Legacies of Enslavement at Christ's
Life 1753 - 1807
Matriculation year 1770
Place connected Barbados; Tobago
Born in Barbados in 1753, Jonathan matriculated at Christ's in 1770, and later became a Solicitor-General and Judge of the Court of Vice-Admiralty on the island, where he died in 1807.
Connection to enslavement
Jonathan Blenman owned enslaved people on his property 'Duke's Farm' in Barbados. In his will, proved in 1808, he left the estate and 'all the negro and other slaves on it' to his wife, Maria Anna Blenman, and directed that if she chose to move to Britain, they should be sold and the proceeds used to support her. ¹
Jonathan was the son of William Blenman, who owned the Mesopotamia estate in St George, Tobago as well as the Cooper's Hill estate in Barbados which came to him through his marriage to Elizabeth Dottin in 1748/9.² ³
These estates, in addition to 'Kirton' or 'Kent' in Christ Church, Barbados, which had been purchased by William's father in 1766, were seized by the Lascelles family for debt in 1784.³ William was also the executor of his sister's will, proved in 1774, in which she bequeathed 'all [her] slaves in the island of Barbados' to her and William's mother.³
Jonathan matriculated at Christ's in 1770, prior to the Blenman family's estates being seized in 1784, suggesting that at least some of the funding for his education was probably derived from slavery. Notably, Jonathan also appears to have donated two large silver candlesticks to the college.⁴
A more extensive study of Jonathan Blenman, his family, and their recognition as beneficiaries of enslavement in archives was created by Georgie Moore as part of the 2021 Legacies of Enslavement Project.
¹ Legacies of British Slavery database, 'Jonathan Blenman II', http://wwwdepts-live.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/2146654461 [accessed 1st August 2022]. ² Venn, J.A., ed. (1940) "Blenman, Jonathan". Alumni Cantabrigienses (Part 2). Vol.1, Cambridge University Press - via Internet Archive. ³ Legacies of British Slavery database, 'William Blenman', http://wwwdepts-live.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/2146632226 [accessed 1st August 2022]. ⁴ Christ's College Silver Register (Reference: CA/C/20/3, page 80).