Slavery in Dent
Although many record of the slave trade were destroyed with the abolition of slavery in 1807 there is evidence that it continued in the Dale in to the 19th century. The Sill family were residents of Dent, residing in Westhouse (Now known as Whernside Manor). It is possible that Edmund Sill built Whernside Manor through the profits produced by Slave trade.
Both Edmund Sill and Miles Mason invested in Slave Carrying ships; Edmunds brother John also had half shares in two ships named “The Pickering” and “The Dent”. The Sill family also owned a plantation in Jamaica which allowed them to generate their wealth and reside in Westhouse. The Sill family owned up to 180 Slaves Read More
In August 1758 an advert was placed in The Press of the Day offering a reward for the location or return of an African slave who had run away from his duties at Whernside Manor.
Other legends surrounding the slaves are that the Black Dub received its name due to this being where the slaves would wash themselves, as well as this it is believed that a female slave was drowned in the dub. Mystery surrounds the legend that a tunnel runs from Rigg End Farm to Whernside Manor although know body knows if this is true as the tunnel has never been located.
Adam Sedgwick recalls that many people of Dent worked for the abolition of slavery, including his brother Richard, along with many other statesman of Dent who supported William Wilberforce.
After the abolition of slavery in 1807 Ann Sill would have been heavily compensated due to the loss of property and earnings. It is estimated that the Sill family owed up to 180 slaves when the abolition took place.
The burial ground for the slaves is located in Dent, but nobody knows the official location and it will likely forever remain a mystery.