Lawrence John Phillips (1696-1759) was an English sailor, captain of the HMS Lynton, co-founder of the Summers Island settlement, founder of Phillipstown and from 1735 to 1759 mayor of Summers Island.


Phillips was born in Barnstaple, in 1696, the son of merchant John Phillips and his wife Alice Brown. His father John was the son of a farmer, also called John.

Summers Island

Lawrence Phillips became captain of the HMS Lynton, which crashed on Summers Island in 1735. Lawrence sent most of the crew out in rowing boats, in hope of reaching Iceland for help, however they are suspected to have not survived the journey.

He organised the building of Phillipstown, the capital of Summers Island. In 1753 he had James House built, named after his son James Layman Phillips, which still stands today and is the oldest building on the island.

In 1737 Lawrence declared himself mayor of Summers Island. In response, many of the other islanders, lead by William Barnes rebelled, and moved to the other end of the Island. There, they founded the town of Barnes-Hern. However, in 1740, Lawrence and his men surrounded the town and forced a surrender.

He died in 1759, and his son James took over as mayor of the island.


He married Mary Layman in 1736, and had:

  • Elizabeth Mary Phillips (born 1736)
  • James Layman Phillips (born 1737) (succeeded Lawrence as mayor of the island)
  • Alice Anne Phillips (born 1739)
  • Christian Summer Phillips (born 1740)
  • 2 other daughters, names unknown

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