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Duration 21:51

The strange journey of Edward Swarthye, an African in Elizabethan England: from the Spanish Caribbean to rural Gloucestershire

In 1597, an African man named ‘Edward Swarthye, alias negro’ appeared before an English court. He gave evidence that, at the command of his employer Sir Edward Wynter, he had whipped another servant, John Guye, in the hall of his house in Lydney, Gloucestershire.

Through the prism of this man’s life, as documented in the court records held at the National Archives,  Dr Kaufmann, has discovered evidence of over 350 Africans in Britain between 1500-1640, and will explore questions such as how Africans came to Tudor England, what sort of work they did and what their legal status was.

Dr Miranda Kaufmann is a freelance journalist in London. She read History at Christ Church, Oxford, recently completing her doctoral thesis ‘Africans in Britain, 1500-1640’. She has done research for the BBC, English Heritage, the Oxford Companion series, Quercus publishing and the Rugby Football Foundation. She is a regular speaker at conferences, seminars and schools from Hull to Jamaica and has published articles in publications including The Times Literary Supplement, the Guardian, and The Periscope Post.

This talk was part of our Diversity Week 2012.