Ignatius Sancho (1729–1780)

Ignatius Sancho

Born on a slave ship, and brought at the age of 2 to Britain as a domestic slave, Sancho covertly taught himself to read and write at an early age.

Running away from his owner, Sancho found work as a butler to the progressive Duke and Duchess of Montagu who financed his further academic study: while working for them, he wrote poetry, two stage plays and a Theory of Music, albeit none of them published. He was also active as a composer, in total writing three collections of music for violin, flute, mandolin and harpsichord, all of which were published anonymously.

Sancho left service in 1773, and bought and ran a successful grocery shop until his death.

In 1782, Sancho’s Letters became the first piece of literature by a Black person to be published, receiving over 1,200 subscribers, aimed in his words to prove that an untutored African may possess [intellectual] abilities equal to a European.

During Norfolk BHM 2010, Norwich Millennium Library’s Local History expert Clive Wilkins-Jones will tell you more about the intriguing and illuminating friendship between Ignatius Sancho & William Stevenson of Norwich.

Black People Who Changed the World

What is Black History Month?

Here we detail some of the ideas and history behind the annual celebration.

Events By Year

Date Title
2016 Norfolk Black History Month
2015 Norfolk Black History Month
2014 Norfolk Black History Month
2013 Norfolk Black History Month
2012 Norfolk Black History Month
2011 Norfolk Black History Month
2010 Norfolk Black History Month
2009 Norfolk Black History Month