Coat of Arms of Bartholomew Gosnold
Grundisburgh, Suffolk, England
|Died||22 August 1607 (aged 35–36)|
|Occupation||Lawyer, explorer and privateer|
|Known for||Founder of the Virginia Company of London|
|Parent(s)||Anthony Gosnold and Dorothy Bacon|
|Relatives||Richard Pepys (son-in-law)|
Bartholomew Gosnold (1571 – 22 August 1607) was an English barrister, explorer, and privateer, who was instrumental in founding the Virginia Company of London, and Jamestown in colonial America. He led the first recorded European expedition to Cape Cod. 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".
- 1 Early life and family
- 2 Early maritime career
- 3 Organizing a colonial enterprise
- 4 Expedition to Cape Cod and environs
- 5 Virginia Company, Jamestown
- 6 Discovery of Gosnold's possible grave
- 7 Notes, references and sources
- 8 Further reading about Bartholomew Gosnold
- 9 External links
Early life and family
Gosnold was born in Grundisburgh in Suffolk, England in 1571,[a] and his family seat was at Otley, Suffolk. His parents were Anthony Gosnold of Grundisburgh and Dorothy Bacon of Hessett. Henry Gosnold, the judge and friend of Francis Bacon, was his cousin.[b] Bartholomew had a younger brother Anthony, born sometime between 1573 and 1578, who accompanied him to Virginia as well as a cousin also named Anthony Gosnold who was alive and still living in Virginia in 1615. In 1578, the will of Bartholomew's great-grandmother Ann Doggett (Bacon) Gosnold shows five sisters to Bartholomew and Anthony.
Gosnold graduated from Jesus College at the University of Cambridge and studied law at the Middle Temple. He was a friend of Richard Hakluyt and sailed with Walter Raleigh. He married Mary Goldinge, daughter of Robert Goldinge of Bury St Edmunds and his wife Martha Judd, at Latton, Essex in 1595. Mary's mother, Martha, was daughter of Sir Andrew Judd a wealthy London merchant who, among other offices, was Lord Mayor of London, 1550–51. More importantly for Gosnold's story, Sir Andrew Judd was also grandfather to Thomas Smith, one of the founders of the Virginia Company. "Bartholomew's marriage, which has the appearance of one arranged with foresight, brought together a young man of high standing among the landed gentry and a young lady whose antecedents were found chiefly among the wealthier merchants of the city of London." Together, Bartholomew and Mary Gosnold had seven children, six of whom were baptized at Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, between 1597 and 1607.  Daughter Mary married Richard Pepys, great-uncle of the diarist Samuel Pepys.
Early maritime career
There is no record of Gosnold's early maritime experiences, but given that he was entrusted with a ship to attempt a colonizing project in southern New England in 1602, he must have had significant experience. His biographer has suggested, based on circumstantial evidence, that in 1597–98 he served under the Earl of Essex on his Azores voyages. Many of those involved in that voyage afterwards became involved in the colonization of Virginia.
Organizing a colonial enterprise
Gosnold early became a principal proponent of English New World settlement, and John Smith attested to it in 1612:
Captaine Bartholomew Gosnold, the first mover of this plantation, having many years solicited his friends, but found small assistants; at last prevailed with some Genrtlemen, as Maister Edward maria Wingfield, Captain John Smith, and diverse others …"[c]
The quote refers to Gosnold's efforts in connection with his second voyage, to Virginia (or Southern Virginia, since all of the area the English claimed in North America was called "Virginia"). But it could as easily describe Gosnold's effort to interest his "friends" in a colonizing effort at the beginning of the 17th century. In the Elizabethan (and later Stuart) ages, exploration and colonization was a private endeavor. While the crown did not defray any of the expenses of these enterprises, it granted monopolies to an individual or corporation to exploit a particular area that the crown claimed. This made the efforts profit-driven, much like privateering. So a would-be colonizer, like Gosnold, had to raise the capital for the expedition among private sources. As these ventures became more common great corporations would arise, much like the corporations which exploited the trading routes (which the crown also granted monopolies on). Substantial obstacles stood in the way of organizing a commercial colonizing venture to the New World. In the first place, Ireland beckoned as an alternate prospect for colonization, one that was less expensive, at least with respect to shipping expenses. Most of the venture capitalists who were considering New World ventures were also involved in Irish ventures. Thomas Smith's son, for example, was involved in the first substantial effort to colonize Ulster (although he was killed early in the endeavor). There was also the substantial financial risk involved in colonizing projects. Sir Walter Raleigh had lost 40 thousand pounds in founding Roanoke colony, and he pledged still more to attempt to find and rescue the lost settlers.
There was, however, a new colonial plan that seemed to have garnered general acceptance since it was written in the mid-1590s. It was in the report written by Edward Hayes to Lord Burghley setting forth the rationale and procedure for settlement. The argument was that colonization efforts should begin in northern Virginia (New England) because, compared with the locations tried in the lower latitudes the area's climate better comported with English comfort and produced agriculture much like England's. The coast of New England also produced a wealth of fish prized in Europe which could support a small foothold establishment and produce a profit with growth provided when more settlers were gradually added later.
Expedition to Cape Cod and environs
Gosnold obtained backing to attempt to found an English colony in the New World and in 1602 he sailed from Falmouth, Cornwall in a small Dartmouth bark, the Concord, with thirty-two on board. They intended to establish a colony in New England. Gosnold pioneered a direct sailing route due west from the Azores to what later became New England, arriving in May 1602 at Cape Elizabeth in Maine (Lat. 43 degrees).
The next day, on 15 May 1602, he sailed into Provincetown Harbor, where he is credited with naming Cape Cod. Following the coastline for several days, he discovered Martha's Vineyard and named it after his deceased daughter, Martha, and the wild grapes that covered much of the land. Gosnold established a small post on Cuttyhunk Island, one of the Elizabeth Islands, near Gosnold, now in Massachusetts. The post was abandoned when settlers decided to return on the ship to England since they feared they had insufficient provisions to carry them through the winter.
Virginia Company, Jamestown
Gosnold spent several years after his return to England promoting a more ambitious attempt; he obtained from King James I an exclusive charter for a Virginia Company to settle Virginia. To form the core of what would become the Virginia Colony at Jamestown, he recruited his brother Anthony, a cousin, his cousin-by-marriage Edward Maria Wingfield, as well as John Smith, in addition to members of his 1602 expedition. Gosnold himself served as vice-admiral of the expedition, and captain of the Godspeed (one of the three ships of the expedition; the other two being the Susan Constant, under Captain Christopher Newport, and the Discovery, under Captain John Ratcliffe).
Gosnold also solicited the support of Matthew Scrivener, cousin of Edward Maria Wingfield. Scrivener became Acting Governor of the new Colony, but drowned in an accident in 1609 along with Anthony Gosnold, Bartholomew's brother, while trying to cross to Hog Island in a storm. (Scrivener's brother Nicholas had also drowned while a student at Eton College).
Gosnold was popular among the colonists and opposed the location of the colony at Jamestown Island due to what he perceived as its unhealthy location; 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..."
Discovery of Gosnold's possible grave
In 2003 Preservation Virginia announced that its archaeological dig at Jamestown had discovered the likely location of Gosnold's grave. It was also believed that he was buried outside the James day fort. A skeleton the dig found is currently on display at the Voorhees Archaearium at Historic Jamestowne. Preservation Virginia began genetic fingerprinting, hoping to verify Gosnold's identity in time for the Jamestown quadricentennial. By June 2005 researchers and The Discovery Channel sought permission to take DNA samples from the remains of his sister, Elizabeth Tilney, buried in the Church of All Saints, Shelley, Suffolk, and they were granted the first faculty for such a purpose by the English Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich. They found and removed some bone fragments from the church, but they could not identify Tilney's remains and they were not able to conclude anything from their analysis. In November 2005 Preservation Virginia announced that it had no reason to doubt that Tilney's remains were somewhere under the church floor, but its DNA tesing had not confirmed a relationship.
Notes, references and sources
- This year is deduced from the year that Gosnold matriculated at Jesus College in Cambridge, 1587, together with mentions of him in the wills of his great-grandfather and his widow, although the Cambridge records of him list his birth year as 1569.
- Gosnold himself was distantly related to both Francis Bacon and his father, the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal under Elizabeth. Bartholomew's mother, Dorothy Bacon, was granddaughter of Thomas Bacon of Hessert. That there was a close relationship with the more famous Bacons is shown by the fact that Sir Nicholas Bacon served as overseer of the wills of both Dorothy Bacon's grandfather and uncle.
- This from the second part of Smith's A Map of Virginia, in the section entitled "The Proceedings of the English Colony in Virginia …" When Smith reprinted this pamphlet in the third part of his Generall Historie of Virginia, New England … in 1624 Smith dampened the praise of Gosnold for originating the organization and heightened his own: "Captaine Bartholomew Gosnold, one of the first movers of this plantation, having many years solicited many of his friends, but found small assistants; at last prevailed with some Gentlemen, as Captain John Smith, Master Edward-maria Wingfield, Master Robert Hunt, and diverse others …
- Gookin 1949a, p. 33; Gookin 1949b, p. 400.
- "Gosnold, Bartholomew (GSNT587B)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- Gookin 1949b, p. 399.
- Gookin 1949b, p. 400.
- Gookin 1949b, pp. 402–03.
- Gookin 1949a, pp. 308-09, 315.
- Gookin 1949a, p. 309.
- Gookin 1949b, p. 401.
- Gookin 1949b, p. 402.
- Gookin 1949b, p. 400-01.
- Dorman, John Frederick (2004). Adventurers of Purse and Person Virginia 1607-1624/5: Families G-p. Genealogical Publishing Company. p. 117. ISBN 9780806317632. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- Gookin 1949b, pp. 400–01.
- Brown 1897, p. 93 n.1.
- Arber 1910, p. I:89.
- Arber 1910, p. II:385.
- Levermore 1912, pp. 8–9.
- Levermore 1912, p. 11.
- Levermore 1912, p. 25.
- Quinn 1960, pp. 37–39.
- Zacek, Natalie. "Bartholomew Gosnold (1571–August 22, 1607)." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 21 May. 2014
- Mitchell Barbo, Theresa (2008). Cape Cod Bay: A History of Salt and Sea. Arcadia Publishing. p. 22.
- Hartwell, Edward M.; McGlenen, Edward W. (1916). Boston and its Story 1630 - 1915. Jazzybee Verlag. p. 4. ISBN 9783849677299.
- Archer, Gabriel (1912). Ed. Frances Healey (ed.). GREAT EPOCHS IN AMERICAN HISTORY: The Relation of Captain Gosnold's Voyage. Funk & Wagnalls Co. p. 38.
- Brown 1897, p. 85.
- Wilson, J. G.; Fiske, J., eds. (1900). . Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.
- "Scientists dig for DNA that may identify America's lost father", in The Times (London) dated 14 June 2005
- Arber, Edward, ed. (1910). Travels and Works of Captain John Smith. Edinburgh: John Grant. Hosted online by the Internet Archive: Volume I and Volume II.
- Archer, Gabriel (1843). "The Relation of Captain Gosnold's Voyage to the North part of Virginia, begun the sixth-and twentieth of March, Anno 42 Elizabethae Reginae, 1602, and delivered by Gabriel Archer, a gentleman in the said voyage". Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society. 3. 8: 72–81. The book is also contained in Purchas 1625, pp. IV:1647–51.
- Beaven, Alfred B. (1908). The Aldermen of the City of London, Temp. Henry III.-1908. London: Eden Fisher & Co. for the Corporation of the City of London.
- Brereton, John (1602). A Brief and true Relation of the Discoverie of the North Part of Virginia …. London: Georg. Bishop. A facsimile reprint with introduction by Luther S. Livingston and published by Dodd, Mead & Co. in 1903 is hosted by the Internet Archive. A digitized version (with page numbers) is also hosted by the University of Michigan. An annotated version can also be found in Burrage 1906, pp. 353–94.
- Brown, Alexander (1897). Genesis of the United States. 1. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co.
- Burrage, Henry S., ed. (1906). Early English and French voyages, chiefly from Hakluyt, 1534-1608. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
- Gookin, Warner F. (July 1949). "Notes on the Gosnold Family". The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. 57 (3): 307–315. JSTOR 4245639.
- Gookin, Warner F. (July 1949). "Who was Bartholomew Gosnold?". The William and Mary Quarterly. 6 (3): 398–415. JSTOR 1919984.
- Gookin, Warner F. (April 1950). "The First Leaders at Jamestown". The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. 58 (2): 181–93. JSTOR 4245691.
- Gookin, Warner F. (1963). Bartholomew Gosnold, Discoverer and Planter: New England—1602, Virginia—1607. Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Books of the Shoe String Press. LCCN 62019990/L.
- Levermore, Charles Herbert, ed. (1912). Forerunners and Competitors of the Pilgrims and Puritans: or, Narratives of Voyages Made by Persons Other than the Pilgrims and Puritans of the Bay Colony to the Shores of New England during the First Quarter of the Seventeenth Century, 1601-1625, with Especial Reference to the Labors of Captain John Smith in Behalf of the Settlement of New England. Brooklyn, New York: The Society. LCCN a17000511.
- Purchas, Samuel, ed. (1625). Hakluytus posthumus, or, Purchas his Pilgrimes. Contayning a history of the world, in sea voyages, & lande-travells, by Englishmen and others …. London: Imprinted for H. Fetherston. The original imprint was "In fower parts, each containing five bookes." All four volumes are hosted online by the Library of Congress. The 1905–07 facsimile reproduction (Glasgow: J. MacLehose and sons), in 20 volumes (one for each of the "bookes") is hosted online by HathiTrust.
- Quinn, D.B. (1960). "Edward Hayes, Liverpool Colonial Pioneer" (PDF). Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire. 111: 25–45. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 December 2016. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
- Quinn, David B. (April 1970). "Thomas Hariot and the Virginia Voyages of 1602". The William and Mary Quarterly. 27 (2): 268–281. doi:10.2307/1918653. JSTOR 1918653.
- Smith, John (1907). The generall historie of Virginia, New England & the Summer Isles: together with The true travels, adventures and observations, and A sea grammar. New York: Macmillan. First published in London in 1624. The Macmillan version, a facsimile printing of the first edition, is hosted by the Library of Congress in two volumes: Volume I and Volume II. A searchable version (with various download options) of the same book is hosted by the Internet Archive: Voume I and Volume II.
Further reading about Bartholomew Gosnold
- David R. Ransome, ‘Gosnold, Bartholomew (d. 1607)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Gosnold, Bartholomew.|
- Dictionary of National Biography. 22. 1890. .
- The Gosnold Primer
- Is it Gosnold?, from a Preservation Virginia website
- Bartholomew Gosnold documentary, a June 2002 article from a BBC Suffolk website
- DNA bid for US founding father, a January 2005 article from the BBC
- Suffolk tombs hold key to US founding father, a June 2005 article from The Times 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