Sir Nicholas Lawes (1652 – 18 June 1731) (sometimes "'Laws'" in contemporary documents) was Governor of Jamaica from 1718 to 1722.

Early life

Nicholas Lawes was born in 1652 to Nicholas and Amy Lawes.


He was a British knight.

Governor of Jamaica

He was Chief Justice of Jamaica from 1698 to 1703 and Governor from 1718 to 1722.[2]

In his capacity as Governor during the Golden Age of Piracy he tried many pirates, among them "Calico Jack" Rackham, Anne Bonny, Mary Read, Robert Deal, & Charles Vane. He signed an arrangement with Jeremy, king of the Miskito, to bring some of his followers over to Jamaica to hunt down runaway slaves in 1720.


Lawes married five widows in succession. No children survived from the first three marriages.[3]

James and Temple Lawes were the sons of his fourth wife Susannah Temple whom he married in 1698.[3] She had previously been married to Samuel Bernard.[3] Her father, Thomas Temple, is said to have given Lawes his Temple Hall, Jamaica estate as a dowry.

Lawes later married Elizabeth Lawley (1690-1725). Their youngest surviving daughter, Judith Maria Lawes, married Simon Luttrell, 1st Earl of Carhampton and so became both wife and mother of the Earls of Carhampton.[3]

Coffee and printing

At Temple Hall Lawes experimented with a variety of crops and introduced the very lucrative coffee growing into the island in 1721 according to some sources[4] or 1728 according to others.[6]

He is also credited with setting up the first printing press in Jamaica.[3]


He died 18 June 1731 in Jamaica.