Black Britain

A picture in the abbreviated index of the Doomsday Book, contains the earliest known image of a Black Briton. ‘Blackamoor’ or ‘Moor’ were words used to describe Africans in the middle ages. The name was originally given to the Amoravid and Almahid Africans who ruled Spain from 711 to 1492.

In 1750 eleven percent of the population of Bristol were Black.

During the 18th century Black settlement in the British Isles could be found in places like County Kildare in Ireland, Earls Cone in Essex, Lymington in the New Forest, Northallerton in Yorkshire, and the Scottish highlands.

Ellen and Margaret More – two girls from Africa were presented to the Queen of the Scots in 1504. Both girls were educated and Ellen was appointed the position of maiden-of-honour.

Bill Richmond – an African-American boxer who came to England, taught boxing to the English poet Lord Byron.

Job Ben Solomon – A slave from Maryland, USA was brought to England in the 18th century. He became one of Britain’s most reknown Arabic translators. Solomon translated Arab manuscripts and medals kept in the British Museum.

Black trumpeters were part of British regimental bands from the time of Henry VIII till about 1841.

Jacob Wainwright – Was a servant to David Livingstone. Wainwright was one of the pallbearers at Livingstone’s funeral.

The statuette of a Black Wrestler was found among Roman artefacts uncovered in Lichfield.

Mohamet and Mustapha – Black Africans from the Sudan, were the personal attendants of George I (1714 – 1727). Both men controlled access to the king.

Africans lived in Scotland in the early 16th century. During that time Africans also lived in Barnstaple, London and Plymouth. Britain has benefitted from a continual Black presence, for over 500 years.

Official records show that Black sailors served in the Royal Navy from as far back as 1595.

Jacob Wainwright – Was a servant to David Livingstone. Wainwright was one of the pallbearers at Livingstone’s funeral.

In 1889, Marcus Orebnzo, described as a 'coloured entertainer' was bitten by a lion at Shrewsbury.

A Black man was ordered to leave town after being found drunk in the street at Worcester in 1856.

In 1575 A group of Black musicians and dancers are shown in Marcus Gheeraerts’ painting of Queen Elizabeth 1 and her court at Kenilworth, Warwickshire.

In 1653 Samson, was the name of a ‘negro gardener’, for the Lloyd family, Llanforda, west of Oswestry.

The 1680 Portrait of Captain Thomas Lucy depicts him with a Black boy wearing a metal collar and holding a horse, by Sir Godfrey Knellor, Charlecote Park, Warwickshire.

The 1690 Baptism record of Margaret Lucy states her ‘belonging to ye Lady Underhill’ - 1st January, Oxhill Parish Register, Warwickshire.

The 1700 Baptism record of Will Archus, refers to ‘an adult male Black’. - 29 December, Oxhill Parish Register.

In 1704 Charles Hector, Black servant of Charles Mason, Shropshire MP, was baptized aged 10 years, at Churchstoke Parish Register.