Writer, composer, abolitionist and voter: Ignatius Sancho was an incredibly accomplished man, celebrated today as a great social reformer and the first black voter in the United Kingdom.
An influential pioneer of the early abolitionist cause, Sancho is best known for the letters he wrote on slavery. Having lived much of his life as a slave himself, he managed to secure his freedom by escaping to Montagu House in 1749. The noble Montagu family were frequent visitors to the estate that he had previously been enslaved on, and the Duke in particular was noted by Sancho to have been kind and encouraging towards his interests in literature and the arts. Working as a butler for the Montagu residence from 1749-51, he received an education in music, literature and writing.
Known widely as a man of letters during his life, he spent the later years of his life fully committed to lobbying for the abolition of slavery, and his ability to communicate meaningfully on the moral injustices of slavery gained him recognition across the country.