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Blundell Bryan

Ship-owner and founder of the Liverpool Blue Coat School

Blundell was born into a wealthy Liverpool family in 1676 and became a ship-master at the age of 21.  Eventually he owned his own ship, had shares in several others and was a very astute maritime merchant.   A very religious person, he was Mayor of Liverpool twice and administrator of the Blue Coat School, of which he was one of the founders in 1715 initially paid for over 25% (later increased to 50%) of the school buildings.

He has often been accused of trading in slaves or indentured servants and sending pupils at the school to sea in almost slave conditions.  The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, of which he was a member investigated the accusations at the time and completely cleared him.

He has been linked with slavery even to this day - not as a slave trader, but merely on the supposition that he traded in tobacco and that all tobacco was handled by slaves. However although a major portion of his cargo was tobacco, it came from northern Virginia and there seem to have been very few slaves in the area before 1712 and perhaps none on the Eastern Shore (Chesapeake Bay).

Members of his family built Ince Blundell Hall at Crosby (north of Liverpool) and later made a collection of statues from ancient Greece and Rome some of which are now in the Walker Art Gallery and the World Museum Liverpool.