Edward Maria Wingfield

Captain Edward Maria Wingfield, sometimes hyphenated as "Edward-Maria Wingfield", (born 1550 in Stonely, Huntingdonshire (now Cambridgeshire), England; died in 1631) [Date of Birth & Burial. Birth: 1550: E150/102, p.3 Exchequer Copy (English), Lists & Indexes XXIII, PRO Kew, copy of 142/111 p.81, 1557 (Latin), Chancery Copy of Inquisitions Post-Mortems etc, Series II, Vol. III, 4&5 Philip & Mary: "Thomas Mary Wingfield died 15 August last past and Edward Wingfield is his proper son and heir and that he is of the age of seven years at the time this inquisition was taken." (VCH Huntingdonshire - Victoria County History of Hunts - Vol. III, p.81, London, 1936, eds. Granville Proby & Inskip Ladds quote two incorrect sources).Burial: 1631: Copy of "Bishop's Transcript, Diocese of Lincoln, of Kimbolton (Huntingdonshire - now in 2006 in Cambridgeshire) Records: "Kimbolton Parish Church [Church of England i.e. Protestant] of St.Andrew's. "Burials, 1604-1900: 13th April 1631, Edward Maria Wingfield, Esquire buryed.] was a soldier, Member of Parliament, (1593) and English colonist in America. He was the grandson of Richard Wingfield and son of Thomas Maria Wingfield. In what was the first election of any kind in the New World, in 1607, Wingfield became the first president of what is today the United States of America.

Captain John Smith wrote that Wingfield was one of the early and prime movers and organisers in 1602-1603 in "showing great charge and industry" [Smith, GH, Book 3, p.41; Woolley, Savage Kingdom, pp.22-23; Purchas, His Pilgrimes, 1625, p.1,649. Re-MP: Hasler, III, pp.635-636 - see n. 23 below.] in getting the Virginia Venture moving: he was one of the four incorporators for the London Virginia Company in the Virginia Charter of 1606 and one of its biggest financial backers. [Kingsbury, pp.12 & 18; Barbour, p.91.] He recruited (with his cousin, Captain Bartholomew Gosnold) about 40 of the 105 would-be colonists, and was the only shareholder to sail. In the first election in the New World, he was elected by his peers as the President of the governing council for one year beginning May 13th, 1607, of what became the first successful, English-speaking colony in the New World at Jamestown, Virginia. He chose the site, a strong defensive position against land or canoe attack, and supervised the construction of the fort in a month and a day, a mammoth task.

But after four months, on September 10th, because "he ever held the men to working, watching and warding", [Wingfield, E.M., p.43, q. in Wingfield, J., p.341.] and because of lack of food, death from disease and attack by the "naturals" (during the worst famine and drought for 800 years), he was made a scapegoat, and was deposed on petty charges. [Sheler, in The Smithsonian, January 2005, p.53; and see n.74 re petty charges.] On the return of the Supply Boat on April 10th 1608, he was sent back to London to answer the charge of being an atheist (and one suspected of having Spanish sympathies). Smith's prime biographer, Philip L. Barbour, however, wrote of the "superlative pettiness of the charges...none of the accusations amounting to anything." Wingfield cleared his reputation, was named in the Second Virginia Charter (of 1609), and was active in the Virginia Company until the age of 70 (1620).

He died in 1631 aged 81 and was buried at St. Andrew's, Kimbolton (Cambridgeshire), England parish protestant church on April 13, just ten weeks before John Smith. ["Captain Smith did not carry the first colonists to Virginia; he landed there himself "as a prisoner". He did not support the colony there by his exertions; the colonists were dependent on England for supplies; they were succored by every vessel that arrived during his stay in Virginia, and at no time were they found to be more in need than when Argall arrived in July, 1609, during Smith's own presidency. So long as he stayed, the colony was rent by factions, in which he was an active instrument. Instead of making Jamestown a relief station and plantation, as it was intended to be, he was constantly taking off the men from their duties there, going on voyages to discover mines, the South Sea, etc., all of which I am sure, can be easily proven. He not only failed to give satisfaction to his employers, but he gave great dissatisfaction, and was never employed by the Council of the Va. Co, again. He was in England from December 1609, to March 1614. The troubles and misfortunes of the dark days of 1611-12 caused many (who were evidently ignorant of the true state of affairs) to place confidence in Smith's claims, and under their patronage his reason for "the defailement" was published, which proves that he did not even know the real causes which produced the troubles; but the generality in England knew no better, and this tract probably gained for him the favor of four London merchants, not members of the Va. Co., who sent him on a voyage with Captain Hunt to our New England coast, March to August 1614... He was taken prisoner by a French vessel, while his own crew escaped. After this remarkable event, his self-assertions failed to have any value with businessmen, although he seems to have constantly sought employment abroad. For the remainder of his life, he was "a paper tiger" at home...". [Alexander Brown, The Genesis of the United States of America, London, 1890] . See too about Smith under Catholic Colonisation.] Wingfield played a crucial role in 1605-08; and without his truly extensive contacts (so often used to denigrate him as an aristocratic hack) and his steady input, the USA might well have been colonized by France or Spain.

Early life and education

Early life

He was born in 1550 at Stonely Priory (dissolved ca. 1536), near Kimbolton, Huntingdonshire (now Cambridgeshire), the eldest son of Thomas Maria Wingfield, Sr. and Margaret Kay (from Woodsome near Huddersfield, Yorkshire) [See n.2 (Birth). Hasler, III, p.635; Woodsome Hall, Fenian Bridge, Huddersfield - see website.] and was raised as a protestant [Wingfield, Jocelyn, p.19.] . His middle name, "Maria" (pronounced [mah-RYE-uh] ), derived from Mary Tudor, [Wingfield's middle name "Maria" derives from Mary, sister of Henry VIII. Edward Maria's grandfather, Sir Richard Wingfield, of Kimbolton Castle (d.1523), sometime Deputy at Calais and a successful ambassador, who in 1513 was dispatched to Fontainebleau, France in to repatriate the newly-widowed Queen Mary (the younger sister of Henry VIII - not his daughter, Mary Tudor, b.1516, which is erroneously stated in many books). When her husband, Louis XII, died, his son, the dauphin, refused to let Mary return to live in England - and indeed appeared to have designs on her dowry, if not her herself. Because Sir Richard Wingfield stood by while she married her lover, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, there in France, without the permission of Henry VIII, Mary agreed to be godmother to Thomas Wingfield, Sir Richard & Lady [Bridget] Wingfield's 2nd son, (Charles the eldest, already christened, was to inherit Kimbolton Castle). The Dowager Queen of France permitted Thomas to be christened with her name as his middle name (probably the second man in England with a middle name). Thus he became Thomas Maria or Thomas Mary Wingfield. This middle name was proudly borne and continued by Thomas Maria to two of his ten children: Edward Maria Wingfield and Thomas Maria, Jr. They signed their names "Thomas Mari: Wingfield" or Edward Mari: Wingfield" and the pronunciation was apparently "carried down" in the USA as [Ma-RYE-uh] , rather than [Ma-REE-uh] . The last Edward Maria Wingfield (the Sixth) in the family, died in Richmond, Virginia in 1984. With the Dissolution and Henry VIII's break with Rome in 1534, Mary, the Dowager Queen of France accepted Protestantism as the state religion, as did the majority of the population including Edward Maria Wingfield and indeed two years later so did his father.] sister of King Henry VIII (not from the King's Catholic daughter Mary). His father, Thomas Maria Wingfield, MP (who had in 1536 renounced his calling as a priest), died when he was seven. [Thomas Maria Wingfield graduated from Oxford in 1534, having held the living of Warrington, Lancashire from his mid-teens, of his father (who d. 1525), the then Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. In about 1536 Thomas Maria renounced an ecclesiastical career, and became MP for Huntingdon in 1553. [Foster, Alumni Oxon q. in VCH, Lancs, III, 1907, p.311] . The fact that Edward Maria Wingfield's other godparent was Cardinal Pole, should also not suggest that Edward Maria had Catholic leanings, since in 1513, the year his father was christened, the population was Catholic. Stonely Priory House (thought to have originally been a barn) is a protected building, but not because Wingfield lived there. [Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, 1926, Hunts, p. 176 & Plate 47] .] Before he was twelve, his mother married James Cruwys of Fotheringhay, [Fotheringhay Church Registers; Bridges, II, p.458; Pedigree of Crews of Fodringey, 1884, p.16; Vis. Devon, Crews of Morchard, pp.256-257; Vis. Norfolk, 1563, 1564, 1589, 1613; Cal of Feet of Fines, Hunts, p.143, in Peterborough Ref. Lib.; Harl.MS 1171 f.23b; board in Fotheringhay Church porch. ] Northamptonshire - who became his guardian; yet the father figure in his early years appears to have been his uncle, Jaques Wingfield (one of six contemporary martial Wingfields).

Stonely Priory House is today on private land.

Colonisation in Ireland

Jaques Wingfield was from 1559-60 until his death in 1587, Master of the Ordnance in Ireland, Constable of Dublin Castle and an Irish Privy Counsellor. [Wingfield, Jocelyn, p.19.] When Edward Maria was nineteen he apparently accompanied his uncle, one of the key settlers involved in building a colony in Munster, Ireland, truly the "forging house for Virginia", with Sir Humphrey Gilbert, Sir John Popham and others. [Froude, History of England, 1870, Vol.X, p.490; Lodge, Peerage of Ireland, III, p.253n, q. in Bridges, Northamptonshire, 1791, II, p.69 note "e" - q. in Wingfield, Jocelyn, pp.26-28. Half the list is now lost. Jaques's son, Thomas was then but 8.] His uncle held the Suffolk Manor of Wickham Skeith, [W.A. Copinger, Manors of Suffolk, III, 1909, p.337, q. in Wingfield, Jocelyn, pp.20, 151. "Manor" means "estate".] next to the future living of the great geographer, Richard Hakluyt, Jr. at Wetheringsett - both being some ten miles (16 km) from Letheringham Old Hall, the ancestral home of the Wingfield Family, and from Otley Hall, ancestral home of the Wingfields' cousins, the Gosnold Family (4 miles from Letheringham).

Law school

In 1575-6 Edward Maria Wingfield returned to England, where in 1576 he was admitted to Lincoln's Inn, [Lincoln's Inn Admissions Book for 1576, April; "Edward Maria Wingfield of Huntingdonshire, Barrister [attorney] of Furnivall's Inn".] the law school, having first passed through its "feeder", Furnivall's Inn. Before completing his legal training, the lure of the drum called him to the Low Countries.

oldiering in NL

Along side his brother Captain Thomas Maria Wingfield, for at least four years, Edward Maria fought as a foot company commander (i.e. commander of 100 pike-wielding soldiers) in the Low Countries for the Free Dutch against Spanish invaders, including in 1586 at the Battle of Zutphen, [Hasler, [Her Majesty's Stationery Office] , p.685; Carew MSS El.15861/493; Stafford, Edward, ed., Pacata Hiberna, 1629, I, pp.278-279, 299 , 346 q. in Wingfield, Jocelyn, pp.47-49. In the 1570s-90s Edward Maria's middle brother, Captain Thomas Maria Wingfield, married two Protestant Dutch ladies: (i) Etranildo de Sussnet of Overijssel, and later (ii) Arlinda van Rede of Utrecht. [Vis. Norfolk, 1563, 1589, 1613; Vis. Hunts, 1613, Harl.1552, ink f.196b] .] thereby gaining experience in the defense of forts and in skirmishing. He, his brother and Sir William Drury, were noted in the Army Roll of 1589 as "captains of success". [Galba D1 Cotton, f.133P.142), BL.] In the first half of 1588 he was taken prisoner together with the virginiaphile Sir Ferdinando Gorges (later Governor of Plymouth), at or near Bergen-op-Zoom, and was held in Spanish captivity with him, first at Ghent and then at Lille until on September 5th, 1588 when ransoms were demanded. [CSP Foreign Vol XXII July-December 1588, p.307; and Vol XXIII Jan-July 1589, pp.55-56 & 98, ed, R.B. Wernham - q. in Wingfield, Jocelyn, Chap. 8. CSP (Foreign) for June 19th 1589 sub "Causes of Lord Willoughby's Displeasure against Captain Thomas Maria Wingfield", states that Thomas Maria had indeed captured Don John and Don Luis and "knew of no order against taking prisoners; indeed the General had promised to give away the four best." [This was to reward Grimstone and Redhead for the key role they had played in planting the false Intelligence about betraying Bergen] . "The prisoners were given into Captain Best's keeping. Next morning as they marched to the town, Wingfield asked to have the keeping of one of them, as a means of securing his brother's release. His Lordship said he could have none of them... but gave him leave to compound with [negotiate] with Grimstone and Redhead." This Thomas Maria did and "Grimston yielded his claim to Don John." Then his Lordship found that Don John was a marquis and so was reluctant to let Wingfield have him; but "he promised, if Wingfield could not have Don John, to give him -L-300 to buy Terrayze (another prisoner) to exchange for his brother Wingfield [i.e Jamestown's future 1st President] , however [T.M.Wingfield] agreed with Grimstone to take a Spaniard named Orteyse instead of Don John."] Nine weeks later his brother captured two VIP Spanish officers at Bergen, but was not permitted by the Allied Commander-in-Chief, Peregrine Bertie, 13th Baron Willoughby de Eresby, to exchange them (though he was mysteriously paid -L-957 later). He and Gorges were, however, no earlier than June 1589, released as part of a prisoner exchange. [See n.18(conceivably part of this was back pay); Hasler, III, pp.635-636.]

oldiering in Ireland

In the 1590s Captain Wingfield was garrisoned at Drogheda in Ireland [CSP (Ireland).] - where commanders reported for pay, rations and munitions to the Clerk of the Cheque & Muster-Master, Colonel Sir Ralph Lane, [DNB sub Lane, Ralph; Blore, VCH Rutland, 1911, Pedigree of Lane.] the former Deputy Governor of Sir Walter Ralegh's ill-fated 1584-86 Roanoke Colony (in modern day North Carolina). Lane was Wingfield's father's old neighbour in Orlingbury, near Kimbolton. [VCH Northants, eds. Doubleday and Salzman [1904-1912] .]

ervice in Parliament

In 1593 Wingfield was a Member of Parliament for Chippenham (Wiltshire) - one of five Wingfield family MPs - a seat obtained for him by his neighbor, Anthony Mildmay of Apethorpe, probably encouraged by Wingfield's cousin, Sir Robert Cecil. He may have sat on a committee considering cloth in March, but this (and parliament) he decided was not for him, and he returned shortly afterward to the soldier's life at Dundalk Garrison in Ireland. [Cecil's aunt Elizabeth Cecil was married to Sir Robert Wingfield II of Upton near Burghley, grandson of Sir Henry Wingfield of Orford Castle (fl.1490s), the great great uncle of Edward Maria Wingfield. This seat in the Commons was perhaps a sort of present for being held some 18 months a Prisoner of War. [Hasler, III, p.635] .]

Kimbolton School Governor

Wingfield was a Feoffee, or Governor, of Kimbolton School in 1600 [Current Guide to Kimbolton Castle, p.2. One of the school boarding houses is till called "Wingfield".] - which riled his old fellow-colonist from 1569 in Ireland, Sir John Popham, a keen promoter of Virginia; and indeed they clashed over getting their own men onto the school's Board of Governors. [Abstract of the Feoffment for the Endowment of Kimbolton School, 10th Nov. 42nd Eliz;] Popham had just banished Sir Edward ("Ned") Wingfield to County Galway in Ireland for life, for the part he had played in the Revolt of the Earl of Essex in 1599 - doubtless telling him that this would prevent his being executed - and sequestered his house, Kimbolton Castle, sending his family off to their London house at St.Andrew's, Holborn. [Stratford, pp.12-14. Wingfield had appointed his nephew, Gamaliel Crews, as a feofee - which Popham objected to.] Despite his pleas, Queen Elizabeth I never permitted Ned Wingfield to return home. [Brown, Alexander, II, p.978 sub Ratcliffe, John; parish church where Wingfield's nephew, Lewis Marya Wingfield was christened Aug. 15, 1592 [IGI] .]

Organizing the Virginia Expedition

Getting the Virginia Expedition Moving

Although Sir Thomas Gates was later hailed by Sir Edwin Sandys as the "principle forwarder" of the London Virginia Company, Captain John Smith wrote in his "General Historie" that, when in 1605-06 the Jamestown expedition was making no progress, Wingfield got it moving: "Captain Bartholomew Gosnold " [Wingfield's second cousin] ", one of the first movers of this plantation, having many years solicited many of his friends, but found small assistance; Gosnold at last prevailed with some gentlemen, Capt John Smith, Mr. Edward-Maria Wingfield, Mr. Reverend Robert Hunt, and diverse others, who depended a year upon his projects, but nothing could be effected, till by their great charge and industry, it came to be apprehended by certain of the Nobility, Gentry and Merchants, so that His Majesty by his letters patents, gave permission for establishing Councils, to direct here; and to govern, and to execute there." [Carew Papers, IV, p.368; Stafford, Thomas, Pacata Hiberna, 1633, repr. 1820, II, pp.556-557. See n.2.] It is also likely that Cecil, Hakluyt and others were concerned that they should not have a leader like the Earl of Essex, who might set up his own kingdom in Virginia, and therefore sought out an old retired military man instead. (Bartholomew Gosnold's next brother, Captain Wingfield Gosnold, was not to sail with the expedition). [Otley Hall family tree q. in Wingfield, Jocelyn, pp.152, 277.] Conceivably Captain Gosnold (aka "Gosnell") was the "Captain Gosnell" who, in 1604 at a dinner in the Isle of Wight made some "intemperate" comment about the King, so perhaps causing important people to shun him. There is no record of Smith (or indeed Hunt) doing anything special, but Gabriel Archer, who was on Gosnold's 1602 "Cape Cod Expedition", had in that year been active in recruitment in London. [Costs of ships. April 10, 1605. "The merchants of London, Bristol, Exeter and Plymouth, soon perceived what great Gains might be made of a Trade this Way... [i.e. settling Virginia] ... sufficiently evinced by the great Profits some Ships had made.... Encouraged by this Prospect, they join'd together in a Petition to King James the First, shewing forth that it would be too much for any single person to attempt the Settling of Colonies, and to carry on so considerable a Trade: They therefore prayed His Majesty to incorporate them, and enable them to raise a joint Stock for that purpose, and to countenance their undertaking... His Majesty did accordingly grant their petition, and by Letters Patent, bearing the date the 10th of April, 1606, did in one Patent incorporate them into Two distinct Companies": Tho. Gates, Sir George Somers, Knights; Mr. Richard Hakluit, Clerk Prebend of Westminster, and Edward-Maria Wingfield, Esq; Adventurers of the City of London and such others as should be join'd unto them... Ships. Virginia Company had 30 vessels of 100 tons plus costing -L-300,000 , i.e. notionally, over -L-10,000 each or one could say: 30,000 vessel-tons = -L-300,000. Therefore One vessel-ton cost > -L-10 (1609 costs) or > $1,704.45 (at today's prices). In 1606 the tonnage of the 3 little ships was 120 + 40 + 20 = 180 tons, which then cost c. -L-1,800 - or at 2007 prices -L-1.4 million or $2.8 million. Weapons & ammo. In 1561 keeping the army in Ireland cost Queen Elizabeth -L-12,000 (or $341,000) a year. [Wingfield, Jocelyn, "Virginia's True Founder", p.29] . EDWARD MARIA WINGFIELD's uncle Jaques Wingfield, Master of the Ordnance in Ireland, used to draw around -L-2,000 ($56,800) of ordnance and defence stores per visit from the Tower of London. Victuals, drink & catering stores. -L-??]

Wingfield was involved in fundraising and was one of the biggest backers of the venture, with family friends, Sir Thomas Gates, Sir William Waad aka Wade (Lieutenant-Governor of the Tower of London), Sir Thomas Smythe (Treasurer of the Virginia Company), John Martin, Sr., his Stonely-Huntingdon neighbor Sir Oliver Cromwell and his London neighbor, Captain John Ratcliffe, aka Sicklemore. Even Philip L. Barbour, (who was obsessively anti-Wingfield), wrote: "John Smith was unaware, always, of the importance of the lever - the legal and financial backing that got the voyage going." [The 1st or London Company (Jamestown): The Big Backers, 1606. To convert AD 1610-1620 pounds sterling into US dollars at AD 2004 rates, the Bank of England instructed us to multiply the old (c.1606) -L- figure by 170.45 for today's $ figure.

GATES, Sir Thomas. Sub -, paid -L-100. In 1552 the head of the family of Edward Maria Wingfield, Sir Anthony Wingfield, KG, died at Sir John Gates' house in Stepney. In 1608 appointed Governor of Jamestown, but wrecked on the Bermudas, etc.

WAAD aka Wade, Sir William. Sub -L-75, paid -L-144 10s. MC for Va 1606, MC for VA Co 1609. Ex-Ambassador, Lt-Gov of the Tower 1605-1612. Londoner. MP for Aldburgh, Suffolk, 1585, convert|10|mi|km east of the Wingfield ancestral home of Letheringham. Had 19 siblings. [B] . One of sons of "England's Columbus". In 1583-84 Edward Maria Wingfield's 2nd cousin, royal usher Anthony Wingfield, after his return from a diplomatic mission with Lord Willoughby to Denmark, was employed with Waad in collecting evidence against Philip Howard, 1st Earl of Arundel (RC from 1584) as to whether Arundel had been involved in the Throckmorton Plot. [Egerton MS 2074, ff.9 sqq q. in DNB sub Anthony Wingfield] . Wade's descendants in Ireland are named Hyde; and are friends of the Wingfields.

SMYTHE aka SMITH, Sir Thomas, Treasurer [=President] , MC for Va Nov 20, 1606, MC for Va Co May 23, 1609. Sub -L-75, paid -L-165. Also Gov of E India Co. [A38-39] . [$28,124 at today's prices - see WINGFIELD $$$ below] .

MARTIN, Captain John, Sr. Paid -L-95. Devoted his life to the Virginia enterprise from 1606. (MARTIN, Captain John, Jr.. Sailed 1606. ? Later paid -L-25).

WINGFIELD, Edward Maria. Paid -L-88.00. [=$15,000] . Incorporator of Virginia Charter of 1605. 1st President at Jamestown. Wingfield's input of -L-88, was a huge sum.

CROMWELL, Sir Oliver. MC for Va, 1606. Sub -L-75. Paid -L-75. MP for Hunts 1604-11. MC for Va 1607, MC for Va Co 1609. Of Hinchinbrooke, the next estate to Kimbolton. Neighbour and cousin of Wingfield.

SICKLEMORE aka RATCLIFFE, Captain John. Paid -L-50. [Kimbolton MS q in B] . 2nd President at Jamestown. When his supposed widow, Dorothy Ratcliffe was married at All Hallows Steyning in 1611-12, her late husband, John, was described as "of St. Andrew's, Holborn", the church of the Stonely Wingfields - where Lewis Maria Wingfield, a nephew of Edward Maria Wingfield (son of his brother TMW) was christened on August 15th, 1592 [IGI] . (It lies across the road from the church of John Smith and of the Brantham Wingfields (cousins of Edward Maria Wingfield), St Sepulchre without Newgate). Intermarried with the Fettiplaces (Jamestown 160-). The Sicklemores by 1644, if not earlier, held Tuddenham, the next "manor" to Mildenhall, the second manor of the Letheringham Wingfield heir (and an airbase today where USAAF personnel are stationed).

HAKLUYT, Revd Richard. Paid -L-21. From 1590 held living of Wetheringsett, Suffolk, the next village to Wickham Skeith, where Edward Maria Wingfield's uncle, Jaques Wingfied, Master of the Ordnance in Ireland (d.1587), was Lord of the Manor. Wetheringsett also marched with the Wingfield manors of Crowiled, Coddenham, Gosbeck and Hemingstone. He also had the living of Gedney, the next village to Holbeach, where the Wingfields had a connection too. Hakluyt's patron was James I's Secretary of State, Sir Robert CECIL, whose aunt was Elizabeth Wingfield (a 2nd cousin of Edward Maria Wingfield). In 1609 his -L-21 was "prorated to 2 shares".

SOMERS, Sir George. Although no sum is mentioned, he was an Incorporator of the Virginia Charter of 1605. In 1608 sailed for Jamestown, but wrecked in the Bermudas.

MONTAGU, Sir Henry. MC for VA, Nov 20, 1606. Boughton neighbour of Edward Maria Wingfield.

HARINGTON, John, 1st Lord, of Exton (near the Wingfield seat of Tickencote). Held stock. ?Date. ?Amount? Perhaps a relative of Edward Harington, Gent, who sailed with Edward Maria Wingfield in 1606 and who died in Jamestown August 24th 1607. It is presumed that the Mary Harington of Exton who married Sir Edward Wingfield ("Ned") of Kimbolton, that keen soldier and jouster, ca. 1600, was his sister, but this cannot yet be confirmed by Harington family or other records. [Estimate from Pedigree of Harington ("one "R") in the Markham Memorials, p.40] .Other known post-1606 but pre-early 1609 backers of Jamestown:

Thomas West, 3rd Baron De la Warr, MC fro Va. Co, 1609, but involved from 1608, ?then paying -L-500.

SCRIVENER, Matthew. MC for Va, 1608 & MC Va Co 1609. Paid -L-100. (Translated by Alexander Brown to $12,500 at 1890 prices; or $17,045 at 2004 prices. Arrived Jamestown Jan.1608, acting President July-Sep.1608 & Jan 1609 - when he was tragically drowned in the James River. The Scriveners lived and live in London, (Belstead, Ipswich) and at Sibton, Suffolk (as did Anthony Wingfield, a 2nd cousin of Edward Maria Wingfield), Ipswich and Belstead. Matthew's sister, Elizabeth Scrivener of Belstead, married Sir Harbottle Wingfield of Crowfield, Suffolk, near Letheringham. [Scrivener Pedigree] . And their son Henry married Dorothy Brewster, from the Brewsters so prolific convert|20|mi|km NE of Crowfield. The Scriveners twice married Wingfields in this period. Clearly recruited by Edward Maria Wingfield. BEDELL, John. Paid -L-12-10s-0d. Neighbour of Edward Maria Wingfield at Stonely. In Jamestown from 1608. BEDELL, Gabriel. Paid -L-12-10s-0d. Neighbour of Edward Maria Wingfield at Stonely. In Jamestown from 1608. CAREW, Lord George. Sub ?. MC for Va, 1607. His uncle and that of Edward Maria Wingfield was Jaques Wingfield, Master of the Ordnance in Ireland, where he and Edward Maria Wingfield served 1569 & 1570s. [B] . FETTIPLACE, Michael. Came to Jamestown, 1608. Paid -L-12-10s-0d. Of, et al, Tuddenham, Suffolk - convert|10|mi|km from the Wingfield ancestral home of Letheringham. FETTIPLACE, William. Came to Jamestown 1608. Paid -L-10. See last entry. PERCY, George. Paid -L-20. Sailed in 1606 to Jamestown. Governor of Jamestown 1609-10 & 1611-12. SMITH, Captain John. -L-9. There is no record of stock owned by: (1) Captain Gabriel ARCHER, MC for Va, 1607 to 1609-10; (2) Nor Captain Bartholomew GOSNOLD of Grundisburgh near Otley & Letheringham. Bartholomew's next younger brother - of 3 - was Captain Wingfield Gosnold (who had a daughter Mary who married Richard Pepys, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland and died in 1660). [Gosnold Pedigree at Otley Hall] . Their Aunt Ursula Gosnold (wife of Rober the JP, was born Ursula Naunton, daughter of William Naunton and his wife Elizabeth Wingfield of Letheringham Abbey (daughter of Sir Anthony Wingfield, KG (d.1552), Head of EDWARD MARIA WINGFIELD's family. And Bartholomew & Wingfield Gosnold's great aunt, Katherine Gosnold nee Blennerhasset, married (ii) Anthony Wingfield of Sibton, Suffolk (where stood the ancestral home of the Scriveners). So Bartholomew Gosnold was the 2nd cousin by marriage (two generations removed) of Wingfield. There is also no record of stock owned by Rev Robert HUNT, (if the one who went up to Magdalen, Oxford in 1589, one of his neighboring clerics on being ordained, was Richard Hooker, friend and former tutor of Sir Edwin Sandys); by Captain George KENDALL (Jamestown, 1607, a cousin of Sir Edwin Sandys); nor by Captain Christopher NEWPORT. The William BREWSTER who paid -L-20 may have been the one who sailed with Wingfield or he may have been one of the Pilgrim Fathers. From which it will be seen that the greatest expense by far was the ships, thereby confirming that the merchants were the chief planners/organisers. ] (Back in 1602 it was Wingfield's 2nd cousin Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, who funded Bartholomew Gosnold's voyage to "discover" and name Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard).

Recruiting settlers

In 1606, without Wingfield's input through his extensive influential contacts, it is possible that the expedition might never have sailed. In 1605-06 Wingfield and his cousin Bartholomew Gosnold, recruited about 40% of the 105 settlers. [3rd Earl of Southampton. Edward Maria Wingfield's grandmother, Bridget Wingfield nee Wiltshire, m. (ii) Sir Nicholas Harvey. Their son & heir, Lord William Harvey m. (1) Henry Wriothesley, 2nd Earl of Southampton, whose son & heir was his namesake, the 3rd Earl. [Brown, II, p.1061 sub "Henry Wriothesley"] ; Barbour, pp.105-106. Barbour, pp.105-106.] Most of the would-be gentlemen settlers were impecunious younger sons without prospects, but more than a dozen gentleman (as Dr. John Horn observes), and Captain John Martin... "clearly were gentlemen with other motives, perhaps just the adventure in its own right". [Dr.W.Kelso & B.Straube, Jamestown Rediscovery VI, pp.6-7. Wingfield wrote that he could not "forsake the enterprise of opening so glorious a kingdom unto the king." [Wingfield, E.M., Discourse, last sentence, q. in Wingfield, Jocelyn, p.343] .] Wingfield obtained the approval of Richard Bancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury, his old London vicar at St. Andrew's, Holborn, for the Reverend Robert Hunt of Old Heathfield (who was in disgrace from his arrival there in 1602 for immorality with his servant, Thomasina Plumber, and for absenteeism and thereby neglect of his congregation). This recruitment may have been with the help of Richard Hakluyt, Jr., who was also due to sail, or maybe he was volunteered by Wingfield's cousin-by-marriage the 3rd Lord De La Warr, the future Governor-General of Jamestown; and Hunt had his will witnessed by a Tristram Sicklemore, so may have already known John Sicklemore aka Ratcliffe. [Wingfield, Jocelyn, pp. 54, 163. Possibly a relative of Edward Seklemore of Roanoke (1585). [Durant, p.166] .] The Archbishop's approval was dated as late as November 24th, 1606 - yet, sadly, at the very last moment Hakluyt, the senior of the two priests, backed out. [Wingfield, Jocelyn, p. 163. Hunt was already fleeing from his adulterous wife (who had been seeing too much of one John Taylor) and his two young children in Reculver, Kent; Renshaw, W. C., Notes from the Act Books of the Archdeaconry Court of Lewes in Sussex Archaeological Collections, vol. 49 [1906] , q in Benjamin Woolley, 2007, p.36 & n.16. Lord De la Warr was Lord of the Manor of Old Heathfield. Edward Maria's uncle, Charles Wingfield was married to Jane Knollys, sister of Sir Francis Knollys, KG - whose daughter, Anne married Thomas West, 2nd Baron De La Warr, father of the Roanoke backer, Thomas, the 3rd Baron and future Governor-General of Jamestown; Parks, p.256.]

Catholics debarred from colonisation

Despite the fact that Lord Southampton's brother-in-law the Catholic Sir Thomas Howard, Baron Arundell and Sir Ferdinando Gorges had funded the spring 1605 expedition to Allen's Island (in modern day Newfoundland), designed to establish a colony for British Catholicism, there is absolutely no way that Wingfield or indeed Hunt, (described by Wingfield as "a man not in any way to be touched with the rebellious humours of a popish spirit, nor blemished with the least suspicion of a factious schismatic, whereof I had a special care" ), could have had Catholic or Non-conformist leanings, the more so in the wake of the previous year's Catholic Gunpowder Plot. All would-be colonists had to subscribe to the Oath of Allegiance and the Oath of Supremacy of 1559, which denied the doctrine of the Pope's authority, in both deposing rulers and in absolving Englishmen from their allegiance. Indeed the latter oath debarred Roman Catholics from participation in Anglo-American colonisation - until George Calvert founded Maryland for persecuted Catholics and Puritans in 1634. [Wingfield, Jocelyn, ibid; Andrews, Matthew Page, Soul of a Nation 1943, p.55; Noel Hume, p.105.]

Getting the Expedition legalised

The 1606 Charter. On April 10th, 1606, Wingfield was one of the eight "incorporators" of the Virginia Company, [MS C82/1729(1), National Archives Image Library, London, p.5 ] who "prayed His Majesty to incorporate them, and to enable them to raise a joint stake". Divided into two missions, four men sub-incorporated as the Virginia Company of London and four as the Virginia Company of Plymouth, which would attempt to found a colony at Sagadahoc, Maine. The four for the London (Jamestown) Company, besides Wingfield, being Richard Hakluyt, Sir Thomas Gates and Sir George Somers - (i.e. these suitors ensured the legality of the Company). They prayed His Majesty to incorporate them, and to enable them to raise a joint stake. The Charter stated: "James, by the grace of God, King of England... Whereas our loving and well disposed subjects, Sir Thomas Gates, and Sir George Somers, Knights, Richard Hackluit, Clerk...and Edward Maria Wingfield, Esq... have been humble suitors unto us, that we would vouchsafe unto them and may in time bring the infidels and savages in those parts, to human civility, and to a settled and quiet government, Do, by these our letters patent, graciously accept of, & agree to, their humble and well intended desires....and do therefore, for Us, our heirs and successors, Grant and agree, that the said Sir Thomas Gates, Sir George Somers, Richard Hackluit, and Edward Maria Wingfield, adventurers of and for our city of London... shall and may begin their said first plantation...and seat of their first abode & habitation", etc.

"Richard Hakluyt, Edward Maria Wingfield, " [etc] " Adventurers... of and for our City of London, and such others as are or shall be joined unto them of that Colony... shall and may begin their said first Plantation and Seat of that first Abode and Habitation, at any place upon the said coast of Virginia, where they shall think fit and convenient between the said four and thirty and one and forty [34-41] degrees of the said Latitude..."

He and his fellow incorporators were licensed by King James I to "make habitation, plantation and to deduce a colony in that part of America "commonly called Virginia, and other parts and territories not actually possessed by any Christian prince or people, between 34 and 45 degrees North and "shall and may inhabit and remain there, and shall build and fortify [there] ... "according to their best discretion"... "and shall and lawfully may ... dig, mine and search for all manner of mines... yielding to us... the fifth part only of all the same gold and silver and the fifteenth part of all the same copper... and they shall or fully may establish and cause to be made a coin, to pass current there between people... with sufficient shipping, and furniture of armour, weapons, ordnance, powder, victuals" etc... The Charter went on to say: that Wingfield, Hakluyt, Gates and Somers could "encounter, repulse or repel and resist" all persons attempting to inhabit the said colonies "without especial licence" and that anyone they caught "trafficking" i.e. trading, should pay "five of every hundred of such wares". Anyone robbing or spoiling was to make restitution. Everything was to be in effect for 25 years before reverting to the Crown and all land was to be held of the Crown.

Wingfield apparently took a copy of the 1st Virginia Charter with him to Virginia, something that would have been provocative to a man like Gabriel Archer. Two days before he sailed - which was about the time that his Bible was stolen - he made over his estate at Stonely to seven friends and neighbours (including two Pophams and Hakluyt's friend and Wingfield's neighbour, Pickering) and five relations (including four Wingfields). [Parks, p.256; Percy; Manchester Papers, DDM54/2, The Stonely Deede, in the CRO, Huntingdon.(It was not a Mortgage of 1606, but a defeasance (the annulment) dated 1620 of the 1602 deed. (See www.wingfield.org sub "Virginia's Founder". For theft of Bible: Wingfield, E.M., p.39 q. by Wingfield, Jocelyn at pp.164, 337-338. His signature is also on DDM47a/11.] For the southern colony (Jamestown) Wingfield was the only "adventurer" (one risking his means) and "venturer" (one risking his life) to sail. The four patentees for each of the two colonies (Jamestown, and Sagadahoc - in modern day Maine) had, as stated above, "licence to make habitation, plantation and to deduce a colony." The two colonies were to be controlled by the King's Council of Virginia - which included not only the indomitable Sir Thomas Smythe, but also Wingfield's old comrade-in-arms and fellow Prisoner of War (for 18 months in 1588-1589) in Spanish captivity, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, and Wingfield's cousin-by-marriage, Lord de la Warr.



Three little ships, the Susan Constant, the Discovery and the Godspeed sailed from Blackwall Dock, London under the overall command of Captain Christopher Newport on December 19th 1606 to found Jamestown; and "the fleet fell from London" on December 20th . [Percy, Discourse.]

Commander for the Voyage only

The Council of Virginia had decreed on September 10 1606 that Newport was commissioned and given by the Council "with the sole charge and command of all the captains and soldiers, and mariners, and other persons, that shall go in any of the said ships and pinnace in the said voyage from the day of the date hereof" [i.e. 13 weeks prior to settling at Jamestown] "until such time as they shall fortune `to land' upon the said coast of Virginia." Newport, "was hired only for our transportation" (wrote Smith). [Arber & Bradley, eds., Smith's Travels & Works, [Edinburgh, 1910] , II, p.388.] From April 26th 1607 everyone knew who was a councillor, but not who was President - and knew that the first British presidential election was not to be before they had found "and landed" at a good site to settle. This was not a propitious beginning, and likely caused friction between the Councillors as they "jostled" to obtain votes.


On April 26 1607. "...the first land they made, they called Cape Henry" for Prince Henry, the young heir to the throne. Here Newport and Wingfied likely would have made a formal Declaration claiming Virginia for the Crown. That night the box was opened and the orders [dated November 20, 1606] read out. Wingfield [et al] were to be on the Council and were to elect a President for a year from their number.

Reconnaissance and election

"Until the 13 of May they sought a place to plant in, then the Council was sworn, and Mr. Wingfield was chosen President, and an Oration made..." - by him, probably immediately after being sworn in. This was the first-ever democratic election in the New World. [Smith, op cit, III, 1966 facsimile, p.42; Seed, pp.1-15, 41-63, 69-73, 179-193 q. in Horn, p.48.]

Command and control

At 57 Wingfield was about double the age of some of the Council. He had successfully petitioned the King for the Charter, was a "captain of success" in defence-works and skirmishing (patrolling) [Wingfield, Jocelyn, op.cit., Chaps. 5-9] and was one of the expedition's main stockholders. Thus, he was the obvious choice for President. However, the line of Command and Control and of "Land and Sea Force Cooperation" was problematic, since the President was not to command the mariners (as Sir Richard Grenville had at Roanoke), and the handover details were "woolly". [Durant, p.24.]

A Soldier's siting

The Council in London had advised the settlers "to sit "(set)" down" possibly "on some island that is strong by nature... and not overburthened with woods... so far up as a bark" (barque)" of 50 tons will float... perchance.. a hundred miles from the river's mouth" "with no native people to inhabit between you and the sea coast"." [Brown, II, p.957 sub Newport; Hamor, pp.32-33; Instructions by Way of Advice, for the Intended Voyage to Virginia, pp.1-5 q. in Wingfield, Jocelyn, pp.291-295; www.virtualvirginia.org .] Probably the key factor that swayed Wingfield to select Jamestown, was Ralph Lane's error at Roanoke in 1584 - having the ships a mile from their camp [Durant, p.52-53 (?Shallowbag Bay) q.in Wingfield, Jocelyn, p.194.] - and, as an experienced soldier not wanting to split his force, therefore kept his heaviest ship with them. So, on May 12th Wingfield vetoed Archer's Hope, the first site proposed, as too visible (thus easily bombarded by foreign ships' guns). At Jamestown, the ships could be secured to the overhanging trees - even the 120-ton Susan Constant. That Wingfield (who as a "suitor" was instructed by the King to site their "abode and habitation... and to begin their ...first plantation" at any place he thought "fit and convenient" [1st Virginia Charter q. at n.37. (above).] ) actually succeeded in rejecting Archer's Hope (i.e. haven), and selected the present Jamestown site (some convert|50|mi|km upriver), showed that he was a tough character.

Archer's Hope

Small in number, the colonists had to decide whether to concentrate their defenses against either sea attack by the French and Spanish, or against possible assault from native tribes in the area. Archer's Hope would have been better for firing down on approaching Spanish ships (i.e. large targets), since it was higher than Wingfield's river-level island/isthmus site at Jamestown. [Hume, p.131.] But for warding off land or canoe attacks by the "naturals", Jamestown's low field of fire was more easily defended with infantry. Wingfield was a soldier experienced in warding off Spanish foot soldiers and Irish guerrillas in dyke or swampland. Since the Councillors were not yet sworn, after two weeks of everyone arguing the pros and cons of different sites, a decision had to be made before they developed into a rabble. Furthermore, only the Kecoughtan tribe lay between them and the coast, whereas if he had sited the settlement upstream, five further tribes would have cut them off from escape. Jamestown was described by Smith as "a very great place for the erecting of a great city" and by Hamor as "a good and fertile island".

President Edward Maria Wingfield as he might have looked aged 57 in 1607 [Alan Barlow [2005 Obituary: Alan Barlow] painted President Edward-Maria Wingfield's portrait painted after studies - including computer studies - of the family features of four of his close relations in paintings as follows: (1) his grandfather, Sir Richard Wingfield of Kimbolton Castle, Knight of the Garter (c.1473-1525), from a coloured family (group) picture of the 1520s, aged c.mid-50s, artist unknown, held in the Wingfield family and at Boughton, Northants [J.M.Wingfield, Some Records of the Wingfield Family, London, 1925 & Jocelyn Wingfileld, WFS, Athens, GA, 1991, reprint 2006, frontispiece; Virginia's True Founder, plate 1] ; (2) his uncle, Charles Wingfield (1513-40), painted as an adult, by Holbein, property of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, Windsor Castle private wing (Virginia's True Founder [hereafter VTF] , plate 6); (3) 2nd cousin, Sir Anthony Wingfield, Knight of the Garter (c.1485-1552), 1541, aged c.56, painted by Scots and by Pantoja (VTF, plate 11 by Pantoja); (4) 2nd cousin, Marshal Sir Richard Wingfield, 1st Viscount Powerscourt & Baron Wingfield, by Cornelius Jonson, 1627, aged 73. (held in the family; VTF, plate 14). Alan Barlow* 1971-54: Theatre Head of Design at London's Old Vic & Covent Garden. 1954-65: Benedictine monk. 1965-1979: Theatre Head of Design at Manchester University, Montreal, Canada (National Theatre School), Stratford (Ont), Canada, Dublin, Ireland (Memorial & Abbey Theatres), Amsterdam (Young Vic). 1980-date: Professional painter of portraits, landscapes, murals, &c.]

Work and guard duties

During his Presidency Wingfield had the James Fort constructed in a month and a day. Barbour claimed he had no proven military service - which is nonsense, since his long service in the military in Ireland and up to fifteen years in the Low Countries is listed in the Calendar of State Papers. [Wingfield, Jocelyn, pp.32-71, 86-124; Memorials at Jamestown Church and Kimbolton Church; Hasler, p.635.] Since of the dozen or so captains [Newport, Gosnold, Radcliffe aka Sicklmore were naval captains; Wingfield, Kendall, Smith, Archer and Flower were or had been army captains. Percy was in the military in Ireland 1599-1602 and 1603-1604; Richard Crofts and Edward Morris [usually a "Corporal - JRW] were Captains too. [Moryson's Itinerary, II, p.345 and III, pp.13 & 250 q. in Barbour, p.427-428] .] he was by far the most experienced soldier in defence-works and defensive warfare, Wingfield supervised the construction of the fort (140 yards by convert|100|yd by convert|100|yd plus three artillery "blisters" of convert|20|yd each) - involving the felling of perhaps 500-600 30ft-trees, cutting them in half and burying one end firmly in the ground: a vast task. During construction, George Kendall supervised a temporary defence-work of the felled "half-moon of trees and brushwood... the boughs of trees cast together" as cover, prior to the ends of the huge triangular palisade being "joined up", as was normal military practice.

"Newport and Smith and twenty others were sent to discover the head of the river", wrote Smith (rather than "Newport decided to go exploring" - as so many books would have it). [See n. 4 .] President Wingfield was now in charge, but before long his cousin Gosnold warned him that he was driving the men too hard, ever holding them to "working, watching, and warding." [Smith, GH, p.42.]

Repulsing attack

May 27, 1607. Belying Smith's statement that the weapons were kept boxed or casked, President Wingfield successfully repulsed a fierce, hour-long attack on Jamestown, leading from the front. Outnumbered 3:1 - with but 130 men and boys - he drove off 400 native warriors. "...And our President, Mr. Wynckfeild (who showed himself a valiant Gentleman), had one shot clean through his beard, yet `scaped hurt" [escaped being injured] , wrote Archer. Percy also called Wingfield "a true, valiant gentleman". [Archer, p.54-55; Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition.]

The First Holy Communion at Jamestown, June 22nd, 1607 (as depicted in Old Heathfield Church, Sussex, England). [The lovely east window of the north aisle [www.wingfield.org sub "churches" and "Heathfield, Old"] depicts pastor Robert Hunt celebrating "the first Communion on American soil on June 11, 1607" at Jamestown. [Sunday June 21 in Virginia's True Founder, p. 212; Sunday June 22 in Woolley, p.86] . Three Councilors (one with his back to the observer), complete with ruffs, are shown taking Communion, watched by a Native American warrior with two young native boys. Clearly, since Wingfield was then President, he would be in the front row, maybe with his cousin Bartholomew Gosnold. The features and size are not for real, since no actual likenesses of those two Councilors exist. Smith, elected to the Council the week before, is not shown. The Jamestown settlers are all listed, as well as those intrepid mariners whose names are known to posterity. Robert Hunt is listed on a board in the church as being the incumbent at Heathfield from 1602 to 1608 (the year he died at Jamestown). He was, we know, allowed to receive the income and benefits from Heathfield even when in Virginia. The De la Warrs of the 1880s owned part of the manor of Heathfield - and so maybe the Lord de la Warr of the early 1600's, a cousin of Edward Maria Wingfield's, then too owned land at Heathfield, knew Hunt and recommended him to Wingfield. Incidentally, from the church one cannot - as it says in several books - see the sea (the English Channel, ten miles (16 km) to the southeast). These books muddle Heathfield in Sussex with Reculver in Kent, Hunt's earlier church, which lies fifty miles northeast of Heathfield (on the North Sea). In 1957 the APVA erected in Heathfield church a wooden memorial plaque to Robert Hunt.]

trict ration control

President Wingfield built the great fort, [Wingfield, Jocelyn, p.210.] sowed the first crops, ["The 15th June we had finished our fort... we had also sown most of our corn on two mountains. It sprang a man's height from the ground." [Percy] ; Francis Perkins (in 1608) wrote that two weeks after arrival the original settlers began to sow - both q. in Wingfield, Jocelyn, p.206. In drought-ridden Virginia - the worst drought and famine for 800 years, their seeds didn't just spring up like the barley and pea seeds at Waymouth's 1602 camp at Allen's Island {Maine] - 8 inches in 16 days! [Noel Hume, p.106] .] imposed strict rationing - planned "for the long time until our harvest would be ripe" (wrote Wingfield), - and "every meal of fish or flesh should excuse " [e.g. would cancel out] "the allowance for porridge". He got in three weeks' reserve supplies through bartering for food with "the Naturals", while (as ordered by the Council in London) "not offending them". [Edward Maria Wingfield's "Discourse" shows how much he and the native American werowances [chiefs] tried to co-exist peacefully when the settlers first arrived:"June the 25th [1607] . An Indian came to us from the great Powhatan with the word of peace, that he desired greatly; that the werowances Paspahegh & Tapahanagh, should be our friends and that we should sow and reap in peace.""The 3rd of July. 7 or 8 Indians presented the President [Wingfield] a deer from Pamunkey, a werowance [chief] desiring our friendship... Their werowance had a hatchet sent him... A little after this came a deer to the President from the Great Powhatan...The President likewise bought divers times deer of the Indians.""The 7th of July. Chief Tappahannah ...hailed us with a word of peace [so President Wingfield took the shallop to visit him] . He said his old store [of food i.e. "corn" = maize GB was spent; that his new was not at full growth by a foot; that as soon as any was ripe, he would bring it; which promise he truly performed."] He had to impose a strict rationing: "half a pint of wheat and as much barley boiled with water for a man a day, having fried 26 weeks in the ships hold, contained as many worms as grains". [Wingfield, E.M., pp.19-20, q. in Wingfield, Jocelyn, pp. 222-224, 233, 318; Instructions by Way of Advice, 1606, p.3; Smith, GH, p.44.Arber & Bradley, eds., Smith, Travels & Works, II, p.391.]

Worst drought for 800 years

In the oppressive heat, the diminishing food-stocks and American Indian attacks soon brought disease, death and dissension. President Wingfield and his settlers were not to know that their founding of Jamestown was during the worst seven-year dry spell (1606-1612) in nearly 800 years - which "dried up fresh-water supplies and devastated corn crops". Indeed Dr. William Kelso and Beverly Straube of Jamestown Rediscovery are convinced that the colony's fate was "beyond the control of either settlers or their London backers". [Sheler, p.53.] But the settlers were tough. The hardy ones survived that period and won through, establishing, as Dr. James Horn points out, "four fundamental characteristics of British America: representative government, private property, civilian control of the military, and a Protestant church"; [Horn, Dr. James, The Lessons of Jamestown, in Pleasant Living, Profile, May/June 2006 pp.26-27] .] along with English language and customs.

Removed as president

On September 10, 1607, amid starvation and attacks from native tribes, Wingfield was arrested and deposed from his presidency. The now ex-President was arraigned on the following charges (just as in 1609 the 4th Governor/President Percy - with ex-President (the 2nd) Ratcliffe, Archer and Martin - was to send the ex-President Smith (the 3rd president) home to answer eight similar, more serious charges): [Wingfield,E.M, p.23 Charges against Smith [Jocelyn Wingfield, pp.272-273] were:

[1] That he would not submit to the authority of the Council. (True).

[2] That he refused to recognise John Sicklemore as a member of the Council. (True).

[3] That he had sent rat poison to the Dutch, his own men, to poison them. (He certainly ordered Sergeant Abbot and Wiffin to stab them or shoot them - his own men!).

[4] That he had set the Indians on some of the settlers at the Falls [at today's Richmond] . (True: see below).

[5] That he had threatened to remove Powhatan's robes and crown (with which Newport, on orders from London, had invested him), unless the great chief gave the settlers corn. (Hearsay, but likely).

[6] That he refused to exchange tools with the Indians for maize, even though the settlers were starving. (Probably true: good military discipline, but his orders certainly had not been obeyed, since the settlers exchanged two to three hundred axes and other tools for food).

[7] That he exiled men to starve on the oyster banks. (Exiled to survive).

[8] That he "would" affect a kingdom (the same general charge had been made by him against his two predecessors), in this instance by wanting to marry the Powhatan's teenage daughter, Pocahontas.] (1) "Denying Ratcliffe a penny whittle "(pocket knife)", a chicken and a spoonful of beer." [Beer, corn oil, aquavit and biscuit had actually been rationed by the Council, of which Sicklemore was of course a Member. Wingfield's own knife had apparently been stolen by the Indians and three knives that had been on charge in the store had been exchanged with the Indians for food] .

(2) "Serving "(Ratcliffe, a.k.a.)" Sicklemore with foul corn." [All the corn was indeed foul, "having fried some twenty-six weeks in the ship's hold" or after further storage in difficult circumstances at James Fort] .

(3) Calling Smith a liar.

(4) Accusing Smith of concealing a mutiny plotted and confessed by Galthrop or Calthorpe, Gent. [Percy in Tylers Quarterly Magazine, p.264; Strachey, p.62, q. in Wingfield, Jocelyn, pp.272-273] .]

(5) Denying Martin a spoonful of beer. Starving Martin's son to death.

(6)"Did but tend his pot, spit and oven". [Once he had a squirrel he had been given, cooked for Sicklemore, because the latter was sick, and on another occasion he had a pint of peas and pork specially boiled for a very sick old man, who later died. Most men who were sick probably sat around near a fire; and indeed he was sick when he was deposed.]

(7)Accusing Smith's old comrade-in-arms from Transylvania, "Jehu Robinson, Gentleman" and others of "consenting to run away with the shallop" to Newfoundland (as it was later called). [Ibid, pp.28 & 43.]

(8)Starving the colony. [Ibid, p.28.] [It was "suggested" that he had had food buried in the ground. Indeed he had, but this was then the normal way to keep food and drink (in casks or vats) from going bad in hot weather, and besides, it did stop rations from being stolen. The future Secretary, William Strachey was to write of such "underground storehouses", and indeed such food and drink storage methods were then in use in England and indeed were still in use in England and America until well into the 20th century. Other stores were removed by Newport and others for bartering with the Indians, but Cape Merchant Thomas Studley's booking-out and booking-in "bookkeepers" (storemen) actually failed to keep adequate booking-in-and-out records] .

(9)"Banquet and riot, in that he did feed himself and his servants out to the common store."

In President Wingfield's time everyone was fed out of the common store, although there may have been separate Mess areas for the Council, the Gentlemen and labourers. Clearly, if this charge were true, it would have been made to stick. "Mr. Smith, in the time of our hunger", wrote Edward Maria, "had spread a rumour in the colony that I did feast my servants out of the common store, with intent, as I gathered, to have stirred the discontented company against me". No other writer of this period even implies that the President was requisitioning extra rations for himself or his servants. Wingfield started bartering with the Indians and/or stocked up with shot game, "for, as his store increased, he mended the common pot: he had laid up besides, provision for 3 weeks' wheat beforehand...I was all for one and one to all."Since Newport's return was a long way off, Edward Maria had imposed fair, very strict - and naturally very unpopular - rationing on the settlers] . [Ibid, p.27.] In his Discourse, President Wingfield "replies" to the following "extra" charges: [Ibid, pp.20 & 24.]

(10) "That I combined with the Spaniards to the destruction of the colony". [Ibid, p.39, q. in Wingfield, Jocelyn, pp.337 & 255.] (11) "That I am an atheist, because I carried not a bible, and because I forbid the preacher to preach". Why was President Wingfield accused of being an atheist? Because (a) he had no bible with him, (b) he cancelled two - or three - sermons, and (c) after he had been deposed, he failed to attend church on one or two occasions. [(a) His bible was stolen at Croft's house, just before they sailed from Blackwall. (b) When the men returned from standing to arms or counter-attacks, it was too late to have the sermon - and sermons were long in those days: so he cancelled them: "On two or three Sunday mornings, the Indians gave us alarums at our town", wrote Wingfield... "by that times they were answered, the place about us well discovered, and our divine service ended, the day was far spent." (c) And after his arrest (when he was sick and lame), he did not attend on a further one or two occasions when it was raining] . [Ibid, p.39.]

(12) "That I affected a kingdom".

(13) "That I did hide the common provision in the ground". [See riposte to Charge 9] .

A 14th "charge" is suggested by Smith's biographer, Philip L. Barbour: "that Wingfield was implicated in the planned escape in the pinnace to Spain (not England) by Kendall". He wrote that Kendall began whispering about abandoning the colony - "perhaps with the connivance of Wingfield...and Wingfield seemed implicated" etc.. His primary source was presumably Thomas Studley (or, rather, Smith - see note below), who in June 1608 wrote: "Wingfield and Kendall, living in disgrace... strengthened themselves with the sailors and confederates to regain their former credit and authority, or at least such means aboard the pinnace.. to alter her course, and to go for England... Smith...forced them to stay or sink in the river. Which action cost the life of Kendall" [who was shot after trial] ". [Ibid, (1) p.39, (2) p.30, (3) p.40, q. in Jocelyn R.Wingfield, pp.164, 227-228 & chap. 21 n.20 (four lines below n.19.]

Smith further wrote: "The President" [Ratcliffe aka Sicklemore] " and Captain Archer, not long after, intended also, to have abandoned the country". [Barbour, 3 Worlds, pp.153-154; Thomas Studley (actually John Smith) in The Second Part of a Map of Virginia (1612), The Proceedings of the English Colony in Virginia, in John Smith, Travels & Works (1612), sub "T. Studley, ?June 1608", ed. Arber, I, pp.3-4, 97. (Arber's "I.H." writes that "Thomas Watson" is a printer's error, and that he has since learned should read "John Smith").] Wingfield, however, was not charged with desertion - or he too would surely have been shot. It would seem that Smith got confused, accidentally or deliberately, over the dates of two or three different incidents. Indeed in 1608 Smith had also written: "Our store being now indifferently well provided with corn" [e.g. maize] " there was much ado for to have the pinnace go to England, against which Captain Martin and myself stood chiefly against it: and in fine after many debatings pro et contra, it was resolved to stay a further resolution." [Smith, GH, Lib.3, p.46.] Some time after Kendall was shot, Wingfield came ashore from the pinnace and stated to Smith and Archer that: "I was determined to go to England to acquaint our Council of our weaknesses... I said further, I desired not to go into England, if either Mr. President" [Ratcliffe aka Sicklemore] " would go." [Smith, ibid, 1623, pp.346, 349; A True Relation (text in the New York Historical Society), p.13.]

The President by then was Ratcliffe. Smith's biographer, Philip L. Barbour, who wrote of "John Smith's usual exaggeration", describes "the superlative pettiness" of the charges against Wingfield..."none of the accusations against him amounted to anything - not even Archer's assertion that he was in league with the Spaniards to destroy the colony." [Wingfield, E.M., pp.31, q. in Jocelyn R. Wingfield, pp.243 & 391.]

When the pragmatic Captain Newport, 47, arrived with the First Supply, he found young Smith, 27 - having been charged with losing two men to the Indians - also under restraint - for the second time; and he was, also for the second time since the expedition had set out, due to be hanged (on the morrow). Newport released Wingfield and Smith, waiving all but one of the charges against them both as petty, but he did not reinstate Wingfield, as the charge of being an atheist was so serious that he would have to be sent to England to be tried for it - just as Smith was to be later. [Barbour, pp.145, 148-149.]

Attempted reinstatement

The disgruntled settlers now thought that the 2nd President, John Ratcliffe, was the source of all their problems, and Smith, Kendall and Percy planned to send James Read the blacksmith on a maintenance visit to the pinnace, where Wingfield was held, to see if Wingfield would agree to be reinstated, but Ratcliffe learned of these plans and had Read publicly thrashed. [See n.62.]

Rebuttal of charges

In his "Discourse of Virginia" (1608), Wingfield comes across as a tough old soldier - too tough with the men, and too old for the job. He "could not make ropes of sand" as Stephen Vincent Benet described his situation [Horn, p.76; Wooley, pp. 104-106.] with a difficult bunch of men, during the worst drought for 800 years (as we now know).

Reputation and later career


Up to the 1980s, Wingfield's reputation as a villain stems from his chief rival, John Smith, who was apparently prone to supreme exaggeration, [Western Star, Book One, [New York, 1943] ; Brown, sub EMW, II, p.1055; p.53.] . Newly freed from arrest, Smith wrote of Wingfield's "overweening jealousy" i.e. supremely self-confident and suspicious of rivalry - which one could argue are two necessary qualities required by a commander. Command is lonely and doubtless the "cliqueyness" of the "Cape Cod Crew of 1602" (Gosnold, Martin and Archer), the Middle Temple lawyers (Gosnold and Percy) and the "generation gap" problem between Wingfield aged 57 vis-a-vis Smith aged 27 (and many men in their 20s and 30s), did not help. Smith also described Wingfield and probably Percy and Newport [Smith's so-called History of Virginia is not a history at all; but a eulogy of Smith and a lampoon of his peers". Brown, II, .1010; Barbour, p.391.] as "tufftaffety humorists" i.e overdressed, full of humour and laughter but liable to mood swings. Smith's views of President Wingfield were repeated by John Oldmixon in 1708, then further downgraded by the author of his entry in the (British) Dictionary of Biography of 1880, and even more so by Barbour (1964), Smith's best biographer. Barbour was obsessively anti-Wingfield, describing him as (a) an aristocrat (i.e. a baron, marquess, viscount, earl or duke) - which he was not, and which (before 1618) no member of his family ever had been (though his grandfather had been a Knight of the Garter, earned through being a brilliant ambassador); and (b) as having three servants at Jamestown; but Smith was no farmer's lad. Smith too was a Captain, had three servants at Jamestown, [Smith, GH.] possessed a coat of arms, owned property (in Louth), had a well-to-do tenant farmer father; and was, moreover, raised with the younger Bertie children and was given a personal equestrian course by the Henry, 2nd Earl of Lincoln of Tattershall Castle. [Smith's servants were Anas Todkill, "his man" (not Anas), and pageboy Samuel Collier. [Smith, Map of Virginia, Arber, I, p.132; GH, p.448; Andrews, p.140; Barbour, p.246 - all q. in Wingfield, Jocelyn, p.271.]

In 1608 King James "induced" Sir Humphrey Weld, the Lord Mayor, "a member of the Grocer's Company" to issue a Precept about corporate funding for Jamestown. [Tenements listed in father George Smith's will; Wingfield, Jocelyn, pp.103-104 (John Smith was raised with the younger Berties); P. Force, Tracts, 1609, III, p.37.] In the 2-3 charges not considered ludicrous by the level-headed Newport, Wingfield defended himself successfully before Archbishop Bancroft in London.

Later involvement with the Virginia Company

Still involved with the Virginia Company at 70, he died at 81. He was still involved in the affairs of the colony a dozen years later, e.g. the "Declaration of Supplies" intended to be sent to Virginia in 1620, June 22nd has: "Winckfield, Edward Maria, Captain, Esquire, Adventurer of the Virginia Company, London (Eng.): -L-88.". [King James induced the Lord Mayor of London, Sir Humphrey Weld, a member of the Grocers' Company, to issue `a Precept to the Livery Companies', "to deal very earnestly and effectually with the colonization of Virginia,." This resulted in corporate support for the Virginia Company for the first time - which is so often erroneously quoted as having begun in 1606. Weld reminded them that: Virginia would (a) give the citizens an opportunity of diminishing the risk of famine and pestilence, by removing some of the surplus population, and (b) would also prove a source of profit to Adventurers: indeed emigrants would beget a house, orchard and garden, and land for themselves and their heirs. So, 56 of the Livery Companies joined some 640 other shareholders in "The Company of London Adventurers and Planters of the City of London for the Colony of Virginia" on 10th April 1609 - just before John Smith, the third President at Jamestown, was - also - sent home to answer questions. [Blackham, p.59] .] He was buried at St.Andrew's, Kimbolton on April 13th, 1631. [Wingfield, Jocelyn, p.136;]


The latest British DNB (Dictionary of National Biography) sums the ex-President up as follows: "he seems to have been a conscientious and fair-minded man who lacked the necessary force of character to maintain order in the difficult early conditions of the colony, where he faced an unruly and quarrelsome set of companions.". Both Percy and Archer described him as "valiant".

"The Founder of an institution, organisation or idea, etc." is defined in Collins, Cobuild as: "a person who sets it up or causes it to be built, perhaps by providing the necessary money." Edward Maria Wingfield qualifies for Founder of Jamestown on all three counts. He was an incorporator of the 1st Virginia Charter, contributed the huge sum of -L-88 [=$15,000 today] , one of the very largest investments, was the only adventurer to sail to Jamestown (as cited) and, as the elected first President, built James Fort - described by John Smith as "a very great place for the erecting of a great city".

President Wingfield's memorial at Jamestown Church

Wingfield On Film

* played by Stephen Blackehart in "First Landing" (2007)
* played by David Thewlis in "The New World" (2005)
* played by Tony Goldwyn in "" (1995)
* played by James Seay in "Captain John Smith and Pocahontas" (1953)

Notes on Sources

A. Virginia Company Records. Since the Court (or Minute) Book for the Virginia Company for January 28, 1606 to February 14, 1615 disappeared after 1623(3) the only reliable (and likely incomplete) source is Alexander Brown's "The Genesis of the United States" [Vol. 2, 1899] - under the various family or individuals' names.

B. Wingfield's "A Discourse of Virginia" ("...upon the truth of this journal [I] do pledge my faith, and life...") is, incredibly, not drawn on as source material in four recent books on Jamestown [Lambeth Palace Library MS 250, ff.382r-392v; British Library 9602e 8, including 1860 copy edited by Charles Deane (with Introduction and Notes, 26 pages] . The first published version was only seen by a few people (through private subscription); and so the first time Wingfield's account was seen by a larger public - in New York and Glasgow - was not until 1905-1906, in Purchas, "His Pilgrimes, vol. XVIII". (To convert the page numbers of Wingfield's Discourse to its page number in Jocelyn R. Wingfield's "Virginia's True Founder", add 298).

C. Wingfield's biography by Jocelyn R. Wingfield: "Virginia's True Founder: Edward Maria Wingfield and His Times" (1993), revised (2007), with an Introduction by Stephen Blackehart, 2007, ISBN 1-4196-6032-2. All page numbers referenced herein refer to the 1993 edition.



(All publications were published in London, unless shown otherwise)

Andrews, M.P., "The Soul of a Nation, the Founding of Virginia and the Projection of New England" [New York, 1943] .

Arber, Prof. Edward & Bradley, A.G., "Travels and Works of Captain John Smith" [Edinburgh, 1943] .

Archer, Gabriel, "The Relatyon of the Discovery of our River", in Archaeologica Americana, IV.

Barbour, Philip L., "The Three Worlds of Captain John Smith" [London, 1964] .

Beverley, Robert, "The History & Present State of Virginia", [London, 1705 & 1722] .

Blackham, Colonel Robert J, "The Soul of the City, London's Livery Companies, Their Storied Past, Their Living Present", London, no date (but fl. 1932-52),

Bridges, J., "Northamptonshire" [1791] .

Brown, Alexander "The Genesis of the United States, Vol. 2", 1899.

Dexter, Lincoln A., "The Gosnold Discoveries .. in the North Part of Virginia", 1602 [Brookfield, MA, 1982] .

DNB, 2005. See Simmons.

Hamor, Ralphe, Secretary, "A True Discourse as to the Present State of Virginia" [London, 1615; New York & Amsterdam, 1971 edn] .

Hasler, P.W., "The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1558-1603". [HMSO, 1981] .

Horn, James, "A Land as God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America", [New York, 2005] .

Kingsbury, Susan Myra, "The Records of the Virginia Company, The Court Book, 1619-1622", Vol. 1, Part A, [Facsimile, 1993] , esp. pp.18 & 22.

Noel Hume, Ivor, "The Virginia Adventure, Roanoke to James Towne" {Charlottesville & London, 1994] .

Parks, George Bruner, "Richard Hakluyt and the English Voyages", American Geographical Society, "Special Publication #10" [1928] .

Percy: see Purchas.

Porter, H.C., "The Inconstant Savage", London, 1979. See esp. pp.275-280.

Price, David A., "Love & Hate in Jameston" [New York, 2005] .

Purchas, Samuel Purchas published a part of Percy's recollections in 1625 in "Hakluytus Posthumus, or Purchas His Pilgrimes, contayning a History of the World, in Sea Voyages, and Lande Travells by Englishmen and others", Vol. IV; & in Tyler, Lyon Gardiner (editor), "Narratives of Early Virginia", 1606-1625. [New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1907] .

Scheler, Jeffery L., "Rethinking Jamestown", in The Smithsonian [January 2005] .

Simmons, R.C., "British DNB (Dictionary of National Biography)" [OUP, 2004, sub "Wingfield, Edward Maria"] .

Smith, John, "The Generall Historie of Virginia" ["G.H." London, 1623] .

Stratford, John, "From Churchyard to Castle, The History of Kimbolton School" [Kimbolton, 2000] .

Wingfield, Edward Maria, "A Discourse of Virginia" (1608), [MS 250, ff.382r-392v, 1608 in Lambeth Palace Library;, British Library 9602e 8, 26 pages] ed. by Charles Deane, with Introduction and Notes, Boston, MA, 1860/ published in "Archaeologia Americana", vol. IV. (Worcester, 1860). This was not his diary since Smith and Archer destroyed that. See Note on Page 1] .

Wingfield, Jocelyn R., "Virginia's True Founder: Edward Maria Wingfield", etc, [Charleston, 2007, ISBN 978-1-4196-6032-0] .

Woolley, Benjamin, "Savage Kingdom, Virginia & The Founding of English America". [2007] .

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