Marmaduke Rayner

In March, 1620, a committee of the company adopted the recommendation of Sir George Yeardley, governor of Virginia, that Marmaduke Rayner be employed to explore the surrounding region in a logical manner "which would produce good benefit to the Plantation." The company would pay all expenses, and in the summer Rayner made the voyage for which he had been employed, exploring "to the Southward to Roanoke." In July, 1621, an account of this and two other voyages to the north by others were read to the officers of the company in London. It is unfortunate that no copy of Rayner's report survives.

News of these discoveries apparently reached England in the autumn of 1620, soon after Rayner returned. In November the Somers Island [Bermuda] Company informed the officers of the Virginia Company that they had discovered that their land in Bermuda was less extensive than they had thought when they received their grant. In order to "maintain a mutual dependence and traffic hereafter," they sought from the Virginia Company "a good portion of land in Virginia, on that side of the coast as lies nearest unto them, either at Ronoque southerly, or else whereat shall be most convenient for them, not being yet inhabitated." The Virginia Company, perhaps seeing an opportunity to populate their country, offered 100 acres to each shareholder in the Somers Island Company as well as fifty more acres for each person they sent to Virginia. The company did not grant them a specific tract at "Ronoque southerly," but instead offered land wherever they chose adjacent to but not "prejudicial to any other plantation there already."

In order to distinguish between the new colony of Virginia centered in Jamestown and Raleigh's Virginia, the name Roanoke was frequently used for the older area. John Smith's map of 1624 called the region "Ould Virginia," while at a later time the terms South Virginia and the Southern Plantation were applied.

The precise circumstances surrounding the arrival of the first Africans in Virginia are not clear. But historians have concluded that twenty or more black prisoners were taken to Point Comfort by Captain Jope in a Dutch (Flemish) ship of 160 tons that was guided by an English pilot named Master Marmaduke Rayner in 1619. Virginia's governor, George Yeardley, and his cape merchant, Abraham Piersey, appear to have purchased them with provisions. Their Dutch supplier seems to have taken them from a Spanish slaver, which the warship had captured as booty, Spain and Holland then being at war.
Marmaduke Rayner was the pilot of the ship White Lion captained by John Colyn Jope of Cornwall in 1619. Rayner delivered a letter from Virginia colony secretary John Pory to an English ambassador in Europe in 1619.
The Temperance was lying at Cowes, Isle of Wight, on 22 Jul 1626. The owner accused Marmaduke Rayner of sailing to Virginia without him and pocketing the proceeds of the voyage. He seized the ship and occupied it, refusing to allow the 13 passengers to unload their personal effects and cargo of tobacco. He also refused to send ashore correspondence (both personal and government). Upon petitions by Samuel Sharpe (a passenger) and Rayner, the Privy Council ordered Saker/Sacar (the owner) to release the items. Saker's complaint against Rayner was directed to the law courts. Sharpe's petition asked for an order "to the said owner Captaine William Saker now remaining aboard the said ship, that he doe upon demand of any of the said Thirteen whom it may concerne, deliver their goods into the hands of his Majties Custome at Southampton till they have payd custome & fraight, that then themselves may enjoy their owne."
Marmaduke Rayner married Thomasine Loo on October 2, 1593 in Plymouth, England. 


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