Edward Hamlin Adams (1777-1842), a West India merchant and banker, who came from a planting family settled in Barbados since the 17th century, but who ‘made his own fortune from a variety of business ventures, some of a questionable nature’, purchased the Middleton Hall estate from the executors of Sir William Paxton in 1824. He was a testy and litigious man, described by his granddaughter, the novelist Vernon Lee, as ‘extremely doctrinaire and moral, an ardent Voltairian, who spent much of his time disputing with the local parsons and refusing to pay tithes’.
His son Edward (1809-75) who changed his name to Abadam seems to have inherited many of his father’s more disagreeable qualities. He was an obstinate man, who dissipated the family fortune in an unsuccessful attempt (before the Master of the Rolls, 1853-63) to have his younger brother William’s children declared illegitimate, and left his siblings financially embarrassed. At his death, the estate passed to his daughter Lucy and her husband and then to her sister Adah, widow of J. W. Hughes. Their son, William John Hamlin Hughes, sold the estate in 1919 to Col. W. N. Jones, JP, of Dyffryn, Ammanford.