The Westmorlands of Wigton

Isaac Westmorland I (1728-1790) Grocer and West Indies Importer, Wigton, Cumbria.

Isaac Westmorland II (1755-1824)   Tallow Chandler, Wigton, Cumbria.

Isaac Westmorland III (1787-1855)   West India Merchant, London.


Isaac Westmorland I (1728-1790)

There are three generations of identifiable men with the name Isaac Westmorland, but the records are not always clear which one is being referred to. What follows is currently a “best fit”.

The first Isaac was born in Crosthwaite, Cumberland, and married Martha Peat in 1753. He was probably a grocer and a West Indies importer of sugar and rum. He is also listed as an Overseer of Wigton in 1760.[1] Isaac and Martha had six surviving children, John, Robert, Isaac, Agnes, Martha and Peat.[2]His eldest son, John 1754-1820 is listed on the Hair Powder Tax register of 1790 as a “Housekeeper” [3]He is also listed on the Land Tax Redemption Register for the Township or Quarter of Woodside, Wigton, Cumberland.[4] He was probably a merchant in Kingston, Jamaica in 1780. John is listed on the Sunfire Insurance records in 1791, no occupation is given, so it is likely that he was insuring his property rather than his business.[5] John was unmarried, and when he died in 1820 his will left most of his property to his two sisters, Martha Thornthwaite and Agnes Westmorland who were probably twins, being born in the same year and baptised on the same day, 28 August 1766.[6]

Martha Peat had a brother, Arthur, born in 1741. An Arthur Peatt is listed on the Legacies of British Slave-ownership website as being someone with West India connections. In his biography mention is made of a slave trading company ‘Peatt and Westmorland’ in Kingston, Jamaica in 1777. This may have have been part of the connection all three Isaac Westmorlands had to the West Indies.

A Miss Westmorland is noted on John Wood’s 1832 map of Wigton as owning property in Wigton. One of these parcels includes the buildings and land next to the Half Moon Inn in King Street.[7] This is possibly Agnes as in the Parson and White Directory for 1829, a Miss Agnes Westmorland is listed among the Gentlemen and Yeomen as living on High Street.[8]

Another son of Isaac’s, Robert (1759-1844), died in in Southwark, London. It is possible that he was a lawyer as a Robert Westmorland appears in the UK Articles of Clerkship in 1785 as working at Ball Court, Cornhill and the clerk articled to him is Peat Westmorland. It is possible that both brothers were London Lawyers.[9] Peat Westmorland is also mentioned in the London Land Tax Records in the St Stephen Wallbrook precinct in 1792. In the churchyard in Wigton he is mentioned among the family headstones as having died in St George’s, Grenada in 1815, aged 47.

There are two groups of lease and release documents in the archive for 1772 and 1784, for the same property. Isaac was taking on the lease of the property in each case from Ann Gardner. Isaac Westmorland Junior’s signature appears on one document as a witness.[10]


Isaac Westmorland II, (1755-1824.)

Isaac is listed in the Sun Fire insurance records in 1791 as a Tallow Chandler and because this information is given, he was probably insuring his business. [11]

Hutchinson, in his History of Cumberland, 1797, notes the existence of a ‘soap boilery, the property of Mr Isaac Westmorland’ as one of the ‘public works of note’ in the town.[12]

So far, one voucher for Isaac Westmorland has been identified, he supplied soap, blue, starch and candles in January 1777.[13]

Isaac was active in the town, he is mentioned in the Cumberland Paquet in 1781 as one of the signees on a petition against Sunday trading in Wigton[14], and again in 1783, as a member of the ‘Wigton Association’ for the prevention of offences and for bringing the perpetrators to justice[15]. Isaac was married to Betty Atkinson in 1782. They had three sons and two daughters. There may have been others, but these are either mentioned in Isaac’s will or to be found on the headstones in the churchyard.

The headstone in the graveyard of the parish church notes that his eldest son, John, died aged 19 in Jamaica in 1802.

In 1805 there is an advertisement in the Cumberland Pacquet for the sale of the Half Moon Inn and the letting of the soap boilery and related buildings due to the illness of the proprietor, Isaac Westmorland.[16] In 1811 he is listed in Jollie’s Directory as ‘not in trade’ but living in Church Street. A John Westmorland, Esq. who may be his brother John, is listed in the same publication, again, ‘not in trade’ and living in Corn-market.[17]

Isaac’s will mentions his two daughters, Martha and Betty and his son Arthur, but no mention is made of his son, Isaac, who was born in1787.


Isaac Westmorland III, (1787-1856.)

Isaac III seems to have moved to London. He is listed on the Legacies of British Slave-ownership website as a partner in the firm Stewart and Westmorland. The same website notes that an Isaac Westmorland, then in partnership with James Thompson and Charles Osbourne at Billiter Square London was declared bankrupt in 1816.

He married Hannah Cheesewright in Islington in 1819 they had nine children. The 1851 census records them living in Camberwell, their eldest son, John being 17.

The website lists 11 associated claims for slave ownership compensation for the partnership in 1836. In some cases the company is listed as the Mortgagee, in others Owner in Fee.

The partnership was dissolved in 1854. Isaac died aged 68 in 1856.[18]



[1] CRO PR/36/119 within Vestry Minutes Book 1735-1885.

[2], England, Select Births and Christenings,1538-1975 [Database online]

[3]  CRO Carlisle Q/RT/11 Hair Powder Tax Certificates 1795.

[4] UK Land Tax Redemption, 1798 [Database online]

[5] London Metroplolitan Archives, Royal Sun Alliance Insurance Group, CodeCLC/B/192/F/001/MS11936/367/569656 Insured: John Westmorland, Wigton, Gentleman. Date 1790 May 15

[6], England, Select Births and Christenings,1538-1975 [Database online]

[7] CRO John Wood, Map of Wigton, 1832.

[8] W.Parson and W.White, A History, Directory and Gazeteer of Cumberland and Westmorland with Furness and Cartmel, (Whitehaven:Moon,1984) First Published, 1829.

[9] UK Articles of Clerkship, 1756-1874 [Database online]

[10] CRO, Carlisle, DX748/203, DX748/195,196.

[11]London Metropolitan Archives, Royal Sun Alliance Insurance Group. Code CLC/B/192/F/001/MS11936/381/591605. Insured: Isaac Westmoreland, Wigton, Tallow Chandler. Date 1791 Aug22.

[12] W.Hutchinson, A History of the County of Cumberland, Vol.2 (Carlisle: Jollie,1797),p.468.

[13] CRO, PR36/V/757

[14] Cumberland Paquet, 24 April 1781.

[15] Cumberland Paquet, 30 September 1783.

[16] Cumberland Paquet, 29 October 1805

[17] Jollies Cumberland Guide & Directory 1811 P.68

[18]Isaac Westmorland’, Legacies of British Slave-ownership database, [accessed 14thNovember2018]

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