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Henry Crout was probably from Devon in England. In February 1612, he was living in Lambeth in London when he invested £20 in the London and Bristol Company. Henry became Sir Percival Willoughby's first agent in Newfoundland. In May of 1612, he arrived in Newfoundland at Renews with Thomas Willoughby and eight apprentices. Thomas was Sir Percival's son and Henry was his guardian. Pirates in Newfoundland made it dangerous to travel by sea that summer, so Henry stayed at Renews helping with the fishery and arrived in Cupers Cove early in August.
Agent for Sir Percival
Sir Percival had been granted all the land north of a line drawn between Carbonear and Heart's Content. As his agent, it was Henry's job to explore this land and find ways to make money for Sir Percival. However, Henry was at first unable to visit Sir Percival's land because he didn't have a boat.
One of the ways that Sir Percival hoped to make money was by trading for furs with the Beothuk. On September 1, 1612, Henry led a group of men overland from Cupers Cove towards Trinity Bay to meet the Beothuk. On the first trip, they made it to within three miles of Trinity Bay and had to turn around. However, eight days later a second group left Cupers Cove and succeeded in cutting the trail all the way to Hopeall.
Meeting the Beothuk
In October 1612, Henry went with John Guy on his voyage into Trinity Bay. The main reason for this voyage was to meet the Beothuk, and on November 6, the colonists met, shared a meal and traded with a group of Beothuk in Bull Arm, Trinity Bay.
In July of the next year, Henry sailed back into Trinity Bay. He was hoping to meet with the Beothuk again. On July 2, he visited a Beothuk camp on an island at the entrance to Dildo Arm. There was nobody at the camp and Henry thought that the Beothuk must have gone into the woods, so he left presents for them. The next day, when Henry and his men were sailing past the same island, he found roast meat on sticks that the Beothuk had left there in exchange for the presents.
As Henry's boat was sailing out of Dildo Arm, the Beothuk lit a signal fire to let him know that they wanted to trade. Henry turned around and sailed back to where the fire was lit and found that the Beothuk has set poles in the ground and hung furs from them just like in a market. The Beothuk were nervous and stayed in the woods but Henry took the furs and left knives and other things for them.
A Return to England
Henry and Thomas returned to England in August 1613, but in the summer of 1616, they came back to Newfoundland. They planned to build a house in Carbonear but could not because some of their men had run away and they didn't have a carpenter. They spent that winter in Cupers Cove and returned to England the next year. As far as we know Henry never returned to Newfoundland again.
While he was in Newfoundland, Henry wrote a number of letters to Sir Percival and between September 1612 and May 1613, he kept the weather diary for the colony. His letters and diary contain a great deal of information about the early days of settlement in Newfoundland. In them, he describes Newfoundland. He also talks about his encounters with the Beothuk, his efforts to find iron ore and other minerals, early attempts at farming, the actions of the pirates, and much more.