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William Humble Ward, 1st Earl of Dudley

1817 - 1885

This person is the subject of ongoing research. We have started by researching their relationship to the enslavement of people.

Biographical notes

Politician and statesman.

National Gallery Trustee (1877–1884).

Slavery connections

The estate of John William Ward, Earl of Dudley (UCL Department of History, ‘John William Ward, Earl of Dudley’, in UCL Department of History (ed.), Legacies of British Slave-ownership [online], London 2020, <> accessed 2 August 2021) passed to his cousin (William Humble Ward), whose son William Humble Ward (1817–1885) was created 1st Earl of Dudley of the second creation in 1860 and left £1,026,000 in personalty. The Trustees of John William Ward were awarded compensation for the enslaved people on 3 estates in Jamaica, Whitney and Rymesbury in Clarendon and New Yarmouth in Vere.

In 1837 John William Ward’s Trustees bought Witley Court, and in the 1850s William Humble Ward 1st Earl of Dudley commissioned the architect Samuel Daukes to reshape it. Miranda Kaufmann suggests that ‘it is possible that the slave compensation money was recycled into the purchase of Witley Court’. (English Heritage Properties 1660-1830 and Slavery Connections. A Report Undertaken to Mark the Bicentenary of the Abolition of the British Atlantic Slave Trade, vol. 1, 2007, <>/, accessed 2 August 2021, 111.)

Abolition connections

John William Ward was connected to Granville Sharp and other abolitionists in London, and as a Member of Parliament for Wareham, spoke for the abolition of the slave trade (John William Ward Dudley, Slavery in the West Indies: the substance of a speech of Lord Viscount Dudley, delivered in the House of Lords, March 7 1826, on Lord Bathurt’s motion for adopting the resolution of the House of Commons of the 15th May 1823, London 1826). He promoted amelioration, rather than the complete abolition of slavery.


History of Parliament Trust (ed.), The History of Parliament: British Political, Social & Local History, London 1964-,
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C. Matthew et al. (eds), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford 1992-,
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J. Turner et al. (eds), Grove Art Online, Oxford 1998-,
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UCL Department of History (ed.), Legacies of British Slave-ownership, London 2020,
Checked and not foundItem on publisher's website