PEOPLE travelled from America, Ireland and the Netherlands to Kimbolton Church on Sunday to honour the life of a Stonely born man who first established English civilisation on American soil. A memorial plaque was unveiled at St Andrew s Church in the pres
PEOPLE travelled from America, Ireland and the Netherlands to Kimbolton Church on Sunday to honour the life of a Stonely born man who first established English civilisation on American soil.
A memorial plaque was unveiled at St Andrew's Church in the presence of 230 descendants and family friends to honour the life of Captain Edward Maria Wingfield who was the founder of, and the first president of, Jamestowne Virginia.
Captain Wingfield was born in Stonely Priory in 1550, the son of Thomas Maria Wingfield, MP for Huntingdonshire, and grandson of Sir Richard Wingfield K.G of Kimbolton Castle. He lived in Stonely until 1614 and when he died in 1631 he was buried in Kimbolton.
Jocelyn Wingfield, who organised the event, told The Hunts Post: "Kimbolton and Stonely is where it all started, it's where the roots of the Wingfield family exist and today shows that they live on around the world. I imagine Kimbolton hasn't seen an event like this for a very long time."
Pikemen and musketeers from the Honourable Artillery Company marched from Kimbolton Castle to St Andrew's Church to honour Captain Wingfield's life.
Hymns were sung by Kimbolton Church Choir and Elisabeth Wingfield provided a rendition of Mozart's Laudate Dominum.
The guest of honour was Anne Taylor Netick, governor of the Jamestowne Society, who gave a reading in the church. while an extract from the Jamestowne Prayer was read out by Kimbolton's vicar Revd Ronald Frost.
The memorial was dedicated by Rt Rev Dr John Inge Suffragan Bishop of Huntingdon who gave a speech detailing aspects of Captain Wingfield's life.
"He (Edward Marie Wingfield) may not have been a saint but he was a remarkable man. He was one of the only men to have travelled to Jamestowne from England at the age of 56, a perilous journey to the new world, he risked both his life and his worldly wealth.
"He secured the Virginia charter from James I and arrived in Jamestowne in 1607. Great hardships followed and he was deposed as president of Jamestowne and kept under ship arrest until he was sent back to England. We shall never know the exact truth of the rights and wrongs at that time but we do know that he established a colony yet never received any credit. Had he not done that Americans could have been speaking Spanish."
A relative of Edward Maria Wingfield, Carmen Benitez, who travelled from Dallas told The Hunts Post: "I'm here to learn about my family history. It has been a fabulous day and the family unity has been splendid. It's just so amazing to see so many descendants of one remarkable man in one place at the same time it's a once in a lifetime experience and I will always remember it."
INFORMATION: To find out more about the Wingfield family visit www.wingfield.org