George Edward Doney Gravestone

By Jack Latimer

Before restoration
After restoration

This is a very significant grave, of national significance, and represents a notable aspect of the social history of the town. It is a headstone, rather than a chest tomb and it marks the grave of a black man who was born in Gambia in West Africa. He was sold into slavery in Virginia, USA before starting work as a servant to the Earls of Essex on the Cassiobury Estate, for whom he worked for 44 years.

In the 18th century it was fashionable to have black servants. Although the slave trade was abolished in 1807 it was still legal to own slaves in this country until 1838. We do not know how he came to be working for the Earls of Essex nor how he came to England or who freed him. However, the Earl of Essex is known to have supported the campaign to end slavery altogether so it seems likely that Doney was freed by the Capels and then given paid employment.

He was buried in the St Mary’s Church Graveyard in 1809 and we know from the parish registers that he had also been christened at St Mary’s Church 35 years earlier, in 1774.

This page was added on 26/02/2014.

Comments about this page

  • Wah good business huh!well done my friend! I hope u have enjoyed ur trip to Melaka. Squid is one of my favorite seefood, my mum use to cook squid like this for us tomym.mm.m…uo!

    By Mitchell (30/01/2017)

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