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Lancaster and the Slave Trade

What’s in a Name?

The Naming of Parts

The Grave at Sunderland Point


There’s an embarrassment in walking to the grave,

Out there at causewayed Sunderland Point,

From where ships once sailed the seven seas,

Now a desolate mudflat skyscape,

A couple of miles beyond the last post village -

But once all seascape hustle and bustle,

Shipshape and Lancaster slavery fashion.


There are still two pubs there in Overton,

The Globe and The Ship -

Cottages bear dates coeval with the slave trade.


The signposts curtly say: ‘Sambo’s Grave’,

It’s out there at windswept Sunderland Point;

The steps he climbed at the brewhouse are still there –

He climbed to pine and die in lonely isolation,

Or so the story has it;

The building – now a house – was up for sale,

When I visited in late summer 2021;

It’s history, like a name, silent.


An information board tells the tale in detail,

But there is no mention of the provenance

Of the word ‘Sambo’ and its cognate

Racist associations and lineage;

I looked at the well-tended imagined grave,

Decorated with painted pebbles

And children’s keepsakes.


I took out Dorothea Smartt’s book,

Ship shape and studied these descriptions:

Sambo, any male of the negro race …’;

Sambo: A pet name given to anyone of the negro race’;

Sambo … A colloquial or humorous appellation for a negro …’;

Sambo: a stereotypical name for a male black person

(now only derogatory) …’;


What’s in a name?

The Naming of Parts.


In Lancaster, there is a memorial,

The triangular trade represented in 3-D,

And also italicised and etched down a column,

Four headings to collate information,

Under the title Captured Africans:


Ships Master Depart Africans


Expedition Strangeways, James 1745 188

Jolly Batchelor Hinde, Thomas 1749 154

Africa Hinde, Thomas 1752 170

Bark Millerson, Richard 1754 140

Swallow Ord, William 1755 100

Lancaster Paley, Thomas 1756 90

Castleton Lindow, James 1756 120

Gambia Dodson, Robert 1756 180

Cato Millerson, Richard 1759 360

Thetis Preston, John 1759 212

Molly Dennison, William 1760 228

Marquis of Granby Dodson, Robert 1762 240

Eagle Millerson, Richard 1762 220

Hamilton Saul, William 1762 270

Norfolk Innes, Isaac 1763 202

King Tom Read, John 1764 230

Antelope Paley, Thomas 1764 150

Phoebe Macky 1764 296

Prince George Addison, John 1766 160

Pearl Maychell, James 1771 300

Stanley Absob, John 1773 160

Nelly Maychell, James 1741 250

Sally Sawrey, James 1775 153

Old England Garnet, John 1783 181

John Nunns, John 1806 280


Twenty-five names of ships;

The surnames and first names of the ships’ masters;

I counted 5,034 captured Africans,

Names unknown;

I looked at synonyms for nameless;

I looked at synonyms for chattel;


I took out Dorothea Smartt’s book,

Ship shape and studied these descriptions:

Sambo, any male of the negro race …’;

Sambo: A pet name given to anyone of the negro race’;

Sambo … A colloquial or humorous appellation for a negro …’;

Sambo: a stereotypical name for a male black person.


What’s in a name?

The naming of parts.











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