Morant-Gale marriage agreements

Scope and Content

Marriage settlements for i) Edward Gregory Morant Gale and Elizabeth Townsend, 14 Jun 1798 and ii) Edward John Morant Gale and Maria Henrietta Stuart, 19 Nov 1845.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Gale and the Morant families came to Jamaica separately in the seventeenth century soon after the island was seized in 1655. Major John Gale (1637-1689) was buried there, as was John Morant who died in 1683. Various marriages linked their families, as they both acquired plantations, large estates, and great wealth. In 1754, John Morant owned 4,631 acres in Clarendon and 3,582 acres in Vere. Five members of the Gale family owned more than 6,000 acres of the island.

In 1759, John Morant’s great-grandson Edward Morant (d 1791) moved to England from Jamaica, where the family had built up extensive estates. He bought the Brockenhurst House estate in Hampshire in 1770, and his eldest son John Morant (d 1794) purchased the Manor of Ringwood from Henry 8th Lord Arundell in 1794. Edward Gregory Morant (1772-1855) was the second son of Edward Morant, and later lived at Upham House, Hampshire following his marriage to Elizabeth Townsend, the eldest daughter of Gore Townsend of Honington Hall, Warwickshire, and Lady Elizabeth Windsor (a daughter of the Earl of Plymouth). On inheriting his uncle William Gale’s Jamaican estates, he changed his name to Edward Gregory Morant Gale.

Edward and Elizabeth Morant Gale’s son Edward John (1818-1894) inherited the family estates, and married Maria Henrietta Stuart, second daughter of Sir Simeon Henry Stuart, 5th Bt. of Hartley Maudit, and sister of Sir Simeon Henry Stuart, Esq. and ensign in Her Majesty’s 71st Regiment of Foot.

Death duties (on the death of Edward Morant in 1910, b 1868) forced the family to sell the Ringwood properties in 1916. Many of the Brockenhurst estates were sold in 1951 and 1959.

Conditions Governing Access

Usual EUL arrangements apply.


Biographical information on the Morant family has been taken from the Brockenhurst estate catalogues at the Hampshire Record Office (via the Access to Archives database), the microfilm catalogue for the Gale-Morant Papers (see EUL MS 44) and Burke’s Landed Gentry.

Other Finding Aids

A full description of both deeds is available.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Charlotte Berry, Archivist, 25 May 2005, and encoded into EAD 2 June 2005.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual EUL restrictions apply.

Custodial History

Purchased from a manuscript dealer in 2000.

Related Material

Other papers relating to the Gale Morant families are also held at the University of Exeter Library (EUL MS 44). The papers for the Brockenhurst Estate, Hampshire, are held at the Hampshire Record Office (ref. 6M80). Papers relating to the Townsend family are held at the Shakespeare Birth Place Records Office (ref. ER3) and at Birmingham City Archives (papers of Messrs Phelp and Savage, solicitors of Evesham, and also the Barnard collection).


It is not known whether this collection has been used as the basis for publication.