Sambo's Grave

Sambo's Grave is the burial site of a young African 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 which 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). He was buried in unconsecrated ground (as he was not a Christian) on the weatherbeaten shoreline of Morecambe Bay. Today, the grave almost always bears flowers or stones painted by the local children.

Sunderland 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.


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 s character):

Here lies Poor SAMBOO A faithfull NEGRO Who (Attending his Maſter from the Weſt Indies) DIED on his Arrival at SUNDERLAND

Full sixty Years the angry Winter's Wave Has thundering daſhd this bleak & barren Shore Since SAMBO's Head laid in this lonely GRAVE Lies still & ne'er will hear their turmoil more.

Full many a Sandbird chirps upon the Sod And many a Moonlight Elfin round him trips Full many a Summer's Sunbeam warms the Clod And many a teeming Cloud upon him drips.

But still he sleeps -- till the awakening Sounds Of the Archangel's Trump new Life impart Then the GREAT JUDGE his Approbation founds Not on Man's COLOR but his -- WORTH of HEART.

James Watfon Scr. H.Bell del. 1796

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