Worth the wait, say editors
John Guy biography examines the life of famous Bristol explorer and his connection to Cupids
The editors of a biography about the life and times of merchant and Cupids founder John Guy of Bristol, England say it may have been some four centuries in the making, but was well worth the wait.
W. Gordon Handcock of Eastport and Chesley W. Sanger of Grand Falls-Windsor were in Cupids last week as part of the visiting author series at the Cupids Legacy Centre. The book is called “ John Guy of Bristol and Newfoundland: His Life, Times and Legacy,” and was released in January by Flanker Press of St. John’s.
Handcock and Sanger talked about how they managed to complete a project initially started by the book’s author and fellow geographical historian, the l ate Allan F. Williams.
“He was in Newfoundland for one year, but he put a life’s work — about three decades — into John Guy,” Sanger told a group of about 20 people.
Like Guy, Williams was born, raised and educated in Bristol. He came to St. John’s in the early 1960s to work as a professor at Memorial University, and it was during a field trip to Cupids that his fascination with John Guy really took hold.
Wi l liams spent many years researching the book, which shines a spotlight on Guy’s efforts to establish the first English settlement in Canada in 1610, at a location known today at Cupids. Guy was in his early 40s when he arrived in “ Cuper’s Cove” in July 1610, and is described as “able, determined and well-prepared” by the book’s editors.
Of the roughly 50 men who spent that first winter in Cupids, only four perished, Sanger explained. By comparison, about 70 of the 120 people who first settled at Jamestown — the first permanent settlement in the United States — three years earlier did not survive.
“ He governed very well,” said Sanger.
The province marked the anniversary of Guy’s exploits in Newfoundland with a year-long celebration last year called Cupids 400.