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Septimus Filius Nibbs

Life                                  1736 - 1789
Matriculation year       1752
Places connected          Antigua; Dominica; British Virgin Islands

Born in Antigua and educated in Cumberland, Septimus attended Christ's and obtained an MB there. In 1761, he married Grace Hodge, a member of the Hodge family of Antigua (and the sister of Christopher Hodge, another Christ's alumnus from Antigua appearing on this database).

Connection to enslavement

Septimus Filius Nibbs was the son of William Nibbs and his wife Mary.¹ Records of a petition submitted to the Privy Council of England indicate that William Nibbs was a 'planter' in Antigua.²


Septimus married Grace Hodge in in 1761 after the death of his first wife.¹ The will of Grace Hodge indicates that Septimus owned the Pagoa Park estate In Dominica, and that Grace could 'charge a sum on' it having cleared mortgage debt on the estate owed to Robert Wynn of London.³


By Grace's death in 1817, 49 enslaved people were registered on the Pagoa estate. In 1819, 44 of these enslaved people were sold from the estate to be shipped to Grenada.⁴ Grace's will also records that she bequeathed specified enslaved individuals to each of her daughters.³ She additionally left her one third share of the Felicity Hall estate in Dominica to her grandson.⁵

Grace and Septimus' son George Nibbs of Tortola was registered as the owner of the Harragins and Seacow Bay estates on Tortola, as well as the 203 enslaved people he registered on them in 1818.⁶ ⁷ In 1834, Grace and Septimus' grandson, James Burnham Nibbs, owned the estates of his late father (George Nibbs of Tortola), on which 288 enslaved people were registered.⁷


Septimus was himself financial beneficiary of enslavement, given that his father was a 'planter' in Antigua and he - by his death in 1789 - owned Pagoa Park estate (with a mortgage) in Dominica. The evidence also demonstrates the his wife, Grace Hodge, became the owner of numerous enslaved people, and that their son and, later, their grandson owned hundreds of enslaved people on their estates on Tortola (now part of the British Virgin Islands).


¹ Venn, J.A., ed. (1947) "Nibbs, Septimus Filius". Alumni Cantabrigienses (Part 2). Vol.4, Cambridge University Press - via Internet Archive. ² Munro, J., (ed.), Acts of the Privy Council of England. Colonial Series. Vol. IV 1745 - 1766. (Hereford: Hereford Times Limited, 1911), p. 40. ³ Legacies of British Slavery database, 'Grace Nibbs of Antigua (née Hodge)', [accessed 2nd August 2022]. ⁴ Legacies of British Slavery database, 'Pagoa [ Dominica ]', [accessed 2nd August 2022]. ⁵ Legacies of British Slavery database, 'Felicite Hall [ Dominica ]', [accessed 2nd August 2022]. ⁶ Oliver, Vere Langford., The History of the Island of Antigua : One of the Leeward Caribbees in the West Indies, from the First Settlement in 1635 to the Present Time, Vol. 2 (London: Mitchell and Hughes, 1894), p. 293. ⁷ Legacies of British Slavery database, 'Northside, Harragins & Seacowbay Estates [ Virgin Islands | Tortola ]', [accessed 3rd August 2022].

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

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