Shrine of St Wulfstan, Bishop (c1008-95)
Wulfstan, a very active, hardworking Benedictine, seems to have had great powers of persuasion as he is one of the few English clerics not replaced by the Norman invasion. By the 12th century Bristol had an unsavoury reputation for the ancient custom of kidnapping slaves from all over the country and selling them to Viking Ireland. Bristol was allegedly so famous for the stealing of children it became known as the step-mother of England. He opposed the practice with his ‘persistent and persuasive preaching’ . It is claimed he miraculously intervened to rescue some slavers from shipwreck, which enhanced his reputation. It is claimed that not only did he eventually put an end to slavery in Bristol, but that the city became an example for the rest of England to do likewise.
Statue in St Mary’s church of Richard Baxter (1615-91), powerful evangelical preacher and religious adviser to Cromwell.
He was ordained a deacon of Worcester 1638 and vicar of Kidderminster from 1647. His lifetime saw massive religious disputes, and he encouraged unity within the church. His preaching was so popular the church had to build 5 galleries to hold the congregation. He was later admired by Wesley, Coleridge and Clarkson. His ‘Christian Directory’ of 1673 gave advice to masters of foreign plantations, protested against slavery and called slavers ‘the worst kind of robbers and ought to be considered as the common enemies of mankind… fitter to be called demons than Christians.’
For more information on this topic, please refer to my books on kindle:
Britain’s abolition of the Slave Trade: A Source book’
Bristol’s Slavery & Abolition: Overview, Context & Walking Trail’
or find my books on Amazon by searching for ‘Barb Drummond
or vist my homepage barbdrum.webs.com