The Rev. John Newton 1725-1807 slave-trade abolitionist (once a slave-trader himself), lived at Marchfoot House in Aveley parish as a youth and began his sea career here at Long Reach. His hymn still touches hearts worldwide: 'Amazing Grace... that saved a wretch like me'.
John Henry Newton (24 July 1725 O.S./4 August N.S. – 21 December 1807) was an English sailor and evangelical Anglican cleric. Starting his career at sea at a young age, he became involved with the slave trade for a few years. After experiencing a Christian conversion, he became a cleric and hymn-writer. Although he continued his involvement in the slave trade for much of his Christian life, he later became a prominent supporter of the abolition of slavery. He was the author of many hymns, including "Amazing Grace" and "Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken".