Oversight Group – transatlantic slavery

The Church Commissioners have issued a Press Release announcing the members of the Oversight Group to advise on response to historic links to transatlantic slavery. Whilst transatlantic slavery is per se outwith the scope of L&RUK, it has a direct bearing to consistory court judgments concerning “contested heritage“.

Church Commissioners announce members of Oversight Group to advise on response to historic links to transatlantic slavery


The Church Commissioners for England has today announced the members of the Oversight Group that will advise the Board on how it establishes the new impact investment fund and grant funding programme that is being set up in response to its research findings of historic links to transatlantic chattel slavery. Members were recruited through an open and transparent process, and they include impact investment specialists, academics, and activists.

“The Church Commissioners published its research findings in January 2023 and expressed deep sorrow and shame over its predecessor fund’s links with transatlantic chattel slavery.  In response, it has committed £100 million to a programme of impact investment, grants and further research, and I am pleased to welcome the wealth of expertise in this new Oversight group which will give advice to the Board as we work together to create a better future for all,” said the Right Reverend David Urquhart, the Chair the sub-group of the Church Commissioners’ Board that is focussed on this work.


The Right Reverend Dr Rosemarie Mallett, Bishop of Croydon, will chair the oversight group, and Geetha Tharmaratnam, Chief Impact Investment Officer of the WHO Foundation, will be Vice-Chair. Bishop Rosemarie has a professional background as a research sociologist and academic, specialising in international development and ethno-cultural mental health.

Roy Swan, Director of Mission Investments at The Ford Foundation, along with Tara Sabre Collier, Director of Impacting Investing and Sustainable Finance at Chemonics UK, bring further investment experience to the group.  Derek Bardowell, author and CEO of Ten Years’ Time, brings many years of experience in supporting community wealth creation.

Other members include legal specialists and activists Esther Stanford-Xosei and Priscellia Robinson, alongside social commentator and activist Patrick Vernon.  The group features two journalists – Alex Renton, author of Blood Legacy, and co-founder of the Heirs of Slavery Group, and Jonathan Guthrie, head of Lex, the Financial Times‘ daily column on global capital.”

Dr Christienna Fryar and Professor Richard Drayton, leading academics, will contribute their knowledge and insight, as will theologians The Reverend Canon Dr Anderson Jeremiah of Lancaster University and The Reverend Canon Dr Michael Clarke, Principal of Codrington College, Barbados.



The earlier report referred to in the Press Release, Church Commissioners publishes full report into historic links to transatlantic chattel slavery and announces new funding commitment of £100m in response to findings (10 January 2023) follows the interim announcement Church Commissioners’ research identifies historic links to transatlantic chattel slavery (16 June 2022). This reported that the Church Commissioners’ endowment had historic links to transatlantic chattel slavery*, an endowment which traces its origins partly to Queen Anne’s Bounty, a fund established in 1704.

* ’Chattel slavery’ is the enslaving and owning of human beings and their offspring as property, able to be bought, sold, and forced to work without wages. This is distinguished from other systems of forced, unpaid, or low-wage labour also considered to be slavery.

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Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Oversight Group – transatlantic slavery" in Law & Religion UK, 24 July 2023, https://lawandreligionuk.com/2023/07/24/oversight-group-transatlantic-slavery/

4 thoughts on “Oversight Group – transatlantic slavery

  1. If the Church Commissioners have a spare £100 million, wouldn’t this money be better spent helping people (including clergy) in these difficult economic times, rather than compiling another academic report for the library shelves?

  2. I am surprised not to see historian David Olusoga included in the oversight group.
    If anyone has the greatest knowledge of this subject area, it is he.

    • Part of the challenge is that everyone knows that – and everyone wants him. I wonder if he was worried about being spread too thin?

  3. Pingback: Index – Contested heritage | Law & Religion UK

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