Save the Statue & Memorial to Tobias Rustat

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These two Cambridge institutions are planning on removing the monuments to their benefactor, Tobias Rustat. This includes a statue on the library building and a memorial inside the Grade 1 listed chapel at Jesus College where Rustat lies at rest.

In 1667, Rustat gave the equivalent of £150,000 to fund books for the library and £300,000 to fund scholarships for Jesus College. The memorial also records his acts of charity towards "churches, hospitals, universities and colleges and upon poor widows and orphans of orthodox ministers".

Now they want to remove these just because some of his wealth came from his investment in the Royal Africa Company.

We say this is not right. It is not right to judge a man who died 300 years ago by our modern standards, when he operated within the legal norms of his time. These institutions should remember his voluntary generosity that has enabled so much good for so many people.

It is also not right to remove our listed heritage for short term political reasons. We must preserve our architectural and artistic heritage for the long term.