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Rowland Frye

Life                                1696 - 1777
Matriculation year     1714
Place connected          Antigua

Born in Antigua, Rowland was educated at Eton and then attended Christ's. He became a West Indian landholder as well as a London merchant, and purchased Banstead Manor, in Surrey in 1762.

Connection to enslavement

Rowland (designated as 'Rowland Frye of Wallington' by the Legacies of British Slavery project) was the son of John Frye the Elder of Antigua (a member of the Council of Antigua).¹ ² John Frye left his residuary estate to Rowland in his will.³


Rowland owned land and enslaved people in the West Indies. In 1764, he sold one estate of 320 acres in St Phillip, Antigua, and another of 100 acres called 'Frye's Pastures' in St Paul, Antigua. He sold 177 enslaved people on the estates at the same time, receiving c. £20,000 from Samuel Redhead for the 420 acres and the enslaved people in 1764.²


Rowland's heir was his nephew Rowland Frye of Warfield, who became an absentee slave-owner and left 'all [his] plantations and estates' to his niece and nephew.⁴ The niece, Elizabeth Frances Spencer, ultimately inherited Banstead Manor (the house purchased by Rowland in 1762) as well as the remainder of the 'Frye's' estate in Antigua. In 1835, she claimed £3251 0s 10d in compensation for 208 enslaved people on that estate.


Overall, Rowland Frye and his family profited from the ownership of enslaved people and plantations. It would be reasonable to assume that his father - as a wealthy member of the Council of Antigua - probably financed Rowland's education at Eton and Christ's by similar means.


¹ Venn, J.A., ed. (1922) "Frye, Rowland". Alumni Cantabrigienses (Part 1). Vol.2, Cambridge University Press - via Internet Archive. ² Legacies of British Slavery database, 'Rowland Frye of Wallington', [accessed 2nd August 2022]. ³ Legacies of British Slavery database, 'John Frye the elder of Antigua', [accessed 2nd August 2022]. ⁴ Legacies of British Slavery database, 'Rowland Frye of Warfield', [accessed 2nd August 2022]. ⁵ Legacies of British Slavery database, 'Elizabeth Frances Spencer (née Newton)', [accessed 2nd August 2022]. ⁶ Legacies of British Slavery database, 'Antigua 69 (Fryes)', [accessed 2nd August 2022].

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