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Warner Ottley

Life                                1805 - 1864
Matriculation year     1824
Places connected        St Vincent; Tobago

Warner kept six terms at Christ's, before matriculating at New College, Oxford, in 1826. He was the son of Warner Ottley (the Elder) of St Vincent in the West Indies.

Connection to enslavement

Warner Ottley's father (of the same name) is described by the Legacies of British slavery project as being 'from an established slave-owning family', active in St Vincent and Tobago.¹ ²


Warner's grandfather, Richard Ottley (Warner the Elder's father) owned multiple estates on Tobago and St Vincent, including a sugar estate on St Vincent.³ He divided his considerable estate and the debts owed to him - which alone amounted to £20,000, owed primarily by slave-owners on Antigua and St Vincent - between his wife and and their eight children, when he died in 1775.³


Warner Ottley (the Elder) claimed compensation for various estates in St Vincent and Tobago in 1836. As the sole awardee for a claim relating to 'New Adelphi' estate in St Vincent, Warner received £4,516 17s 4d for 164 enslaved people. He also received £1,884 17s 4d for 102 enslaved people, whom he owned on the 'Adventure' estate in Tobago.


Warner the Elder was additionally a trustee in claims for £5933 0s 5d for 206 enslaved people on the 'Cane Grove' estate in St Vincent, and for £996 3s 4d for 89 enslaved people on the 'Upper Diamond' estate in St Vincent.


In his will, he instructed that his estate be put into trust, and his properties in the West Indies be sold, for the equal benefit of his four surviving children, of whom Warner the Younger was one. At his death in 1864, Warner Ottley (the Younger, who attended Christ's) bequeathed £25,000 to his heirs in his will.


Warner Ottley's grandfather therefore owned plantations in the West Indies, and his father evidently owned a large number of enslaved people, in addition to the estates on which they worked. It is highly likely that the wealth derived from this enslavement helped to finance Warner's education at Christ's. Warner was therefore a financial beneficiary of enslavement, even more so after he inherited a share of his father's estate upon his death in 1846.


¹ Venn, J.A., ed. (1947) "Ottley, Warner". Alumni Cantabrigienses (Part 2). Vol.4, Cambridge University Press - via Internet Archive. ² Legacies of British Slavery database, 'Warner Ottley', [accessed 2nd August 2022]. ³ Legacies of British Slavery database, 'Richard Ottley', [accessed 2nd August 2022]. ⁴ Legacies of British Slavery database, 'St Vincent 457 (New Adelphi)', [accessed 2nd August 2022]. ⁵ Legacies of British Slavery database, 'Tobago 41 (Adventure)', [accessed 2nd August 2022]. ⁶ Legacies of British Slavery database, 'St Vincent 568 (Cane Grove)', [accessed 2nd August 2022]. ⁷ Legacies of British Slavery database, 'St Vincent 503 (Upper Diamond)', [accessed 2nd August 2022]. ⁸ 'PROB 11/2049/66' cited in Legacies of British Slavery database, 'Warner Ottley', [accessed 2nd August 2022]. ⁹ 'National Probate Calendar', cited in 'Legacies of British Slavery database, 'Warner Ottley', [accessed 2nd August 2022].

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