Legacies of Enslavement at Christ's
The Sherard Family
Two members of the Sherard family were admitted to Christ's between 1824 and 1832.
The Sherard Family
The Rev. Philip Castel Sherard (who had matriculated at St John's College, Cambridge in 1785) married Sarah Haughton James in 1796.¹ ² She was one of the daughters of Montague James, who has owned various estates and enslaved people in Jamaica. Philip and Sarah had multiple children: in addition to Philip Castell Sherard (adm. to Christ's in 1824) and Simon Haughton Sherard (matric. 1832), they were also the parents of the younger George Sherard, who matriculated at St John's College, Cambridge, in 1830.³ They had at least one other son, Haughton James Sherard, and at least one daughter, Emma Sherard.²
Their son, Philip Castell Sherard (adm. to Christ's in 1824), married Anne Weekes in 1834. She was the son of Nathaniel Weekes, who owned land and enslaved people people in Barbados.
Connection to enslavement
The Rev. Philip Castel Sherard was a 'West India merchant', who operated in partnership with George Reid.²
George Reid held various business interests in Jamaica: he owned the Bunkers Hill estate between 1804 and his death in 1827, along with the enslaved people on the estate.⁴ In 1809, there were 215 enslaved people registered to him on that estate, and he owned 241 enslaved people there in 1823.⁴ Especially notable, however, was the Friendship estate in Jamaica, of which Rev. Philip Castel Sherard and George Reid were recorded as joint owners in 1810.⁵ In 1809, the year before their joint ownership was noted, there were 207 enslaved people working on the plantation.⁵
It is not known how much wealth Philip had gained from these activities by his death in 1814. He bequeathed a total of £15,000 (the equivalent of over £1.4 million in 2022) to his younger children Haughton James and Emma, however, while making Philip Castell Sherard (adm. to Christ's in 1824) his primary heir.²
Sarah Haughton James, the mother of the Christ's alumni, also profited from enslavement. Her father, Montague James, owned three estates in Jamaica: Burnt Ground Pen plantation, Haughton Tower plantation, and Spring Estate Plantation.⁶ He was also the joint owner of the Green Island estate.⁶ Few records of the number of enslaved people on these plantations while Montague owned them exist, as he died in 1781, before such records were routinely created. On the Haughton Tower plantation, however, for which records do exist, there were 139 enslaved people owned by Montague in 1774.⁷ Sarah Haughton James was entitled to a bequest of £4,000 in her father's will, which she was to receive in 1796, the year in which she married Rev. Philip Castel Sherard.⁶
It is therefore likely that the education of both Philip Castell Sherard (adm. to Christ's in 1824) and Simon Haughton Sherard (matric. 1832) at Christ's was financed at least in part by wealth derived from enslavement. The contribution of enslavement to the combined wealth of their mother and their father (who died in 1814, while his children were young), is difficult to quantify precisely. Nonetheless, their father evidently operated as a West India merchant before his death, and jointly owned a plantation with perhaps 200 enslaved people on it in 1810, while their mother inherited £4,000 from the estate of her father, who had owned multiple plantations and, in all probability, hundreds of enslaved people.
An additional connection with enslavement appears in the marriage of Philip Castell Sherard (adm. to Christ's in 1824) to Anne Weekes. Anne was the daughter of Nathaniel Weekes, recorded in his will as a 'Doctor of Physic' on the island of Barbados.⁸ Nathaniel owned the Mangrove plantation and the enslaved people on it: he left both to his son, also named Nathaniel. Eight years after Nathaniel (the Elder)'s death, in the first such record, 210 enslaved people were recorded as being on the plantation, formally still Nathaniel's property (though managed by Rebecca Ann Weekes, his wife and executrix of his estate).⁹
Nathaniel had clearly profited from his activities in Barbados: he left cash bequests of £10,000 in his will, and indicated that his estate was worth at least £18,000.⁸ He left £5,000 of that to Anne Weekes, who - in 1834 - married Philip Castell Sherard (adm. to Christ's in 1824).⁸ In this respect, Philip and Anne also benefitted financially from enslavement in Barbados.
The members of the College
Philip Castell Sherard
Life 1804 - 1886
Admission year 1824
Place connected Jamaica; Barbados
Philip was educated at Charterhouse School in London, and was admitted to Christ's in 1824, where he appears to have spent five terms. He married Anne Weekes in 1834, and he succeeded to the peerage as 9th Baron Sherard of County Leitrim in 1859.¹⁰
Simon Haughton Sherard
Life 1811 - 1883
Matriculation year 1832
Place connected Jamaica
Simon matriculated at Christ's in 1832, and obtained an LL.B. in 1842, having been admitted at the Inner Temple in 1835. He was ordained as a priest in 1844, and served as the curate of Downham, Lancashire (1844-49), and later the curate of Chideock, Dorset (1854-58).¹¹
¹ Venn, J.A., ed. (1953) "Sherard, Philip Castel". Alumni Cantabrigienses (Part 2). Vol.5, Cambridge University Press - via Internet Archive. ² Legacies of British Slavery database, 'Rev. Philip Castel Sherard', http://wwwdepts-live.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/2146658879 [accessed 8th September 2022]. ³ Venn, J.A., ed. (1953) "Sherard, George". Alumni Cantabrigienses (Part 2). Vol.5, Cambridge University Press - via Internet Archive. ⁴ Legacies of British Slavery database, 'Bunkers Hill [ Jamaica | Trelawney ]', http://wwwdepts-live.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/estate/view/257 [accessed 8th September 2022]. ⁵ Legacies of British Slavery database, 'Friendship  [ Jamaica | Trelawney ]', http://wwwdepts-live.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/estate/view/37 [accessed 8th September 2022]. ⁶ Legacies of British Slavery database, 'Montague James', http://wwwdepts-live.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/2146638963 [accessed 8th September 2022]. ⁷ Legacies of British Slavery database, 'Haughton Tower [ Jamaica | St James ]', http://wwwdepts-live.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/estate/view/19507 [accessed 8th September 2022]. ⁸ Legacies of British Slavery database, 'Nathaniel Weeks [or Weekes] [senior]', http://wwwdepts-live.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/2146640897 [accessed 8th September 2022]. ⁹ Legacies of British Slavery database, 'Mangrove [ Barbados | St Philip ]', http://wwwdepts-live.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/estate/view/56 [accessed 8th September 2022]. ¹⁰ Venn, J.A., ed. (1953) "Sherard, Philip Castell". Alumni Cantabrigienses (Part 2). Vol.5, Cambridge University Press - via Internet Archive. ¹¹ Venn, J.A., ed. (1953) "Sherard, Simon Haughton". Alumni Cantabrigienses (Part 2). Vol.5, Cambridge University Press - via Internet Archive.