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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 March 2007, 16:53 GMT
Service remembers 'Cornish' slave
Mr Emidy was a gifted violinist
A man who was taken into slavery and later enjoyed musical success in Cornwall has been remembered at a special service.

The Bishop of Truro led the service to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade.

It centred on the grave of musician and slave Joseph Antonio Emidy who was snatched from his West African home.

He was later freed and ended up almost penniless in Cornwall. His remains are buried in Kenwyn Churchyard in Truro.

Joseph Emidy was a noted violinist who earned his living in Cornwall by teaching and composing music.

Ship's musician

But Jack Buzza, who is related by marriage and has researched Mr Emidy's story, believes it was his musical skill which brought him to Cornwall.

Born in West Africa in about 1775 Emidy was enslaved as a child by Portuguese traders, taken to Brazil and subsequently Portugal where he became a virtuoso violinist in the Lisbon Opera.

In 1795 he was kidnapped - or impressed - in Lisbon and forced into service as a ship's musician on an British frigate, where he forced to play the crew and officers.

He was freed when he arrived in Falmouth in 1799 and eventually became leader of the Truro Philharmonic Orchestra. He died in Truro in 1835.

The service also remembered the slaves of history as well as the millions who remain enslaved today.

Trail marks abolition anniversary
18 Mar 07 |  Cornwall


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