Falkingham, Edward (c. 1683-1757)

Governor, 1732

Edward Falkingham was born in England circa 1683. Entering the Royal Navy at an early age, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 1703, and captain in 1713. He was appointed Commander-in-Chief and Governor of Newfoundland in 1732.

During his term, the Newfoundland Board of Trade wanted to give Falkingham more legislative power concerning disputes between fishing admirals and magistrates, but this was opposed by the British government. Instead, Falkingham was only given power to report these disputes. It is believed that Falkingham found the magistrates to be efficient administrators, but also concluded that the fishing admirals abused their authority.

Falkingham, arguing there was a lack of penitentiaries in Newfoundland, ordered the construction of prisons in Bonavista, Carbonear and Ferryland. He did not think it was sufficient to continue with the practice of sending prisoners to the St. John's prison during the winter. Small prisons and roundhouses were built in the more peripheral communities.

Falkingham can be noted for enforcing environmental laws. His main concern was over the practice by masters of throwing their ships' ballast into the sea. Ballast was a pollutant and caused harmful effects to the harbours at Bonavista, Carbonear and Trinity. Falkingham also provided reports on the inhabitants of many communities, including Bonavista, Ferryland, Fogo, Placentia and Twillingate.

Falkingham's term as governor ended in 1733, and he continued to serve in the Royal Navy, as a commissioner of Port Mahon in Minorca and Woolwich. He retired in 1755, and died two years later on September 18th, 1757.

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