Stolen From God – A song cycle unfolding the history of England’s involvement in the Transatlantic slave trade – by Reg Meuross

Thanks and acknowledgement to Halsway Manor for awarding an incubator bursary to Stolen From God – which allowed Reg, Senegalese kora master Jali Fily Cissokho, concertina player Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne and vocalist Jaz Gayle to meet for a day earlier this year to work on Reg’s songs together. Also to Mill Farm Music in Dorset for invaluable support recording this album.

Good Morning Mr Colston – the first single from Stolen From God – HERE.

ORDER / LISTEN to Stolen From God HERE

STOLEN FROM GOD TOUR – with Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne and/or Suntou Susso

Gigs and festivals coming up – more tbc

2023 still to come
Weds Dec 6 – Costa Del Folk Hayling Island (trio)

Sun Jan 21 (Reg & Cohen) w/ Karen Gledhill (narrator) Devoran Acoustic Sessions, Cornwall 
Wed Jan 24 (trio) w/ Matthew Bannister (narrator) and poet, Jenny Mitchell 
Kings Place, London 
Fri Jan 26 (trio) Brewhouse Arts, Burton 
Sat Jan 27 (trio)The David Hall, South Petherton, Somerset 
Sun Jan 28 (trio)w/ Steve Knightley (narrator)Topsham Folk Club, Devon 
Thur March 21 (Reg & Cohen) Crosby Ravensworth Village Hall, Cumbria 
Fri March 22 (Reg & Cohen)The Watson InstituteCastle Carrock, Cumbria
Sat March 23 (Reg & Cohen)Bowes and Gilmonby Village Hall, County Durham 
Sun March 24 (Reg & Cohen) Levens Village Hall, Cumbria 
Sat June 8 (Reg & Cohen)Kirkgate Arts, Cumbria 
Sun July 9 (trio) Gate To Southwell Festival 
Sat July 13 (trio)Priddy Folk Festival 
Fri July 19 (trio)Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival 
Fri Aug 23 (Reg & Cohen)Towersey Folk Festival 
Fri Oct 25 Reg & Suntou St Endellion, Cornwall 
Tues Oct 29 (trio)Folk At The Cornerhouse, Surbiton 
Further October (Black History Month gigs tba) 

ALL GIGS HERE (listed as soon as we have live ticket links)

With evidence of the slave trade across the South-West of England, and a real need for our history to be told, Reg Meuross has researched and written a song cycle ‘Stolen From God’ – a set of moving and thought provoking songs, with narration, to tell the challenging and often harrowing tales of the region’s past.

Recognised as a “true troubadour with a social conscience” by Mark Radcliffe, Reg Meuross has made it his life’s work to bring the stories of the oppressed, forgotten and misrepresented members of our human family to light. 

Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne Reg Meuross and Suntou Susso – photo Rachel Snowdon


“The truth will set us free…..
….Stolen from God is a beautiful, powerful and important album which deserves the widest possible audience – including schoolchildren and students.” Liz Thompson – Arts Desk FULL REVIEW

“…never has he made a more important or more deeply considered and researched album” Iain Anderson BBC Radio Scotland

“…an ambitious, often unsettling song cycle about the toxic legacy of the transatlantic slave trade, based on four years of research into oral histories, family trees and church records” The Guardian

“Historically, educationally, and inspirationally…the debate we should have had many many years ago which would have provided the affirmation this country now needs. If ever there was evidence that music can be used to speak truth to power, then this album will in time sit as testament to that fact. From a British man of colour, a personal thanks must go to Reg Meuross and his team for taking on this subject matter. It is clear that a great deal of thought and care has gone into this project and that should be applauded. Finally and ironically, this album and what is says about Britain’s imperial past might have gone a long way in saving a certain statue in Bristol from the same fate as many of the humans exploited in this dark period of history – “through understanding our past can we accept our present and build a better future for all”. Ifi Umoren – FATEA

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “An album which both moves and challenges the listener and a reminder that with the current government and media attacks on Black Lives Matter we are still having to fight the ideology which gave rise to the trade depicted in these songs.” Steve Johnson – Morning Star 

“… in Stolen From God, he has unquestionably written his masterpiece in a song cycle that turns an unflinching eye on the toxic legacy of the transatlantic slave trade, especially in his home in the South West of England. Shocked by his realisation of his ignorance of British Black History, of the Empire and how so many of the nation’s grand estates and lauded figures were tainted by the stain of slavery that had served as the foundation for their wealth and public acclaim.”
Mike Davies for Folk Radio UK FULL REVIEW HERE

⭐⭐⭐⭐ RnR Magazine

“A harrowing, poignant, emotional unfolding journey. Stolen From God is an extraordinary album that steals away your heart, body, mind, soul and spirit then delivers it right back to you with the healing power of music.

Reg Meuross is a powerful singer, songwriter story teller and ally, this album is educational, collaborative and essential.”
– Lady Nade

“What an amazing, deep and vitally important piece of work you have made” – Angeline Morrison

“Eloquent, important and deeply moving collection”
Songlines Magazine

“I believe that this album will very soon be seen as a classic as important as Pete Bellamy’s “The Transports” – Reg Meuross has written a masterpiece and the musicians  working with him on this are simply amazing. He couldn’t have made a better choice.” Mike Harding

“A stunning and important work of historical research set to some of the best folk tunes you’ll hear this year.” Tim Martin – Americana UK

“Stolen from God, a new song cycle from Reg Meuross, marks the culmination of four years digging into the hellish history of the Atlantic Slave Trade.” TradFolk Richard Davies FULL REVIEW HERE

“Combining narrative and song that sits comfortably (or ‘uncomfortably’ given the subject matter) with Peter Bellamy’s The Transports” – At The Barrier

“Hard hitting… powerful… moving story. If it educates people to the realities of the barbaric industry then Reg and this album has done the job. An album which needs to be listened to many times in its entirety.” Jelli Folk – Brian Inglis

Featured Album of the week Alternative Roots 9.04.23 HERE


“I’ve just finished listening to the CD
I’m left with 3 feelings
*admiration at the superb quality of the writing and musicianship
*deep emotion at the power of the storytelling
*anger at the abhorrence of the Slave Trade
You have done us a great service by bringing it to a wider audience: thank you!”


“I’ve been a singer/songwriter, a folk-singer, all my life. Telling stories that reflect our times, telling important stories from history, highlighting issues that I believe are important; songs about people, for people.

“Evidence of involvement in Transatlantic slavery is everywhere in the West Country: Topsham, Bridgwater, Bristol, Plymouth & Bideford were all significant ports,” Reg explains.

“Many of the big country estates have links with slavery. The connections go right through the upper classes and even the clergy. For example, the Rolle family of Barnstaple had their slave labour estates in Barbados; the Vicar in Hatherleigh was bequeathed 8 slaves in a will; John Hawkins (along with his great friend Sir Francis Drake) was on the first Slave expedition from Plymouth in 1562. Bridgwater became the first British town to petition Parliament for abolition in 1785.

“And, of course, a prominent figure in the Trade was Edward Colston of Bristol, whose legacy is everywhere in that city; schools, streets, Almshouses, hospitals, churches all benefited from his generosity. Generosity enabled by his role as a member of the Royal African Company, which traded in an estimated 84,000 enslaved men, women and children in the time that Colston was with the company.”

The toppling of the Colston statue as part of the Black Lives Matter movement in the summer of 2020, and the subsequent debates as to how to display it again show that there are many truths about the relationship with slavery still to be confronted and examined in the South West.

Reg has never shied away from confronting uncomfortable truths, questioning the decisions of the powerful, and addressing false histories in his songs: whether it’s calling out the repugnant effects of austerity in Faraway People, or hard-hitting social commentary with The Lonesome Death of Michael Brown, his belief that “folk songs provide a rapid and accessible route into history and its relevance to current affairs and our lives” stands him in good stead when it comes to unearthing and tackling the subject matter of Stolen from God.

“While nothing can be done to atone for the atrocities carried out during that period in British history, it’s obvious to me that there is a need for greater awareness of the West Country’s involvement in Slavery to be increased on all levels. 

“As the scale of the South West’s economic reliance and influence in the plantation economies began to reveal itself, with this knowledge came a sense of betrayal; that after 200 years so much of this important part of our history is only now being owned and examined.

“All this hideous criminality, actively masquerading as greatness and Empire, slowly reveals how many of the glorious achievements of Britain’s colonial past are tainted by the fact that the map of empire is the blueprint for the history of slavery and racism. It’s clear from my initial research and from the contacts I’ve made with local historians and awareness activists, that there are still many important facts to be revealed and compelling stories to be told.

“My task with Stolen From God has been to produce a song cycle of original songs telling the stories I’ve found, and to present a history of The South West’s involvement in Slavery in a way that will be easily accessible and will have impact – as a recorded album and a live show of songs performed by a diverse group of musicians: the great Master Kora player and Grio Jali Fily Cissokho, concertina player Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne and vocalist Jaz Gayle. The shows will be accompanied by a succinct history around each song.”

Reg was awarded an Incubator Bursary from Halsway Manor to support the development of the project – which Reg and the team were very grateful for – allowing them to meet at Halsway Manor in 2021 and to have an initial run through the songs together.

Any questions should be directed to Katie Whitehouse.

Halsway Manor is a registered charity that supports traditional folk arts and houses the Kennedy Grant Library, a nationally important collection of folklore, customs, music, dance and song, the second largest library of its type in the UK.

Crispian Cook, Chief Executive of Halsway says: ‘We are very pleased to announce that Reg Meuross has received one of Halsway Manor’s Incubator Bursaries. The bursaries are given to assist in the development of interesting and important new projects and Halsway is delighted to be working with Reg in 2021’.

As a recipient of an Incubator Bursary, Reg has had access to this great library, as well as a small grant towards the costs of research trips. Halsway Manor has also hosted a wonderful meeting of the four musicians where they were able to work on the songs together for a day.

Reg Meuross Singer Songwriter Storyteller