The Bellets and Shattocks of Sampford Arundel

Sampford Arundel is a small village a couple of miles southwest of Wellington. The Easterlands estate is between Wellington and Sampford Arundel.

Did you not hear me ask him about the slave trade last night?

I Did – and was in hopes the question would be followed by others. It would have pleased your uncle to be inquired of farther.

And I longed to do it – but there was such a dead silence!

Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

The marriage of William Shattock (1757-1839) to Sarah Bellett in 1788 in Wellington, Somerset united two prominent families. William Shattock was the son of the James Shattock (1726-1795), Gent, who I feature on the Wellington Shattock page. Sarah Bellet belonged to a prominent Anglo-Irish family. They were a very religious, non-conformist family and lived in Sampford Arundel. William's son John Bellett Shattock would retire to the Easterlands estate.

On their marriage license, William signed his name in clean, legible writing right over that of Sarah Bellett, who also signed her own name, neatly.

By 1788, the year of the marriage, Wellington was humming with industry, particularly the woolen industry as Tone Mills was established in 1754 and the Fox family that owned it incorporated the modern manufacture of cloth in the production of famed Taunton serge.

There is a William Shattock, probably the same, who was taxed for land he owned in the UK Land Tax Redemption of 1798 for Wellington.

In fact it might be speculated that the high efficiency mill put the local Shattockes, who were still running cottage industry cloth making, out of business. That might explain why the generations of Shattocks might have had to go to other trades in other places to make a living. One of those Shattocks was William and Sarah's son John Bellett Shattock (1792-1860).

Here is what John Shattock of Leicester, descendant of the Bishop's Lydeard Shattocks, has to say about John Bellet Shattock: "He was actively involved in the formation of the dissident presbyterian independent meeting house in Wellington. Wellington was a centre for the dissident Christians from the 17th century. The Bellet name is associated with the start of the Brethren movement. The Bellets were Irish and John Gifford Bellet was instrumental in the formation of the group that became known as the Plymouth Brethren in 1830. John Gifford Bellet introduced a person called John Nelson Darby, another Irish man, who became one of the scholars within the Plymouth Brethren and someone who I know my great grandfather Charles had met, according to Mike Shaddock's [John's first cousin] and my Great Aunt Matilda (Tilly). Shattocks contributed land and sales towards the building of a meeting place in Wellington.

Book by John Gifford Bellett. It was reprinted twice.

The presbyterians and the various brethren assemblies did not believe in infant baptism but the baptism of adult believers and this was one of the main issues that led protestant dissidents to separate themselves from the established Church of England. Legally marriages had to take place in Anglican Churches between 1753 until civil marriages were allowed from 1837. There were other differences, including the weekly Lord's supper, or communion, and they had no ordained ministry so they based their beliefs on Bible teaching rather than on dictates from the Church of England. This demonstrates that the Shattocks have a history of "non-conformists" or "dissidents" that Mike and I can trace back at least 200 years."

It is very likely that John Gifford Bellett was a relative of Sarah Bellett as John Gifford Bellett spent his boyhood in Sampford Arundel. The Believer's magazine (April, 2004) describes him this way: "John Gifford Bellett was born in Dublin on 19th July, 1795 but spent a considerable part of his boyhood in England, something not unusual in contemporary well-to-do Anglo-Irish families. It was an affectionate and happy family, but there was a specially close and life-long bond between John and his brother George only one year his junior. The boys benefited, in a formative period of life, from the spiritual influence of an older cousin Richard Bellett whom they frequently met while enjoying holidays at the home of their grandmother at Sampford-Arundel, Somerset. Richard not only imbued their young minds with his own reverence for sacred things, but with his refined and cultivated tastes, led them to appreciate all that was good and pure. "

There must have been lively discussions in the Bellett house and local social events. Is it possible John Bellett Shattock and Sarah Bellett met at one of these.

The John Bellett Shattock family were devout non-conformists as well. John Bellet Shattock Jr. (1827-1915) would sell the family estate and devout his life to serving as far north as Lancashire.

John Bellett Shattock in Jamaica

John Bellett Shaddock's father must have been reasonably wealthy, because John Bellett Shattock was able to fund a business venture in Jamaica.

The records we find in the St. Andrews parish records in Kingston Jamaica list him as a "gentleman" and "merchant."

I discovered he was actually married twice.

His first wife was Eliza Serogie Gyles, widow of William Gyles. She had three children by William Gyles, the first one in 1807. John Bellett Shattock married her in 1817 in St. Andrew. His social status is described as "gentleman." He would have been 28 and since her first child by William Gyles was born the year of the parish record began, in 1807, we can assume she was older than John B. Perhaps five years older. Was her maiden name "Serogie?"

John B. and Eliza Serogie Gyles had one child, Sarah Bellett Shattock born in 1820. John B. does not marry Elizabeth Calvert until 1826, so we have to assume his first wife died. She may have died either at childbirth or sometime between 1820 and 1826 because in the second marriage to Elizabeth Calvert another Sarah Bellett Shattock is born in 1828...her full name was Sarah Bellett Calvert Shattock, the first female child of the marriage. I would assume that the first Sarah Bellett Shattock died and that is why John B. named his second child with the same name. It was his mother's name.

William Gyles, Eliza Scogie's first husband, was a slave owner. His slaves Helen and Thomas were baptized Sept. 6, 1812. There is no mention of a plantation, but the slaves were children.

It seems likely that William Gyles was related to Nicholas Gyles, an infamous plantation overseer and plantation owner, noted for his cruelty to his slaves. You can read about Nicholas here: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/11756, He is the registered owner of the Pembroke Estate in 1831 and 1832.

John B. did not own Pembroke Estate but he is associated with it. According to the UCL site he was: "awarded the compensation for two small awards in Kingston, for a group of ten enslaved people on Good Air in St Andrew, and as assignee for the enslaved people on Pembroke in St Mary Jamaica." Parliamentary Papers p. 287: (Pembroke Estate)

T71/856: John Bellett Shattock counterclaimed as assignee of the whole compensation. Owner was Nicholas Giles [sp Gyles?] St Mary, owner-in-fee.

Owner in fee simple in common law countries is the highest possible ownership interest that can be held in real property.

Did John Bellett Shattock acquire slaves when he married Eliza Scogie Gyles? She was probably heir to William Gyles' business affairs.

There is a document that lists him as the owner of slaves: it lists twenty slaves owned by John B. Shattock in the parish of St. Andrews, Jamaica. The date is 1832, and John B. might have already left Jamaica. Are these slaves the ones assigned to him by Nicholas Gyles? That seems likely as Gyles no longer owned the Pembroke estate after 1832, the date of the slave document.

But there is an additional clue to the business John B. might have conducted. Elizabeth McDowell, a retired BBC researcher in the Milverton area, after reading an earlier draft of this page commented in an email to me: Bristol was the main port for shipping slaves. Wills and Co. is/was the big tobacco company south of Bristol about 40 miles from here. The ships would take exports to West Africa and pick up slaves and then take them across the Atlantic to the West Indies and bring other goods back from there. That a Shaddock was a merchant might well fit into this. Was he trading in tobacco or sugar?"

What gives Elizabeth's suggestion some weight is this interesting fact. It turns out there is another Shattock from the Wellington branch of the family who lived in Bristol. He must have been fairly closely related to John Bellet Shattock, perhaps a first cousin, because he too named one of his daughters "Sarah Bellett Shattock." Right now I have this John Shattock (b. 1779) as a broken branch of the tree because I have not identified his father. But as I indicate on the Wellington page, he may have been raised with John Bellett Shattock. There is an Australian branch of the family that left Bristol for eastern Australia. One of the descendants of this branch has done DNA testing so I know for certain John Shattock belongs in the same branch as John Bellett Shattock.

John Shattock, who was thirteen years older than John Bellett Shattock, might have moved to Bristol first and John B. visited him there. In the birth record of the daughter of the older John, in 1828, he is identified as a carpenter, so there is no direct relationship to John B.'s merchant activities. But there would have been family exchanges between the Bristol and Wellington families.

You can find a digital reproduction of the St. Andrew, Jamaica parish records here. What appears to be the case is the local vicar baptized all local people, including English settlers, English military men and their families, slaves and freed slaves. If the slaves were found on a plantation, the plantation was named.

Homes typically found in Jamaica.

John Shattock comments: "I have in my notes that James Bellet Shattock had an interest, not necessarily as single owner but in a partnership, in three other sites in Jamaica but I will have to check the source to confirm that. One of them was the Pembroke Plantation owned by Nicholas Gyles, where compensation was paid for 55 slaves. JB did own the Belle Air Pen or Good Air Pen in the Lowland area of St Andrew where he owned both slaves and stock. For example at this site in 1818 he owned 20 slaves and 12 stock on the Good Air Pen. I don’t quite know what “stock” is but it’s not numbers of livestock and I believe relates to people because the list relates to people. The number of slaves and [slave] stock varied year by year, sometime more and sometimes less. In 1832, the last recorded year, he is recorded as having 15 slaves and no stock at Good Air Pen. Pens were livestock farms, probably cattle, not sugar or tobacco plantations. "

John: "Although John Bellet was a Merchant in Somerset and Jamaica, in Somerset he was also a Gentleman farmer (it means you wouldn’t have seen him working in the fields in his wellies) back home in Easterlands and Winnock. His farming was mixed and general with: arable land growing food crops; meadow land, probably for livestock for meat, dairy and wool; some furze (gorse, possibly used for animal fodder), and an orchard."

Elizabeth McDowell, a local resident points out: "the land here is very hilly and because we have a lot of rain it has traditionally been a grazing area because it has not been easy to plough. We are also on the edge of Exmoor National Park which is full of gorse and tough plants. But in the 18th century land reform meant the wool trade was important and sheep, of course, cope well on rough and difficult terrain which allowed, until the weaving mills and the industrial revolution, people to work at home and take their textiles to central markets."

Indeed if you look at the pictures of the Easterlands estate below you will see sheep grazing near the grand house. It is likely the food crops on the estate were for the family's consumption and not for the market. In the 1851 census there are no agricultural workers listed as part of the household.

There may have been another Shaddock in the Jamaica colony at this time. Mary Shaddock was born Apr. 22, 1807 to parents Shaddock with no first name recorded (Jamaica, Church of England Parish Register Transcripts, 1664-1880.) This can not be associated with John B. because he would have only been fifteen in 1807, so it raises the question about the presence of another "Shaddock" in Jamaica at this time.

However there is evidence that John B. had slaves who shared his surname. John: "In Kingston Jamaica, there is a “dissenter church” record for the marriage of a Richard Shadock and a Cecilia Shadock who were slaves of John Bellet. It was a Methodist Church. They were married in December 1818 in Kingston. Surnames would of course be taken from the slave owner John Bellet Shattock."

The gatehouse looks like a Jamaican style home.

John: "I noticed this building on the sale site for the Easterlands property. It’s the gate lodge to Easterlands. It doesn’t look like any Somerset lodge or cottage I know. It looks pre-fabricated and reminded me of the pictures I’ve seen of plantation buildings in Jamaica, ignoring of course the garage extension on the side of the building. It would probably originally have had a thatched roof. I wonder if it was based on the plantation buildings. Perhaps Lorna may have an opinion about the similarity of its appearance. I don’t mean the palatial houses occupied by the owners."

Return to Sampford Arundel

The UCL site does classify him as a slave owner. This is what it says on their website:

"Returnee to England, after a period as a merchant in Kingston, arriving back in England.

In 1851 John B. Shattock aged 58 landed proprietor born Wellington Somerset was living at Easterlands, Sampford Arundell with wife Elizabeth aged 50 born Liverpool, daughters Sarah 22 born Jamaica, Elizabeth 21 West Indies and Mary aged 16 born Wellington Somerset: two of their servants were locally born women named Bellett. In 1861, after John Bellett Shattock's death, the family was still in situ at Easterlands, joined by son John 27 born Wellington."

See Wikepedia's online article about the Bristol slave trade.

When John B. retired to his estate in Somerset, it was land originally purchased by his father-in-law, William Bellet of Sampford Arundel. The following document shows his father-in-law purchasing the property in 1816. It came into John Bellett Shattock's possession in 1840, after her returned to Somerset.

  • Sampford Arundel, 1816-1904 Somerset Heritage Centre DD\CH/112/8 Moiety of Rectory, glebe lands and tithes, culminating in possession of Isabel Lucy Marshall of Norton Manor, Taunton, widow of Wilfred George Marshall, Esq., 1904. The moiety was purchased in 1816 by William Bellett of Sampford Arundel from Richard Yendle of Uplowman, yeoman and Jeremiah Woodbury of Exeter, innkeeper. By 1840 it was in the possession of John Bellett Shattock of Wellington. His son, the Rev. John Bellett Shattock of Stalbridge, Dorset, sold it to Charles Moore of Liverpool, merchant, in 1864.

The UCL site provides this additional detail about Easterlands: "The will of John Bellett Shattock late of Easterlands House in the parish of Sampford Arundel Somerset who died 29/12/1860 at Easterlands House proved 20/3/1861 by Rev. John Bellett Shattock of Easterland and John Ward Nicholls of Greenwich Hospital, effects under £12,000.

Details extracted from the St Catherine parish register show John Bellett Shattock, merchant of Kingston, marrying Elizabeth Calvert 18/6/1826 in St Catherine."

John Bellett Shattock made enough money in Jamaica to live very comfortably. In the 1851 census he is living in the village of Sampford Arundell, just 2.5 miles or 4 km south west of Wellington. His rank is "landed proprietor." There is a ladies maid, house maid, cook, kitchen maid and general servant living on his estate "Easterlands." How far up the social scale had John Bellet Shattocke risen? The Fox family, who owned the dye and woolen factory that probably put John Bellett Shattock's ancestors out of business, in subsequent years bought the estate and lived in it.

John B.'s wife, Elizabeth Calvert (1800-1870), was from Liverpool, England. She and John Bellett had five children, including John Bellet Shattock, jr. (1827-1861) who became a vicar. He in turn had a son, John Bellett Shattock (1864-1932) that was a pharmacist in Lancaster, Lancashire, England. And John Bellet Shattock III had two children, including George Bellett Shattock (1901-1957) who emigrated to Canada, and worked in Vancouver where I live, moved to Victoria, B.C. and became a Canadian army captain. George Bellet Shattock's aunt Marie St. Maurice Shattock (1864-1936) was also an emigrant to Canada, living in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba.

This is probably the document that lists the sale of the Shattock estate at Sampford Arundel:

Somerset Heritage Centre, Reference number, DD\CH/112/8

  • Description: Moiety of Rectory, glebe lands and tithes, culminating in possession of Isabel Lucy Marshall of Norton Manor, Taunton, widow of Wilfred George Marshall, Esq., 1904. The moiety was purchased in 1816 by William Bellett of Sampford Arundel from Richard Yendle of Uplowman, yeoman and Jeremiah Woodbury of Exeter, innkeeper. By 1840 it was in the possession of John Bellett Shattock of Wellington. His son, the Rev. John Bellett Shattock of Stalbridge, Dorset, sold it to Charles Moore of Liverpool, merchant, in 1864. In 1878 Mary Louisa Moore of Clontarf, Dublin, sold it to Robert Arundel Were of Wellington, gent., along with the capital messuage called Easterlands in Sampford Arundel and Wellington (schedule of lands and plan, endorsed with memorandum of purchase of Easterlands by Frederick George Slessor, 1897). Were mortgaged all the property to Wilfred George Marshall of Belmont, Taunton, 1879 and bundle includes pre-marriage settlement of Marshall and Isabel Lucy Byne of Bath, 1881.
  • Date 1816-1904, Extent: 13 documents

Shattocks in Jamaica

You will find the Shattock name in Jamaica. It was the practice of slaves to be baptized with the surname of their plantation owners. In this case there is a more direct connection between John Bellet Shattock and African Jamaicans. He fathered a child with an African American woman. The child was named "Joseph," who in turn named his son John Bellet Shattock.

In 2018 on the British news service, BBC, there was a story that featured Amanda Kitron who discovers she is a direct descendant of John Bellett Shattock, jr.. It is an astonishing story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GamxNrkwqMw&t=4s. We had a kind of family reunion in London, attended by descendants of the major branches of the family.

The Strange Story of Mary Bellett and Her Count

Eight years after John Bellett Shattock died in 1860, his daughter Mary Bellett Shattock (1834-1899) married Count Donizio Marc De Salomes in the St. Marylebone church in Westminster, London. They were married by license because the Count claimed they had previously married in Paris. He explained that he wanted to remove any doubt about their legal married status, and because he had moved to the St. Marylebone parish, he sought a license to be married at the Anglican church in St. Marylebone. They married Nov. 18, 1868. In fact previously, on Oct. 20,1868, they had published banns in France, so it is possible they were married in France some weeks previously. Her name when she married in London was Mary Bellett de Salomes. Why would they have married just weeks earlier in France when they intended to marry in London?

What is odd is that I found his father's Freemason Membership registration places him in England in 1839. So what was Mary Bellett Shattock's future husband doing in Paris?

His father was Count Giovanni de Salomes. He had married the daughter of an Irish peer, Sir George Tuite, 9th Baronet, of Sonagh, Westmeath Ireland, descendant of an ancient lineage beginning with Sir Richard de Tuite, knt., who had accompanied Strongbow into Ireland in 1172. The family had become Protestants to preserve ownership of their lands. This makes me wonder if the Mary Bellett Shattock, who had a Protestant Anglo-Irish background through her grandmother Sarah Bellett, had met the young Count through family connections.

Statue of Dionysios Solomos, national poet of Greece. Statue is in Zakynthos.

What is important is that the source (A genealogical and heraldic dictionary of the peerage and baronetage of the British Empire by Burke, Bernard, Sir, 1814-1892), published in 1869, identifies Count Giovanni de Salomes' place of origin as Zante. The precise location of his place of birth was Zakynthos, Zante, Zakinthos, Ionian Islands, Greece. The Ionian Islands were once under Venetian control, hence the Italian given name Giovanni. Count Giovanni de Salomes had married Eliza Dorothea Tuite (1805-1861) in the same church as his son and Mary Bellett Shattock were married in.

At this point the story runs into a hitch, if you pardon the pun. On Giovanni's marriage record to Eliza Dorothea Tuite, he gives his father's name as Count Nicolo Salomos. Indeed we do find a Count Nikolaos Solomos, born in the same town as Giovanni, described as a wealthy Venetian aristocrat, and descendant of refugees from Crete in 1669 when the island was overrun by the Ottoman Empire. He had been given the tobacco monopoly of the island by Venice. He has a place in history because he was the father of Dionysios Solomos, who is considered the national poet of Greece. The national anthem is based on his poem "Hymn to Liberty."

Here is the where the hitch occurs in the story. Apparently Count Nikolaos did not have a son Giovanni, either from his wife (Marnetta Kakni, who died in 1805) or his mistress and house maid (who he married on his death bed in 1807) Angeliki Nikly 1782–1859. In fact it appears Roberto, the legal son from the marriage to Marnetta Kakni and Dionysois Solomos, the illegitmate son from Angeliki Nikly, shared the inheritance from their father. I believe that Giovanni's birth date is the same as the death date for his father Count Nikolaos.

I suppose it is possible that "Giovanni" and "Roberto" are the same person. Aristocrats often had multiple middle names.

Read about Dionysios at Wikipedia.

Stranger than Fiction

The story of the Belletts and Shattocks of Sampford Arundel, Somerset, has all the elements that would make it a great TV story or movie. In fact it shares some of the same elements as the Jane Austen novel, Mansfield Park. A devoutly religious Protestant family. Their social prominence, wealth and the beautiful estate they live on. A wealth based at least in part on the slave trade in the West Indies. The contradiction between their faith and the source of their wealth. A son who becomes a vicar, sells the estate on his father's death and turns his back on the life of a country gentleman on an idyllic estate. But the story has a sequel and an added twist: a daughter who mysteriously marries a Greek Count whose origins are wrapped in yet another mystery. And here is the amazing irony: the half-uncle of the man Mary Bellett Shattock marries writes a poem called "Hymn to Liberty," precisely what the slaves who contributed to the wealth of the family lacked until the English government finally stepped in and forbade the practice. This is a story that you can't make up.