WPC: Relic

Replica ships at Jamestown Festival Park

Replica ships at Jamestown Festival Park.  The largest ship, to the right, is the Susan Constant.


A relic is more than just some old thing. 

Relics are something of great value; something with meaning which help us to remember and better understand our history.

A relic may be only a tiny fragment of a whole.  Perhaps a sliver of “The One True Cross” or a bit of bone from a saint.

Relics often border on the mythological.

We take them as tangible evidence that a story we’ve heard is real.  That is why relics such as the Grail and Solomon’s Ring are sought in myth and legend; and perhaps in the present as well.


July 4, 2014 After Arthur 091

These relics are more replica than relic.  They are reconstructions of the ships used by the 1607 settlers in Virginia for their crossing from England.

The largest, The Susan Constant, returned to England in June of 1607, about a month after depositing the settlers on Jamestown Island.  The medium ship, The Godspeed, returned with her.

The smallest ship, The Discovery was left behind for use by the settlers in exploring the coastal water.  It brought over only 21 people.

The other 123 traveled on the larger ships.  Once they returned with the crews, there was no way the 104 colonists could change their minds and return home.  They were now Virginians, for better or worse, and had to make their lives here at Jamestown.

We know that a few of the original colonists did eventually return to England.  Captain John Smith, badly injured in 1609, made the return voyage to recuperate from his injuries.

But he returned years later to explore and map the coast further to the north.  He also published the first map of Virginia in 1612.

On Jamestown Island

On Jamestown Island

Ships provided the tenuous thread between the colonists on the edge of this vast and alien continent, and all of the familiarity and security of “home.”

They also brought regular infusions of new settlers to replace those who starved, died from disease, or were killed in violent struggles with the native people of Virginia.

Ships brought food, manufactured goods, weapons, tools, and books.  Ships carried back letters, documents, histories and maps so those in Europe could learn about life in Virginia.

A Cypress stump, relic of a long decayed tree, on Jamestown Island.

A Cypress stump, relic of a long decayed tree, on Jamestown Island.


And replicas of these relics sit moored at the dock near Jamestown Island today.

Staffed by interpreters in Colonial costume, they are open each day for visitors to explore.

And they serve as a vivid reminder of the hardships endured by our pioneering ancestors, those first colonists who claimed this land more than 400 years ago, and made it their home.


July 4, 2014 After Arthur 092

Words and Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Relic

About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

5 responses to “WPC: Relic

  1. When you see the size of these ships, you wonder that they made it across the Atlantic, tossed by storms! Brave souls, indeed! Things must have been pretty bad in England, that the promise of a new life seemed worthy of losing everything they had always known.
    Our family jokes about ‘holy relics’ passed down from parents and grandparents. To the world, they are valueless household items, but because we remember ‘eating pie out of that pan at Gramma’s house,’ it takes on great value. Relics have the arbitrary value that we place on them.

  2. Oh, now. Don’t be confused. That’s just silly tree talk. 😉

    I did Google map those counties. I see a Boone’s Cave Park just north of Rowan County. On Saturday and Sunday mornings I walk, or take a hike for about 100 to 120 minutes; cover close to 6 miles going through the nicest older areas in town where the biggest trees grow. Trying to get back “in shape” aerobically. Of course, I want to reach 65, but I don’t want to feel 65 when I reach that highway.

    You two have a great Sunday, too. Cheerz, UT

    • Having a similiar conversation with my little brother yesterday! Eliminating stress is key, thus the value of spending time with the tree(s) 😉 Hope it is a nice day for a walk. It certainly is here! WG

  3. I am a mere relic of the tree I used to be.
    Still, I shall revel in the occasional decay,
    and pray for restoration — on any given day.

    Say! 🙂 I wanted to throw something at you. No, not literally.
    My dad’s into digging up info on our ancestors. In 1783,
    William Watson lived in Rowan County, NC, near Abbotts Creek
    In 1806 he moved to Cedar Creek in Yadkin County, NC.
    There was a note saying they knew the Boone family.

    I’m not sure where you are, WG. Do you know of these places?

    • Holy Relic! UC I’m confused…. is that prayer actually for restoration, or for the opportunity to occasionally revel in some additional decay? 😉
      I checked the maps to find those counties in NC and found they are southwest of our garden. I believe I’ve been through that area a time or three on the way elsewhere- and have even lived a little to the east and a little to the northeast in days gone by. Not knowing the Boone family, there is a beautiful spot named “Boone” in the Carolina mountains further west which I’ve had the pleasure of visiting from time to time. Your ancestors were probably some of the first pioneers in that area in 1783. A hardy lot. Happy Sunday Keith! I hope you have something planned to help you enjoy it. Best wishes, WG

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