Edward Wynne; 28 July, 1622

Letter to George Calvert [from Ferryland]

Published in Richard Whitbourne, A Discourse and Discovery of New-found-land (London: 1622). Reprinted in Gillian Cell, ed., Newfoundland Discovered, English Attempts at Colonization, 1610-1630, Hakluyt Society 2nd series no. 160 (London: Hakluyt Society, ©1982) 101-206; see 195-198. Revised by P.E. Pope.

A Letter from Captaine Edward Wynne, Governor of the Colony at Ferryland, within the Province of Avalon, in Newfoundland, unto the Right Honourable Sir GEORGE CALVERT Knight, his Maiesties Principall Secretary. July 1622.

May it please your Honour:

Upon the 17th day of May, I received here your letters of the 19th of February, from the hands of Robert Stoning. Upon the 26th of the same, a ship of Master Jennings, with your people and provision, arrived here in safety, and from the hands of Captain Powell I received then your Honour's letters of the 14 of March. And upon the last of June, Master James came hither, from Renews, and the salt-maker Master John Hickson, from whose hands I received two letters more: that by Master James being of the 4th of May and the other by Hickson of the 10th of the same.

All these being received by me, with an humble and a most thankful hand, first unto God for your Honour's health and next to your Honour for your continual favour towards me, beseeching the same Almighty God, long and long to continue your health, to the advancement of his glory, both here at home and else-where. I most humbly pray you to build upon my dutiful care and diligence, in the setting forwards and following of your Honour's business, even to your best advantage, and advancement of the work, and also that I shall be a dutiful observer of your pleasure and commandment. And so with the like humility, I do present your Honour with the good tidings of all our healths, safety and good success in our proceedings (God's Holy Name be praised for it.) It followeth now (as my duty requireth) that I render unto your Honour a due account of what hath been done by us here this year and of all things else which appertain unto me to do.

Therefore it may please your Honour, that as soon as I had delivered my last letters of the 5th of September, I immediately addressed myself only to our business. Notwithstanding our diligent labour and extraordinary pains- taking, it was All Hallowtide [November 1] before our first range of building was fitted for an habitable being - the which being 44 foot of length and 15 foot of breadth; containing a hall 18 foot long, an entry of 6 foot and a cellar of 20 foot in length; and of the height, between the ground floor and that over head, about 8 foot; being divided above that throughout into four chambers and four foot high to the roof or a half storey. The roof over the hall I covered with deal boards and the rest with such thatch as I found growing here about the harbour, as sedge, flagg and rushes - a far better covering than boards, both for warmth and tightness. When I had finished the same with only one chimney of stonework in the hall, I went forward with our kitchen, of length 18 foot, 12 foot of breadth and 8 foot high to the eaves, and walled up with stone-work, with a large chimney in the same. Over the kitchen I fitted another chamber; all which with a staircase and convenient passages, both into the kitchen and the room over it, were all finished by Christmas eve. This is all the building, with a hen-house, that we have been able to accomplish before Christmas.

Many things else were done by us in the interim, as the getting home of timber trees, firewood, the raising up of a face of defense [fortification] to the water-side ward, with the earth that we digged both for cellar and kitchen room (which we found a very labourious work), also the sowing of some wheat for a trial and many other businesses besides.

After Christmas, we employed ourselves in the woods, especially in hard weather, whence we got home as many board-stocks as afforded us above two hundred boards, and above two hundred timber trees besides. We got home as much or as many trees as served us to palizado [palisade fortification] into the plantation about four acres of ground, for the keeping off of both man and beast, with post and rail seven foot high, sharpened in the top, the trees being pitched upright and fastened with spikes and nails.

We got also together as much firewood, as will serve us yet these two months. We also fitted much garden ground for feed, I mean barley, oats, peas and beans.

For addition of building, we have at this present a parlour of fourteen foot, besides the chimney, and twelve foot broad, of convenient height and a lodging chamber over it. To each a chimney of stone-work, with stairs and a staircase, besides a tenement of two rooms, or [of] a storie and a halfe, which serves for a store-house till wee are otherwise provided. The forge hath been finished this five weeks; the salt-work is now almost ready. Notwithstanding this great task for so few hands, we have both wheat, barley, oats, peas and beans about the quantity of two acres. Of garden room about half an acre: the corn [grain], though late sown, is now in earing; the beans and the goodliest peas that I ever saw have flourished in their blooms this twenty days. We have a plentiful kitchen garden of lettuce, radish, carrots, coleworts [cabbage], turnips and many other things. We have also at this present a flourishing meadow of at least three acres, with many haycocks of exceeding good hay, and hope to fit a great deal more against another year. In the beginning of the last winter, we sunk a well of sixteen foot deep in the ground, the which affords us water in a sufficient measure. The timber that we have got home first and last is above five hundred trees of good timber. There have been above three hundred boards, besides the former, sawed since the arrivall of Captain Powell. We have also broken much ground for a brewhouse room and other tenements. We have a wharf in good forwardness, towards the low watermark. So that our endeavour that way affords a double benefit, the one of ridding and preparing the way to a further work, the other of winning so much void or waste ground, to so necessary a purpose as to enlarge this little room, whereon (with your Honour's leave and liking) I hope to fortify, so that within the same, for the comfort of neighbourhood, another row of building may be so pitched, that the whole may be made a pretty street.

For the country and climate: it is better and not so cold as England hitherto. My comfort is, that the Lord is with your Honour and your designs: for we have prospered to the admiration of all the beholders in what is done. And thus with my humble duty remembered, I rest,

Your Honours most humble and faithful servant, EDWARD WYNNE.
Ferryland, 28 July, 1622.


The ships with the rest of our provision arrived here this morning and what is omitted by me, shall by God's help shortly be performed. Your Honour hath greater hopes here than heretofore I have been able to discern. All things succeed beyond my expectation.