Historians Uncover Jamaican Slavery Roots of Northeast Education Fund

The Dick Bequest is a charity which distributes grants to help teachers in Aberdeenshire and Moray develop their skills and also provides for the purchase of school equipment.  It was established in 1832 in memory of James Dick who died in 1828 and left a significant percentage of his finances to fund parish schoolmasters in the Northeast of Scotland.  James Dick was born in Forres in 1743 and the research carried out by David Alston and Donald Morrison shows that Dick was involved in the slave trade in Jamaica for 20 years and built his fortune from the resulting profits.  In December 2019 the fund was valued at £1.7M.  Alston and Morrison believe that the money be returned to Jamaica to benefit schools and education there.  We would wholeheartedly agree.  You can read more here


  1. I agree, it should be sent to Jamaica to educate the poor.

    • This brings to mind the ‘Aye it was Aabody’ project and book that Birse community did a couple of years ago – press coverage here . I’m sure you know about it. This told the story of the Ramsay slaving family’s bequests, which founded a primary school and gave bursaries to teachers and Aberdeen University students until quite recently.
      I wonder how many more such funds there are. 
      My great-great-great grandfather, Sir Charles Dalrymple Fergusson, who owned a plantation in Jamaica, funded schools and churches in Scotland in the 1820s and 1830s, but none in Jamaica. I’ve written about this in my book Blood Legacy – Reckoning with a family’s story of slavery.

  2. I agree money should perhaps go to Jamaica for education of the children.
    I can however see problems. Which school/s?
    Which body would be responsible for the distribution?
    Not easy!

    • Jamaicans are trying for themselves. Thanks anyway. Ja governments must keep trying with taxes we do pay. But yes, we murmur a bit.


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