Grave of Unknown African 'I.D', north east side of Church of St John the Baptist

Overview

Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: II

List Entry Number: 1392346

Date first listed: 21-Dec-2007

Statutory Address: Grave of Unknown African 'I.D', north east side of Church of St John the Baptist, Brampton Road

Map

Ordnance survey map of Grave of Unknown African 'I.D', north east side of Church of St John the Baptist
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Location

Statutory Address: Grave of Unknown African 'I.D', north east side of Church of St John the Baptist, Brampton Road

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Bishop's Castle

National Grid Reference: SO 32354 88439

Summary

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

The grave of an unknown African, 'I. D.', perhaps John Davies, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * An intact headstone of 1801, with elegant and legible inscription and decoration; * The tomb is of particular historical interest, having been erected to 'A Native of Africa', in this place, and at this date; * Group value with the Church of St John the Baptist, and a number of other listed tombs.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

498/0/0

BISHOPS CASTLE, BRAMPTON ROAD Grave of Unknown African 'I.D', north east side of Church of St John the Baptist

21-DEC-07

II DESCRIPTION: Dated 1801. Rectangular, crowned with a segmental arch. Above, a foliate design; around the edge a simple pattern of repeated segments. The inscription, in Roman and italic script, reads: 'Here lieth the Body of I. D. / A Native of Africa / who died in ths [sic] Town / Sept 9th 1801 / God hath made of one Blood, all nations / of Men. Act 17 ch. ver. 26.' The words 'A Native of Africa' is in a particularly large italic script, with flourishes.

HISTORY: We have no absolutely certain information about the person commemorated by this headstone. However, the burial register records the internment of John Davies on 12 September 1801, and contains an historic annotation linking Davies with the I.D. tombstone. Shropshire is not notable for its links with the West Indies and the slave trade, but it seems likely that 'I. D.' came to Bishop's Castle or to one of the country houses hereabouts, at least initially, as a servant. The quality of the headstone, with its elegant inscription and decoration, suggests that the person commemorated held a certain status, whether as a servant or not. The biblical quotation is one sometimes employed by abolitionists, and its levelling sentiments suggest that the person responsible for erecting the memorial was sympathetic to the movement. The positioning of the tomb is very curious, it being turned away from the other graves in the area. This headstone faces west, towards an ancient yew tree; the inscription is therefore hidden from general view.

The presence of the tomb in this churchyard raises at present unanswerable questions about how this African came to die in Bishop's Castle in 1801.

SOURCES: Information from local historians, David and Janet Preshous.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION The grave of an unknown African, 'I. D.', perhaps John Davies, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * An intact headstone of 1801, with elegant and legible inscription and decoration * The tomb is of particular historical interest, having been erected to 'A Native of Africa', in this place, and at this date. This tombstone was listed in 2007, the bicentenary year of the 1807 Abolition Act. * Group value with the Church of St John the Baptist, and a number of other listed tombs

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 504352

Legacy System: LBS

End of official listing