Slavery & Abolition Sites – Sunderland Bay

This is one of the most touching examples of what was happening in the 18th centuryand the legacy of slavery.

Sunderland Point, Morecombe Bay, Lancashire 

Sunderland was once a busy transhipment port, so many people and goods from many places passed through the area.  

Sambo or Samboo apparently arrived in Britain 1736 as either a cabin boy or servant, and was staying in what was then the brewhouse for the Ship Inn, now called Upsteps Cottage. There were about 40 former slaves in the area at the time. the survival rate for such people was never good and he contacted a fever on shore and when he died was buried by his master, a ship’s captain in unconsecrated ground outside a tiny hamlet at the mouth of the River Lune estuary.

The status of people of African descent was uncear for many decades. Many people believed that since slavery did not exist in Britain, all slaves became free on arrival. Others believed that baptism made them free, and many people are noted in parish registers as being black or negroes. The burial in unconsecrated ground means this latter did not happen. It seems these people were just there, perhaps too far from authority for anyone to bother with them.

It is now famous enough to warrant a sign post.

It was orginally an unmarked grave behind a stone wall but over the years has become more a shrine after 1792 when a retired schoolteacher wrote the following epitaph and raised funds for a memorial. Sadly, it has been vandalised in the past, but it is still wrth visiting:


Full sixy years the angry winter’s wave

Has thundering dashed this bleak and barren shore

Since Sambo’s head laid in this lonely grave

Lies still and ne’er will hear their turmoil more.

Fulll many a sandbird chirps upon the sod,

And many a moonlight elfin round him trips

Full many a summers sunbeam warms the sod

And many a teeming cloud upon him drips.

But still he sleeps – till the awakening sounds,

Of he Archangel’s trump new life impart,

The Great Judge his approbation founds,

Not on man’s colour but his worth of heart

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
For more information on my books search ‘Barb Drummond’ on amazon,
or visit my homepage

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