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Church memorial to slave trader moved to museum

by Sophie Drew
Val Potter - Banner image
Val Potter

A memorial to a slave trader has been removed from a church and placed in a museum after years of campaigning by parishioners.

The monument commemorated an 18th Century plantation owner, John Gordon, and bared a “totally unacceptable” racist term.

Previously mounted at St Peter’s in Dorchester, the plaque has been covered for almost three years, after the parish council first sought to remove it in September 2020.

A sign on the covering read: “The remainder of this memorial has been covered as it commemorates actions and uses language which are totally unacceptable to us today.

“Following consultations within the church and the wider community, the Parochial Church Council has signed to apply for its removal and to offer it to a museum.”

The memorial will now be relocated to Dorset Museum, where it will be available to view on request.

In lieu of the original plaque, the church has worked with descendants of John Gordon to mount a replacement memorial, which will only include information about his life and death, instead of details about his work.

The plans have sparked conversations about other memorials within Church of England places of worship, and their links to the slave trade.

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