Avalon Defenses

Colony of Avalon, 1621 – 1638
Colony of Avalon, 1621 – 1638.
Reproduced by permission of the Colony of Avalon Foundation, Ferryland, Newfoundland, © 2001.

One of the colonists' chief concerns was defense. Captain Wynne, the first governor, reported that he had "thrown up a face of defense to the waterside ward, with earth digged from the cellar and kitchen...". Part of the defenses included this ditch, about 20 feet wide and 4 feet deep. Shown here is a profile through the ditch.

Defensive Ditch Defensive Ditch.
Reproduced by permission of the Colony of Avalon Foundation, Ferryland, Newfoundland, © 2001.
Larger Version (46 kb)

The image below on the left shows the defensive ditch looking south. The stone scarp of the rampart can be seen at the right of the image; the counterscarp, or outer face of the ditch is at the left.

The image below on the right is the restored stone facing of the counterscarp. This image is looking north.

Defensive Ditch Showing Scarp on the Right    Reconstructed Counterscarp
Defensive Ditch Showing Scarp (left) and Reconstructed Counterscarp (right).
Both images reproduced by permission of the
Colony of Avalon Foundation, Ferryland, Newfoundland, © 2001.
Larger Version of scarp (51 kb). Larger Version of counterscarp (46 kb).

The ditch can be dated to the early years of Avalon by a number of artifacts found in the very lowest layers. Among these artifacts are an undecorated German stoneware jug made sometime between 1575 and 1625 (left), and a large fragment of a gravestone, possibly that of Nicholas Hoskins who was at Avalon during the winter of 1622/23.

Jug From Bottom of Defensive Ditch    Gravestone From Bottom of Defensive Ditch
German Stoneware Jug (left) and a Gravestone Fragment.
Both images reproduced by permission of the
Colony of Avalon Foundation, Ferryland, Newfoundland, © 2001.
Larger Version of jug (73 kb). Larger Version of gravestone (76 kb).

Also found in the lowest layers of the ditch were this gold-plated brass boot spur and an Irish silver shilling from the reign of James I.

Brass Boot Spur and an Irish Silver Shilling.
Included is an artist's sketch of the coin.
Reproduced by permission of the Colony of Avalon Foundation, Ferryland, Newfoundland, © 2001.
Larger Version (48 kb)
Brass Boot Spur and an Irish Silver Shilling

The following image shows the sills remaining from a bridge that crossed the defensive ditch and led from the village to the Ferryland Downs to the east. To the right can be seen the location of the east gate to Avalon and the east end of the cobble pavement that seems to run through the entire settlement.

Remains of Bridge Sills Remains of Bridge Sills.
Reproduced by permission of the Colony of Avalon Foundation, Ferryland, Newfoundland, © 2001.
(56 kb)

The cobblestone street leads westward from the east gate for some 400 feet. Although it seems to make a number of turns and bends along its course, the west is the same width - 13 feet - as the eastern end.

Cobblestone Street Looking East.
Reproduced by permission of the Colony of Avalon Foundation, Ferryland, Newfoundland, © 2001.
Larger Version (80 kb)
Cobblestone Street Looking East

© 2002, Colony of Avalon Foundation


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