Sir Richard Whitbourne (1561 – 1635) was an English colonist, mariner and author.
Richard Whitbourne was born near Bishopsteignton in south Devon, England, where he was baptised on 20 June 1561. Whilst apprenticed to a merchant adventurer of Southampton, he sailed extensively around Europe and twice to Newfoundland. He served in a ship of his own against the Great Armada under Lord Admiral Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk. He spent the next thirty years in cod fishing off Newfoundland. He assisted the pirates Peter Easton and Henry Mainwaring to seek pardons from James I of England.
Asked by William Vaughan to govern his colony at Renews in Newfoundland, he did so from 1618 until 1620 when Vaughan abandoned the venture. Whitbourne was sent to establish law and order in the colony, he was the first to hold a court of justice in North America at Trinity in 1615.
In 1620, Whitbourne published A Discourse and Discovery of New-found-land in order to promote colonisation on the island.
Between 1589 (at latest) and 1627 Whitbourne had a house at or near Exmouth on the south Devon coast of England. Perhaps dying on a foreign voyage, he was buried at Teignmouth, on the coast near his birthplace, in August 1635.
References and notes
- English, Christopher (2004). "Whitbourne, Sir Richard (1561–1635)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/29230. Retrieved 2015-10-09. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
- Whidborne, Richard (2005). Crosses & Comforts, being The Life and Times of Captain Sir Richard Whitbourne (1561-1635) of Exmouth in Devonshire. St John's, Newfoundland: Great Auk Books. ISBN 0-9549655-0-7.
- O'Neill, Paul (2003). The Oldest City: The Story of St. John's, Newfoundland. p. 81. ISBN 0-9730271-2-6.
- He is referred to as "Captaine Richard Whitbourne of Exmouth" in At Theobalds, the 12. of Aprill 1622. The copy of a reference from the Kings most excellent Maiesty: as also a letter from the right honourable lords of His Maiesties most honourable Priuy Councell, to the most reuerend fathers in God, the lords arch-bishops of Canterbury and Yorke their graces. (login required).
- Government House The Governorship of Newfoundland and Labrador
- Biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
- A Discourse and Discovery of New-found-land by Richard Whitbourne (1620)
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