Walter Jekyll (1849 - 1929)

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Birthplace: Bramley House, Surrey, England
Death: Died in Bower Hill, Jamaica
Occupation: An English Planter in Jamaica
Managed by: Angela Tugwell
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About Walter Jekyll

Rev Walter, M.A., of Munstead, Godalming and Jamaica

Brother of Gertrude Jekyll, famous English Gardener and Designer

b. 27 Nov 1849 at Bramley House, Surrey.

Educated at the prestigious Public School 'Harrow' (note that a Public School in the UK means private), and Trinity College, Cambridge - graduated 1872 with honors.

He excelled at languages, philosophy, literature and music.

After receiving an M.A. from Cambridge, he entered the Episcopal (Church of England) ministry.

Minor Canon of Worcester Cathedral 1877-79,

Chaplain of Malta 1879.

Friend of Robert Louis Stevenson in Bournemouth in the 1890s, who asked if he could borrow his surname for his new book The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886). Walter's family had always pronounced their name "Jeekyll", with a long "e", so the link to the novel is not usually made.


Around 1880 he renounced the church and went to Milan to study music with the great master, Francesca Lamperti, and later in 1884 published his own translation of Lamperti "The Art of Singing According to Ancient Tradition and Personal experiences" - still selling in 1929 according to his brother.

Suffering from asthma in England, he eventually moved - after his mother's death - to Jamaica permanently.

An English Planter in Jamaica In Claude McKay's "A Black Poet's struggle for identity, P.10 "Even more helpful was Walter Jekyll, an English planter. After receiving his master's degree he soon found himself embroiled in a debate over religion and science. Ultimately, he rejected religion and renounced his Holy Orders. When McKay met him Jekyll was in his late fifties and had resided in Jamaica for several years, most recently at Mavis Bank in the Blue Mountains."

1894 published "The Bible Untrustworthy: A Critical Comparison of Contradictory Passages in the Bible."

Author of "Jamaica Song and Story" [1907] - a collection of African stories called annancy tales. This was a tribute to his love of Jamaica.

d. 17 Feb 1929 at Bower Hill, Jamaica, and was buried at Lucca, Jamaica.

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Walter Jekyll's Timeline

November 27, 1849
Surrey, England
February 17, 1929
Age 79
Bower Hill, Jamaica
Lucca, Jamaica