Robert Story

‘Robert Story’ (c.1818-1848):
St Modan’s Parish Church, Rosneath Road, Rosneath G84 0RQ

At the edge of the kirkyard of St Modan’s old parish church is an impressive headstone dedicated to a “Robert Story”. The inscription tells us that he was captured at a very young age in western Africa and transported to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he was sold into slavery. He ended up in Trinidad, and it was there that his luck changed. He was bought out of slavery by a Mr Stewart Kerr of Kelso, who employed him on a proper wage. When his benefactor had to return to Scotland, Robert begged to be brought with him. Once in Scotland, however, and unable to support him, Kerr turned to his friend, the Rev. Robert Story of St Modan’s. Rev. Story, who took him on. It is said that he took on his new master’s name as a way of thanking him, and by all accounts, his time at the manse was happy. He died in 1848 at the age of around 30.

The headstone was restored by Dunbarton Council in 1982, and although weather-beaten, continues to bear testament to a remarkable friendship.

In memory of
Robert Story
a native of western Africa;
in early life torn from home & sold in
Rio de Janeiro as a slave;
there for his good fidelity
he was set free by his master.
Whom loving,
he followed to this country
and who retains the most
grateful remembrance of his
faithful services.

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