Friday, 10 September 2021

The Sloane Baronetcy


ALEXANDER SLOANE, of Killyleagh, County Down, Receiver-General to James, Viscount Claneboye (c1560-1644) of the taxes of that county, wherein he resided before and after the civil war.

He married Sarah, daughter of the Rev Dr William Hicks, of Winchester, chaplain to the Most Rev Dr William Laud, Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, and had issue,
James, MP;
William, of Chelsea;
HANS, of whom hereafter.
The youngest son,

HANS SLOANE (1660-1753), Doctor of Medicine, of Chelsea, born at Killyleagh, County Down, having attained great celebrity in his profession, and presided several years over the College of Physicians. was created a baronet, in 1716, by GEORGE I.

He married Elizabeth, widow of Dr Fulke Rose, of Jamaica, and daughter of John Langley, Alderman of London (by Elizabeth his wife, daughter and co-heir of Richard Middleton, also an alderman of London), and had issue,
SARAH, m G Stanley; mother of RT HON HANS STANLEY;
Sir Hans, who was chosen President of the Royal Society at the vacancy caused by the decease of Sir Isaac Newton in 1727, died in 1753, and was interred seven days afterwards in the churchyard of Chelsea in the same vault with his deceased wife, under a handsome monument erected by his daughters.

As he left no male issue, the Baronetcy expired with him.

The manor of Chelsea, which Sir Hans purchased in 1712 from William Cheyne, 2nd Viscount Newhaven, descended to his two daughters as co-heirs.


The Sloane family lived in a thatched house on Frederick Street, Killyleagh, near the Castle.

The house was demolished much later, though the lintel stone was saved and moved across the street where a plaque has been erected to acknowledge Killyleagh’s most illustrious son.

The three Sloane boys who survived infancy received their education at the school provided by James Hamilton and they had access to the library at the Castle.

James became an eminent lawyer; William, a merchant; and Hans, an eminent physician.

The early days at Killyleagh were well suited to Hans, as his interests in natural history, particularly botany, thrived.

At the age of 16, Hans suffered a severe illness that confined him to his room for over a year.

At that time his interest in medicine grew and at the age of 19 he left for London to study medicine and natural sciences.

He then went to Paris and attended lectures on botany, chemistry and anatomy and then on to the University of Orange where he became a Doctor of Medicine.

He became intrigued by the search for new species and describing and naming new plants and animals was a passion which he would put to good use.

On return to London in 1685 he was made a Fellow of the young but prestigious Royal Society, and in 1687 a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.

He was offered the chance to travel to Jamaica as physician to the new Governor, the 2nd Duke of Albermarle.

Photo Credit: National Portrait Gallery

While in Jamaica, Hans Sloane was introduced to cocoa as a drink favoured by the local people.

He found it 'nauseous' but by mixing it with milk made it more palatable.

He brought this chocolate recipe back to England where it was manufactured and at first sold by apothecaries as a medicine.

Eventually, in the nineteenth century, it was taken up by Messrs Cadbury who manufactured chocolate using Sloane's recipe.

Following the unfortunate death of the Duke, Sloane returned to England in 1689.

He published in two volumes the information he had gathered in Jamaica.

In 1695 Hans married Elizabeth Langley Rose, the widow of a sugar planter in Jamaica.

Of their four children, two died when young but two girls, Sarah and Elizabeth, survived.

He developed his medical and scientific interests and because President of the Royal Society, succeeding Sir Isaac Newton, and President of the Royal College of Physicians.

In 1716, Sloane was created a baronet, the first medical practitioner to receive an hereditary title.

The Sloanes lived at Bloomsbury Place, near to the site of the present British Museum.

His collections grew and he bought the adjacent house to help accommodate them.

Corridors and rooms were filled from top to bottom with plants, animals, gemstones, coins, antiquities, books and many more objects.

Sloane's 'Museum' became a major attraction of its time and was visited by a stream of distinguished visitors from home and abroad.

That house also filled. Sloane eventually bought a large manor house in Chelsea, with surrounding farmland, to house the collection containing 117,000 items (of which about 50,000 were books and manuscripts).

On his death, aged 92, on the 11th January, 1753, the nation purchased his collection and then housed it in the British Museum.

His bust is the first item on view at the entrance to the Museum.
He became a successful physician in London with the Royal Family and other eminent persons as his patients but he still found time to treat the poor for nothing; was President of the Royal Society (PRS) 1727-41; and amassed a large fortune and was able to pursue his lifelong interest in natural history, amassing a vast, important collection that was the foundation of the British Museum.

When the Natural History Museum and the British Library were built, the natural objects, books and manuscripts were transferred to those establishments. 

Such was the esteem of Sir Hans that Sloane Square was created and a statue erected in the nearby Physic Gardens.

Those gardens were founded and bequeathed by Sir Hans Sloane to the Apothecaries' Company for the cultivation of medicinal plants for the benefit of medical students.

It consists of four acres, and is one of the oldest of existing gardens.
The statue, by Rysbrack, of Sir Hans Sloane, who gave the freehold of the ground on consideration of an annual presentation of plants to the Royal Society, stands in the centre of the Botanic Gardens, to which the public are not admitted.
His property and fortune passed to his two daughters but on the death of Sarah all passed to Elizabeth, married to General Charles Cadogan.

The lands remain with the Cadogan family.

Recently Sir Hans Sloane Square was created in Killyleagh, complete with a copy of the statue from the physic garden; and there is a memorial at Killyleagh Castle.

The Parish Church contains the graves of his father and some of his brothers.

Hans Sloane is buried at Chelsea Old Church and his tomb bears the inscription:
In memory of Sir Hans Sloane, Bart, President of the Royal Society and of the College of Physicians, who died in the year of our Lord 1753, the ninety-second year of his age, without least pain of body, and with a conscious serenity of mind eniled [sic] a virtuous and beneficent life. 
This monument was erected by his two daughters, Elizabeth Cadogan and Sarah Stanley.
Chelsea Manor, which Sir Hans purchased in 1712 from William, 2nd Viscount Newhaven, descended to his two daughters as co-heirs. 

First published in September, 2011. Sloane arms courtesy of European Heraldry.  Select bibliography:


19mike59 said...

Wonderful information. I just found out that Hans Sloane is my 8th great grand uncle. Is there any additional information on his father or brothers (I am William's direct descendant). Am I correct to understand that Alexander Sloane led Ulster-Scots into Ireland?

baypipefish said...

I am also a direct descendant of William Sloane (I believe he married more than once). My great grandfather was Edward Sloane Browne and my great uncle was Hans Sloane Browne.