Biographical Notes

1. The children of Edmund Molyneux (1712-1779) and Ann Lancaster

Anthony Molyneux (1748-1797)

An Anthony Molyneux, brazier, appears in Liverpool trade directories from 1772 to 1790. In 1790 he is shown as living, or at least trading from, 26 Water Garden. A will was proved at Chester in 1797 for "Anthony Molyneux of Liverpool, brazier". I have not definitively proved that this the the same Anthony Molyneux, but it seems probable. Will not yet seen.

Anthony's business is likely to have been a substantial one. For example, the accounts for the outfitting of the privateer Enterprize in 1779 show that "Anthony Mollineux, Bazier, Copper Nails etc" was paid 159 2s. 11. for the first cruise, 76 16s. 8d. for the second and 312 2s. 9. for the third. After seamens' wages and provisions these are the largest items of expenditure.

Ellen Molyneux (1749- ?)

Ellen married Edward Chaffers, who died in 1810. Edward is mentioned in Revd Thomas Clarkson's History of the abolition of the slave trade. In 1787-8, during a fact finding visit, Clarkson, a fervent abolitionist, met Edward in Liverpool, then a member of the Common Council and former slave ship captain. Edward, who was said to be a sympatiser, introduced Clarkson to Ambrose Lace, a captain with long experience in the trade. To Chaffers' embarassment Clarkson accused Lace of involvement in the notorious Calabar massacre. Shortly after this incident, the Liverpool merchants closed ranks, and Clarkson had to look elsewhere for his information.

Edward Chaffers appears in the subscription list for the Leeds and Liverpool canal, and owned one sixteenth of the privateer The Entreprize (see entry for Anthony Molyneux above).

Thomas Molyneux (1753-1835)

Thomas, my ancestor, first appears in a Liverpool trade directory in 1790, where he is described as a merchant. The address is given as 5 Earl Street. He had married four years earlier, at Ormskirk, in 1786, to Ann Watson. In the following year his daughter Anne was baptised in Ormskirk, but subsequent children starting with Anthony in 1788 were all baptised at St Paul's, Liverpool, suggesting that Thomas may have settled in Liverpool in around 1788.

Trade directories for 1796, 1800 and 1803 give his address as 43 Mount Pleasant Street, and the latter two also specify a separate office address in Lydia Ann Street, Duke Street. The 1803 directory gives Newsham House as his address, where he appears to have lived for the rest of his life, but the 1807 and 1809 directories also give an address at 11 St Ann Street.

Thomas's involvement in Liverpool politics, which culminated in his becoming mayor in 1806, appears to have started in 1792, when he was elected a churchwarden of St Paul's, on 10 April. In an Act of Parliament "for the better security and defence of the town of Liverpool" (38 Geo III Cap lxxii 1798) he was named as one of seven trustees, all merchants, on behalf of the ship owners of the town, for carrying out the purposes of the Act. One of his fellow trustees was John Gladstone, father of the future prime minister. One of the conditions set out in the Act for appointing new trustees is that they be "a ship owner or ship owners of the said town and port of Liverpool". It seems fairly clear therefore that Thomas was a Liverpool ship owner by this date.

Thomas's association with the slave trading firm of Thomas Leyland & Co started no later than 1802, when he is shown as having a quarter share in the sixth voyage of The Lottery, Captain Charles Kneal. The 305 slaves taken from Africa to Jamaica, and other cargoes, yeilded a net profit for Thomas's share of 4,755 when the final balance of the account was struck in 1811. In the following year, The Enterprise delivered 412 Eboe slaves to Messrs Joaquin Perez de Urria at Havanna, 19 of whom died, and one girl "being subject to fits, could not be disposed of". The return for Thomas's quarter share was 6,107. Another venture, the fourth voyage of Louisa, took 326 slaves to Jamaica, yeilding a profit of 4,783 for Thomas's quarter.

I have not discovered anything of Thomas's earlier career. He has been incorrectly identified with a different Thomas Molyneux, Captain, of Liverpool in at least one academic study of the Liverpool slave trade. It is not impossible, however, that was a mariner before he became a merchant, and Russell Molyneux Johnson who has studied the family history believes he may have come across evidence of this.

Thomas was mayor of Liverpool in 1806/7, the period when the Act of Parliament for the abolition of the trade was being discussed in Westminster. Under Thomas's leadership, the council petitioned on behalf of Corporation and Dock Trustees of Liverpool arguing against the abolition or, if abolition were to be approved, for "compensation for the depreciated value of houses, warehouses, land etc." Thomas also worked up a campaign against William Roscoe, the abolitionist Liverpool MP which prompted Lord Derby to observe "The Mayor has established himself in his true Colours, & shown all the Violence and Rancour of Party Spirit without any of the liberality of a Gentleman."

A transcription of Thomas's will is included on this site. The number of references to his landholdings suggests that he had built up a substantial estate, although how much by inheritance and how much by purchase I am not yet clear. His personal property (which I assume excludes land, or "real" property) was valued at "under 25,000" in the probate.

Edmund Molyneux (1760-1816)

Edmund appears to have started out in business with the Earle family as a partner in their ironmonger business. His name first appears in connection with the Earles in the Liverpool directories in 1781, where "Earles and Molineux, ironmongers" are listed at 6 Redcross street. A partnership deed survives in the Earle papers at the Merseyside Maritime Museum. By 1787 an anchor smithy is referred to in Cornhill, in addition to the Redcross street premises. As with his brothers Anthony and Charles, the business appears to have been geared heavily towards shipbuilding. The last directory entry in association with the Earles is in 1796.

In 1790 Edmund appears to have been living at 11 Benn's garden. By 1800, he is at 26 Benn's garden, with his shop at 6 Redcross street (where the Earles had been) and the smithy on the west side of Salthouse Dock. By 1803 the shop has moved to Orford street (number 5, then number 8 in 1811 and number 10 in 1813), and in 1805 he appears to be living at 104 Duke Street. By 1807 he is shown as living at Kirkdale, outside the town, no doubt a sign of his increasing prosperity.

After his death the business passed to his sons. The probate value of the personal estate was given as "under 25,000".

William Molyneux (1761-1827)

William Molyneux, sailmaker, first appears in the Liverpool directories in 1790. By 1796, a William Molyneux, merchant, is listed at 24 Water Street with a "sailroom" at 3 Dry Dock. The 1803 entry shows the sailroom at Bath Street, and in 1805 at 2 Salthouse Dock Gates. By this time, William had moved to St Anne Street, where he seems to have moved from number 18 to number 19 by 1810 and to number 25 by 1813. In his will, dated 1817, he refers to his "Messuage or Dwellinghouse, Coach House, Stable and Garden with the apputenances situate in Saint Ann Strret in Liverpool", and after his death his executors certify that the value of personal estates and effects were under 35,000, which presumably implies they were not far short of this amount.

William was mayor of Liverpool in 1822.

Charles Molyneux (1762-1800)

I have almost no information on Charles. It is possible that he is the Captain Charles Molyneux listed in Gore's 1796 directory, living at 24 Water Street. A Captain Charles Molyneux was the master of the Slave ship Christopher whose log is now preserved in the library of Duke university, but I have yet to prove the link



Last Update: 1 Sept 2000
Web Author: Nigel Watts
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