The house John Guy left behind

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The forthcoming visit of a BBC film unit to the Cupids Legacy Centre will surely increase awareness on the other side of the Atlantic of recent developments in our neck of the woods. It is of particular interest to me as my ancestors hail from the Bristol area.

But what has greatly troubled me in the Legacy Centre’s historical presentation, which the BBC film unit should be made aware of, is the complete omission of any reference to the house and home John Guy left behind when he sailed to Newfoundland. In his will he leased his Manor Farm House at Gaunt’s Earthcott, 12 miles north of Bristol, to one, Thomas Sturge, my direct ancestor, for what that is worth. The house dates from the mid-1500s, was most likely confiscated from the church by Henry VIII and is in an excellent state of repair. It has a variety of social implications with regard to Guy’s role in English society and the societal perceptions he brought with him to Newfoundland.

Having worked on the manuscript of the recent John Guy biography, I find the omission of all reference to Guy’s house astonishing. I believe that the Canadian government was instrumental in the purchase of Champlain’s house in France. Champlain, it will be remembered, was a contemporary of Guy’s and in Canada at the same time. Surely this house is just as important in Canadian history, if not more so. Historians, both locally and nationally should urge the Cupids Legacy Centre to rectify this astonishing, egregious Cupids presentation omission.

 

David Sturge Artiss

retired Memorial University professor,

St. John’s

Organizations: BBC, Manor Farm House, English society Cupids Legacy Centre

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Bristol, France Canada

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