upload image

Hermitage, Newfoundland

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Hermitage, Hermitage Bay, Newfoundlandmap
Surnames/tags: Newfoundland Hermitage_Bay Fortune_Bay
Profile manager: Sean Benjamin private message [send private message]
This page has been accessed 1,668 times.

This article is a stub. Anything you can add to it is appreciated.



The following text - to be edited and condensed later - is from the Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador.[1]

"HERMITAGE pop. 1981, 863). Hermitage is located on the Hermitage Bay side of the peninsula between Hermitage and Connaigre Bays. Hermitage, which was used as a fishing station by the French in the seventeenth century, was later an outport of the London-based Robert Newman and Company by 1800 and by the twentieth century was the regional services centre of Hermitage Bay."

"Hermitage was named after Hermitage in Jersey, off the port of St. Helier. Hermitage is located in a well-protected cove which has a very good harbour extending well inland. Hermitage was an early outport of French fishing interests centered at St. Pierre and Plaisance (Placentia) on the south coast in the seventeenth century. It was reported to be occupied in 1687 by one family and a number of fishing servants, the civilian population totaling thirty one inhabitants. A church and two houses were reported erected at Hermitage. No families or fishing servants were reported at L'Hermitage in 1691 or 1692 when much of the French resources and men were concentrated fighting the English in a series of raids on the Avalon Peninsula. In 1693 and 1694 Jullien, Noel and Ustache Petit were reported to be resident at Hermitage with fifteen fishing servants. In 1711 only one family remained in Hermitage and by 1713, with the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht, the French were compelled to abandon their fishing posts on the south coast of Newfoundland."

"Captain William Taverner surveying the coast in 1718 noted at Hermitage that he had "surveyed the Bay or harbour of Hermitage. Ther's [sic] a good Beech [sic] and places for fishing." Captain James Cook, who surveyed the coast of Newfoundland from 1760 to 1780, was more impressed by Hermitage's possibilities as a fishing station. He wrote that in this cove there was "very good Anchoring room and depth of water for the largest ship, shelter'd from all winds, and several convenient places for building of stages & landing & drying of Fish." James Cook noted Hermitage's nearby fishing grounds about the Fox Islands, just off the cove where there was "some shoal ground, where on are generally found plenty of Fish."

"It is likely that Hermitage was occupied by fishing servants of Dartmouth- and Jersey-based merchants who exploited the year-round cod fishery on the south coast following the exodus of the French. The London-based Robert Newman and Company established a station, one of a series of fishing outports on the south coast, at Hermitage by the late 1700s, and it was this company, mainly through its later partner T.A. Hunt, that populated and maintained Hermitage until the early 1900s."

"Hermitage Cove was first recorded in the Census in 1836 with a population of sixty-six persons, many of them fishing servants. The Rev. William Marshall called at Hermitage Cove on June 18, 1839 where he was "at first very cooly received by a Mr. Rose, the Principal Planter there. I read prayers and preached in the evening to a small congregation of people and baptized two children." Later that month, Marshall also held service in a Mr. Robert's House. The congregation included a James Engram and a John Rose. A Joseph Roberts was listed as a resident of Hermitage Cove in 1821 and a William Ingham or Ingraham was also an inhabitant by 1827. Other pioneering settlers included Henry Rose (1828), George Mede (Mead) (1835), George Harris (1846), and Aquila Francis (1858), a trader. Lovell's Newfoundland Directory (1871) also listed John Dowder (Dowden), Robert May and Thomas Woods as fishermen of Hermitage in 1871 in addition to the Rev. Edward Colley, minister of the Church of England and Dr. Eben Thompson, physician and surgeon."

"Hermitage, like Harbour Breton, was an early "company town" almost wholly dependent on the supplying mercantile firm of Newman and Company, and a large proportion of its population continued to be fishing servants recruited from Dorset, Devon and the Channel Islands. Hermitage and other settlements dependent upon the Newmans on the south coast of Newfoundland were, outside of St. John's, one of the last places in Newfoundland to experience a late nineteenth century migration from Great Britain and the Channel Islands. Hermitage was then still absorbing emigrants from Dorset and Somerset, and others from the Channel Islands, who travelled to Newfoundland by way of the Jersey house of P. Nicholle based at Jersey Harbour, Fortune Bay. Census records, however, indicate that Hermitage was early settled by English fishermen and their families, and that after 1857 only a very small proportion of the population was English-born. No Irish-born settlers were reported at Hermitage although a high percentage of Roman Catholic residents was reported in the Census of 1836 at a time when the Newman firm was recruiting servants from southwestern Ireland."

"The spiritual well-being of the itinerant workers of Hermitage had early been the care and concern of the Methodist missionary William Marshall, who had established a small school and chapel at Hermitage Cove by 1839 and 1841 respectively. The school was attended by over thirty children who attended every Sunday and week-days when the missionary was in the harbour. In 1847 the Fortune and Hermitage Bays mission of the Society of the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts was begun but in 1854 a separate mission was established at Hermitage for Hermitage Bay. Although a Church of England school had been erected by 1844, a teacher was not secured until 1845. The school was described in 1845 as "A very good room . . . having been originally intended for a chapel .... The Master, Mr. James Groom, is one of the plain fishermen-schoolmasters, but competent to the direction of a School of this Class."

"A resident clergyman was appointed by 1854 and in that year St. Saviour's Church of England Church was consecrated. This impressive building was described by Rev. J.G. Mountain as "a substantial and handsome church, the only one not built of wood within many hundred miles. It is of brick with stone facings, about eighty feet long and thirty broad, the style early English, and in very good taste. His [the builder's] first design was for a building which might answer the double purpose of a church and school, and to build a dwelling-house for the teacher; but this plan was partly laid aside .... I gladly consented to provide for the erection of the dwelling house with the funds at my disposal." In 1858 it was reported that a new Church of England school was under construction and by 1859 it was opened. A Church of England school board in Hermitage was formed by the Rev. Edward Colley in 1877. A new schoolhouse was erected in the 1920s and this was replaced in 1954 with a two-room structure, reputedly built with oak taken from the old church, which was demolished to provide the materials for the school. In 1973 a new four-classroom high school equipped with a gymnasium, library and seminar room was opened."

"The original church, constructed of stone reputedly brought from the south of England, had greatly deteriorated by the early 1900s. According to B.W. Colley "The [original] church at Hermitage was the prettiest one along the south coast, built of brick and stone, old English style. But unfortunately the materials brought from England could not stand the Newfoundland climate." A new church was built in the mid-1920s and the original stone building was torn down in 1954."

"The economic base of Hermitage was the small-boat inshore cod fishery, and the Bank fishery undertaken in Newman-owned schooners. A good description of the activities of Hermitage Cove residents in the early 1870s was given to a fisheries report in 1871 which stated: Here are the head quarters of the clergyman of the District, Mr. Colley; the place seems to be neat and doing moderately well. There are about 23 families and about 30 boats; they catch cod and herring in fair quantities, and some turbot; the former they take to Gaultois for sale, the herring also, but some small portion they sell to the Americans for bait. This system, as well as that of fishing with bultows, is so very unpopular that public opinion amongst themselves will entirely put a stop to it. They have some cows, and grow for their own use potatoes and cabbages, and get in the proper season a good deal of wild fruit and game. There seems to be no sickness and no crime, and only one case, that of a widow, where they have received Government relief. Here, as in all other places, they consider the take of fish this year as below the average, and that the season has been uncommonly cold and unpropitious."

"According to David Simms, the Bank fishery involved four trips: one to the Western Shore (Rose Blanche Banks from February to April); the Gulf trip (the Gulf or Grand Banks from April to June); the capelin trip (undertaken on the Grand Banks from June to August) and the fall trip (undertaken on the Labrador coast from August to November). Cod was the main fishery but turbot, halibut and perch were also caught. The salmon fishery was also prosecuted in Hermitage by J & J Roberts and Thomas Ingram: the catch was smoked or pickled and sold to Newmans. Lobster factories (one factory in 1891 and fifteen factories in 1901) were set up in Hermitage with the cases of canned lobster being sold to Newmans and to the supplying merchants and fish buyers who succeeded that company. In 1982 both salmon and lobster continued to be caught in Hermitage in small commercial quantities."

"In 1907 the Newman firm ceased operations in Hermitage which numbered 216 inhabitants in 1901. The Harris Export Company acquired the Newman interests in 1907 and they in turn sold out to the Garland Company based at nearby Gaultois, which had also been a former outport of the Newman firm. By 1952 a fresh-fish plant was opened in Gaultois and from 1952 until it closed in 1968 inshore fishermen from Hermitage sold their catch to Garland's processing operation. With funding from the Department of Regional Economic Expansion (DREE), and assistance from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, a fish plant was built in 1976. Salt fish processed in the plant was sold to the Canadian Saltfish Corporation and fresh fish fillets were sold to the B.C. Packers plant in Harbour Breton. Seawater Products was later converted to a fresh-frozen processing facility. In 1979 there were fifty full-time fishermen in Hermitage and approximately twenty part-time inshore fishermen. At the peak of the season the plant employed fifty people. The plant was supplied mainly by fishermen using longliners. In 1980 the plant was closed because of a protracted legal dispute between Seawater Products and the larger Fishery Products Limited."

"A strong tradition of local entrepreneurship has existed in Hermitage. According to oral tradition businesses have included those of Alexander Roberts (still open in 1977), who established a general store in the early 1900s, and later expanded his operation to include ownership of banking schooners, and the trade in dried fish and salmon; William Engram, who established a general store in 1932, a fish-buying business, and a fish cannery, and whose business lasted until 1972; Freeman Crewe, who founded a business in 1944 which later expanded into a major hardware and building-supplies store; and Frederick Douglas, who founded a general store and fish business in 1936, buying dried fish and refined cod-liver oil, which lasted until c. 1950. A local consumers co-operative buying club with approximately fifteen members existed in the early 1950s. Two sawmills supplying local building needs only also existed in the settlement at that time."

Early Residents


  • Rev. E. Colley, Church of England
  • John Dowder, fisherman
  • Aquila Francis, fisherman
  • George Harris, fisherman
  • Thomas Ingram, fisherman
  • Robert May
  • Charles Roberts, fisherman
  • John Roberts, fisherman
  • Robert Roberts, planter
  • Henry Rose, Sr., planter
  • Henry Rose, Jr., fisherman
  • James Rose, Sr., fisherman
  • Jesse Rose, planter
  • Robert Rose Sr., fisherman
  • Robert Rose Jr., fisherman
  • Eben Thompson, M.D. physician and surgeon
  • Thomas Woods, fisherman


  • Seymour Abbott, fisherman
  • George Ball, fisherman
  • Rev. G. H. Bishop, Church of England
  • James Dowding, fisherman
  • Jesse Dowding, fisherman
  • William Framp, fisherman
  • Aqualla Francis, trader
  • Benjamin Francis, fisherman
  • John Francis, fisherman
  • John T Francis, fisherman
  • Mathew Francis, fisherman
  • Philip Francis, fisherman
  • Thomas Francis, fisherman
  • William Francis, fisherman
  • John Harris, fisherman
  • Robert Harris, fisherman
  • Ernest F. Hill, fisherman
  • James Ingram, fisherman
  • Thomas Ingram, fisherman
  • Thomas McDonald, fisherman
  • Charles Meade, fisherman
  • James Meade, fisherman
  • Jesse Meade, fisherman
  • John Meade, fisherman
  • John Parsons, fisherman
  • Benjamin (of Henry) Rose, fisherman
  • Benjamin (of Jesse) Rose, fisherman
  • Henry Rose, fisherman
  • James Rose, fisherman
  • Jesse (of Benjamin) Rose, fisherman
  • Jesse (of James) Rose, fisherman
  • Jesse (of Samuel) Rose, fisherman
  • John Rose, fisherman
  • Robert Rose, fisherman
  • Samuel Rose, fisherman
  • William Rose, fisherman
  • Benjamin Roberts, fisherman
  • Frederick Roberts, fisherman
  • Henry Roberts, fisherman
  • John Roberts, fisherman
  • Morgan Roberts, fisherman
  • Robert Roberts, trader
  • Eli Short, fisherman
  • William Strickland, fisherman
  • Ebenezer Thompson, fisherman
  • Mark Way, trader

1921 Census, heads of household:[4]

NameBirth dateBirth Location
Abbott, William1885 JanGrole
Ball, George Quilton1896 FebRencontre
Brown, Wesley B.1895 JanPools Island
Dowding, George1889 OctHermitage
Dowding, James1860 JanHermitage
Dowding, James1891 MayHermitage
Dowding, Jesse1856 FebHermitage
Dowding, Jesse1888 SepHermitage
Dowding, John W.1887 AugHermitage
Dowding, Samuel1868 MarHermitage
Dowding, William1886 MarHermitage
Engram, James1854 DecHermitage
Engram, John1893 AprHermitage
Engram, Jonas1896 MayHermitage
Engram, Thomas1886 OctHermitage
Engram, William1890 OctHermitage
Framp, James1885 DecHermitage
Framp, William1885 JulHermitage
Francis, Benjamin W.1872 JulHermitage
Francis, John B.1890 JunHermitage
Francis, John T.1877 JunHermitage
Francis, John Thomas1899 OctHermitage
Francis, Matthew1868 FebHermitage
Francis, Phillip 1862 SepHermitage
Francis, Thomas1864 NovHermitage
Gaulton, John1880 SepBrunette
Harris, John1865 AprPushthrough
Hawker, Walter C.1896 JunCarbonear
Hill, Ernest1882 MayDawson's Cove
Hill, James Henry1890 JanBay St. George
Hollett, Edwin1896 JunGrand Bank
Hunt, Henry1894 SeptGaultois
McDonald, John1870 JanGaultois
McDonald, Thomas1878 DecGaultois
Mead, Charles1870 DecHermitage
Mead, James1875 JulHermitage
Mead, John1872 DecHermitage
Mead, John1886 JulBarrisway Cove
Mead, Jesse1875 JulHermitage
Mead, Samuel1885 NovHermitage
Parsons, John1868 DecCul de Sac
Parsons, John W.1890 FebRencontre
Roberts, Alex1886 JanHermitage
Roberts, Benjamin1880 JunHermitage
Roberts, Charles1883 JanHermitage
Roberts, Frederick1875 MayHermitage
Roberts, Henry1868 AugHermitage
Roberts, Jacob1892 NovHermitage
Roberts, John1884 JulyHermitage
Roberts, Matthew1881 FebHermitage
Roberts, Morgan1870 SepHermitage
Roberts, Thomas1890 JulHermitage
Rose, Benjamin1866 OctHermitage
Rose, Benjamin1889 MayHermitage
Rose, Benjamin1891 MayHermitage
Rose, Henry1862 MayHermitage
Rose, Henry1890 MayHermitage
Rose, Henry Thomas1889 SepHermitage
Rose. James1889 OctDawson's Cove
Rose, Jesse1876 NovHermitage
Rose, Jesse1878 Aug Hermitage
Rose, Jesse1880 JanHermitage
Rose, John1878 SepHermitage
Rose, John Henry1889 JulHermitage
Rose, John W. 1887 JulHermitage
Rose, Susanna1880 OctHermitage
Rose, Thomas1885 DecDawson's Cove
Rose, Thomas1886 SepHermitage
Rose, William1856 DecHermitage
Short, Eli1865 JunSagona
Short, John1895 AprDeadman's Cove
Simms, Jane1851 OctLittle Bay
Simms, John1867 MarRichards Harbour
Simms, William1884 JulRichards Harbour
Templeton, Rev. G. S. 1885 MarTwillingate
Watton, Archibald1889 AugChange Islands
Way, Mary1864 DecTrinity


What links to this page.


  1. Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador, Volume 2, pp. 918-921.
  2. Lovell's Province of Newfoundland Directory, 1871., p. 264.
  3. McAlpine's Newfoundland Directory, 1904, p. 487.
  4. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9FW-G3SM?i=751&cc=2226517 Newfoundland Census, 1921 - Fortune Bay District.:], pp. 265-275.

  • Login to edit this profile and add images.
  • Private Messages: Send a private message to the Profile Manager. (Best when privacy is an issue.)
  • Public Comments: Login to post. (Best for messages specifically directed to those editing this profile. Limit 20 per day.)

Leave a message for others who see this profile.
There are no comments yet.
Login to post a comment.