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Grole, Newfoundland

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Grole, Hermitage Baymap
Surnames/tags: Newfoundland Hermitage_Bay Fortune_Bay
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The following text - to be edited and condensed later - is from the Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador.[1]

"GROLE (pop. 1966, 193). A resettled fishing settlement, one of the oldest on the south coast of the Island, Grole was located on the south side of Hermitage Bay near its eastern entrance at Pass Island. It is probable that the unusual name of Grole is of French origin, and it is possible that the settlement name is derived from the French adjective grele, meaning pock-marked, pitted or most unfortunate and referring to the barren, rocky terrain of the area. Early forms of the name included "Groule" and "Isle Grole." According to M.F. Howley Grole, also called Grosle, was a French name meaning rook (the bird) although he was unable to determine why this name was given to the settlement."

"William Taverner, while surveying the south coast in the early 1700s, wrote, "I also surveyed the Plantation at Isle Grole being a good Fishing place and Beech for six Boats." Although the modern settlement of Grole was wedged between two steep hills on limited arable land around a poorly sheltered and small harbour, the site was within easy rowing distance of superb fish grounds, estimated to be about ten minutes away. For this reason it was a prime site for a seasonal fishing station. According to L. Taylor, the area was probably frequented by French fishermen from the 1600s and the site was probably settled after the Treaty of Paris (1763), which ceded St. Pierre to the French and stimulated English and Jersey expansion on the coast."

"The English-based Newman and Company, which was instrumental in the settlement and commercial exploitation of the fishery in Fortune and Hermitage Bays, was probably the means by which the first year-round settlers came to Grole. Nearby Gaultois was a major base of the Newman operation from the eighteenth century and the company is recorded as having purchased Crown land in the settlement of Grole in 1851. Newman's established a premises at Grole which was taken over by Job Brothers in 1898 and in turn by Thomas Garland in 1901, the business being managed in Grole for Garlands by the Taylor family for three generations until the closing of the firm in 1967."

"The volume of business at Grole during the nineteenth century was sizable: between 1836 and 1884 the settlement was the largest salt-fish producer in the area and also reported catches of salmon (sold at first to Bowring Brothers of St. John's and Newman's) and lobster (including family-owned lobster factories in the early 1900s). Taylor speculates that before the establishment of Newman premises at Gaultois in 1827 and later at Grole, Grole residents dealt with the Company at its base in Harbour Breton, Fortune Bay and with the Jersey house of Nicolle, based at Jersey Harbour, Fortune Bay."

When the fresh-frozen fish plant was opened at Gaultois in 1953 Grole fishermen did not completely abandon the salt-cod trade upon which the settlement had depended for nearly three centuries. Salt fish continued to be made and sold to firms at North Sydney, Nova Scotia, as was the settlement's salmon, which was packed in ice and shipped to North Sydney on coastal boats. Other sources of employment at Grole included seasonal woods work for the large, western Newfoundland paper companies, and seasonal construction jobs, particularly during World War II.

"E.R. Seary (1976) lists a Giles Vinsent or Vincent and a Peter Carey as planters at Connaigre from 1710 to 1715, who spent one season at Isle Grole in 1714. Local tradition maintains that Grole was first visited by English "youngsters" who returned to settle with their families, the majority of them brought from Newman's at Gaultois. By 1836, when Grole was first reported in the Census, it had a population of 188 (including fifteen fishing servants), and, throughout the nineteenth century (when the settlement was one of the largest in Hermitage Bay), a portion of the population was reported to be English-born. Early settlers included Robert Stickland (1845), James Day (1845), Joseph Brown (1846), Thompson Cribbe (reputedly from Sussex, England; settled at Grole 1847), Morgan Taylor (1847), Luke Rogers (1848), Joseph Selby (1850), Robert Burton (1855) and Jeremiah Petitte (1857) (Seary). Other early names associated with Grole were Cox, Fudge, Langdon, Marks and Shepperd (Lovell's Newfoundland Directory: 1871)."

"Like many other Hermitage Bay communities, particularly those near the mouth of the Bay, Grole was a "stopover" for migrating families moving westward in search of settlement sites near good fishing grounds. Because of its limited available land and lack of a good harbour able to accommodate large numbers of boats, Grole's growth was slow; it reached its peak in the early twentieth century and the population of the settlement never exceeded 250 people. In its early days Grole also functioned mainly as a summer fishing station, with winter houses being erected to shelter the population farther up the bay, nearer good hunting and wood resources. The Rev. William Marshall, who ministered to the settlement in the late 1830s, described this movement in a grieved entry in his journal on February 23, 1840. He wrote that when he arrived at Grole he found the populace: "engaged [in] carrying their provisions etc. from the Harbor to their Winter Houses," all this activity occurring on a Sunday. Despite Marshall's earnest protestations, the majority of the population elected to continue their move to the "Bazateer Shore" despite lamentations on their "wickedness" and threats of "damnation."

"Grole was an early Church of England mission and remained mainly Anglican until its resettlement. Marshall, a Wesleyan, ministered to the congregation while based at Hermitage. His first visit on August 6, 1839 was not auspicious: in his diary he noted that "on my arrival [at 'Grocile'] ... at least one half of the population that were arrived at maturity were in a state of intoxication; the accounts that Mr. Donald a good Scotchman gives of the wretchedness of the people in this place is truly awful and affecting .... Preached to a small company to meet thy God, Israel. Amos 8:2."

"Despite such characters as William Cribb, "a noted Sabbath breaker" according to Marshall, the decision of the Board of Education to establish a school at Grole in 1840 and the continued efforts of clergy contributed to its development. Grole was a model Church of England community when visited by Bishop Edward Feild in 1848, who noted that he "Had morning service in the school-room, which is clean and in good order .... It was the first time a Confirmation had ever been celebrated here, or in this Bay .... All the congregation were nicely dressed, and well behaved, and their appearance bespoke better circumstances, and I trust not worse manners and morals, than when I visited them before."

"The school at Grole was established with the support of the Newfoundland School Society and was used as a church until the 1870s. A church was later built, and a new two-room school was built in 1958. High-school students from Grole were bussed to Hermitage with the construction of a road linking the settlements after 1968. Between 1966 and 1971 the families of Grole resettled, mainly in Harbour Breton under the latter part of the first agreement of the federal-provincial government resettlement programme. Other families settled in small numbers at Gaultois, Grand Bank, Hermitage, Long Pond, Marystown, Milltown and Stephenville."

Early Residents


  • John Burton, planter
  • James Cox, fisherman
  • William Cox, fisherman
  • John Cribb, fisherman
  • Job Fudge, planter
  • William Langdon, planter
  • Charles Marks, fisherman
  • Thomas Marks, fisherman
  • John Petitte, planter
  • Thomas Roberts, fisherman
  • Luke Rogers, fisherman
  • Joseph Selby, planter
  • Henry Shepherd, school teacher
  • Robert Stickland, fisherman
  • Thomas Stickland, fisherman
  • William Stickland, fisherman
  • Morgan Taylor, planter


  • John Burton, fisherman
  • Mathew Burton, fisherman
  • Robert Burton, fisherman
  • Thomas Burton, fisherman
  • Jacob Cribb, fisherman
  • Jesse Cribb, fisherman
  • William Cribb, fisherman
  • Jesse Foote, fisherman
  • Jesse Fudge, fisherman
  • John Langdown, fisherman
  • Robert Langdown, fisherman
  • John Meade, fisherman
  • Charles Marks, fisherman
  • John Marks, fisherman
  • Robert (of Charles) Marks, fisherman
  • Robert (of Thomas) Marks, fisherman
  • Samuel Marks, fisherman
  • Thomas Marks, fisherman
  • Robert Roberts, fisherman
  • George Strickland, fisherman
  • James Strickland, fisherman
  • John Strickland, fisherman
  • Thomas Strickland, fisherman
  • Thomas (of Robert) Strickland, fisherman
  • George Selby, fisherman
  • George Selby, fisherman
  • James Selby, fisherman
  • William Selby, fisherman
  • Abraham Spencer, fisherman
  • Job Spencer, fisherman
  • James Taylor, fisherman
  • Robert Taylor, fisherman

1921 Census, heads of household:[4]

NameBirth dateBirth Location
Burton, Henry1885 NovPass Island (?)
Burton, John R.1884 SepGrole
Burton, Matthew1878 SepGrole
Burton, Thomas1850 Sep Grole
Cribb, Elizabeth1862 OctRose Blanche
Cribb, Jesse1876 MarGrole
Foote, Jesse1863 AugGrole
Fudge, Robert1893 AprGrole
Jackman, John J.1897 JunGrole
Jackman, Joseph1893 AugGrole
Jackman, Thompson1887 JanGrole
Langdown, John1860 NovGrole
Langdown, William1904 JulGrole
Marks, Charles1892 DecGrole
Marks, John1866 JulGrole
Marks, Robert (of Charles)1878 MayGrole
Marks, Robert (of Thomas)1875 AprGrole
Marks, Samuel1865 FebGrole
Marks, Thomas1874 MayGrole
Piercey, Robert1868 NovPass Island
Roberts, Robert1859 OctPushthrough
Selby, George1860 AprGrole
Selby, James (of Joseph)1868 NovGrole
Selby, William1851 JanGrole
Spencer, Abraham1886 MarGrole
Spencer, Job1873 SepGrole
Stickland, George1859 NovPass Island (?)
Stickland, James1866 JunGrole
Stickland, Thomas1876 JanGrole
Taylor, James1881 SepGrole
Taylor, Job1893 FebGrole
Taylor, John (of James)1894 JunGrole
Taylor, John (of Robert?)1889 JanPass Island (?)
Taylor, Morgan1889 SepGrole
Taylor, William1891 SepGrole


What links to this page.


  1. Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador, Volume 2, pp. 750-51.
  2. Lovell's Province of Newfoundland Directory, 1871., p. 257.
  3. McAlpine's Newfoundland Directory, 1904, p. 486-487.
  4. Newfoundland Census, 1921 - Fortune Bay District.:], pp. 261-264.

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