Stephanie Mathivet’s talk explores how Wells has been impacted by the Tudway family, owners of enslaved Africans on the Parham plantations in Antigua from 1679-1944. A branch of the family moved to Wells in the late 17th century and became substantial landowners and employers, with holdings both in and outside of the city. They acted locally as mayors, judges and MPs for nearly seventy years. With slavery-derived wealth they built grand properties and supported local causes as major benefactors and philanthropists.
Stephanie describes herself as a lay historian with a passion for social justice. It is her belief that by revealing the past we can understand it better and by acknowledging that past we can move forward as a society in a more constructive way. She believes that being honest about our collective national responsibility for African enslavement is a positive offering towards the eventual goal of reparatory justice for Africans across the diaspora. Her professional background before retirement was in Early Years Care and Education where she published many books on this subject.