History of the plantation

The plantation is first noted in the written record in 1720 when it was held by one Ann Abbot, probably the widow of Thomas Abbot. The estate measured 180 acres in extent running from other plantations on the seaward side up into the mountain on the east [see Pubman for this document]. By 1734 it had passed to Phillip De Witt and Anne his wife. De Witt was probably Dutch, reminding us of the proximity of the Dutch island of St Eustatius to the north.

The Abbot family had been prominent in the government of Nevis in earlier years. Richard Abbot became Brigadier-General of the militia in 1711-12 and was in command in 1712 when the French captured the island. In 1708 the estate of Thomas Abbot had 33 slaves, 16 men and 17 women.

By 1736 most of this estate was in the hands of Edward Jessup, a gentleman of St Christopher, who then purchased the estate from the De Witts with the exception of one small part on the seaward side known as Coles Point, which he purchased two years later. Our first view of the estate is a map surveyed in 1755 and commissioned by Jessup to show his landholdings on Nevis extending from the sea to the mountain, and showing in the centre the estate's great house and the adjacent slave village.

From the Southampton Archives we know something of Jessups management of his estate through his manager on Nevis, Benjamin Legett. Detailed inventories, probably made by the estate manager, exist for the years 1748, 1767 and 1773 and include inventories of the buildings, plant and stores, plantings, stocks and slaves belonging to the estate, dating from 1748, 1767 and 1773. The inventory of 1748 lists slaves first, then cattle and other livestock. The slaves' names are given [see section on slaves’ origins etc], 53 men, 29 women, 18 boys and 11 girls, making a total of 111, with two slaves added as an afterthought making 113. The details of the livestock show that parts of the plantation must have appeared like any English farm, with 49 cattle, 29 sheep and 19 mules, which must have been scattered through various fields of the plantation.

Later records indicate that the estate was left by Edward Jessup on his death to his brother-in-law John Ede.

Descendants of Ede lived first at Bathwick House near Bath, and then in Southampton at Fernside, Bassett, Southampton. On their final sale of the estate in 1881 their solicitors were Green and Moberley of Southampton, whose collections in the Southampton Record Office contain the various records relating to the Jessups plantation on Nevis.