Sunday, October 31, 2010

Everyman’s History Book Group will discuss "A Brave Vessel" on 11/08/2010 at 7 PM.

William Strachey was an important observer and chronicler of early Jamestown, but is best known for having had his account of the shipwreck of the Sea Venture used by William Shakespeare for The Tempest. His observations have become a major tool for modern archaeologists in learning about one of Jamestown’s most important buildings.

Sent to Jamestown in 1609 with the new leadership to replace John Smith, the Sea Venture was the flagship of an eight-vessel fleet that was dispatched by the Virginia Company to help further develop England’s new settlement on the banks of the James River.

En route, it was almost destroyed by a hurricane and separated from the fleet, but was miraculously stranded on rocks off Bermuda, viewed and avoided by 17th century sailors as a mysterious and supposedly dangerous island.  From his passenger’s perspective, Strachey wrote a “meticulous account of the tragedy, the castaways' time in Bermuda, and their arrival in a devastated Jamestown, remains among the most vivid writings of the early colonial period.” 

He went on to spend a year as secretary of the Jamestown settlement, and is Woodward’s subject in A Brave Vessel. Woodward describes his role in both our early American colonial history and literature (see our posts of August 21 and October 2. 2009.)

Most recently, Strachey’s observations about the size and design of Jamestown’s first church have guided William Kelso and the Jamestown Rediscovery team at Historic Jamestown in ascertaining its site, which may have been where Pocahontas was married in 1614 (see our posts of August 27 and October 26, 2010.)

Everyman’s History Book Group, which meets at The Book Works at Flower Hill in Del Mar, CA, will discuss A Brave Vessel at its next meeting on Monday, November 8 at 7 PM. 

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