14 thoughts on “Podcast: Jamestown, Gunpowder, & London

  1. I know that the boatfull-o-brides thing happened in the early days of French Canada/Quebec. They were women of otherwise good character but no money who were dispatched to Montreal and Quebec city to be wives for the colony’s citizens. They were called the “King’s Nieces.” I have never heard that this was done on an official, governmentally sanctioned capacity in Britain. Most women stuck on boats and sent to the colonies were convicted criminals, and I don’t believe they started that practice until the mid 18th century.

  2. Jill, the 1619/20 bride ship to Jamestown definitely happened and the women weren’t convicts.

    From the Historic Jamestowne website: “In July 1619 [12 years after 1607 arrival], settlers were granted acres of land dependent on the time and situation of their arrival. This was the beginning of private property for Virginia men. These men, however, asked that land also be allotted for their wives who were just as deserving “…because that in a newe plantation it is not knowen whether man or woman be the most necessary.”

    The Virginia Company of London seemed to agree that women were indeed quite necessary. They hoped to anchor their discontented bachelors to the soil of Virginia by using women as a stabilizing factor. They ordered in 1619 that “…a fit hundredth might be sent of women, maids young and uncorrupt, to make wives to the inhabitants and by that means to make the men there more settled and less movable….” Ninety arrived in 1620 and the company records reported in May of 1622 that, “57 young maids have been sent to make wives for the planters, divers of which were well married before the coming away of the ships.”

    You learn something everyday!

    1. Ok, good to know. Interesting, though, that it was the Virginia Company, and not the government, that sanctioned and executed the plan. Obviously I haven’t seen Jamestown (nor, I think would I want to unless I needed a laugh), but from what was said on the podcast, the women in this production were not exactly “uncorrupt.”

      1. Virginia Company itself was sanctioned and regulated by the government though.

    2. Temperance Yeardley seemed to have arrived before then, in 1609 — of course, she was also married to a different man, Richard Barrow, who died in 1618. Then she was free to marry George. In the show, Temperance is on the ship w/the other women & marries George at the end of the first episode. Random!

      1. So, a pretty much fact-free production. Other woman had arrived at Jamestown before the bride ship, of course, but they were usually married/promised to an individual settler there.

  3. Jamestown was a private venture, not a government effort, which was true of many of the early English colonies. As a longtime occasional volunteer at the Jamestown Settlement recreated fort, and a visitor to the Historic Jamestowne archaeological site, I don’t plan to tune in to this mess of a television series. :-O

    1. Line between private and public is blurred in the Tudor/Stuart political system which relied heavily on local elites are regional managers in cooperation with central authorities. The Virginia Company was founded on government charter on government terms and the governing council was populated with a significant portion of King James’ friends and allies, such as Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, Phillip Herbert, Earl of Montgomery and John Stanhope. James himself was personally involved in planning colonisation efforts. So the private enterprise was in substantial cooperation with the government.

  4. Oh, gosh, Jamestown. I watched it with a friend who is a self-made historian from the period and had to ask her to stop screeching in my ear so loud every fourteen seconds. =P

    My personal favorite was the beach Barbie look the women sported.

    I saw one episode of the new “Gunpowder” but haven’t finished it yet. Wow. Usually movies take the piss out of Catholics; this time, the Protestants are the heartless bastards.

  5. Since some of my family ancestors helped establish Jamestowne – I will completely disregard any “Da Vinci’s Demons/Reign” cinematic attempts – just as I have done in the past with any Salem Witch Trials or Revolutionary War period pieces – I cringe for my ancestors and pray that they do not roll in their graves (yet again) over this new drivel. Although any of the foul men/women of the past that did create havoc – by all means – roll and stew! Perhaps it’s karma?

    Besides the real truth to all of these historical events is by far the more fascinating and (simultaneously) horrifying reading/experiencing!

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