Rasselas is buried at Wanlip Hall
We've been looking at the personal stories of key figures from our county's past whose lives were affected. Find out about a teenage slave from Abyssinia who has never been forgotten by a Leicestershire village.
This is a story of respect and love for a teenager that has lived on in the village of Wanlip in the north of Leicestershire.
A very special gravestone lies at Wandlip Hall, the sacred memory of Rasselas Morjan. He was born in Abyssinia and died in Wanliip in August 25 1839, when he was only 19 years of age.
BBC Leicester's Bridget Blair went to find out more about Rasselas Morjan…
Revd. James Shakespeare, Rector of Birstall and Wanlip describes Rasselas's tombstone as one of the largest tombstones in the church yard. Written in an Egyptian style the inscription reads...
"Rescued from a state of slavery in this life and enabled by gods grace to become a member of his church he rests here in the hope of a greater deliverance here after. This stone is raised in remembrance of his blameless life by one whom he loved."
Why was Rasselas buried in Wanlip?
According to Revd. James the Palmer family, who owned Wanlip Hall were good friends of the Babington family. The Babingtons lived at Rothley and were passionate supporters and friends of Wilberforce. It could be that the Babingtons asked the Palmer's to employ Rasselas.
However the chair of the Afro-Caribbean Forum in Leicester has a different theory. Wolde Selassie believes before Rasselas was transferred to the Palmer family he was a resident with Queen Victoria.
What else do we know about him?
Revd. James, "The Palmers developed great love for Rasselas and was respected and loved by the staff in Wanlip Hall. He was given an education and was able to read."
Wolde, "His title Rass suggests that he came from a royal and ruling family of Ethiopia rather than from the common population of Abyssinia.
"From all over Africa, places like Zimbabwe, Angola and Nigeria we have got various sources that indicate that this was a pattern."
Both Revd. James and Wolde agree that Rasselas was exceptionally well treated by the Palmers unlike other former slaves, and was also much loved by the family and other servants at Wanlip Hall.
last updated: 16/04/2008 at 14:09