Cornelius, of Lee

(born ? - died 1593)

Local connection
Buried at St Margaret’s church, Lee.

Cornelius is the first mention of a 'black a more’ in the parish records for the Borough of Lewisham. He was buried at St Margaret’s, Lee on 2nd March 1593.

The term 'black a more' was used to describe a black person at this time, usually from North Africa but not always.

As no age, surname or origin is given in the entry very little is known about Cornelius, what he did, how old he was and where he came from.

He could have been a child, as it was fashionable to have a black child servant in the circles of high society, or an adult.

It does not describe him as a servant or name an 'owner’, so he might not have been a slave or servant in a big house in Lee.

There was a large population of black people in England at this time and they were not all slaves or servants, some were entertainers, musicians, sailors or traders.

So Cornelius could have been a musician entertaining people at a large house in Lee or a sailor waiting for a new ship to work on at Deptford docks

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