Sambo's Grave, 2007
Sambo's Grave is the burial
site of a young dark skinned cabin boy or
slave, on unconsecrated ground in a field near the small
village of Sunderland
Point, England, near
Heysham and Overton, Lancashire. Sunderland Point used to be a port, serving cotton, sugar and slave ships
from the West
Indies and North America.
The grave, while not a tourist attraction in itself, is a site of
interest that many locals travel to see, and perhaps contemplate
the sad story that brought Sambo so far from his home.
While travelling with his enslaver in 1736, Sambo died from a
disease contracted from contact with Europeans, to which he had no
natural immunity (although some more romanticised stories say that
he died of a broken heart when his enslaver left him there).
buried in unconsecrated ground (as he was not a Christian) on the weatherbeaten shoreline of
Today, the grave almost always bears
flowers or stones painted by the local children.
Point itself is a very small community, and is only
accessible via a narrow road which crosses a salt marsh and is cut off at high tide.
There is a possibility of Sambo's origin being South Indian
or somewhat unlikely Indo-Caribbean
, mistaken by his dark skin, as
, a modified form of Shambhoo
is a common
Hindu name as used in Little Black
While initially unmarked, over the years the grave has been slowly
added to, and now bears a plaque that reads as follows (note the
occasional use of ſ
, the Long
Here liesPoor SAMBOOA faithfull NEGROWho(Attending his
from the Weſt Indies
Arrival at SUNDERLAND
Full sixty Years the angry Winter's WaveHas thundering daſhd this
bleak & barren ShoreSince SAMBO's Head laid in this lonely
Lies still & ne'er will hear their turmoil
Full many a Sandbird chirps upon the SodAnd many a Moonlight Elfin
round him tripsFull many a Summer's Sunbeam warms the ClodAnd many
a teeming Cloud upon him drips.
But still he sleeps—till the awakening SoundsOf the Archangel's
Trump new Life impartThen the GREAT JUDGE his Approbation foundsNot
on Man's COLOR but his—WORTH of HEART.
James Watſon Scr. H.Bell del. 1796