Remembering Equiano - 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery
Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa 'The African' - In Soham, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom

Equiano's Marriage in Soham

St Andrews Church around 1810
A watercolour of St. Andrew's Church dating from about the time of the Abolition of Slavery in 1810.

Quite how such an eminent member of London's abolition movement came to reside in Soham remains a mystery, perhaps by a chance meeting in Cambridge during one of his many book tours. On 7th April 1792, Gustavus Vassa - An African (Bachelor of St. Martin in the Fields) married Susannah Cullen (Spinster of the Parish of Soham) at St. Andrew's Church, Soham Cambridgeshire. The marriage was by special licence and witnessed by Francis Bland and Thomas Cullen.

Marriage Certificate of Gustavus Vassa and Susannah Cullen April 7th 1792
Marriage Certificate of Gustavus Vassa & Susannah Cullen at St Andrew's Church 7th April 1792

Previous accounts of this marriage have recorded the bride as coming from either Ely or Fordham, whereas the actual record shows Susannah as 'Spinster of the Parish of Soham'. Unfortunately, as there is no record of her birth or baptism in the Parish, it is likely that she came to Soham with her parents as an infant, probably from the nearby village of Fordham (Cullen or Collen being a local name).


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