Native American chief visits Suffolk

A NATIVE American chief has visited the Suffolk hall which was once the family seat of Captain Bartholomew Gosnold, now hailed as one of the unsung founding fathers of America.

A NATIVE American chief has visited the Suffolk hall which was once the family seat of Captain Bartholomew Gosnold, now hailed as one of the unsung founding fathers of America.

Chief G. Anne Richardson, the 49-year-old Chief of the Rappahannock tribe in Virginia, visited the Grade I-listed Otley Hall yesterday .

Gosnold captained two expeditions to the New World, the first in 1602, where he founded and named Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Cutty Hunk, and the second in 1607 when he was the prime mover in the formation of the first English-speaking colony in Jamestown, now known as Virginia.

It is believed Gosnold's first encounter of other human life within the New World was with the Rappahannock Indians.


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And now 400 years later the Chief of the Rappahannock tribe has visited his family home, completing a circular route in history.

In her regalia of a bleached and tasselled buck skin dress and formal headdress intricately decorated with glass beads - a feathered headdress is part of her traditional dress - Chief Anne said: “In our tribal spirituality we have something called the circle of life. We believe that from the time we were born to the time we die that we take a journey of life and return back to that place.

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“This visit is the fulfilment of the circle of what has taken place 400 years ago.”

Chief Anne, who has a 32-year-old daughter who will inherit her title as well as four grandchildren, was given a tour of the 16th Century hall, saw its stunning late medieval architecture, and sat at the great carved fireplace where Gosnold is said to have planned the trip to Virginia.

She said: “He met my ancestors and my chief. It was very interesting coming here. I love the architecture. I am a history buff, I love your history and everything is so old here.

“It puts it into perspective who we were. We have occupied our lands in the Rappahannock valley for 11,000 years and you have been here for a long time.

“We were two indigenous people coming together to exchange technologies. That, unfortunately, did not go right the first time, but god has given us the opportunity to try to get it right again.”

Ian Beaumont, who has owned Otley Hall for two years, said: “It is an enormous privilege to meet the Chief of one of the first tribes that Bartholomew Gosnold met 400 years ago and to have her here today is absolutely incredible.”

Otley Hall is holding an open day for the public between 2pm and 6pm on August 27. Call 01473 890264 or visit www.otleyhall.co.uk for more information.

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