|2007 photo of the old Sea Venture Memorial|
St. George, Bermuda
In 2009 Bermuda celebrated the 400th anniversary of the shipwreck of the Sea Venture. In 1609 Sir George Somers and his company wrecked on a reef off Bermuda. They were headed to Jamestown, but instead started a British settlement on Bermuda while they used the wood of the Sea Venture to build two smaller ships to continue their trip to Virginia. The two new ships were the Deliverance and the Patience, and they were able to bring much needed food supplies to the starving, dying colonists at Jamestown.
The Sea Venture Memorial was unveiled in 2010. This monument is a wooden cross mounted on a concrete column. The shipwreck victims had originally built a wooden cross to claim Bermuda for England and King James I. The monument has a plaque with the 50 confirmed names of the shipwreck survivors. It is estimated that there were 150 sailors and settlers, and one dog, aboard the Sea Venture. From this spot you can see the reefs where the wreck occurred, and you can also see Gates Bay where the survivors landed on Bermuda to start the new colony.
In 1958 Edmund Downing found the Sea Venture shipwreck in 30 feet of water off St. George. The Smithsonian in Washington DC sent Mendel Peterson to verify the site. They measured the timbers and unearthed a jug, pipe and vase to confirm that this was indeed the Sea Venture.
Here is a list of the survivor's names on the Monument:
UPDATE: 11am January 9, 2017
I have been contacted by Dr. George L. Cook, historian and a trustee of the St. George's Foundation in Bermuda, that there are errors in the list below. He is creating a list that is accurate and will send it to me soon. I will update this list as soon as I receive it from Dr. Cook. - Please stay tuned.
UPDATE: 1:20pm January 10, 2017
Here is the updated list from the new 2010 Sea Venture memorial transcribed by Dr. Cook (and an updated photo below):
HEREUNDER ARE THOSE BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN AMONGST THE ONE HUNDRED
AND FIFTY SURVIVORS OF SEA VENTURE’S WRECK ON 28 JULY 1609 AND
(EXCEPT AS NOTED) TO HAVE DEPARTED FOR JAMESTOWN IN VIRGINIA ON
DELIVERANCE AND PATIENCE ON 10 MAY 1610.
VIRGINIA COMPANY OFFICERS
LT. GEN. SIR THOMAS GATES
ADMIRAL SIR GEORGE SOMERS
CAPTAIN CHRISTOPHER NEWPORT
REVEREND RICHARD BUCK
MISTRESS MARIA THOROWGOOD BUCK
* killed by native people in virginia
RALPH HAMOR, ESQ.
SILVESTER JOURDAIN, ESQ.
HENRY PAINE, ESQ.*
CAPT. WILLIAM PEIRCE
RICHARD RICH, ESQ.
HENRY SHELLEY, ESQ.
WILLIAM STRACHEY, ESQ.
JAMES SWIFT, ESQ.
CAPT. GEORGE YEARDLEY (GATES' AIDE)
* died on Bermuda
** and baby boy “Bermudas”
*** baby girl “Bermuda” died in Bermuda
EDWARD WATERS (Somers’ aide)
HENRY RAVENS* (master mate)
ROBERT WALSINGHAM (coxswain)
RICHARD FROBISHER (shipwright)
NICHOLAS BENNIT (carpenter)
THOMAS POWELL (cook)
* killed by native people in Virginia
** stayed behind in Bermuda
|The 2010 Sea Venture Memorial plaques|
unveiled 11 November 2010
Photo contributed by Dr. George Cook of Bermuda
Some of the names on this monument are well known in American history. Stephen Hopkins survived the shipwreck and then went on to be a colonist in Jamestown. He returned to England and later was a passenger on the Mayflower to Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620. John Rolfe baby girl, Bermuda, on the island of Bermuda, and his wife probably died later in Virginia. Rolfe went on to Jamestown and married Pocahontas in April 1614. Other shipwreck survivors went on to be famous in Bermuda history. Sir Thomas Gates was the Governor for the Virginia colony. Christopher Carter has many descendants still living on the island of Bermuda. According to Dr. Cook, Gate's aide, George Yeardley, was knighted in 1618 and became a Governor of Virginia in 1619. Yeardley convened the first elected assembley, the House of Burgesses, on 30 July 1619.
Dr. Cook also wrote me that Jeffrey Briars, William Hitchman and Richard Lewis died of "natural" causes.
YouTube video of the dedication ceremony of the Sea Venture monument, where descendants read the names of the survivors inscribed on the plaques:
Geni.com project for descendants of the Sea Venture shipwreck, 1609
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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo
Revised and edited January 10, 2017