Willoughby, Sir Percival
|Culture: European - English|
Sir Percival Willoughby was from Kent in England and a member of the Willoughby d'Eresby family. He was a member of Parliament and was very involved in mining coal in Nottingham. He married Bridget Willoughby of Nottingham and inherited her father's land in Wollaton, Nottingham, including Wollaton Hall.
Investing in Newfoundland
In 1610, Sir Percival became involved in the London and Bristol Company's plans to settle Newfoundland. He invested a lot of money in the colony and was a member of the company's Council. Later, he was given all the land on the Peninsula north of a line drawn between Carbonear in Conception Bay and Heart's Content in Trinity Bay. Sir Percival was interested in mining iron and other minerals and asked that he be given Bell Island but he was refused.
Henry and Thomas
Sir Percival's first attempt to develop his property in Newfoundland came in 1612. His son Thomas Willoughby, and his agent Henry Crout arrived on the island. Sir Percival was hoping to make money by starting a fur trade with the Beothuk who lived in Trinity Bay. Henry made several attempts to contact the Beothuk and traded with them both in the fall of 1612 and in the summer of 1613. In 1616, Henry was making plans to build a house on Sir Percival's land in Carbonear but did not and in 1617, he returned to England.
A New Partnership
By 1618, Sir Percival went into partnership with Thomas Rowley and William Hannam. During the fall and winter of 1619/1620, Thomas was making plans to settle on Sir Percival's land in New Perlican. We don't know if he ever did but by 1631, Nicholas Guy and his family, along with a number of other people, had settled on Sir Percival's land in Carbonear.
Sir Percival was part of many attempts to settle Newfoundland although he never visited the island. Sir Percival died in 1643. Many of the letters written to him by his agents in Newfoundland have survived and are a very important source of information on the early days of English settlement in Newfoundland.