Posted in Thoughts on life and spirituality, Travel, places to visit, mini-adventures, Walks

Morecambe Bay: Sunderland Point and Sambo’s Grave

Sunderland Point

Lancashire’s underrated scenery is often ignored in favour of its more popular, more famous, more spectacular neighbour, the Lake District. Lancastrians will often head to the Lakes for a day’s hiking or a weekend away (I am no exception, look at my previous mountain rambles detailed on this blog!) Holidaymakers will drive past the county in their bid to reach Wordsworth’s Paradise of the Lakes and Mountains. Even my Lonely Planet Walking in Britain book features the Yorkshire Dales, the Peak District and the Lake District but apparently there are no walks to be had in Lancashire! No scenic beauty!


There are many beauty spots in this very county and one such is Morecambe Bay, a destination crammed with nature, beauty and history.

Sunderland Point

Even in the modern age, there are places of stillness and tranquillity where you feel far, far away from the 21st century – and one such spot is a remote village called Sunderland Point. Author Karen Lloyd describes it as “if a warp in time as well as space had been crossed. Take away the street lights and TV aerials and you could imagine yourself back in the 18th century”. I cannot help but agree, that too was my impression of this unique olde worlde place.

It sits at the southern end of Morecambe Bay, at the end of a tidal causeway – which helps give it an isolated feeling – and overlooks the River Lune.

But behind this serene exterior lies a dark past. This lovely, tiny hamlet of only a few houses, which overlooks such a peaceful scene, actually has a tragic history.

Sambo’s Grave

There is a spot in this remote haven called Sambo’s Grave. Sambo (the name given, no one knows his real name) is believed to have been a black slave boy, possibly the only survivor of a shipwreck off Sunderland Point, although no one really knows his story.

In 1796, this grave was erected by Rev James Watson – about 60 years after the death of ‘Sambo’.

This remote hamlet was once seen as important because of its connection to slavery. In the early 1700s, the village was developed as an outport for the neighbouring city Lancaster, which was heavily involved in the slave trade.

According to Karen Lloyd’s The Gathering Tide, between 1736 and 1807, around 29,000 slaves were carried from West Africa to the West Indies on Lancaster’s ships.

However, Sunderland’s contribution to the slave trade was short-lived. By the end of the 1700s, Sunderland was no longer the go-to port. There were problems with the River Lune silting and competition from new ports – the newly constructed neighbour, Glasson Dock, and the much bigger Liverpool. Sunderland Point had now become ‘Cape Famine’.

It is strange to see a juxtaposition of beauty – the scenery, the tranquility, the wildlife – and the horror of the misery and suffering of slavery.

The grave was erected 60 years after the boy’s death

And yet, have we, the human species, moved on? Perhaps not. There are still atrocious human rights abuses taking place all over the world on a daily basis.

Our species can send astronauts out to space and to the moon, create vaccines and boast about AI and the latest technology, and yet too many humans still don’t know how to treat others with even the most basic levels of compassion and respect. How to treat others in the same way they themselves would like to be treated.

But I still have hope that one day our descendants will have a future where people can live alongside each other in harmony and peace. One can only hope…

Sambo’s Grave

Information about Sunderland Point comes from The Gathering Tide by Karen Lloyd


Interested in environmental issues, wildlife, spirituality, gardening, self-sufficiency and mini-adventures. There are two blogs, one is and the other, more recent one, is - ☺️

18 thoughts on “Morecambe Bay: Sunderland Point and Sambo’s Grave

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I lived in Morecambe when I was a student and love the area. Your photos bring back a lot of happy memories. However I am embarrassed to say I was totally ignorant of Sambo’s Grave xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have not been to Morecambe Bay, but heard of lovely stories about the place from someone who either bern that way, or one time lived there, or lived not far from there.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very interesting and picturesque, but sad about slavery and Sambo. I like your closing sentence: “But I still have hope that one day our descendants will have a future where people can live alongside each other in harmony and peace. One can only hope…” I grew up in Canada and we did not have racism, yet we moved to Michigan, near Detroit and a year after moving here (1966) were the riots … friends and family read about the riots or watched on TV, amazed that we would be living in such a place. We lived 13 miles (20 kms) away.

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      1. Yes it is – we have such horrific things going on over here as you know. I am Canadian, but have lived here for 55 years (still a Canadian citizen). Right now, most states have National Guard brought in for each of the state Capitols because of the upcoming inauguration. They have put National Guard in place here in Michigan today and boarded up some part of the Capitol, put up fencing, barbed wire and all the legislators will be working at home for the next week or so. I am on Twitter, just for the weather and nature-related sites and I follow the Dalai Lama there …. this was his post today. I may use it one day, maybe Mother’s Day.
        Peace is not brought about through conflict, but through compassion — creating peace of mind within ourselves. We all need compassion and women can take a lead role in bringing this about. My own first teacher of kindness and compassion was my mother.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes they are wise words. We sure need more wisdom over here Clare. Today they had to keep running a news story that “yes, if you have had COVID or already gotten your vaccine, you need to still wear a mask.” Apparently one of the politicians here said the opposite. At least once a day I am left shaking my head. We need wisdom, compassion and peace … a large dose of it.

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