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Thomas Rowley to Sir Percival Willoughby
Winter 1620

And for the further prosecution of these businesses I hold it a fit course to Furnish out a bark or ship upon a fishing voyage ... which may fish there at New Pernecan or Sugerlofe Cove near adjoining where is vsually as good fishing as is any in the land.

Middleton Manuscript Mi x 1/60

The earliest recorded name for Winterton, located 3 miles (5 km) north of New Perlican, appears to have been Sugarloaf Cove. In the winter of 1619/1620 Thomas Rowley was making plans to settle at New Perlican and in one of his letters to Sir Percival Willoughby he speaks of fitting out a vessel to fish at “New Pernecan or Sugarlofe Cove near adjoining”. The Sugarloaf he refers to is almost certainly the hill on the western side of Winterton Harbour still known by that name. By at least the 1670's Winterton was known as Scilly Cove. The Berry census taken in 1675 lists three planters living at “Sillicove”. Of these, the most prominent was Richard Hopkins who was married with one child and had twelve boats and 60 servants. In the 1690's Scilly Cove was home to John Masters Sr. who in August 1702 was captured during a French raid on the settlement and carried off to Bonavista. His son, John Jr., who was born at Scilly Cove in the 1690's, went on to be twice elected mayor of Poole in Dorset.

One of the Baccalieu Trail Heritage Corporation’s long term goals is to survey the entire Baccalieu Trail region and compile a list of archaeological sites. The Hefford Plantation in New Perlican had been discovered as part of this ongoing survey and Winterton was one of the next places on our list. While we were working at New Perlican in the fall of 2003 we heard a number of interesting rumours about Winterton. People told us that a site containing both European and aboriginal artifacts had been discovered there in the 1960s and mentioned a headstone dating to 1700 that had been found in the Anglican cemetery a number of years ago. One day while we were digging at New Perlican we were approached by Stewart Pitcher who showed us a silver coin his father had dug up in Winterton in the late 1960s. The coin was identified by Paul Berry at the Canadian Currency Museum as a Charles I Scottish 12 shilling piece minted sometime between 1637 and 1642. Apparently the coin had been found in a part of Winterton known locally as Pinhorn’s Room, the same place where the site had been discovered in the late 1960's.

On Friday, November 7, I left some of the crew in New Perlican and took the rest to Winterton to have a look around. We parked by the local museum and walked from there down to the beach below Pinhorn’s Room where we found a number of fragments of ballast flint but little in the way of artifacts. However, the grassy meadow above the beach was far more productive. A recently constructed garage stood in the meadow and when we looked in the dirt that had been thrown up during the course of laying the cement footing for the garage, we discovered numerous fragments of seventeenth and eighteenth-century ceramics, bottle glass and clay tobacco pipe fragments. We soon learned that the garage and much of the land belonged to Bob Head and his wife Rhoda whose maiden name had been Pinhorn. We obtained permission from Bob and Rhoda and between November 12 and November 20, 2003, spent five days conducting a survey of Pinhorn’s Room.

A series of test pits were dug and material was also collected from disturbed areas such as vegetable gardens. Over 600 artifacts were found, including material from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, scattered over an area measuring roughly 50 m by 26 m. Ceramics found include fragments of Westerwald, Bellarmine, Low Countries redware, merida ware, English tin-glazed earthenware and South Somerset. However, as was the case in New Perlican, pottery made in Verwood was by far the most common type recovered once more pointing out the close links between this part of Trinity Bay and Poole in Dorset. A number of clay tobacco pipe fragments were also recovered the oldest of which was a pipe bowl dating to about 1660. Based on the archaeological evidence it seems clear that Pinhorn’s Room has been occupied since the second half of the seventeenth-century and it may well be the location of Richard Hopkins’ plantation.

Images (from left to right, top to bottom) 1. Winterton Harbour with the Sugarloaf in the distance. 2. Scottish Charles I 12 shilling piece from Pinhorn’s Room, 1638-1643. 3. Headstone of William Lincefild who died in 1700. Found in the Anglican cemetery, Winterton. 4. Testing in Bob Head’s backyard, November 2003. 5. A Verwood vessel made just outside Poole in Dorset and found in Winterton harbour.