Nicholas Lawes

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Sir Nicholas Lawes
Died18 June 1731 (aged 78–79)
OccupationGovernor of Jamaica 1718–1722

Sir Nicholas Lawes (1652 – 18 June 1731) (sometimes "'Laws'" in contemporary documents) was Governor of Jamaica from 1718 to 1722.

Early life[edit]

Nicholas Lawes was born in 1652 to Nicholas and Amy Lawes.


He was a British knight.

Governor of Jamaica[edit]

He was Chief Justice of Jamaica from 1698 to 1703 and Governor from 1718 to 1722.[1]

In his capacity as Governor during the Golden Age of Piracy he hunted down or tried many pirates, among them "Calico Jack" Rackham, Anne Bonny, Mary Read, Robert Deal,[2] Captain Thompson,[3] Nicholas Brown, and Charles Vane. He signed an arrangement with Jeremy, king of the Miskito, to bring some of his followers over to Jamaica to hunt down runaway slaves and Jamaican Maroons in 1720.[4]


Lawes married five widows in succession. No children survived from the first three marriages.[5]

James and Temple Lawes were the sons of his fourth wife Susannah Temple whom he married in 1698.[5][6] She had previously been married to Samuel Bernard.[5] Her father, Thomas Temple, is said to have given Lawes his Temple Hall, Jamaica estate as a dowry.[6]

Lawes later married Elizabeth Lawley (1690-1725). Their youngest surviving daughter, Judith Maria Lawes, married Simon Luttrell, 1st Earl of Carhampton and so became both wife and mother of the Earls of Carhampton.[5]

Coffee and printing[edit]

At Temple Hall Lawes experimented with a variety of crops and introduced the very lucrative coffee growing into the island in 1721 according to some sources[6][7] or 1728 according to others.[8]

He is also credited with setting up the first printing press in Jamaica.[5]


He died 18 June 1731 in Jamaica.


  1. ^ Historic Jamaica : With fifty-two illustrations.
  2. ^ Brooks, Baylus C. (2017). Quest for Blackbeard: The True Story of Edward Thache and His World. Raleigh NC: Lulu Press, Inc. ISBN 9781365795923. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  3. ^ Headlam, Cecil (1933). America and West Indies: January 1719 | British History Online (January 1719 ed.). London: His Majesty's Stationery Office. pp. 1–21. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  4. ^ Michael Olien, "The Miskito Kings and the Line of Succession," Journal of Anthropological Research 39 (1983),
  5. ^ a b c d e Powers, Anne (17 March 2012). "The Queen of Hell in Portman Square". A Parcel of Ribbons. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  6. ^ a b c Sibley, Inez Knibb (1978). Dictionary of Place Names in Jamaica. Kingston, Jamaica: Institute of Jamaica. p. 196.
  7. ^ "Jamaican History 2 / 1692-1782 / Foundation of Kingston to the Battle of the Saints". Gleaner Company. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  8. ^ "Kingston & St. Andrew Economy". Jamaica Information Service. Archived from the original on 14 December 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
Government offices
Preceded by
Peter Heywood
Governor of Jamaica
Succeeded by
The Duke of Portland