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It is not known when Brigus was settled. Some people believe that is was settled shortly after Cupids but we don't know much about it before the first census of Newfoundland was compiled in 1675. The origin of the name Brigus is unknown. One theory has it coming from the town names of Brickhouse or Brighouse, in Yorkshire, England. Another has the name coming from the French word for intrigue or plot, “Brigue.”

Sir John Berry's census of 1675Â lists 34 people living in Brigus, with three fishing rooms in operation. Two years later, the Poole census showed three families operating five fishing rooms, as well as raising cattle and pigs.

Captured by the French

In 1697, Brigus was captured and burned by the French under Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville. The French did not want residents of Brigus to escape to Carbonear Island , which had been fortified. Houses at Gallis Cove and Riverhead were burned. Legend has it the French were on their way out of the harbour when they heard either a crowing rooster or a barking dog in Frogmarsh where other houses were hidden by the trees. They returned and burned the seven houses.

Abbé Baudoin's Description

Brigus. (© Small Craft Harbours, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Used with permission.)
Brigus. (© Small Craft Harbours, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Used with permission.)

At this time AbbĂ© Baudoin, the priest who accompanied d'Iberville, reported that Brigus “was a well established English settlement, where there were about sixty men.” He said the French found 6000 salt cod fish stored at Brigus.

Burned Again

In March 1705, a French force commanded by Jacques Testard de Monigny burnt Brigus a second time. However there were no lasting effects on the community. The war ended in 1713 without any further attacks. The community prospered and went on to become a successful sealing and fishing port.

Today Brigus is a very popular destination for tourist, who enjoy its quaint peacefulness and its beautiful scenery.  

Brigus. (Image by Barry Parsons, ©2002.)
Brigus. (Image by Barry Parsons, ©2002.)