Anthony Beal Governor of St Helena

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Anthony Beale

Birthdate: (45)
Birthplace: Brinkworth, Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom
Death: 1685 (45)
Saint Helena, Saint Helena
Immediate Family:

Husband of Ellanor Beale
Father of Jonathan Beale

Managed by: Susan Mary Rayner (Green) ( Ryan)
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Anthony Beal Governor of St Helena

Anthony married a lady who is named in some records simply as Ellanor. There is a record of an Anthony Beale marrying an Ellen Jay in Stepney, London on 3/4/1659. It is likely that the same entry has been transcribed differently by separate archivists. It was not uncommon in church registers at that time for both marriages and births to only show a Christian name for the spouse or mother. Stepney had strong links with the East India Company for whom Anthony worked and he had been christened at St. Dunstan’s Church Stepney himself.

As for Stepney it has been said, “in the words of honest John Strype”:

"It is further to be remarked that the Parish of Stepney, on the Southern Parts of it especially, that it is one of the greatest Nurseries of Navigation and Breeders of Seamen in England, the most serviceable Men in the Nation; without which England could not be England for they are its Strength and Wealth." [1]

Anthony was initially a ship’s carpenter. There is a record of him sailing on the East Indiaman Return in 1668-9 as “Chief Carpenter”. [2] (The Return was a ship of 370 tons and made 4 voyages to India between 1665 and 1671.[3] ) The webmaster at East India Company Ships -, Andrea Cordani, advised me on 18 June 2008 of further information about the Return’s voyage of 1668/9 which seems to be the voyage that Anthony undertook. Andrea’s source being Anthony Farrington's Catalogue of East India Company Ships' Journals and Logs 1600 - 1834 (pub. British Library 1999). Farrington in turn referenced original source materials in the Oriental and India Office Collection in the British Library in London. [4]

His sources show the Return was registered as 350 tons. She carried 24 guns. The voyage of 1668/9 was her second voyage or “season”. Her Captain on this voyage was William Whitehorne and the voyage was to Surat at the top of the Gulf of Kambhat on the Arabian Sea coast of India.

The Return sailed from the Downs on 11 April 1668. On 1 September she was off Johanna in the Comoros Islands and on 11 October at Swally (Swally was the anglicised spelling of Suvali, a small village near Surat.) She sailed for Bombay on 1 January 1669, arriving there on 5 January. On 16 January she set sail for the return voyage to England, arriving off St Helena on 29 April. She remained there until 18 May when, probably in convoy escorted by a man o’ war, she sailed for home. The Return called at Ascension Island on 18 May, staying for a week before finally arriving in the English Channel off Scilly on 12 August 1669 – a voyage that lasted almost a year.

The fourth and last voyage of the Return for the EIC was notable as being a voyage to Japan.

The following paragraphs deal with the early history of St. Helena and the part Anthony and others played in it. The principal source has been Phillip Gosse’s work, “St. Helena 1502 - 1938”, Cassell and Co., London 1938. I have also lifted material from Tony Cross’ “History of St Helena” [5] and an 1808 edition of “A History of St. Helena from its discovery by the Portugese to the Year 1806” by T.H.Brooke, Secretary to the Government of St. Helena.[6] Finally, in most cases where I refer to “it is recorded”, I am relying on “Extracts from the St Helena Records” Compiled by the late Hudson Ralph Janisch Esq., C.M.G. Governor of St. Helena, Published St. Helena 1885.

St. Helena is an island in the South Atlantic located at 15o 55’ 26” S latitude and 5o 42’ 30” W longitude. It covers an area of 47.3 sq. miles. It was discovered on 21/5/1501 by a Portuguese seaman, John de Nova. The date, being the anniversary of Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, de Nova named the island after her. The island was used by the Portuguese as a staging post on the route to India for decades before passing to the Dutch who in turn abandoned it in favour of a colony at the Cape of Good Hope. The British East India Company appropriated the island shortly after the Dutch ceased using it. A small force of troops was dispatched there in 1659 for this purpose commanded by John Dutton. By 1665 the population consisted of 50 Englishmen, 20 women and a few slaves. It is widely reported that in 1667, 30 further people arrived who had all lost their homes in the Great Fire of London the previous year. It is said that the East India Company gave them all grants of land on the island. Other sources however state that though this has been a long held belief amongst Islanders the fact is that there is no archive or historical record to support this contention and modern researchers believe that it is nothing more than a myth.

Tensions built over the next few years between the various settlers and the officers and men of the East India Company, as well as among the officers and the island council. On 21/8/1672 the long smouldering discontent broke into open mutiny. On that day three rebellious Councillors with the support of the rest of the island council, seized the Governor, Cony. They kept him prisoner until October when they shipped him home in the “Advance” [7]. Luckily for the rebels, though at the time they didn’t know it, the Company had decided to recall Cony as being unfitted for his post and had already sent out a new Governor, Anthony Beale, a former ship’s carpenter and assistant surveyor of shipping. On his arrival Beale appointed a fresh island council. He was the fifth Governor appointed by the East India Company.

In the India Office Library and Records[8] there is extant a document titled “A List of Passengers ordered on Board the Two Shipps for St Helena 1673”. (The reference to 1673 is clearly an error. Other company records make it plain these ships were dispatched in 1672). These two ships were the “European” [9] and “John and Alexander” [10]. The passenger list shows that “Captain Anthony Beale, Elinor his wife, Richard his sonne, Mary his daughter and seaven serv’ts” were on one of these two ships.[11]

Captain Beale’s Commission and Instructions included the following orders

“All the old planters formerly settled on the said Island, and now bound thither, shall be repossest of their several houses and plantations w’ch formerly they enjoyed, in the condition they shall be found at the arrival of these shipps, and that all new planters, shall upon their arrivall have twenty acres of land rough & plaine, sett out unto them by the Gov’ & Council for each family to build and plant upon it, and that all the plantaicons, both to the old, and new planters be conveyed to them, their heirs, and assignes for ever...That besides the said porcon of land, each family shall have two Cowes”

In 1672, King Charles II had declared war on Holland and Governor Beale soon after his arrival was urged to further fortify the island and erect guns as quickly as possible wherever they were required and to prepare the island and the inhabitants for attack. Alas, the warning came too late, for when the enemy arrived in December, the garrison was undisciplined and dilatory and the work on the defences incomplete. The decision to attack St. Helena was arrived at by the Dutch Council at Table Bay on 30/11/1672 and they ordered Jacob de Gens to take command of a squadron which included the “Vryheit”, “Cattenburg” and “Vliegende Swaen”. The Dutch had realized soon after the English took over St. Helena that they had made a mistake in abandoning the place in favour of Table Bay. The latter was prone to months of bad weather which often had the effect of blowing homeward bound ships and convoys from the East Indies right past South Africa and way out into mid-Atlantic. Once war was declared they seized the opportunity to rectify their error.

The Dutch fleet arrived off St. Helena on or about the 20th December and for two days made unavailing attempts to secure a landing in James Valley and elsewhere. On New Years Eve a party of soldiers landed at Lemon Valley but they were observed by the islanders who met them with such a shower of stones and boulders which they rolled upon them from the precipices above, that the enemy re-embarked and feigned a retreat. However returning after dark they observed the light of a fire at another landing place, Bennett’s Point close to Swanley Valley. The light proved to be a signal to the enemy made by a traitor by the name of W. Coxe who was waiting there with his slave to guide them. There is a legend that Coxe killed the slave after the landing to prevent the possibility of his giving evidence afterwards of his master’s treachery. The party that landed is stated to have numbered 500 and was led by Coxe up the steep Swanley Valley. On gaining the pasture at the top, they stopped to slaughter some cattle but met no English troops until High Peak where they came upon a detachment belonging to a small fort there. A sharp skirmish ensued in which the English were overpowered by weight of numbers and routed.

The Dutch marched without opposition to the top of Ladder Hill overlooking Jamestown, where a party was detached to descend and storm the fort. Here they were met by stout resistance and were repulsed each time they attacked. But with possession of the hill above which completely commanded the fort, Governor Beale saw his position was a hopeless one and in order to escape capture, he retired with his people and their most valuable belongings to board the “Humphrey and Elizabeth” [12], a ship then at anchor in the Road. Governor Beale sailed for Brazil where, to his credit he immediately obtained a fast sloop. After fitting it out, he sailed to warn shipping in the vicinity of St Helena of the Dutch occupation. A member of its crew was Black Oliver, soon to be an important figure in the subsequent recapture of the island.

Jacob de Gens was installed as the Dutch Governor and he is shown in the Island’s records as holding that position from 1 January 1673 to 5 May 1673.

A short while after the Dutch success and as yet completely unaware of it, the East India Company dispatched from England a squadron of ships under the command of Capt Richard Munden to escort the homecoming Indian merchantmen expected off St Helena about July. By good fortune the Governor’s sloop encountered Munden’s ships some miles to the north and a daring plan was drawn up to regain the territory. The Dutch were in possession of James Fort but the English withdrawal had been orderly and the fort’s guns had been spiked before they left. The defences were thus weak but the attack upon them was merely to be diversionary, with the full force coming unexpectedly from the rear.

Black Oliver was a slave with an intimate knowledge of the terrain and he led a force of 400 men under Capt Keigwin right across the island, after a precarious landing in Prosperous Bay. By night the soldiers had to scale a precipitous 1000 foot (300m) cliff, still called Holdfast Tom after one of their number who climbed it unaided. He then let down a cord to pull up a stouter rope so that one by one the whole company might reach the top. From there, with Black Oliver at their head they moved at incredible speed through Longwood (later to be the home of Napoleon) and came upon James Valley from Rupert’s Hill. Munden had the previous day bombarded the fort and breastworks and then withdrawn his squadron intending to resume the attack the next morning on Keigwin’s arrival. While waiting he sent in two of his ships and on their approach the Dutch - “upon condition that they might not be stripped” - surrendered. At sunset on the 5th May the English took possession of James Fort and Beale dispatched a trumpeter to inform Keigwin of the Dutch surrender and so prevent him from damaging property or injuring the inhabitants on his march.

St Helena has remained in British hands ever since. Most of the information concerning the re-taking of the island and “respecting several occurrences which happened immediately after” were “preserved in some notes and memoranda of a very respectable and intelligent inhabitant who died at an advanced age in the year 1769.” [13] This person was “the worthy Mr Richard Beale, a native of the island who for many years fulfilled the duties of a school master there with credit to himself and great advantage to the community.” [14] Richard was the grandson of Anthony Beale (see seprate entry and family tree). Whatever records extant when the island was taken by the Dutch, must have been lost or destroyed or removed to Brazil by Governor Beale as none were found when the English recovered the island.[15]

Although Anthony Beale returned to the island, the company appointed Capt Keigwin (or Kedgwin in some records) as the new Governor. They also took a greater interest in the island, realizing how important it was as a watering and victualling stop on the sea route to India and the Orient. Expenditure on the island was increased, Jamestown rebuilt and further settlement encouraged. Governor Keigwin did not remain for long. Later in 1673 he returned to England and was replaced by Captain G. Field. The company also appointed, at a “Court of Committee” held on 19/12/1673, a “council” of four to assist the Governor. Deputy Governor and one of the councillors was Captain Anthony Beale. He received remuneration of £50 per annum. As Deputy Governor he was in charge of a company of men. As well, he was to “Husband the stores”. These were to be kept in the pre-fabricated, wooden frame house the Company sent out from England, in which Beale and his family were to reside for the first two years “so (long) as he keeps no fire therein”.

The other three councillors included one “Francis Moore” who was the father of Margaret Moore who on 5/12/1695 married Anthony’s son Jonathon. Francis and his family had arrived on St. Helena at the same time as the Beale family. Moore in some records has been spelt without the “e” – Moor and has also been wrongly transcribed as “Moon” in some modern sources. He was paid £25 per annum plus a £5 gratuity to be the Company’s “Chirurgeon” (Surgeon). Besides this remuneration, he was entitled to dine at the Governor’s table. By letter of 19 December 1673 Francis was also appointed as one of the three Lieutenants of the “two companies of foot” that the Company maintained on the island. By 1677 however the novelty of living on St Helena must have worn off for Moore for in Governor Blackmore’s Commission of 20 February 1677 the Council of Directors says:

“You can agree with a Chirurgeon instead of Mr. Moore who we understand desires to come home.”

He decided however to stay on.

John Blackmore arrived on St Helena on 19 June 1678 on the “Johanna” [16]. His commission re-appointed Capt. Anthony Beale as Deputy Governor. In the same correspondence the Court of Directors declined to pay an account received from “Captain Beale” for £79/7/6 because he has provided “no particulars”.

On 11 August 1679 the Court of Directors in London wrote and instructed the Governor to “view and value” Captain Beale’s house which he “hath proposed to sell” to the Company. Anthony had built it on company land with the permission of Governor Field.

On 27 October that year the Honourable East India Company commissioned an accurate map of the island lands to be “draughted by Captain Antony Bealle who hath measured all the lands that hath been distributed and disposed to the inhabitants”. He was “to draw up and prepare as exact and punctual a draught Mapp of every man’s land on the Island with that due and just Buttals and Boundrys as possibly as he can to be transmitted to the Company.” [17]

The company dealt with unwanted settlers who were not pulling their weight in 1679 by ordaining (amongst other things) that “if a farm is not occupied and improved within 12 months after possession of it being occupied, or it becomes deserted for 6 months, in either of these cases it is liable to be seized by the Company and granted to a more industrious person”. Some who were dispossessed of their lands in this manner were ordered to be “sent off the island, as drones”.

At some stage Captain Beale supplied to the Company’s London headquarters a list of all the guns fired in saluting departing or passing ships because on 1/8/1683 the company issued orders restricting the number of guns to be fired at any one time to no more than seven. The Company found that the 300 odd guns listed by Captain Beale represented a waste of gunpowder and company resources and that under no circumstances were “interlopers”, that is non-company ships, to be saluted.

A new Deputy Governor was appointed during that year 1683. There is no record that Anthony Beale was amongst those appointed to the island Council. It seems that our Captain Beale was falling out of favour towards the end of his life with the Court of Directors back in England. This was illustrated by events that unfolded in 1684. In that year there was a disturbance on the island described as a mutiny or rebellion. It involved several disenchanted soldiers backed by 12 or so free planters among them the heroic Black Oliver. Chief amongst the soldiers was one Private Bowyer who had early that year been demoted from Corporal and imprisoned for marrying the widow Simms without the Island Council’s permission. (Mrs Simms had been punished too. Her property of 10 acres and 8 cattle were confiscated). Much to the Governor and Council’s annoyance the resident Minister Mr Sault appears to have backed Bowyer and his clique. They also evidently believed Captain Beale was involved because in a letter dated 6 May 1685 The Court of Directors wrote to acknowledge that they have been informed that “Captain Beale’s house as bin ye rendezvouz for contriving much of the trouble that hath lately befallen you.” They went on to suggest “you should bring him and his son to a fare tryal as rebels.” By the time this letter reached St. Helena the soldiers amongst the rebels had been dealt with. At a later Court Martial the 14 planters who marched behind the soldiers were tried and convicted, five being executed forthwith including Black Oliver and John Coulson who had arrived with his family on the same ships as the Beales.

Sir Josiah Child[18] the Governor of the East India Company wrote to Governor Blackmore on 20 February 1689 (addressing him as “Cozen Blackmore”) about various matters. Towards the end of the letter he had this to say about Anthony Beale:

“I remember you was some years past very uneasy with Mr. Beale and I believe the Company lost much by him, we removed him as we now doe Capt. Holden and now you are at full ease with both your assistances.”

It seems Anthony probably died in late 1685 or soon after (One LDS ancestor file says August). It is recorded that Captain Beale was “poisoned by his black servant.” [19] Other sources indicate that this servant was named “Derrick”. In 1689 Derrick also poisoned Anthony’s widow Eleanor. He did so apparently in revenge for her hiring a man named Andrew Rooker, a soldier, to whip him. Eleanor did not die immediately but lived in a very weak languishing condition until her death. Derrick and another slave, Job who had also poisoned his master, were burnt to death for their crimes. The poison favoured by these men was home made, consisting of powdered glass, earth from dead peoples’ graves and their own sweat and blood. There is a brief reference in Thomas H. Brooke’s “History of the Island of St. Helena from its discovery by the Portugese to the year 1806” to an “estate of Beale’s orphans” which later passed into the hands of one George Hoskinson[20 ]. This would appear to confirm both parents were dead before all the children had reached their majority.

Even after her apparent death, Eleanor gets a last mention in the island records. On Saturday 30 November 1695 the black slaves planned “to rise up and kill all the whites on the island.” Integral to the plans it was proposed to set fire to “Madam Beale’s house which joynes the Company’s store rooms”.

A little earlier on 6 January 1689, a Captain Poirer, his large family and some fellow French protestants had arrived on the island. These families had been granted asylum in England after fleeing religious persecution in France under the regime of Louis XIV. Poirer had been recommended to the Governor and Council as “a good and worthy character”. The French protestants came from a wine producing background and it was hoped a wine industry could be established on the island. Whatever effort was made, it failed. Amongst the French were the families of DesFountain and Bazett who were in later generations to marry into the Beale family.

In 1691William Dampier called at St. Helena. He noted that Jamestown consisted of

“about twenty or thirty small houses, whose walls were built with rough stone; the inside furniture very mean. The Governor has a pretty tolerable handsome low house next to the fort. But the houses in the town aforementioned stand empty, save only when ships arrive here; for their owners have all plantations farther in the island where they constantly employ themselves. But when ships arrive, they all flock to the town, where they live all the time that the ships be here; for then is their fair or market, to buy such necessaries as they want, and to sell off the produce of their plantations”

Dampier listed the produce of the island and the healing effects of its abundant herbs and climate upon sick sailors that called there. He mentioned the recently arrived French and the plans for grape growing. He then went on to speak of some of the other attractions of the place for passing sailors:

“While we stayed here many of the seamen got sweethearts. One young man belonging to the James and Mary, was married, and bought his wife to England with him; another bought his sweetheart to England, both being engaged by bonds to marry at their arrival in England; and several other of our young men were over head and ears in love with the Saint Helena maids; who, though they were born there, yet very earnestly desired to be released from that prison, which they have no other way to compass but my marrying seamen or passengers that touch here. The young women born here are but one remove from English, being the daughters of such. They are well shaped, proper and comely, were they in an address to set them off.”[ 21]

Anthony and Eleanor had been wed for sometime before they sailed for St. Helena. Their eldest children were:

Richard Beale, born c.1667, christened at St. Dunstan’s, Stepney on 16/3/1667.

Mary Beale, born c. 1668. There is some suggestion that she may have married George Carne (see Eleanor below). However I have yet to confirm that. If she did, then she must have died herself before her sister took Carne as her second husband.

These children arrived on St. Helena with their parents as indicated by the passenger list mentioned above.

2 Quote from an article entitled “Stepney in Other Days” From "The Copartnership Herald", Vol. II, no. 19 (September 1932). John Strype (1643-1737) was an English historian and biographer.

[2] The English Factories in India 1668-69, William Foster, The Clarendon Press, India 1927


[4] There are two references for this voyage: E/3/29 no.3228 - Abstract Journal 11 Apr 1668 - 12 Aug 1669; and G/36/105 f.31v - Passenger List. Both are in the British Library

[5] Published by David and Charles, Newton Abbot, London 1980.

[6] Printed for Black, Parry and Kinsbury, Booksellers to the Honourable East-India Co Leadenhall Street. I am aware of a later edition of this work from 1824, much quoted in the 20th century histories of Gosse and Cross. A copy of the 1808 edition can be found in the State Library of Victoria, held in the manuscripts section in manuscript box 243 along with the hand written journal of John Lindsay Beale dating from 1879. The 1808 edition has several hand written inscriptions and notations from which it is possible to trace its early owners. It seems that Anthony Beale (born 1790) was given or obtained the book in 1814 for the first inscription has his name and that year. In 1840 the book was given by Anthony to his daughter Kate - “K A S Burt from her father Anthony Beale 1840”. Kate married Mr Burt in Van Diemans Land. They lived there for several years before returning to live in England. The next inscription reads “Lindsay from George James”. It seems reasonable to assume that after Kate’s death, she being childless the book, now in England passed to her brother-in-law George James and that he, before his death in 1877, sent the book back to Australia to be given to Anthony’s son John Lindsay Beale. When in due course John Lindsay Beale’s journal was given to the State Library, the St. Helena history went with it.

[7] The “Advance” was a frigate of 230 tons built in Great Yarmouth in 1671 by Thomas Lucas. She was in the service of the East India Company from her launch until 1673, making one voyage, commanded by Captain Roger Bennett – East India Company’s Ships website -

[8] E/3/88, p.88

[9] The “European” was a ship of 380 tons that was in the service of the EIC between 1670 and 1675. She made 2 voyages for the Company during that time – East India Company’s Ships website -

[10 ] Ibid - “John and Alexander” made only one voyage in the EIC’s service and this is it.

[11 ] Following are all the other persons on these two ships. Some of the families named later married Beales. William Gates, Bridget his wife William and John their children and Elizabeth Palmer their servant. James and Anne Easting, Thomas and James their children and Anne their servant. John and Bridget Walls and Dorothy Draper their servant. John and Mary Greentree, Elizabeth, Anne and Jane their children, one maid servant and one black. Mr William Swindell, Minister and Jonathon Wharmly his servant. Thomas and Anne Smout and Elizabeth their child along with Richard Wallett and Alice Wallett. Richard Mattby Armo. Thomas Collins. Robert Tamps and Ann his wife. William and Elizabeth Young and John, Richard and Phillip their children and two maid servants. John and Ann Fuller and their one child (not named). Richard and Margaret Swallow and their children Margaret and Martha; Abyas Betts a single woman and two Negro servants. Francis Rutter, Margaret Griffin and Sarah Butler. 12 Negro servants of the Company. Francis and Anne Rangham and Samuell, Mary and Francis their children, Mary Bennett and Mary Plowright. John and Grace Coulson and their children Nathaniell, Elizabeth, and Martha as well as William Dufton, Abigail Cox and one Negro. John and Sarah Younge, John and Barbara their children and Elizabeth Lewis servant. Frances Moor(e), Chyrurgion (surgeon) and his wife Margaret and their children Francis, Ephrath and Mary as well as Anne Perry, Sarah Tremor and Richard Hall and 8 servants. John Amps, John Starling and one maid servant. John and Elizabeth Keneday and Sarah Gray.

[12 ] One of the EIC’s ships of 320 tons. She saw service with the EIC from 1668-1670, making 2 voyages. - East India Company’s Ships website -

[13 ] Thomas H. Brooke “History of the Island of St. Helena from its discovery by the Portugese to the year 1923”, London 1824 p85.

[14 ] Ibid p 85.

[15 ] Ibid

[16 ] 500 tons – 5 voyages for the EIC between 1671-1681 - East India Company’s Ships website -

[17 ] Richard H. Grove, “Green imperialism” Cambridge University Press 1996 quoting from: Extracts from the St Helena records and chronicles of Cape commanders, H.R.Janisch, Editor, St Helena 1908.

[18 ] See End Note no. 2 for information on Josiah Child.

[19 ] Thomas H. Brooke “History of the Island of St. Helena from its discovery by the Portugese to the year 1923”, London 1824 footnote, p85.

[20 ] Hoskinson was a man “who with the exception of murder it would be no hard matter to prove had broke through all laws both of God and man” - Brooke p.179

[21 ] A History of the Island of St Helena from its Discovery by the Portugese to the year 1806, T.H.Brooke, Leadenhall Street, London 1808 at p101-4

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Anthony Beal Governor of St Helena's Timeline

Brinkworth, Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom
Age 34
Age 45
Saint Helena, Saint Helena