Henry Cary and South Falkland

When William Vaughan's Welsh colonists abandoned Renews in 1619 he subdivided his lands, which were themselves only a portion of the original Newfoundland Company grant. He sold off a narrow strip, south of Aquaforte, to a prominent man in the court of James I – Sir Henry Cary, who became Viscount Falkland the next year.

Cary in fact obtained control over two of the subdivided Newfoundland lots: as well as "South Falkland", which included Fermeuse and part of the harbour of Renews, he also claimed the Bonavista Peninsula as "North Falkland".

North and South Falkland
North and South Falkland
Map shows the lands controlled by Henry Cary in the 17th century.
Illustration by Duleepa Wijayawardhana, ©1998 Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Web Site.

Richard Whitbourne promoted these areas for colonization in the second edition of his Discourse and Discovery of Newfoundland (1622), and another colonial propagandist identifying himself as "T.C." did the same in A Short Discourse of the New-Found-Land (Dublin 1623). Falkland was at this time Lord Deputy of Ireland. In his colonial schemes we can see intersecting Irish and Newfoundland connections, as there were in Sir George Calvert's Colony of Avalon at Ferryland.

Falkland's colonial promoters made generous offers of land to those who would settle and work in the fishery. No one attempted to colonize Falkland's grant in Trinity Bay in this period. But according to Vaughan, in The Newlanders Cure (1630), in 1623 Sir Francis Tanfield founded a colony in South Falkland, at Fermeuse. Tanfield was probably a cousin of Falkland's wife. We do not know who the settlers were, nor how long the colony lasted as a sponsored settlement: Probably no longer than the nearby Colony of Avalon, from which the Calverts withdrew in 1629. Settlement at Renews seems to have been continuous from this period and, if it was, then South Falkland was not a complete failure as a colonial effort, even if it failed to turn a profit for its aristocratic backer.

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