English author to speak on 17th century Eastern Shore settler


On Thursday, Sept. 29, Shore History will host British author Margaret Rice to speak about and sign “The Henry Bagwell Story.” The 220-page book is the first biography of an influential English settler on the Eastern Shore in the early 17th century.

“My own journey with Henry’s story began 10 years ago,” Rice said. “Looking through my research on my family line, the Chappell family of Exeter, I noticed the name David Bagwell, a marriage to Joan Chappell, birth of their children, including a Henry Bagwell, christened on Oct. 29, 1589.

“This led to amazing discoveries, which took me on my own adventure to Bermuda, Jamestown, the early colonists in Virginia, to the Eastern Shore,” Rice said. Although her book was published last year, she had to delay her visit here because of COVID-19.

 “I have made many friends on the Eastern Shore who have helped me on this journey, from early contact with Susie Sample of the present Northampton County Circuit Court; archivists at the Library of Virginia; David Scott, Northampton Historic Preservation Society; M.K. Miles and Brooks Miles Barnes; direct descendants and new ‘cousins’ Bill and Claudia Bagwell and Dave Nutter and many others who have made contact.”

Bagwell was a passenger on the ill-fated “Third Supply” mission that shipwrecked on the reefs of Bermuda en route to Jamestown in 1609. He earned the unofficial title of “adventurer” and the official designation of “Ancient Planter.” He served time on the Shore in development and defense of a new land and then took possession of the acreage for which he had worked.

After Rice discovered Ron Sauder, owner of Secant Publishing, she saw that “he supported new authors, with a strong story, and the Eastern Shore. ‘The Henry Bagwell Story’ met all three.”

“Maggie Rice did an amazing job of reconstructing the life and times of an important figure in early 17th century Virginia through archives and court records that she accessed from an ocean away,” Sauder said. “Her book was launched by Zoom during the height of the COVID pandemic, and readers and descendants of Henry Bagwell joined from both sides of the Atlantic to celebrate. Earlier this year, we were delighted that her efforts were recognized with a bronze medal for regional history from the very competitive Independent Publishers Book Awards.”

The lecture and book signing at 6 p.m. Sept. 29, is free and open to the public. Visit shorehistory.org or call 757-787-8012 for more information.

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