Archbishop of Canterbury criticises Church of England for taking too long to remove slavery memorial

Justin Welby asked 'why is it so much agony to remove?'

Published

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said the Church of England is taking too long to remove a memorial to a man who funded the slave-trade.

The plaque memorialising Tobias Rustat, who invested in the Royal African Company, is located inside a Cambridge University college chapel.

In comments carried by the BBC, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby asked: “Why is it so much agony to remove a memorial to slavery?”

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby speaks at the annual Lord Mayor's Banquet at the Guildhall in central London.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby speaks at the annual Lord Mayor's Banquet at the Guildhall in central London.

Jesus College requested last year that the plaque be moved and exhibited in a “place of learning”.

Mr Welby asked why that was “so difficult” and said “we need to change our practices”.

Earlier, Lord Boateng, chair of the Archbishops’ Commission on Racial Justice, said at the General Synod that a lack of action on recommendations to address racial injustice was “chilling” and “a scandal”.

“Why is it so much agony to remove a memorial to slavery?”

The Archbishop of Canterbury

He said: “The most chilling thing about this report, the most concerning thing about this report, are the appendices, the long lists of previous recommendations which have not been implemented, promises made that have not been fulfilled.

“It is chilling, it is wounding, it is a scandal, and it has to be addressed.”