HIDDEN HIGH STREET HISTORIES
A POINT IN TIME
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Our direct connections to slavery.
The earliest mention of slavery comes in the Domesday book in 1086; Chard had 20 villains or villagers and eleven slaves, the surrounding villages all had slaves as well.
The Monmouth Rebellion in 1685 was provoked by the succession of Catholic James II, when Protestant Charles II died and the radical non-conformists were afraid that he would impose religious restrictions on them. We don’t know how many Chardians joined the Duke of Monmouth’s army, but we do know that after the rebels lost at Sedgemoor, 817 men were transported to the West Indies as slaves. Thirty-nine were from Chard, most were sold for between £10 - £15 in Barbados, the rest were sold in Jamaica. They could be considered the “lucky ones”, as 320 rebels were hung around the area. 12 were hung at the ‘Hanging Tree’ sited where the modern day Tesco’s is located.
Two other Chard men had a close association with slavery. Humphrey Ash owned a 200 acre plantation in Jamaica in 1738. He is buried in St Mary’s Church and there is a plaque in the church commemorating him, his wife and child. Some thirty years later Dr John Quier left Chard to go to Jamaica, where he bought the 250 acre Shady Grove plantation. In the 1820 Jamaican Slave Register, Dr Quier lists his 67 slaves by name, age and sometimes mother’s name. Dr Quier was notorious for experimenting on his slaves by inoculating them with measles and smallpox. In his Will, he left the residue of his estate to his ‘kinsman’, Samuel Brown of Chardleigh Green.