Delving into the archives to mark Black History Month

THROUGHOUT October Worcestershire’s Archive and Archaeology Service has been sharing stories from the past in celebration of Black History Month.

These include the tale of Henry Antione Jetto of Holt, the earliest-known Black person to have lived in Worcestershire.

His Great-Grandson 11 times removed discovered a reference to him in a parish register dating back to the late 16th century whilst tracing his family history at the Worcestershire History Centre.

Henry was baptised as an adult in Holt in 1596 and was a gardener employed by Sir Henry Bromley of Holt Castle.

When he died he was buried in the village in 1627.

He was wealthy enough to draw up a will before he passed away – only a minority of people left one at this time.

In the will he left goods to the value of £17, 15 shillings and 8d, the equivalent of £2,234.61 today.

Another story shared by the Service is that of Earl Ferguson who was born in Jamaica and moved to Britain.

After a career in the Army he settled in Worcestershire and became the first Black Justice of the Peace in the county.

He arrived in Worcester in 1970, living in Norton Barracks before buying a house in Northwick with his wife.

The will of Henry Jetto.

He was connected to St Paul’s Hostel and Maggs Centre, supporting residents and was part of Worcestershire Race Equality Council. He was later invited to apply to be a magistrate.

Zoe van Well, Archivist at Worcestershire Archives and Archaeology Services, said: “We feel it’s important to celebrate and observe Black History Month in Worcestershire.

“We want our collections to represent the diversity we have across our county, and we feel it is important to receive record collections from organisations and individuals to help us represent our diverse communities.

“Thanks to Paul in our Outreach team our Latest News section of our website Explore The Past features a blog about Black history in our records.”

To find out more https://www.explorethepast.co.uk/2020/10/black-history-month-black-presence-in-worcestershire/

Worcester – The Worcester Observer