Blue plaque unveiled at St Mary’s church in memory of West Indian slave Hester Woodley
Harlow is 70: Why I Came Here / Mon 20th Mar 2023 at 10:20am
A BLUE plaque has been unveiled at St Mary’s church in Little Parndon in memory of West Indian slave Hester Woodley.
In a moving service, Reverend Jokey Poyntz managed to bring together many themes in Hester’s life and legacy. Not only from the eighteenth centre but also to modern day life.
The plaque was unveiled by Deputy Lieutenant of Essex, Roy Clare CBE and acclaimed artist, Elsa James.
They were joined by Harlow MP Robert Halfon, the deputy chair of Harlow Council, cllr Sue Livings and the leader of Harlow Labour, cllr Chris Vince.
There were also a number of members of the community who have the surname Woodley.
The film of the unveiling is below. Below that is a “potted” history of how Hester came to live and die in Harlow.
Nice to see some other Labour councillors there and John Steer of the Conservatives.
Slavery was abolished by the statute of Westminster in 1101. The slave trade in the British empire was abolished in 1807. Slavery started as far back as 3500 BC.
It was an honour to attend the service and unveiling of this plaque commemorating Hester Woodley. Rvd Jokey gave a brilliant and moving sermon drawing parallels between the historic slave trade and the present day scourge of modern slavery in the UK. This was followed by the Graham Kendrick song ‘Beauty for Brokenness’ which contains the following extraordinarily apposite verse: Refuge from cruel wars Havens from fear Cities for sanctuary Freedoms to share Peace to the killing-fields Scorched earth to green Christ for the bitterness His cross for the pain