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Thomas and John Kent of Cumberland

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Report of the Cumberland midsummer quarter sessions 1827,Removal Eleanor Kent

Carlise Patriot Saturday 14 July 1827
Mr Agliorby entered into this case at great length and called a number of witnesses. It appeared that many years ago, a captain of a merchant vessel brought a negro from the coast of Africa, named Thomas Kent to Whitehaven, after which he was sent into the service of the late Mr Senhouse, of Calder abbey, where he was considered as a slave by the family; but after living there seven or eight years, he got his liberty on account of his good conduct, and went to sea. He married the present pauper, Eleanor Kent, by whom he had several children, who, as well as Kent and his wife, had often received relief from the parish of Farlam, for upwards of twenty years. The overseers of Wetheral and Farlam had Kent examined, and Farlam afterwards continued to relieve him; and though notice of appeal had been given, after they had examined Kent they were satisfied and abandoned the appeal. Eleanor Kent, the wife, was born in the parish of Farlam, and money had been paid to her by both Mr Bell, of Hesket, and Mr Randleson of English street, Carlisle by order of the overseers of Farlam, which that parish repaid them again. Bell, the overseer of Hesket removed Mary Mc Kie, Kent's daughter, and her children, to Farlam, but could not remove Kent, as he had no parish; he was born in Africa; the select vestry, however, ordered him to be relieved. M Kie came back, and the overseer of Farlam paid the money. Mr. Carrick,solicitor for the parish of Farlam, here stated that he abandoned the appeal, because he had learned that M Kie and family had been removed to Farlam, and no notice of appeal had been entered.. Wm Armstrong, the overseer of Wetheral, went with Swallow, the overseer, to examine Kent if he had gained a settlement; and after this examination they withdrew the appeal. Eleanor Kent, the pauper removed, stated that the overseer of Farlam paid her rent six years ago, for three years, when her husband was living with her in Carlisle; he afterwards lost his sight. Farlam parish refused to relieve the female pauper four or five years ago but relieved her daughter who was born there. After that she got the removal order.
M Courtney addressed the Bench at great length. He questioned if ever the chairman, with all his experience, had heard facts so exaggerated as those which as those which had been dwelt upon by his learned friend. He, Mr C., was at a loss to know how the relief given to Mr Kie could affect the pauper who now claimed relief. When Farlam refused relief, after Kent was blind, and had become more feeble, why was he not removed as they had then had no relief for six or seven years. The observations of his learned friend respecting Kent's being a slave, though no sale had been proved, could soon be set at rest, for it was an undisputed point of English Law, that when a slave set his foot upon British ground he became a free man to all intents and purposes, the same as if he were a Frenchman or a Spaniard. The man was sui juris, and capable of contracting; and if he, Mr C., proved a contract implied, it was sufficient; for if a man moves through seven different parishes, the last fixes him, if he be under any contract; and he would prove that Kent was for years in the service of Mr Senhouse. For this purpose he called Mrs. Irwin daughter of the late Mr Senhouse, of Calder Abbey, who remembered Kent being brought to her father as a slave, and was always considered as such. He got his liberty, after seven or eight years' service, on account of his good conduct, and then went to sea. He once wrought as a gardener at Barrock Lodge. Mr Aglionby replied, and the Bench confirmed the order unanimously, but refused costs.The Rev. Mr Barwis thought the decision was a proper one; for if a woman with a settlement married a man with none, as soon as the man died, the maiden settlement again reverted.

Death of a Carlisle Notable

Carlisle Patriot Friday 23 July 1886
Yesterday there were interred at the Carlisle Cemetery the mortal remains of one of the oldest and best known inhabitants of this city ; we refer to John Kent, who had for many years been employed at the Citadel Station. John was popularly known as " Black Kent," he being of negro descent. His father came from the West Indies to this neighbourhood with a Cumberland gentleman, "Nabob Graham," who took up his residence at Rickerby House. Kent is said to have derived his surname from the circumstance that the vessel in which he came to this country landed upon the coast Kent, and he was named after the county. After marrying a Miss Pickering, of Brampton Hall, he returned to the West Indies, leaving his wife in this country. On arriving back in England he entered the service of James, of Barrock Park, gardener, and eventually died at High Stand, leaving ten children, five sons and five daughters. His wife died years ago, at the great age of 107.
John Kent, the subject of this notice, was born at Low Hesket in 1795, so that at his death he had attained his 91st year. In his early days he attended Hesket School, and then went out a servant lad. In his prime he was a big, powerful man ; and there are those still living who can remember the way in which used to handle the pavior's beater while engaged in paving the streets of Carlisle sixty years ago. They tell how people would gather round him in crowds to watch the tremendous blows dealt with the implement. He afterwards became watchman at Mary port before the modern police force was established ; and almost up to the lay of his death he delighted to narrate some of his adventures in that capacity. One of his earliest captures was that of two noted coiners. He used to tell how he caught one, and chained him to the bars of the fire grate in his own house. He then placed an -empty pistol on the table and told his wife to shoot him if he attempted to escape, while he followed and caught the other. another occasion he caught a person who had committed a robbery near Wigton a clever ruse. In order to put the individual oi whom he was pursuit off his guard, Kent feigned drunkenness, and the robber soon found that what he supposed to be a staggering inebriate was really stalwart guardian of the peace with all his senses about him. Kent was afterwards for nineteen years the Carlisle police force, and it was said that and one Joe Haugh were the first two policemen of the present regime. Be that as it may, there are hundreds Carlisle men far past middle life who have a vivid recollection of the big, black policeman. Hanging upon the walls of his house in Henry Street an excellent portrait of him in his police uniform, or rather h the uniform of Mayor's sergeant, an office which he held. While Mssrs Joseph Robinson and Co. were constructing the northen end of the Carlisle and Lancaster Railway, Kent was in their employ and was a very confidential servant, to whom Mr Robinson, the late James Thompson, of Kirkhouse, and Mr Mark Thompson entrusted important work. For thirteen years was employed in the signal-box on the south side of the Citadel Station, and this is still shown on the local railway plans "Kent's box." The youthful Prince of Wales, passing through Carlisle Station after the publication of Mrs Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin," seeing a negro in the box, is said to have askel his attendants if that was " Uncle Tom" in his "Cabin." During the last seven or sight years of his life Kent was the attendant at the gentlemen's first-class waiting-room at the Citadel Station. His civility and unvarying good humour made him favourite with everyone, while his strict attention to duty commended him to his employers. He was at work as usual last Friday, but on Saturday he was ill, and died on Monday afternoon. He married a woman belonging to the Longtown district, but she predeceased him thirteen years ago. He is survived by one son, who is in Australia, by his sister, Mrs Lamb, of Low Row, who is now 86 year of age.

Extracts from Newspaper reports John Kent as a policeman

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