Local Historian Explores Neston Links to Slave Trade
|Author: Anthony Annakin-Smith||Published: 9th June 2020 12:42|
Local historian Anthony Annakin-Smith takes a topical look at Neston's links to the notorious slave trade.
At this time when statues and place-names commemorating individuals who participated in the eighteenth-century slave trade are much in the news, it's perhaps worth reminding Nestonians that there is a memorial tablet remembering two such men in our own parish church (see photo above). Edmund Lyon (former lord of the manor of Willaston) who died in 1789 and Joseph Hayes (d.1784) were both slave traders. Their involvement was small-scale compared to, say, Bristol's Edward Colston but, nevertheless, Lyon invested in seven slave voyages and Hayes invested in two; thousands of slaves suffered on these voyages.
Meanwhile, one of the probable founders of Ness Colliery was George Clarke, a former governor of New York who, it is said, assisted the suppression of a slave insurrection in 1741. He was buried at Chester Cathedral where there is a memorial tablet to him.
I'm not suggesting anything should be done about these memorials but it's interesting to note how such men were clearly well-respected figures in their day.
There were other local investors in the slave trade and there was even a slave ship called the Neston (possibly named by a former resident of the town). Several ships built in Parkgate, and others which had been used for trade between the port and Ireland, were subsequently used for slaving voyages.
All the above slaving vessels sailed from Liverpool. However, a handful of others sailed from ‘the port of Chester' and I'm currently researching whether at least some of these in fact sailed from Parkgate.