ABell Remembered

303 years after Abell was interred at the Parish Church of Our Lady and St. Nicholas, he was commemorated by the laying of a memorial stone in the churchyard of the Parish Church. The ceremony took place on October 3rd 2020, to coincide with the beginning of Black History Month and was attended by Reverend Canon Dr. Crispin Pailing, Lord Mayor Anna Rothery, local historian Laurence Westgaph, amongst others.
Abell's memorial stone

Liverpool historian Laurence Westgaph said: “This gesture by St Nicholas Church records in stone the presence of black people in this town for more than 300 years and at a time when Liverpool’s population was less than 10,000 people. Since then there has been a black presence in this great city, demonstrating that people of African descent have been resident and contributing to Liverpool life since the beginnings of the town’s rise from a struggling seaport to the second city of the British Empire and beyond.” 

Rector of Liverpool, The Revd Canon Dr Crispin Pailing, said: “We cannot hide from our past, and there is no institution from this era of our history which is free from the taint of this horrific trade. We cannot give justice to Abell and other enslaved Africans, but we can give them the dignity of naming them when we can, and we can give them status within the history of our city.” 

Cllr Rothery, who unveiled the stone, said: “It is well-documented that Liverpool has the oldest black community in Europe. Black people have played a pivotal role in the development of our city, a role which continues to this day. As a city we are facing up to the grim injustices of our past and by setting them in their context, we are a better place. In a year that has exposed the divides that continue to exist between communities across the globe based on race and colour, it is hoped that we can continue to learn and grow from our shared history and truly make Liverpool a city for all.”

Quotes above with thanks to Liverpool Express: https://liverpoolexpress.co.uk/liverpool-commemorates-the-citys-first-black-citizen