Church Of England Brands Historic Links To Slavery Through Clergymen 'A Source Of Shame'

The Bank of England has also condemned the "inexcusable" links some of its former governors had with the slave trade.
Candles burning in a church background
Candles burning in a church background
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The Church of England has called its historic links to slavery through clergymen “a source of shame”.

Analysis of a University College London (UCL) database found that nearly 100 Church of England clergymen benefited from slavery, the Telegraph reported.

Research by the newspaper found that 96 clergymen were involved in claims for compensation paid to slave owners when the trade was abolished in the British Empire in 1833.

These claims would total £46 million in today’s money, while the construction of 32 churches is linked to claimants.

“Slavery and exploitation have no place in society,” a spokeswoman for the Church of England said.

“While we recognise the leading role clergy and active members of the Church of England played in securing the abolition of slavery, it is a source of shame that others within the Church actively perpetrated slavery and profited from it.”

The Church issued an apology in 2006 for its historic role in slavery, they added.

“We reiterate our commitments to support every effort by the Church and other agencies to oppose human trafficking and all other manifestations of slavery across the world.”

The Bank of England has also condemned and apologised for “inexcusable” links that former governors and directors had with the slave trade.

Bank of England
Bank of England
tupungato via Getty Images

According to the Telegraph, six governors and four directors of the bank were named as claimants or beneficiaries of slavery in the UCL database.

Describing the 18th and 19th century slave trade as “an unacceptable part of English history”, the Bank of England vowed to block any images of its notorious former leaders from being displayed there.

A spokesman said: “As an institution, the Bank of England was never itself directly involved in the slave trade, but is aware of some inexcusable connections involving former governors and directors and apologises for them.”

They added: “The Bank is committed to improving diversity and is actively engaging with staff, particularly with our BAME colleagues, to help us identify and shape concrete steps that can be taken now to progress the Bank’s efforts to be as inclusive as possible.”

It comes after both pub chain Greene King and insurance giant Lloyd’s of London apologised for their historic links to slavery and vowed to pay reparations.


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