John Pinney


Peros Bridge

Pero Jones and his sisters Nancy and Sheeba were bought for Mountravers plantation, Nevis, in 1765. They were all children, Pero being 12 years old. Pinney paid £115 (about £5,750 in today’s terms) for the three children and one adult slave.

Pero and another house servant, the freed slave Frances Coker, accompanied the family in their move from Nevis to England in 1783 and to Bristol in 1784. Pero was personal servant to John Pinney, Frances was lady’s maid to Jane Pinney. Pero was trained as a barber. On Nevis he was often entrusted with large amounts of cash. Both ‘servants’ visited Nevis in 1790 and Pero again in 1794. After this visit, Pero seemed to change. According to Pinney, he started to drink heavily and his behaviour became unacceptable. Had something happened during this visit to Nevis to bring about this change?

When Pero fell ill in 1798, Pinney decided that a change of air would be beneficial. Pero was sent to Ashton, out in the country near to Bristol. Pinney and his family visited him often. Pero was about 45 and had served the Pinneys for 32 years. As far as we know, he was never given his freedom. He lived and died a slave.
In March 1999, a new footbridge across the River Frome in Bristol harbour was named after Pero, in commemoration of one slave who lived and died in the city.

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