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English planters & merchants: Benjamin & John Hopkinson

Benjamin and John Hopkinson were brothers who by 1798 had an interest in ten plantations in Demerara. They owned Bachelors’ Adventure and Enterprise jointly; Benjamin owned Rotterdam, Oranje Nassau, Cove and two others; John owned one; and on two estates, Taymouth Manor and the adjoining plantation, they were in the partnership Campbell, Baillie & Hopkinson.

Benjamin Hopkinson [d1801]

Benjamin, who had been in Tobago before moving to Demerara, died in Bath in 1801 [Prob /11/1360]. He had married in Bath but already had four children by the ‘mulatto’ woman Johanna Hopkinson - Benjamin James, Elizabeth Ann, Jonathan and John Thomas. His executors were his brother John and Thomas Cuming.

His son Benjamin James was born in Tobago in November 1785, baptised in London in 1798 and attended Oriel College, Oxford (1802) and Trinity College, Cambridge [1804]. By 1816 he was established as a merchant in Throgmorton Street, London [Guild Hall records, MS 11936/466/922569] and later went to Demerara, where, in 1823, he owned plantations Cove and John. He later became a member of the Court of Policy of the colony and died there in 1839.

His son John Thomas was born in Demerara on 14 Feb 1787 and baptised in London in 1798. By 1841 he had been confined to a private mental hospital at Much Hadham Palace, Herefordshire and died in 1869.

John Hopkinson [1761-1821]

In 1817 John Hopkinson ‘late of Demerara but then of Liverpool’ bought Aigburth Hall for £14,652. He died in September 1821, aged 60, leaving his estates ‘in Demerara and elsewhere’ to his nine natural [illegitimate] children, seven sons and two daughters. These children were the offspring of two women of colour, one of whom lived in Aigburth Hall, the other in London. [Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, Volume 20.]

John's children included Benjamin (born Demerara c1810), who lived in Ambleside, Westmorland; Eliza (born Demerara c1810); and Jonathan (born Demerara c1815, died Frant, Sussex, Jan 1882).