Hunt plan

Pinnace detail

On October 8, 1607, seven weeks after the establishment of the Popham Colony, John Hunt completed the plan (draught) of Fort St George.  This plan was sent to England on the Mary and John which left for England on that same day.  It appears that John Hunt traveled with this map, probably leaving a copy with George Popham, president of the Popham Colony.  No copy of the plan was ever found in England, and indeed we do not have a similar plan for any early English settlement in the Americas.

Very little of the plan could have been completed before the plan was sent to England.  Some shallow trenches had been dug, and the storehouse was complete enough to store the goods brought on the Mary and John. The plan shows a pinnace in coastal rigging near the jetty on the north (left) side of the map. It is likely that the beach in this area below the water gate is where Virginia was built. 

The plan was found in 1888 by the historian Alexander Brown in the Simancas Archive in Spain.  Along with it were found letters between Don Pedro Zuñiga (Spain’s ambassador to England) and Spain’s King Phillip III concerning the plan.  Before finding this plan, the exact location of the Popham Colony was not known, but this plan exactly matches the geography of Sabino Head.  Archaeological excavations between 1994 and 2013 by Jeffrey Brain confirmed the location, and proved the accuracy of the plan, at least for those portions of the fort that were built.

The original document is on laid paper and is 11.5 x 17.25 inches including an original border not shown here. There is a crease down the center indicating the plan had been folded at one time, but it now has a linen backing.  The ink is sepia and there is a slight sepia wash to distinguish the beach from the water on the north and east sides of the fort.  The lack of corrections or evidence of surveying marks indicates that this is a contemporary copy and not a working plan drawn in the field.

The draught of St. Georges fort Erected by Captayne George Poham, Esquire, on the entry of the famous river of Sagadahock, in virginia.  taken out by John Hunt the viii day of october in the yeare of our Lorde 1607.