Charles Ellis, 1st Baron Seaford

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Charles Rose Ellis, 1st Baron Seaford (Richard Cosway)

Charles Rose Ellis, 1st Baron Seaford (19 December 1771 – 1 July 1845) was a British politician.[1]

He was the second son of John Ellis of Jamaica, who acquired a significant amount of wealth from sugar and slavery at a number of estates, including Montpelier, Jamaica in the parish of St James, the Newry plantation in St Mary, and the Palm estate in St Thomas-in-the-Vale. When his brother George died young, John ran the estate on the behalf of his young nephew, George Rose Ellis. However, the younger George would later complain to his maternal uncle, Edward Long, about John's avarice. Across his six Jamaican estates, John owned over 1,200 slaves, and he was ranked among the top one percent of wealthy sugar planters in Jamaica. In 1782, John and his wife Elizabeth boarded a ship from Jamaica to England, but the ship was lost at sea, and Charles inherited his father's wealthy properties in Jamaica.[2]

George Rose Ellis married Anne, the daughter of Sir Peter Parker, 1st Baronet, but George died without issue in 1815, and his property passed to Charles. Charles was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, and he became an absentee planter based in England.[3] Charles inherited the Montpelier estate, while his older brother, also named John, inherited their father's properties in the parishes of St Mary and St George.[4] John married another daughter of Parker, named Antoinette, but died heavily in debt in 1832, and his properties were acquired by Charles.[5] When the British government emancipated the slaves in the 1830s, Charles was compensated for his liberated slaves to the tune of over £16.000.[6]

Ellis was elected to the House of Commons for Heytesbury in 1793, a seat he held until 1796, and then represented Seaford from 1796 to 1806 and from 1812 to 1826 and East Grinstead from 1807 to 1812. In 1826 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Seaford, of Seaford in the County of Sussex. In parliament he was a prominent defender of slavery in the West Indies plantations.[7] He was for many years considered to be the head of West India Interest, the lobby of planters and merchants in the British parliament who opposed the abolitionists.[8]

In 1832, Ellis was in Jamaica during a slave rebellion led by Samuel Sharpe, the Baptist War resulted in Ellis suffering losses on his sugar plantations to the tune of about £41,000.[9] Lord Seaford left Jamaica for Britain in the middle of 1834, just before the Apprenticeship period was implemented following the emancipation of the slaves.[10]

Lord Seaford was not convinced that the Apprenticeship would work, and he was a great believer in encouraging white European immigration to Jamaica. To this end, he donated land from his Montpelier estate, which was used to create a village for recently arrived German immigrants, called Seaford Town, Jamaica.[11]

Lord Seaford died in July 1845. He had married the Hon. Elizabeth Catherine Caroline Hervey, daughter of John Hervey, Lord Hervey, eldest son of Frederick Hervey, 4th Earl of Bristol, in 1798. She died in January 1803, aged 22. They had 2 sons and a daughter.[12]

In 1798 their four-year-old son and heir Charles succeeded his great-grandfather Lord Bristol as sixth Baron Howard de Walden. Their second son was the army officer Augustus Frederick Ellis.


  1. ^ "ELLIS, Charles Rose (1771-1845), of Claremont, Esher, Surr". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  2. ^ Barry Higman, Montpelier (Kingston: University of the West Indies Press, 1998), pp. 22-5.
  3. ^ Higman, Montpelier, p. 24.
  4. ^ Higman, Montpelier, p. 29.
  5. ^ Higman, Montpelier, p. 31.
  6. ^ Higman, Montpelier, p. 53.
  7. ^ Taylor, Michael (2014). "Conservative Political Economy and the Problem of Colonial Slavery, 1823–1833". The Historical Journal. 57 (4): 982.
  8. ^ Higman, Montpelier, p. 32.
  9. ^ HIgman, Montpelier, p. 35.
  10. ^ Higman, Montpelier, p. 55.
  11. ^ Higman, Montpelier, p. 55.
  12. ^ Higman, Montpelier, p. 31.
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
William Eden
The Earl of Barrymore
Member of Parliament for Heytesbury
With: William Eden 1793
The Viscount Clifden 1793–96
Succeeded by
The Viscount Clifden
Sir John Leicester
Preceded by
John Tarleton
Richard Paul Jodrell
Member of Parliament for Seaford
With: George Ellis
Succeeded by
(Parliament of Great Britain abolished)
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
(self in Parliament of Great Britain)
Member of Parliament for Seaford
With: George Ellis to 1802
Richard Joseph Sullivan 1802–06
John Leach 1806
Succeeded by
John Leach
George Hibbert
Preceded by
Sir Henry Strachey
Daniel Giles
Member of Parliament for East Grinstead
With: Sir Nathaniel Holland 1807–12
Richard Wellesley 1812
George William Gunning 1812
Nicholas Vansittart 1812
Succeeded by
George William Gunning
James Stephen
Preceded by
John Leach
George Hibbert
Member of Parliament for Seaford
With: John Leach 1812–16
Sir Charles Cockerell 1816–18
George Watson-Taylor 1818–20
George Agar-Ellis 1820–26
Succeeded by
John Fitzgerald
Augustus Frederick Ellis
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Seaford
Succeeded by
Charles Augustus Ellis