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Bartholomew Gosnold

Bartholomew Gosnold

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Bartholomew Gosnold was an English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 lawyer, explorer, and privateer
Privateer
A privateer is a private person or ship authorized by a government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping during wartime. Privateering was a way of mobilizing armed ships and sailors without having to spend public money or commit naval officers...

, instrumental in founding the Virginia Company of London, and Jamestown
Jamestown, Virginia
Jamestown was a settlement in the Colony of Virginia. Established by the Virginia Company of London as "James Fort" on May 14, 1607 , it was the first permanent English settlement in what is now the United States, following several earlier failed attempts, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke...

, Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. He is considered by Preservation Virginia (formerly known as the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities) to be the "prime mover of the colonization of Virginia." Gosnold also led the first recorded European expedition to visit Cape Cod
Cape Cod
Cape Cod, often referred to locally as simply the Cape, is a cape in the easternmost portion of the state of Massachusetts, in the Northeastern United States...

, on May 15, 1602.

Early life


He was born in Grundisburgh
Grundisburgh
Grundisburgh is a village of more than 1,530 residents situated in the English county of Suffolk. It is in the Suffolk Coastal district, six miles north-east from Ipswich and four miles north-west of Woodbridge located on the B1079. Flowing through the village are the rivers Lark and Gull...

 in Suffolk
Suffolk
Suffolk is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in East Anglia, England. It has borders with Norfolk to the north, Cambridgeshire to the west and Essex to the south. The North Sea lies to the east...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 in 1572, and his family seat was at Otley, Suffolk
Otley, Suffolk
Otley is a village located in the county of Suffolk, England, about eight miles north of Ipswich. The village is home to Otley Hall, a 16th century, Grade I listed house which was historically the seat of the family of Bartholomew Gosnold, and Otley College, offering vocationally focused courses...

. His parents were Anthony Gosnold and Dorothy Bacon. He graduated from the University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

 and studied law at Middle Temple
Middle Temple
The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, commonly known as Middle Temple, is one of the four Inns of Court exclusively entitled to call their members to the English Bar as barristers; the others being the Inner Temple, Gray's Inn and Lincoln's Inn...

.

Gosnold was a friend of Richard Hakluyt
Richard Hakluyt
Richard Hakluyt was an English writer. He is principally remembered for his efforts in promoting and supporting the settlement of North America by the English through his works, notably Divers Voyages Touching the Discoverie of America and The Principal Navigations, Voiages, Traffiques and...

 and sailed with Walter Raleigh
Walter Raleigh
Sir Walter Raleigh was an English aristocrat, writer, poet, soldier, courtier, spy, and explorer. He is also well known for popularising tobacco in England....

. He obtained backing to attempt to found an English colony
English colonial empire
The English colonial empire consisted of a variety of overseas territories colonized, conquered, or otherwise acquired by the former Kingdom of England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries....

 in the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

 and in 1602 he sailed from Falmouth in a small Dartmouth bark, the Concord, with thirty-two on board. They intended to establish a colony in New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

, which was then known as Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

.

Gosnold pioneered a direct sailing route due west from the Azores
Azores
The Archipelago of the Azores is composed of nine volcanic islands situated in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, and is located about west from Lisbon and about east from the east coast of North America. The islands, and their economic exclusion zone, form the Autonomous Region of the...

 to what later became New England, arriving in May 1602 at Cape Elizabeth in Maine
Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

 (Lat. 43 degrees). He skirted the coastline for several days before anchoring in York Harbor, Maine
Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

, on May 14, 1602.

The next day, he sailed into Provincetown Harbor
Provincetown Harbor
Provincetown Harbor is a large natural harbor located in the town of Provincetown, Massachusetts. The harbor is mostly 30 to deep and stretches roughly one mile from northwest to southeast and two miles from northeast to southwest, i.e., one large, deep bowl with no dredged channel necessary for...

, where he is credited with naming Cape Cod
Cape Cod
Cape Cod, often referred to locally as simply the Cape, is a cape in the easternmost portion of the state of Massachusetts, in the Northeastern United States...

. Following the coastline for several days, he discovered Martha's Vineyard
Martha's Vineyard
Martha's Vineyard is an island located south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, known for being an affluent summer colony....

 and named it after his daughter, Martha . He established a small post on Cuttyhunk Island
Cuttyhunk
Cuttyhunk Island is the outermost of the Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. It was the first site of English settlement in New England. It is located between Buzzards Bay to the north and Vineyard Sound to the south...

, one of the Elizabeth Islands
Elizabeth Islands
The Elizabeth Islands are a chain of small islands extending southwest from the southern coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts in the United States. They are located at the outer edge of Buzzards Bay, north of Martha's Vineyard from which they are separated by Vineyard Sound, and constitute the town of...

, near Gosnold
Gosnold, Massachusetts
Gosnold is a town that encompasses the Elizabeth Islands in Dukes County, Massachusetts, United States. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 75, making it the least populous town in Massachusetts...

, now in Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

. The post was abandoned when intending settlers decided to return on the ship to England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 since they had insufficient provisions to overwinter.

A notable account of the voyage, written by John Brereton
John Brereton
John Brereton was a gentleman adventurer and chronicler of the 1602 voyage to the New World led by Bartholomew Gosnold.Brereton recorded the first European exploration of Cape Cod and its environs...

, one of the gentlemen adventurers, was published in 1602, and this helped in popularising subsequent voyages of exploration and colonisation of the northeast seaboard of America. A second account by Gabriel Archer was not published until over twenty years later, after Gosnold's death.

Virginia Company, Jamestown


Gosnold spent several years after his return to England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 promoting a more ambitious attempt; he obtained from King James I
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

 an exclusive charter for a Virginia Company
Virginia Company
The Virginia Company refers collectively to a pair of English joint stock companies chartered by James I on 10 April1606 with the purposes of establishing settlements on the coast of North America...

 to settle Virginia. To form the core of what would become the Virginia Colony at Jamestown
Jamestown, Virginia
Jamestown was a settlement in the Colony of Virginia. Established by the Virginia Company of London as "James Fort" on May 14, 1607 , it was the first permanent English settlement in what is now the United States, following several earlier failed attempts, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke...

, he recruited his cousin-by-marriage Edward Maria Wingfield
Edward Maria Wingfield
Sir Edward Maria Wingfield, sometimes hyphenated as Edward-Maria Wingfield, was a soldier, Member of Parliament, and English colonist in America...

, as well as John Smith
John Smith of Jamestown
Captain John Smith Admiral of New England was an English soldier, explorer, and author. He was knighted for his services to Sigismund Bathory, Prince of Transylvania and friend Mózes Székely...

, his brother and a cousin, in addition to members of his 1602 expedition. Gosnold himself served as vice-admiral of the expedition, and captain of the Godspeed
Godspeed (ship)
Godspeed, under Captain Bartholomew Gosnold, was one of the three ships on the 1606-1607 voyage to the New World for the English Virginia Company of London. The journey resulted in the founding of Jamestown in the new Colony of Virginia.-History:All 39 passengers and 13 sailors she carried on that...

(one of the three ships of the expedition; the other two being the Susan Constant
Susan Constant
Susan Constant, captained by Christopher Newport, was the largest of three ships of the English Virginia Company on the 1606-1607 voyage that resulted in the founding of Jamestown in the new Colony of Virginia.-History:Susan Constant was rated at 120 tons. Her keel length is estimated at 55.2 feet...

, under Captain Christopher Newport
Christopher Newport
Christopher Newport was an English seaman and privateer. He is best known as the captain of the Susan Constant, the largest of three ships which carried settlers for the Virginia Company in 1607 on the way to find the settlement at Jamestown in the Virginia Colony, which became the first permanent...

, and the Discovery, under Captain John Ratcliffe  ).He commanded the ship Godspeed on the voyage to Jamestown

Gosnold also solicited the support of Matthew Scrivener
Matthew Scrivener
Matthew Scrivener was an English colonist in Virginia. He served briefly as acting governor of Jamestown, when he was succeeded by Captain John Smith...

, cousin of Edward Maria Wingfield. Scrivener became Acting Governor of the new Colony, but drowned in a tragic accident in 1609 along with Anthony Gosnold, Bartholomew's brother, while trying to cross to Hog Island in a storm. (Ironically, Scrivener's brother Nicholas had also drowned while a student at Eton.)
Gosnold was popular among the colonists and opposed the location of the colony at Jamestown Island; he also helped design the fort that held the initial colony. He died only four months after they landed, on 22 August 1607. George Percy's 'Discourse' that was printed in the fourth volume of Purchas His Pilgrimes (1625) records Gosnold's death (...Captain Bartholomew Gosnold one of Councile, he was buryed thereupon having all the ordinance in the Fourt shote offwith manye vollyes of small shot...) and then sayse "...Oure men were destroyed with cruel dyseases as swellings, fluxes, burning fevers, and by wars and some exyted souddenlye, but for the moste part they dyeth of mere famine..."

Gosnold married Mary Goldinge, daughter of Robert Goldinge of Bury St Edmunds and his wife Martha Judd, at Latton Essex in 1595. They had several children of whom Mary married Richard Pepys
Richard Pepys
Sir Richard Pepys was an English lawyer and politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1640 and was Lord Chief Justice of Ireland. He was a cousin of the father of Samuel Pepys the diarist....

 kinsman of the diarist Samuel Pepys.

Possible discovery of his grave


In 2003 Preservation Virginia announced that its archaeological dig at Jamestown had discovered the likely position of Gosnold's grave. The skeletal remains of what they believe to be Gosnold were exhumed and are currently on public display in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C.

Preservation Virginia began genetic fingerprinting
Genetic fingerprinting
DNA profiling is a technique employed by forensic scientists to assist in the identification of individuals by their respective DNA profiles. DNA profiles are encrypted sets of numbers that reflect a person's DNA makeup, which can also be used as the person's identifier...

, hoping to verify Gosnold's identity in time for the Jamestown quadricentennial
Jamestown 2007
Jamestown 2007 is the name of the organization planning the events commemorating the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, Virginia in 1607, the first permanent English-speaking settlement in what is now the United States of America...

. By June 2005 researchers and The Discovery Channel sought permission to take DNA samples from the remains of his sister, Elizabeth Tilney, located in the Church of All Saints, Shelley, near Hadleigh, and they were granted the first faculty for such purposes from the English diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich. However, although they removed bone fragments from the church, they had difficulty in identifying the correct remains, and they were not able to conclude anything from their analysis. In November 2005 Preservation Virginia announced that, while they remained confident Tilney's remains were somewhere beneath the church floor, the tests they performed had not confirmed the link. The DNA analysis was conducted by the Smithsonian Institution
Smithsonian Institution
The Smithsonian Institution is an educational and research institute and associated museum complex, administered and funded by the government of the United States and by funds from its endowment, contributions, and profits from its retail operations, concessions, licensing activities, and magazines...

.

Further reading

  • David A. Price, Love and Hate in Jamestown (Alfred A. Knopf, 2003: ISBN 0-375-41541-6)
  • David R. Ransome, ‘Gosnold, Bartholomew (d. 1607)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004

External links

  • The Gosnold Primer
  • Is it Gosnold?, from a Preservation Virginia website
  • Bartholomew Gosnold documentary, a June 2002 article from a BBC
    BBC
    The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

     Suffolk
    Suffolk
    Suffolk is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in East Anglia, England. It has borders with Norfolk to the north, Cambridgeshire to the west and Essex to the south. The North Sea lies to the east...

     website
  • DNA bid for US founding father, a January 2005 article from the BBC
    BBC
    The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

  • Suffolk tombs hold key to US founding father, a June 2005 article from The Times
    The Times
    The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

    of London
  • Bartholomew Gosnold, 1602-1607, a 2007-2008 (open in the summer) exhibit at the Cuttyhunk Historical Society
  • Recreating Gosnolds 1607 voyage to Jamestown