The Wilberforce Family History
The Wilberfoss family moved from the village of Wilberfoss, near York, to Beverley in the mid-sixteenth century. William’s grandfather, also called William, moved from Beverley to Hull in the late seventeenth century and changed the spelling of the family name to Wilberforce.
The Wilberforce Family
Wilberforce’s eldest son, another William, was born in 1798. His second son, Robert Issac, was born in 1802 and went on to become Archdeacon of the East Riding. Samuel, born in 1807, was also a very religious man and a great public speaker. He became Bishop of Oxford and was a member of the House of Lords. Wilberforce's youngest son, Henry William, also born in 1807, followed a career in the Church.
Wilberforce often found himself split between his personal beliefs and loyalty to his friends and family, especially when in 1827, his youngest daughter, Elizabeth, fell in love with Charles Pinney. The Pinney family were Bristol merchants whose wealth came from slavery. Wilberforce agonised over whether or not to allow his daughter to marry into a family associated with slavery. Following many letters between the Pinney family and Wilberforce, Wilberforce decided to separate the couple. Elizabeth later married Reverend J. James.
Throughout his life, Wilberforce wrote many letters and also kept a diary, discussing his thoughts and feelings about his personal and political life.