EVER heard of Sunderland Point? No? And you happen to live in Sunderland?

If you do, your ignorance of the eponymous Point is as excusable as that of other North-Easterners. For Sunderland Point is a landmark on the Lancashire coast. Or rather it is the absence of a landmark. For the Point is a mere finger of low-lying land protruding into Morecambe Bay.

So low-lying, in fact, that the road to its small hamlet is flooded at high tide. Yet, amazingly, in the 18th century the Point was a bustling port, busy with ships trading to and from the Caribbean. Their cargoes included rum, sugar, molasses - and slaves.

Among the latter was one who died soon after being brought ashore. Buried in an unmarked grave out on the marshes, his body lay forgotten for 60 years until, in 1796, a compassionate individual provided a wooden cross and a stone grave slab inscribed: "Here lies Poor Samboo (sic), a faithful Negro''. A replacement cross and lichened replica of the slab, whose verse epitaph anticipates God's judgement based: "Not on Man's COLOR (sic) but his WORTH OF HEART'', bring many to trek round Sunderland Point to what may be Britain's loneliest grave.

I thought I would tell you the touching story of Sambo's grave as a prelude to responding to a reader who invited me to name a Christian involved in the slave trade.

Of course, there were thousands. As Simon Schama notes in his recently-published A History of Britain: "The British Empire was, overwhelmingly, an empire of soldiers and slaves''. It is inconceivable that no slave trader or master attended church.

Yes, but name one. Very well, Richard Rich, Earl of Warwick. A punctilious Puritan, this son-in-law of Oliver Cromwell was a founder of the trade that shipped millions of slaves from Africa to the Caribbean, chiefly to work in the sugar plantations.

Back at Sunderland Point it was local Christians who, branding Sambo a heathen, denied him burial in the churchyard. It is ironic that while their graves, including those of shipping merchants buried beneath pompous tombstones, are neglected and ignored, Sambo's grave is increasingly a place of reverent pilgrimage. People often place fresh flowers and leave personal messages.

Christians can take heart that it was a parish priest, the Rev James Watson, who dignified Sambo's grave with a cross and grave slab. Nevertheless it was chiefly Quakers, rather than Anglicans, who launched and led the fight against slavery in the second half of the 18th century.

Coincidentally, a much bigger name than Richard Rich was involved with slavery. A certain George Washington owned 135 slaves. And I think I'm safe in saying the first President of the US was a Christian.

A recent TV programme pondered why the Great Storm of 1953, which killed more than 300 people in Britain, has been largely forgotten. Historian Dr Martin Francis opined that the storm "didn't fit our conventional narrative of what happened after the Second World War... People did not want to be reminded of bad things.''

The real reason is rather more obvious. The Great Storm lacked a Michael Fish to assure the nation there would be no Great Storm.