Philip John Miles

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Philip John Miles, 1822 engraving

Philip John Miles (1773–1845) was an English landowner, merchant, shipowner, banker and politician from Bristol. Through his banking interests he found himself on the register of owners of slaves on plantations in Jamaica though only as mortgagee in possession in cases when his bank had taken possession of plantations through the default of their owners on mortgage payments.[1] He left an estate of over £1 million, making him the first recorded millionaire of Bristol.[2]

Life[edit]

He was born on 1 March 1773, the second but only surviving son of William Miles (1728–1803), a Bristol West India merchant, and his wife Sarah Berrow.[3] His elder brother William died aged 23 in 1790, and he inherited from his financier father in 1803.[2]

Leigh Court today

Miles was a partner in Miles Bank of Bristol, and later Miles, Harford & Co, which eventually became part of NatWest. He had Leigh Court at Abbots Leigh rebuilt, 1814–8.[2] Miles also owned properties and extensive estates elsewhere including Kings Weston House (by Sir John Vanbrugh), The Manor House (Old Rectory) at Walton-in-Gordano,[4] Walton Castle, Cardigan Priory and Underdown by Anthony Keck in Ledbury, Herefordshire, where the family originated before moving to Somerset.[5]

He sat three times as a Member of Parliament, for Westbury from 1826, for Corfe Castle from 1829, and for Bristol from 1835.[3] Under the Slave Compensation Act 1837 he received money from properties in Jamaica and Trinidad.[6]

Miles died on 24 March 1845.[3] His lifelong friend John Benett wrote in his private diary

"Philip John Miles of Leigh Court near Bristol died from the effects of influenza in his 72nd year. He was one of my oldest and most valued friends - he was a sensible and pruent man; highly honest in all his mercantile and other dealigs with the world - a kind husband, father and master to his servants, and in money matters I would say liberal. He was a steady and sincere friend and as such I lament the loss of him. He died surrounded by 13 children and his wife."[7]

The Bristol Mercury wrote

"His manners and deportment were plain and unassuming, free alike from affectation and coarseness, they bore the English stamp of honest and hearty sincerity. His disposition corresponded with his appearance. He gave away much in charity, but he gave it without the slightest ostentation."[8]

Family[edit]

Miles married:[3]

  1. In 1795, Maria Whetham (1776–1811), daughter of John Whetham; and
  2. In 1813 Clarissa Peach (1790–1868), daughter of Samuel Peach Peach.

From the first marriage there was one son and four daughters.

From the second marriage, seven sons and four daughters.[3][6][10]

  • Philip William Skinner Miles[11] (1816–1881), father of Philip Napier Miles;[12]
  • John William Miles[13] (1817–1878), died unmarried, lived with brother Henry Cruger Miles and sister Clarissa Philippa Miles at Penpole House
  • Robert Henry William Miles[14] (1818–1883), father of Frank Miles, and Robert Miles (cricketer),
  • George Frederick William Miles (b. 1820),
  • Ellen Octavia Miles (b. 1821),
  • Charles William Miles (1823–1892),
  • Sybilla Mary Miles (1827-1889),
  • Edward Peach William Miles (born c. 1829),[15]
  • Henry Cruger William Miles[16] (1832-1888) died unmarried, lived with brother John William Miles and sister Clarissa Philippa Miles at Penpole House. High Sheriff of Bristol in 1866.
  • Marianne Adelaide Miles (b. 1834) who married General Patrick MacDougall, Commander of the British Troops in Canada
  • Clarissa Philippa Miles (1838-1892) died unmarried, lived with brothers Henry Cruger Miles and John William Miles at Penpole House

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Kathleen Butler; The Economics of Emancipation: Jamaica and Barbados, 1823-1843, page 54
  2. ^ a b c Morgan, Kenneth. "Miles, Philip John". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/107409.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ a b c d e "Miles, Philip John (1774–1845), of Leigh Court, Abbots Leigh, Som., History of Parliament Online". Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  4. ^ "Manor House, Walton Street". Images of England. English Heritage. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  5. ^ Cooke, Robert (1957). West Country Houses. Batsford. pp. 155–158.
  6. ^ a b "Summary of Individual, Philip John Miles, 1st Mar 1774 – 24th Mar 1845, Legacies of British Slave-ownership". Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  7. ^ Wilts Archaeological & Nat His Socy, Devizes, box 19C, ms246
  8. ^ Bristol Mercury 29 March 1845
  9. ^ s:Alumni Oxonienses: the Members of the University of Oxford, 1715-1886/Miles, (Sir) William (Bart.)
  10. ^ Edward Walford (1864). The County Families of the United Kingdom, Or Royal Manual of the Titled and Untitled Aristocracy of Great Britain and Ireland. 2. Ed. Greatly Enl. Hardwicke. p. 693.
  11. ^ s:Alumni Oxonienses: the Members of the University of Oxford, 1715-1886/Miles, Philip William Skynner
  12. ^ s:Alumni Oxonienses: the Members of the University of Oxford, 1715-1886/Miles, Philip Napier
  13. ^ s:Alumni Oxonienses: the Members of the University of Oxford, 1715-1886/Miles, John William
  14. ^ s:Alumni Oxonienses: the Members of the University of Oxford, 1715-1886/Miles, Robert Henry William
  15. ^ s:Alumni Oxonienses: the Members of the University of Oxford, 1715-1886/Miles, Edward Peach William
  16. ^ s:Alumni Oxonienses: the Members of the University of Oxford, 1715-1886/Miles, Henry Cruger William