THERE are no plans to rename a school in Herefordshire, despite its connection to the slave trade.

Lady Hawkins’ School, a secondary school in Kington, was named after a slave trader’s wife who donated £800 to found the school almost 400 years ago.

In light of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has gathered momentum in recent weeks after the death of George Floyd in America, history teacher Nic Dinsdale said the school’s link to the slave trade was “tenuous”.

Despite Lady Margaret Hawkins being the second wife of Sir John Hawkins, the first man to engage in the slave trade between the east coast of Africa and the Americas, there is no evidence to suggest the school was financed by slavery.

“Lady Margaret did not marry Sir John Hawkins in his slave trading days, but after a long service as treasurer of the Navy and when he was a courtier,” said Mr Dinsdale, who is head of humanities at the school.


“Lady Margaret will have been an Elizabethan lady born into privilege and a close servant to Queen Elizabeth who will have had a considerable wealth of her own. She also outlived Sir John Hawkins by many years.

He added: “As tempting as it is to make suppositions, there is no evidence to support the claim that money made from the slave trade was the foundation of the school.

“Instead, it seems that Lady Margaret had well intentioned hopes for funding the foundation of a ‘free school’ for the children of Kington, and that the kindness of her executor meant that the funds were met.”

Mr Dinsdale said the school’s history should be “acknowledged, but not celebrated” and would not be changed.

“We need to acknowledge how terrible it was and learn from it,” he added.”

Plymouth City Council has said it will rename a public square in the city named after Sir John Hawkins.

And last weekend Black Lives Matter protesters in Bristol toppled a statue of slave trader Edward Colston, and their actions were condemned by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.