Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa

Anna Maria Vassa - b.1793 d.1797

Anna Maria Vassa Memorial

Anna Maria Vassa's memorial plaque is located outside St. Andrew's Church, Chesterton, Cambridge

Near this Place Lies Interred
Anna Maria Vassa
Daughter of Gustavus Vassa, the African
She Died July 21 1797
Aged 4 Years

Should simple village rhymes attract thine eye,
Stranger, as thoughtfully thou passest by,
Know that there lies beside this humble stone
A child of colour haply not thine own.
Her father born of Afric's sun-burnt race,
Torn from his native field, ah foul disgrace:
Through various toils, at length to Britain came
Espoused, so Heaven ordain'd, an English dame,
And follow'd Christ; their hope two infants dear.
But one, a hapless orphan, slumbers here.
To bury her the village children came.
And dropp'd choice flowers, and lisp'd her early fame;
And some that lov'd her most, as if unblest,
Bedew'd with tears the white wreath on their breast;
But she is gone and dwells in that abode,
Where some of every clime shall joy in God.

Joanna Vassa - b.1795 d.1857

Joanna Vassa Abney Park CemetaryJoanna Vassa's Gravestone at Abney Park Cemetery shortly after its re-discovery in 2005, awaiting restoration

The surviving daughter, Joanna Vassa, inherited a sizable estate from the wealth her father had accumulated from the sale of his book, equivalent to around £100,000 in today's money. She went on to marry The Reverend Henry Bromley and they ran a Congregational Chapel at Clavering near Saffron Walden in Essex, before moving to London in 1845. Joanna died on 10th March 1857 at the age of 61 and was buried at Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington on 16th March 1857, her husband Henry survived her for 20 years and was eventually buried alongside her on 12th February 1878. It's not yet known whether they had any children.

The Slave Trade was finally abolished in England, 10 years after the death of Olaudah Equiano, in 1807. It took a further forty years to see the abolition in the British colonies.

Details taken from his autobiography 'The Interesting Narrative of the life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa, the African 1789'


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