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History Head Start - Option 5

This article was chosen by a member of our Warwick History department, Dr Naomi PullinLink opens in a new window. Naomi researches and teaches about the early modern British Atlantic, with particular interests in the gender, religious and political history of Britain and its North American colonies. Her first book, Female Friends and the Making of Transatlantic Quakerism, 1650-1750Link opens in a new window, explores the experiences and social interactions of Quaker women in England, Ireland and the American colonies over the movement's first century by placing women's roles, relationships and identities at the centre of the analysis.

This article and related questions are about the lives and experiences of enslaved African people in 17th Century London - and, specifically, the efforts that were taken by enslavers offering rewards for the return of so-called 'runaways'.

Simon Newman - Freedom Seekers: Escaping from Slavery in Restoration London (Preface, pages xxi-xxix and Chapter 1, pages 3-37).

Please read the Preface (pp. xxi-xxix) and Chapter 1 (pp. 3-37) of this eBook. It might also be helpful to read the Note on Language (pp. xi-xiii). You can access all of these in the eBook here:


You can also research the 'Runaway Slaves' database, to find an example of a 'runaway slave advertisement':


  1. What can the study of 'runaway slaves' tell us about life in Restoration London?
  2. Why should historians pay attention to the history of enslaved Africans in this period?
  3. What are the challenges of accessing the experiences of enslaved Africans and, by extension, those from different racial backgrounds residing in 17th-century Britain?
  4. Why is a focus on ‘freedom’ important in the history of enslavement?
  5. What do 'runaway slave advertisements' reveal about the transatlantic slave trade in this period?
  6. Do you think Newman was successful in accessing the experiences of ‘freedom seekers’ living in Restoration London?
  7. In what ways was race understood differently in the 1660s compared to now?

General Information:

Remember: academic journal articles can be difficult and complicated pieces of writing, It may take some time to read through and don’t be surprised if you need to have a few goes at it. This is normal!

To help you, use the list of questions to guide your thinking as you read the article. You should be thinking about what has been written, to assess for yourself whether it makes sense, whether it is backed up with supporting evidence, and whether you agree with it.

Tips for Reading
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