www.thebermudian.com WINTER 2014 | 45
he and his cohorts had discovered ambergris.
Offered St. David’s Island, he chose instead
Cooper’s Island in the mistaken belief he
would find treasure there. According to McCallan, he eventually became caretaker of
Pembroke Fort when it was built on Cooper’s
Island and for some time was commissioner
or deputy governor of Bermuda. He had many
children who would become ancestors of some
Bermudian families today.
Sixty settlers from Britain arrived on the
Plough, some of whom probably settled in St.
David’s, while over the years more arrived on
a succession of ships. Perhaps the island was
named St. David’s by early Welsh settlers for
their patron saint. No one is sure.
When Richard Norwood divided Ber-
muda into tribes, three-fifths of the eastern
land of St. David’s was designated common
land while the remainder became part of
Bedford or Hamilton Tribe on the western
side. Inhabitants mostly paid rent for land
with the tobacco they grew. But one early St.
David’s settler, John Grigge, was given land
in return for being an executioner. We know
this because records show he and his wife,
Anne, were brought before the court in July
1627 as “notorious cursers and swearers” and
were threatened with the loss of their land.
One year later, Grigge asked to be relieved
of his grisly office and to pay rent instead. It
was agreed that he would pay 50 pounds of
tobacco a year. Nobody knows whether the
couple’s language improved as a result.
Early settlers also included indentured
servants from Ireland, the West Indies and
America—by the 1620s the term “life servi-
tude” was used instead of “indenture”, in other
It has long been known that over the centu-
ries St. David’s Islanders derived from a variety
of ancestors, a fact that is reflected in their
colouring and features. Red hair, for example,
is quite common. In fact, Dennis Lamb, well
known for his seafood restaurant, Dennis’s
Hideaway, during the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s and
’90s, recalled with love his father of Irish
descent. “He was called Red Benny because he
was a red man. He had red hair, a red house,
red clothes and he had red furniture. He liked
red…You could never forget Red Benny.”
But as St. David’s Islander and genealogy
researcher Jean Foggo Simon points out, dark
hair and fair hair, as well as green eyes, blue
“It has long been known that over the centuries St.
David’s Islanders derived from a variety of ancestors, a fact that is reflected in their colouring and
features. Red hair, for example, is quite common.
But... dark hair and fair hair, as well as green
eyes, blue eyes and dark eyes are common as well.
And often islanders have reddish skin, thanks to
their Native American ancestry dating back to the
Views northward across St.
David’s Island vegetable and
lily fields towards Dolly’s Bay.
1675 Pequot war engraving