Ownership Manacle (lock and key)

Instruments of torture and punishment were often used to instil fear on plantations. This metal band would be locked onto an enslaved person’s wrist to show they were considered chattel (the property of someone else). The name on the band is the name of the plantation owner, S. Bosanquet. The name of the plantation, Layton, and the year the person was purchased, 1746, is on the other side. Running away was a common form of resistance on the plantation. Anyone found away from a plantation without proper papers or identification was deemed to be run away and severely punished. Forcing the enslaved, who might have been permitted to temporarily leave a plantation, to wear a band like this helped slave owners to identify and return anyone who might have escaped.

© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

Accession reference: National Maritime Museum, ZBA2474