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George Pilgrim Toppin_edited.jpg

George Pilgrim Toppin

Life                                1835 - 1904
Matriculation year     1855
Place connected          Barbados

Born in Barbados, George Pilgrim Toppin was educated in Dorset and matriculated at Christ's in 1855. He was ordained as a priest in 1861 and worked as a curate in various parts of South West England until 1876. He then became the Vicar of Broadtown, Wiltshire where he died in 1904.

Connection to enslavement

George Pilgrim Toppin was the son of Robert Pilgrim Toppin.¹ ² ³


Robert was awarded compensation for a total of 47 enslaved people in Barbados in 1836, primarily relating to the 'Dodds' estate in St Phillip. This compensation amounted to £850 11s 4d.⁴ ⁵


Robert's mother Mehitabel (who was therefore George's grandmother) also filed a separate claim in relation to the 'Dodds' estate, for 27 enslaved people whom she deemed to be her property, for a total of £588 8s 2d.⁶ ⁷

Robert died in 1839, and Mehitabel in 1840 - when George was still a young boy. It would be valuable to locate the wills of Robert and Mehitabel, to understand to what degree George was the direct inheritor of their wealth. It is nonetheless reasonable to assume that George benefitted from their ownership of enslaved people and the compensation they received, most likely in the financing of his education in Dorset and at Christ's.


¹ Venn, J.A., ed. (1954) "Toppin, George Pilgrim". Alumni Cantabrigienses (Part 2). Vol.6, Cambridge University Press - via Internet Archive. ² Gittens Family Genealogy, 'George Pilgrim Toppin', [accessed 1st August 2022]. ³ Gittens Family Genealogy, 'Family: Robert Pilgrim Toppin, Esq / Sarah Elizabeth Dean (F174)', [accessed 1st August 2022]. ⁴ Legacies of British Slavery database, 'Robert Pilgrim Toppin', [accessed 1st August 2022]. ⁵ Legacies of British Slavery database, 'Barbados 2967 (Dodds)', [accessed 2nd August 2022]. ⁶ Legacies of British Slavery database, 'Mehitable [or Mehetabel] M. Toppin (née Pilgrim)', [accessed 2nd August 2022]. ⁷ Legacies of British Slavery database, 'Barbados 2966 (Dodds)', [accessed 2nd August 2022].

More information about our research, including searchable databases, can be found here.

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