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Waterton's Demerara, Page 4 - Waterton's Plantations
Waterton's Demerara - The Plantation Years & More

• 1 - Introduction • 2 - Essequibo Gentlemen & Orinoco Privateers • 3 - Mibiri Creek • 4 - Waterton's Plantations • 5 - Waterton's Plantations, continued • 6 - Slavery on the Plantations & Elsewhere
• See also • Guyana Gallery  • Georgetown Gallery  •  The Orinoco Adventure - A Visit to Angostura

Click to enlargeCharles Waterton arrived in Georgetown in 1804 to manage the plantations of his father (Walton Hall) and his uncle, Christopher Waterton (La Jalousie and Fellowship), who had returned to England.
I have added the plantations to this British map that was produced using data from the 1940s and 50s, and published in 1960. (3)

One of his uncle's estates, the principal crop being coffee, had no less than five hundred Negro slaves working on it. The other produced sugar and cotton, worked by three hundred slaves. (1)

Such spare time as he had, Charles spent with his paternal aunt Anne Daly and her husband Michael at their estate, Bellevue. (2) This became his second home. He also met Charles Edmonstone, the friendship endured the test of time. Waterton eventually married Edmonstone's daughter Anne and regarded her sisters Helen and Eliza as if they were his own.

In 1805, Thomas Waterton, Charles' father, died and he inherited the family estates. Charles returned to Walton Hall from Demerara. In 1807, he returned to Demerara. A few years later, in April 1812, Waterton disposed of the family's plantation interests. (9)


Click to enlarge
A mural depicting a sugar factory.
(Guyana Heritage Museum and Toucan Inn, 2012.)
See also Guyana Gallery Page 2 - Demerara River to Parika.


•• Miscellaneous information about, and references to, the plantations with a Waterton connection. ••


Click to enlargeWalton Hall is near The Jib and Hampton Court, north of Anna Regina on the road to Charity.

Sketch Map of Walton Hall and other plantations in the Anna Regina area circa 1880.
This map is based upon a map included in Walter Rodney's excellent work A History of the Guyanese Working People, 1881 - 1905. (4)

Our Sugar Estates - Essequibo Coast

'We shall commence with the most northerly plantation in the Colony, Hampton Court,the property of the Colonial Company, Limited. This fine property formerly consisted of four separate sugar estates, viz., Walton Hall, Devonshire Castle, Hampton Court and Windsor Castle. The three latter were vacuum-pa estates in a small way, but from want of labourers to carry on the proper cultivation of the soil, one by one ceased to have an independent existence; and in the course of time the Colonial Company became sole owners of this fine block of land.'

Published by The Argosy and included in Walter Rodney's Guyanese Sugar Plantations in the Late Nineteenth Century (6)

2. 1811-12 - Bad Years For the Planters

The years 1811-12 were very disastrous to the planters, especially to those who cultivated only sugar. On the 30th of November 1811, a meeting of sugar planters was held in Marshall's Hotel to consider the alarming state of things and the ruin that stared them in the face. The Hon. Jos. Beete took the Chair and among those present were Messrs, C. Waterton, C. Edmonstone, P. Rose, and N. M. Manget. It was then stated that the produce of the colony in ordinary years amounted to £1,860,000, but on account of the deteriorated value of produce it had decreased to £1,200,000. This they considered due to the destructive system of warfare adopted by the implacable enemy of Great Britain [namely France], and might be alleviated if permission had been given to export produce to the United States. It was resolved to petition both houses of Parliament to allow the use of sugar in distilleries and the interchange of produce with the States.

The situation in the West Indies was really very critical at this period The supply of sugar had been increased as far as Great Britain was concerned by the produce of the conquered Dutch and French colonies, while the continental peoples were almost entirely deprived of it by Bonaparte closing their ports, so that sugar was five or six shillings a pound where it could be obtained at all. On account of the scarcity of grain, sugar had been allowed to be useed in distilleries, but now the old prohibition was again enforced, so that this outlet was closed. Slaves rose in price as soon as the African trade was abolished, and this of course meant increased cost of production. When St. Domingo fell out of her place as a sugar colony there naturally followed a rise in price of her staple, but now Cuba had almost reached the output of the neighbouring isle in its best days. The British Colonies also increased their sugar production, it being calculated to amount to about 100,000 tons (1) per annum over that of the previous decade. The American market was closed, and refining in the colonies was not allowed, while it was calculated that one eighth of the sugar shipped was lost by drainage in the holds of vessels. The British empire consumed about 225,000 hhds. while the colonies produced 150,000 hhds. (1) beyond this, being more than double the amount exported. In January 1811 the bonded stores of tlie British ports were filled with colonial produce, waiting for buyers, and a Parliamentary Committee was appointed to consider the state if affairs. They reported on the 7th of March l8ll, that the prevalence of commercial distress arose from extensive speculations, which followed the opening of South American markets in the Brazils and elsewhere, and that a great part of the returns for goods exported were sugars, the value of which could not be realised. The average price at this time was only about 34s. 11d. and the produce of Demerara and Essequebo amounted to about 18,000 hhds. Coffee and cotton still kept their places, about twelve million pounds of the former and ten million of the latter being estimated as the produce of 1811.

In reviewing the state of the colony in 1812, the Honourable Joseph Beete told the Court to look back a few years and see what profit was made on cotton in proportion to the number of negroes. On three estates under his charge in 1799-1800 the returns were £40,000 sterling, while the expenses were not more than two-thirds of what they were now. For the previous three years the same proprietor had done no more than pay expenses, not even getting interest for his capital. The coffee estates since 1809 however were doing far worse than this. He had no reason to look abroad for examples, seeing that they came home to him in his business. He was proprietor of Pln. Best, a sugar estate with 317 negroes, the produce of which was 650,000 pounds of sugar and 45,000 glns, of rum, while Pln. Phoenix, his coffee plantation, with 232 negroes produced only 40,000 pounds, worth about the same price per pound as sugar. Sugar and coffee were valued at 3 stivers and cotton at 12 1/2 stivers per pound, while rum was worth 15 stivers per gallon.

Source: History of British Guiana, from the Year 1668 to the Present Time, Vol. , From the year 1782 to 1833.
By James Rodway. F.L.S. (Fellow of the Linnean Society)
Chapter XXII, Governors Beaujon and Bentinck, 1804 - 1811. Extract pp. 194-196. Published in Georgetown, Demerara by J. Thomson. 1893.

Notes for section 2
1. Ton (imperial or long ton) - a unit of weight equal to 2240 pounds or 1016.05 kilograms.
2. hhds. - hogshead, a large cask. (a.) A measure of capacity for wine, equal to 52.5 imperial gallons (238.7 litres); (b.) A measure of capacity for beer, equal to 54 imperial gallons (245.5 litres).
3. The word stiver is derived from the Dutch Stuiver it was 1/20 of a guilder. In Demerara-Essequibo (later British Guiana), a stiver had a value of one sixth of a shilling.

3. Compensation for Slave Owners

In 1833 the British Parliament finally abolished slavery in the British Empire in the Caribbean, Mauritius and the Cape. The slave trade itself had been abolished in 1807, but it took another 26 long years to set the enslaved free. In place of slavery the negotiated settlement established a system of apprenticeship, forcing the freed slaves into another form of tied labour for fixed terms. It also granted £20 million in compensation, to be paid by British taxpayers to the former slave-owners.

As far as Walton Hall plantation is concerned, the following claim is recorded on the UCL database (8):

British Guiana Claim No. 2426 (Walton Hall)
Date 11th Jan 1836.
No of slaves 300.
Claim amount £16,283 6s 7d.

1. Claim by John Lane, for the executor and executrix of Benjamin Kingston. Margaret Saunders counterclaimed as the administratrix of John Saunders, the mortgagee, dated 07/03/1820. £20,680 of mortgage and £14,769 4s 5d on account current to 30th April.

2. G. Parry registered as attorney for 316 enslaved persons. No ownership information is given.

4. Articles concerning Walton Hall

The Demerary and Essequebo Royal Gazette
Vol. X, No. 756, Saturday, 21st January, 1815.

At the Commissary-Court of the 6th of February, 1815, will be passed the following Transports and Mortgages; viz.

3. By J. M'Kirdy, Transport of Pl. Walton hall, situated on the Aroabische or West Sea coast of Essequebo, together with a number of 81 slaves, the names thereof to be seen at this Office, and further, with all the Buildings, Cultivation, and other appurtenances, thereto belonging - to Benjamin Kingston.
4. By Benjamin Kingston, a mortgage on the above Plantation Walton Hall, with a number of 81 slaves, and additional number of 76 slaves, the names thereof to be seen at this office - in favour of J. M'Kirdy.

The Argosy, Georgetown
In The Argosy, published in 1883, Walton Hall is recorded as being part of Hampton Court, the most northerly plantation in the colony:

"This fine property formerly consisted of four separate sugar estates, viz., Walton Hall, Devonshire Castle, Hampton Court and Windsor Castle. The three latter were vacuum-pan estates in a small way, but from want of labourers to carry on the proper cultivation of the soil, one by one ceased to have an independent existence; and in the course of time the Colonial Company became sole owners of this fine block of land". (6)

Walton Hall Estate now has a rice mill licensed by the Guyana Rice Development Board (as at 2009). Its neighbours include:

■ Paradise (0km), ■ The Jib (3.2km), ■ Devonshire Castle (3.2km), ■ Perth (3.2km), ■ Dunkeld (3.2km), ■ Exmouth (3.2km), ■ Hampton Court (3.2km), ■ Better Success (6.5km), ■ Windsor Castle (6.5km), ■ Marias Delight (7.2km), ■ Westbury (7.2km) ■ Coffee Grove (7.2km),
■ Sparta (7.2km), ■ La Belle Alliance (9.7km), ■ La Resource (10.2km), ■ Better Hope (10.2km), ■ Lima (10.3km), ■ Andrews (11.7km), ■ Henrietta (13km), ■ Anna Regina (13km). (5)

See Waterton's Plantations - Page 2 for bits and pieces of miscellaneous information about the other plantations.

See also A List of Estates in Demerary and Essequebo,
With the Number of Slaves on each, and the Quantity of Produce made during the Year – 1813.

Continued on page 2.

Notes & Sources
1. Squire Waterton, Gilbert Phelps, EP Publishing Ltd., 1976. p. 33.
2. Bellevue or Belle Vue is also the name of a district of Wakefield, West Yorkshire. I understand that there are in Guyana several places named Belle Vue:
• on the coast in Mahaica-Berbice near Number Forty and Lichfield (Region 5),
• near Marlborough and Charity (Region 2, Pomeroon-Supenaam),
• in Demerara on the west bank of the Demerara River near Canal No. 2 between Wales and La Retraite (Region 3, Essequibo Islands - West Demerara).
3. British Guiana, North-east Sheet, Scale 1:500,000. Map drawn 1947, additional details added 1954, UTM grid added 1959. Compiled in the Cartographic Section of the Department of Lands and Mines, Georgetown, British Guiana, published by D Survey, British War Office and Air Ministry, 1960.
4. A History of the Guyanese Working People, 1881 - 1905, Walter Rodney, Heinemann Educational Books, London, 1981. p. 7.
5. Travelingluck.com (NB Just one 'l' in the US spelling of 'travelling'.
6. Guyanese Sugar Plantations in the Late Nineteenth Century, A Contemporary Description from the Argosy. Edited and introduced by Walter Rodney, Release Publishers, Georgetown, Guyana, 1979.
7. The Guyana Heritage Museum and Toucan Inn, Meten-Meer-Zorg, West Coast Demerara, Guyana.
8. University College London (UCL) project: Legacies of British Slave-ownership.
9. The Letters of Charles Waterton of Walton Hall, near Wakefield, edited with Notes by R.A. Irwin. Rockliff, London, 1955.

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