Uncovered: The Story of the Slave Ship 'Neston'
|Published: 16th June 2020 11:51|
Residents of Neston may be surprised to know that a ship named after the town was active in the transatlantic slave trade.
A three-masted eighteenth-century sailing vessel similar to the Neston
New research reveals the story of the vessel and details of the local man who named her. In a newly-published article, local historian Anthony Annakin-Smith explains how the Neston undertook two voyages between 1758 and 1760 carrying over 600 slaves from Africa to the Caribbean and America.
Anthony said: "Conditions on slave ships were appalling and 112 people - probably a mix of men, women and children - died on the way.
"Those who survived were destined for an incredibly harsh life working on plantations growing sugar and rice."
The Neston was named by a well-off local young man, John Evans. It was one of three Liverpool-based ships in which he invested. Although he hoped to make money from slave trading, two of the ships were lost and it seems he was forced to sell his share of the Neston. However, she completed two slaving voyages under new owners before she, too, was lost.
A newspaper advertisement for the Neston, before she was used in the slave trade.
Anthony commented: "The story has been pieced together by drawing upon material from many sources. These include port registers, Admiralty records, newspaper advertisements, wills and parish records."
After selling his interest in the Neston John Evans travelled to Jamaica, probably to be a merchant or plantation owner. However, diseases such as yellow fever were common there and he died in Kingston in 1761, aged just 27.
His gravestone states ‘Here Lieth the body of Mr John Evans, late of Neston in Cheshire'. It seems his lust to profit from slave labour cost him his life.
You can read the full article on the Neston Past website here.
The Jamaican gravestone of the Neston man who named her.