William PHELPS 1749 - 1831
Fourth child, second son of Joseph PHELPS
(1718 – 1786) and Ann PULLEN (1705 – 1776)
Born 21st July 1749, Dursley Gloucestershire.
Died 23rd December 1831, Montague Place, London. Buried St George's churchyard, Bloomsbury, London.
6 December 1783 at St Giles, Cripplegate, Elizabeth PEYTON
(1757 – 1829) daughter of Abel PEYTON (1722 – 1801) and Hannah SHAW (1726–1779)
1) Elizabeth PHELPS (1784 – 1863) m. Robert PAGE 1775 – 1829
2) Mary PHELPS (1785 – 1862),
3) Ann PHELPS (1786 – 1787),
6) Ann PHELPS (1790 – 1880),
William and his elder brother Joseph grew up in Dursley, the sons of a maltster. Their two sisters had died young. About 1770 the two brothers set off for London and formed a partnership to import Madeira wine. By 1776 we see Joseph in London, writing to William who was already in charge of the Madeira office. James Morrissey, who became a partner in 1790, was employed by the firm which was also trading in wheat and flour. Barrels, hoops, nails and the like were sent out from England, as well as furniture, cloth and various other necessities. The firm prospered and soon acquired premises in London as well as building Carmo House in Funchal which would house the family as well as the firm's "counting house".
Early in 1784 William brought his bride to Funchal, where all their eight children were born. Various members of the family would visit England regularly, when the children's births were registered, and they received protestant baptism. Later the children all attended schools in England. Robert PAGE, another Madeira merchant, was associated with the Phelps's firm and in October 1798 he became a partner with Joseph and William. Joseph did not marry and in 1800 William inherited his estate which included a house and land at Norwood as well as property in Dursley and his share of the partnership's assets.
Page married William's eldest daughter Elizabeth in 1803 and they lived in Carmo House while William moved to England with his wife, living at 18 Montague Place, London and conducting business from 5 Rood Lane.
Of William's four sons, William, Joseph and Charles all joined the firm, becoming partners in their turn. Quinta do Prazer in Monte, 600 metres above Funchal, was acquired by the firm in 1805 and afforded the family a cooler home in spacious grounds for many years, though the offices remained at Carmo House.
William died at home in London, aged 82.
Memorial window - Dursley
Although he was buried in London and his wife in Margate, a memorial window to them was erected in St James Church in Dursley.
Memorial window in St James Church in Dursley, Gloucestershire
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