Reverend William Gunthorpe

Reverend William Gunthorpe

Rev Gunthorpe’s grave has a simple inscription “In memory of the Revd Gunthorpe who died March 21st 1826 aged 41 years”

Rev Gunthorpe is identified in the UCL “Legacies of British Slave-ownership” database as having owned a plantation in Antigua with hundreds of slaves.  

Although he died before abolition of slavery in the colonies, his widow Alicia (nee Jackson) and his brother were compensated for the enslaved people on the Gunthorpe estate.  

The UCL database contains various biographical details, including the intriguing fact that he appears to have been disliked by Jane Austen who described him in a letter of 1807 to Cassandra Austen: 'Miss Jackson is married to young Mr Gunthorpe and is to be very unhappy. He swears, drinks, is cross, jealous, selfish and Brutal: the match makes her family miserable and has occasioned his disinheritance.'

Gunthorpe is one of a number of plantation owners connected with Bath who continued to live on the proceeds of slavery in the overseas colonies years after slavery in the UK had been abolished.

At the time of his death in 1826 he was living at nearby Sydney Place – the terrace in which 20 years earlier the Austen family had also lived.

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The churchyard contains graves of individuals from a wide range of backgrounds reflecting the local community and Bath’s early 19th century place in the wider world. If you have information about any of the individuals we are researching we’d love to hear from you.