Rev. William Marshall Harte

25th Nov 1776 - 1851

Claimant or beneficiary


Given in the slave compensation records as William M. Harte but in the slave registers as William Marshall Harte and Revd. William M. Harte.

Born 25/11/1776 in Barbados, ordained in 1800, "Usher and Catechist" at Codrington College 1801-7, Rector of St Joseph 1804-1815 and of St Lucy 1815-1832, curate of St Mary's from 1832. Proponent of religious instruction for enslaved people. Accused in 1827 of various charges including neglecting his duties, found guilty and fined one shilling - the charges stemming from antipathy from planters for his campaigning for religious instruction. Harte's surviving lectures reveal that, far from preaching insurrection, he urged enslaved people to accept their lot as Christians.


T71/522 626; T71/553 355.

J. T. Gilmore, 'The Rev. William Harte and Attitudes to Slavery in Early Nineteenth-Century Barbados', Journal of Ecclesiastical History' 30:4 461-474 (October 1979).

CO 28/147: "Detailed and lengthy reports of proceedings in the case of the church warden and vestry of the parish of St Lucy against the Reverend William Marshall Harte, rector, including extract from The Barbadian of 24 July 1827 being the defence of the Reverend W M Harte, rector of St Lucy's, against 'the general accusations of my conduct as a Minister of the Gospel, which were contained in the Resolutions of a public meeting in this parish on the 21st of April last', together with copies of relevant correspondence; extract from The Barbadian of 7 August 1827 noting the charges made against the Reverend W M Harte, and further extracts from the same newspaper of 14 August and [4?] September on the subject. Harte is accused, inter alia, of not discharging his duties properly; of making comments about his parishioners from the pulpit; of absenting himself from the parish resulting, for example, in people being buried without a funeral service; of neglecting repairs to the rectory; of being 'regardless of the preservation of the records'; of having given certificates for confirmation to 'many coloured and black persons ... who were wholly unworthy and unqualified for confirmation'; of having 'improperly interfered with the management and discipline of the slaves ... to the subversion of that proper feeling of respect which should ever be observed by slaves towards their masters'; of having, from the pulpit, held up the white inhabitants to the 'contempt and derision' of the slaves; and of suggesting to the slaves that they should have Saturdays for recreation."

We are grateful to Peter Selley for his assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

Name in compensation records
William M. Harte
Harriet Young
7 children of whom 3 died in infancy

Associated Claims (4)

£155 7s 2d
£1,526 7s 4d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£50 9s 9d
£817 11s 1d
Awardee (Judgement creditor)