Human Rights KS1 – stop 3: Great St Mary’s

At each stop on the walk there will be a story and an activity. Worksheets for children to use during the walk need to be downloaded and printed off at school and brought with you.

Stop 1 | Stop 2 |Stop 3 | Stop 4 |Stop 5 | Stop 6

Story Three: Peter Peckard (1718–1797)

Peter Peckard  was born nearly 300 years ago. He was a priest and a preacher.  He was a very important man, because he was master of Magdalene College and Vice-chancellor of Cambridge University. One of his jobs as Vice-chancellor was to preach sermons in this church. He would stand, towering over everyone, with university students, lecturers and important visitors below him in the congregation. He could talk to them about anything he liked!

Peter Peckard heard a story that shocked him so much, he just had to tell people about it. It was the story about what happened on a slave ship called The Zong when it was crossing the Atlantic Ocean. There was a lot of disease, and many slaves were dying. The captain of the ship knew that dead slaves were worth nothing. So, he took 133 sick slaves, still in chains, and threw them into the sea.

The Captain said he had to do that because the ship was running out of water, but that was a lie. He just wanted to claim some money back from the insurance company.

Olaudah Equiano was one of the first people to hear this terrible story, and he spread the news. When Peter Peckard heard it, he was so upset that slaves could be treated this way that he started preaching about it right here in this church. He said people should not be treated as a piece of property. He was one of the first people to speak out against slavery, and he also started writing leaflets and books about it. But he didn’t just talk and write – he actually did things. He helped Olaudah Equiano to travel around England and sell his book. Peter was the person who set the title in the writing competition that Thomas Clarkson entered, and helped to change Clarkson’s life. Thomas Clarkson came here to this church to listen to Peter Peckard preaching. Peter helped to inspire lots of people. One of the books he wrote was called “Am I not a man and a brother?” He said that we are all brothers in Christ, so how can we make our fellow human beings our slaves?

Another person who spoke out against slavery was Josiah Wedgewood, who owned a pottery business. Josiah was very rich, and he paid one of his workers to design a logo against slavery, using Peckard’s book title.

Children will be shown a picture of the logo designed for Josiah Wedgewood. It has a picture of an African slave kneeling in chains. The words are round the edge. 

This logo was stamped on letters and leaflets, but also used on badges, brooches, and even on plates and teapots. Lots of people couldn’t vote in elections, especially women, so they didn’t have any say in how the country was run. But they could still show they were against slavery and spread the word by using and wearing these things.

Children will be shown two replicas of Wedgewood brooches.

Peter Peckard had a wife called Martha. Martha supported the campaign against slavery, and she would have worn a brooch like this. She was also the person who paid for Anna Maria Vassa’s grave stone and wrote a poem about the children bringing flowers.

Peter preached in the pulpit, and Martha probably talked about slavery to her guests whilst pouring tea from an anti-slavery tea set.


Activity Three: Anti-slavery Sermon

Slavery isn’t just something that happened in the past. It happens in the world today, and children are often the victims. Child slaves are forced to make some of the clothes we can buy in our country, and even the footballs for children to play with in the playground.

In groups of five. the children will be asked to discuss the cards given to them and put them in order of importance. The cards give them a set of arguments Peter Peckard used when he preached his sermons against slavery. Children will be invited to choose one of their group to come up into the pulpit to preach and say which argument you thought was most important.

This is what the cards say:

  •  Buying and selling people as slaves is wrong.
  • God has made us all, and loves us all the same.
  • It is wrong to drag people away from their families and treat them cruelly.
  • We should not tie innocent people up in chains.
  • God will reward people who speak out and work to stop slavery.
  • God is the Shepherd and we are his sheep. It is stealing from God to make another person into a slave.


Background information for teachers

Stop 1 | Stop 2 |Stop 3 | Stop 4 |Stop 5 | Stop 6