elmslie.

  3. Partnership of William Forbes Stuart, Donald Gordon Stuart and Thomas Moffat of Liverpool under firm of D. Gordon Stuart & co., as fishfactors, dissolved 31/10/1851.

  4. In 1841 at Old Road, Lee, Kent, William Stuart, 50, merchant, born Scotland with Hannah [sic] Stuart age 40, Caroline Elmslie age 30, Elizabeth Street [presumably Stuart] age 20, Catherine Street [again presumably Stuart] age 20 and 8 servants. In 1851 at Old Road, William F. Stewart, 63, Commission Merchant, born Banffshire, Scotland with his wife Hellen [sic] F. Stewart, 54, born Surrey Kew, sister-in-law Caroline Elmslie, 50, Annuitant, born Surrey Kew and 13 servants. In 1861 at 26 Marine Parade, Brighton, age 73, Fundholder, with wife Helen F. Stuart age 63, visitor Caroline Elmslie age 57, Fundholder, another visitor John Gordon, unmarried, age 53, "Army E[ast] I[ndia] Service returned and 3 servants. In 1871 the widowed Helen F. Stuart was living at 16 Upper Wimpole Street, Marylebone, Annuitant, age 76 with 4 female servants.

  5. Will of William Stuart Forbes late of Lee and of Lower Thames Street in the City of London merchant who died 22/03/1866 in Lee proved 23/04/1866 by Helen Forbes Stuart of Lee the widow and Donald Gordon Stuart of Liverpool merchant and John Glennie Gordon of Hunter Square, executors, effects under £70,000.

  6. "Notice is hereby given, that all creditors and other persons having any debt, claim, or demand upon or against the the [sic] estate of William Forbes Stuart, late of Lee, in the county of Kent, and of Lower Thames-street, in the city of London, Merchant, who died on the 22nd day of March, 1866, and whose will was proved on the 23rd day of April, 1866, in the Principal Registry of Her Majesty’s Court of Probate by Helen Forbes Stuart, Donald Gordon Stuart, and John Glennie Gordon, the executors therein named, are hereby required to send particulars, in writing, of their debts, claims, or demands to us, the undersigned, the Solicitors to the said executors, on or before the 10th day of July, 1866, after which date the said executors will proceed to distribute the assets of the said testator among the parties entitled there, having regard only to the debts, claims, or demands of which they shall then have had notice...”

  7. The will of Helen Forbes-Stuart, widow of 16 Upper Wimpole Street who died 23/07/1872 was proved 17/09/1872 by her nephews and executors: John Glenny Gordon of Harewood Square, Middlesex, Esquire; William Elmslie of Richmond Hill in Surrey, "Average Stater"; Augustus Frederick Elmslie of Portsdown Road, Maida Hill, Middlesex, "Wharfinger"; and Edmund Wallace Elmslie of Upper Norwood, Surrey, architect. Effects under £120,000.

  8. Auctioned at Christie's, 10/11/2005 was a cut-glass ormolu-mounted two-handled armorial ice pail circa 1820 bearing the arms of William Forbes-Stuart, merchant of the city of London. The estimate was £3000 to £5000 and the item sold for £28,800. Another auction of 2 ice pails with his arms was auctioned 20/11/2008, fetching £22,500.

  9. William Forbes-Stuart was buried at Ladywell & Brockley Cemetery in south-east London, and has a memorial inscription there reported to show his date of birth as 1787.


T71/867 St Thomas-in-the-East nos. 468A-D and 469.

  1. London Gazette, Issue 17733, 04/08/1821, p. 1617.

  2. Ancestry.com, London, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921 [database online]. Law Advertiser Vol. 2, 15/01/1824, p. 20. For evidence of the familial link between Helen, John and James, see for example the National Probate Calendar 1872 where Helen Forbes-Stuart gives her executor Augustus Frederick Elmslie and Edmund Wallace Elmslie as her nephews and the National Probate Calendar 1865 where James Elmslie gives is executors Augustus Frederick Elmslie and Edmund Wallace Elmslie as his sons.

  3. London Gazette, Issue 21258, 31/10/1851, p. 2851. The company was still operating in 1868, London Gazette, Issue 23454, 29/12/1868, p. 6905.

  4. 1841-1871 censuses online.

  5. National Probate Calendar 1866.

  6. London Gazette, Issue 23109, 04/05/1866, p. 2777.

  7. National Probate Calendar 1872; Rubinstein 1872/136.

  8. http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/LotDetailsPrintable.aspx?intObjectID=4602695 and http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/LotDetailsPrintable.aspx?intObjectID=5145113 [both accessed 05/02/2013].

  9. Northwest Kent Family History Society, 'Ladywell & Brockley Cemetery Memorial Inscriptions' No. 4724 Wm. Forbes Stuart, http://www.nwkfhs.org.uk/ladyw238.htm [accessed 24/02/2017]. We are grateful to Mike Guilfoyle, Vice Chair of the Friends of Ladywell & Brockley Cemetery, for drawing William Forbes-Stuart's burial there to our attention.

Further Information

Name in compensation records
Wm. Forbes Stewart
Helen Elmslie
Wealth at death

Associated Claims (2)

£4,853 6s 0d
Awardee (Executor or executrix)
£2,566 4s 5d
Awardee (Executor or executrix)

Relationships (1)