The story of the Haynes family of Reading In the 1780s, General Robert Haynes, who was born on a sugar plantation in Barbados, wrote a diary in which he described the history of his family, starting with Richard Haynes of Berkshire, near Reading. Robert was proud of his family history and how he could trace it back so far. He saw his family as of ‘high respectability’. 1500 Richard Haynes and his wife Thomasine lived in Foxley Grange, near Reading. They had seven children, one daughter and six sons, one of whom worked in the household of Queen Elizabeth I. 1540s– 1635 Several generations of the Haynes family lived in and around Reading and Hackney in London. Wills and baptisms tell us that they were tradesmen, merchants and fishmongers. There is evidence of some members of the family being well educated. By the 1600s, the family was fairly well-off, and some were perhaps employed in the service of the Queen. 1635 According to General Robert Haynes, his ancestor Richard Haynes sailed on The Expedition from London to Barbados. He left England during Oliver Cromwell’s rule because he had been a supporter of the King during the English Civil War. He became a planter, originally of tobacco and cotton, using indentured labour from Britain, but this was not profitable enough so planters on Barbados started using enslaved Africans to grow sugar. 1640s Two men, Robert and William Haynes, possibly father and son, purchased land in Barbados, which was the start of what became the Newcastle Estate. There is a record of someone called William Haynes taking on an indentured servant called Edward Thomas who was from Wales. 1647 An epidemic (contagious disease) hit Barbados and thousands of settlers died; it is probable that some of the family was killed but it is not known for sure. 1674 There is a record of a woman called Elizabeth Haynes owning the property previously owned by William Haynes. It is possible that she was William’s widow. She must have endured extremely difficult circumstances in the 20 years before this, as Barbados experienced a plague of locusts in 1663, the Bridgetown fire and major hurricane in 1667, a drought in 1668 and torrential rain in 1669. Elizabeth’s will showed that she left a significant amount of sugar to her family. It is likely that she died in the hurricane that hit Barbados in 1675, laying waste to most of the island. 1680s– 1720s Generations of the Haynes family in Barbados lived as plantation owners, and over time purchased more land to grow the Newcastle plantation further. Wills and the records of slave purchases show that the family’s fortunes were growing. Family members left ‘slave girls’, among other property, to their relatives in their wills. 1739 Captain Robert Haynes inherited the Newcastle plantation when his father died. From the 1730s, all Barbadian freemen had to join the army to fight against France in a long-running war. In 1750, Captain Robert Haynes appears on a list of Barbados’s biggest plantation owners. He died at the young age of 33, possibly of smallpox. 1746 Richard Downes Haynes was born. He inherited the Newcastle plantation young (his father died when he was six), and he went on to become a Major General (very high rank) in the Barbadian militia (military force that supports the army) and a Representative to the House of Assembly for the Parish of St John. His uncle was also a Representative for a different parish. 1780s There was growing unhappiness with the fact that a plantation owner could kill an enslaved African without punishment. A law was proposed to the House of Representatives to class this as this murder, but Major General Haynes strongly opposed this and the bill was rejected. It was not until 1805 that the killing of an enslaved African became legally classed as murder. Around this time there was also a devastating hurricane, which did a huge amount of damage to Barbados. The damage done to Haynes property totalled more than £1.3 million. 1793 Robert Haynes (the diary-writer) inherited his father’s land, the Newcastle plantation. He recorded that there were 111 slaves on the plantation, and that the total value of all slaves, cattle and horses was £18,000 (over £1.3 million in today’s money). He also owned 37 slaves of his own. However, his father had huge debts that nearly totalled the value of all his property. Robert Haynes was elected to the House of Representatives in his father’s place. Soon afterwards, he was appointed Colo

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