Monday, 8 July 2019

Barbados update

In 2008, we visited Barbados to address the legacy of the thousands of Irish, predominantly Royalist Catholics, who were sent as slaves or indentured servants.  All, through the Civil War, Oliver Cromwell saw this as a way of clearing the land of Ireland not only of Prisoners of War, but also Catholics and Royalists. This was to continue in Scotland, England and what is now known as Wales. They were all taken from their land and transported against their will. As a lady in Barbados once said, “Whether white or black, to be taken from your land and sent far away can never be right. All have suffered.” Their descendants, known as Red Legs or Poor Whites, still live on the east side of the island and continue to suffer the consequences of this action. We feel that we are called to honour these people by remembering them with a memorial stone which would help tell their story.

In February 2019 Annette and I, once again travelled  to Barbados to seek permission for the placing of the memorial stone at St Margaret's Church on the East side of the Island.  This was granted.

Circle of Remembrance.
We believe that the memorial stone will play a key role to enable all Barbadians to know the truth. This part of their history has been distorted and those from the Poor White community have been misunderstood. We pray that by addressing this issue and hopefully encouraging them to take part, it will help them take pride in their ancestry.  Our memorial stone will be set on a plinth in front of the remains of a plantation windmill. The project is to create a ‘Circle of Remembrance’ which will include three seating areas, with planting between each one and two gateways. The stone will come from Ireland and the lettering will be in the style of the 17th Century.  Our hope is that this will become a place where people can sit, think, pray and remember as they learn the history of those forgotten people.

St Margaret’s church is named after St Margaret Queen of Scotland and we were told was built on the site of a Hot house known in the 17th century as a boiler house which converted sugarcane juice into raw sugar. Can you imagine what that must have been like for those slaves black and white.

The main memorial stone will be transported from Ireland once the plinth is built and will be located in front of the wall. We also have four stones given by each country of the UK to include in the project.  Scotland slate from St Mary’s Cathedral Edinburgh. Ireland stone from Christians in Wexford. Wales from a lady who works with Ffald-w-Brenin house of prayer in south west Wales and the England stone from a stonemason working on Ely Cathedral.


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