Week 11  -  3.11.12 - 3.17.12  - Sea Venture

Materials:   Copper, Sterling Silver, Iolite, Stainless SteelSteel Screws

Pendant Dimensions:   1.71” H x 1.43” W x .250” D

On June 2nd, 1609, the Sea Venture set sail from Plymouth as the flagship of a seven-ship fleet destined for Jamestown, Virginia as part of the Third Supply, carrying 500 to 600 people. On July 24th, the fleet ran into a strong storm, likely a hurricane, and the ships were separated. The Sea Venture fought the storm for three days. Comparably sized ships had survived such weather, but the Sea Venture had a critical flaw in her newness; her timbers had not set. The caulking was forced from between them, and the ship began to leak rapidly. All hands were applied to bailing but water continued to rise in the hold. The ship's guns were reportedly jettisoned to raise her buoyancy but this only delayed the inevitable. The Admiral of the Company, Sir George Somers himself, was at the helm through the storm. When he spied land on the morning of July 28th, the water in the hold had risen to nine feet, and crew and passengers had been driven past the point of exhaustion. Somers deliberately drove the ship onto the reef, of what proved to be Bermuda, in order to prevent the ships foundering. This allowed all 150 people aboard, and one dog, to be landed safely ashore. The survivors were stranded on Bermuda for approximately nine months. During that time, they built two new ships, the Deliverance and Patience, from Bermuda cedar and parts salvaged from the Sea Venture. Some members of the expedition died in Bermuda before the Deliverance and the Patience set sail on May 10th, 1610. The remainder arrived in Jamestown on May 23rd.

‘In Memory of our deliverance both from the Storme and the Great leake wee have erected this cross to the honour of God. It is the Spoyle of an English Shippe of 300 tonnes called SEA VENTURE bound with seven others (from which the storme divided us) to Virginia or NOVA BRITANIA in America. In it were two Knights, Sir Thomas Gates, Knight Gouvenor of the English Forces and Colonie there: and Sir George Somers, Knight Admiral of the Seas. Her Captain was Christopher Newport. Passengers and mariners she had beside (which all come to safety) one hundred and fiftie. Wee were forced to runne her ashore (by reason of her leake) under a point that bore South East from the Northerne Point of the Island which wee discovered first on the eighth and twentieth of July 1609.’

Sir Thomas Gates ~ Inscribed on a copper tablet in Latin and English affixed to a cross he had erected before leaving Bermuda