Garden blogs

Sir William Vaughan : The Colonisation of Newfoundland


Having looked at an overview of the life of Sir William Vaughan, I feel his exploits in Newfoundland deserve further consideration. So here is a little more detail.

Sir William Vaughan  : The Colonisation of Newfoundland

Middleton Estate connection :

Uncle of Mary Vaughan. Henry Middleton and Mary are thought to have been the first to live in the original Middleton Hall.

Why did he attempt to create a colony? :

To help relieve the overpopulation, poverty and apathy he saw in Wales.

Why Newfoundland? :

He rejected Soldana, St Helena, Burmuda and Virginia before choosing Newfoundland. It provided easy access and a staple, saleable commodity, fish.

Exact location :

Part of the Avalon Peninsula, south of a line from Caplin Bay to Placentia Bay, including the harbours of Ferryland, Fermeuse and Renewse. He named the settlement ‘Cambriol’.

When :

The first settlers were sent in 1617 to Renewse, but they were totally ill-equipped for life as pioneers and lacked the leadership to succeed. Another group went in 1618, with Richard Whitbourne as governor, and he succeeded in reorganising the settlement. Despite this the venture had collapsed by 1619. In 1621/2 the colony was re-established at Trepassay Bay and it is thought to have been prospering in 1624. It continued as a smaller venture, and with varying success, until sometime between 1630 and 1637, when he finally abandoned his attempt at permanent colonisation in Cambriol.

How successful? :

Many of William Vaughan’s plans were sound. He realised that the fishery couldn’t be the sole support of a colony, and it was his intension that industry, agriculture and fishing would be co-ordinated to provide income and employment throughout the year. Insufficient finance, unprepared settlers and harsh conditions finally  brought the attempt to an end. William may have visited the settlement 1622-25 or after 1628, possibly writing some of his books there, but this cannot be confirmed. Regardless of this he did provide some of the earliest English literature in North America.

See also :

William Vaughan : His Life

Coming soon :

William Vaughan : ‘The Newlanders Cure’