Scipio Kennedy Grave

Scipio Kennedy

Scipio Kennedy (c.1694-1774):
Kirkoswald Old Parish Church and Graveyard, Ayrshire, Kirk Rd, Maybole KA19 8HZ

In Kirkoswald Old Church graveyard, there is a stone commemorating the life of Scipio Kennedy erected by one of his sons, Douglas. Whilst the stone does not explicitly say that Scipio is buried there, it does say that his son is “also” buried there. A short journey away is one of Scotland’s most imposing edifices, Culzean Castle, home to the Kennedy clan, and it was here that Scipio was to spend most of his life.

He was born in Guinea in c.1694. At the age of five or six, he was captured and sold into a life of slavery in the West Indies. He was bought by Andrew Douglas of Mains, Dunbartsonshire, and brought to Scotland in 1702. Douglas’s daughter, Jean, married John Kennedy in 1705, and brought Scipio to Culzean with them, having apparently been given him as a wedding present. In 1725, Scipio was granted manumission. The document is held by the National Archives of Scotland, and notes the “clothing, maintenance and education with more than ordinary kindness” that had already been bestowed upon him by the Kennedy family. It appears he had been tutored as a weaver, and this was confirmed by an archaeological dig in 2007 conducted at the site of his old house in the grounds of Culzean. The house had been an impressive, stone-built structure, and a number of artefacts found may well have been his personal property. Scipio also married, and had at least eight children.

His name appears again in Jean Kennedy’s will of 1751, which bequeaths “to Scipio Kennedy my old servant, the sum of ten pounds sterling”. This was a similar amount to that bequeathed to her three grandchildren, indicated the affection with which he was clearly held by the Kennedy family.

This stone is erected
by Douglas Kennedy
in Memory of his father
Scipio Kennedy; who
died June 24, 1774
Aged 80 years.
Also here lieth the body of
said Douglas Kennedy who
died July 21, 1781 Aged
49 years.

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