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HORE (Hoore), RICHARD, merchant and navigator, who brought a group of English gentlemen to see Newfoundland in 1536; fl. 1507–40.

Citizen of London and leather-seller, Hore engaged in the Spanish trade with William Dolphyn, a London draper, and Sir Thomas Spert, a naval official and shipowner, between 1536 and 1540, signing a petition in Spain against the Spanish Inquisition in 1540. Hakluyt describes him as “a man of goodly stature and of great courage, and given to the studie of Cosmographie”; though some of his commercial transactions show him to have been unscrupulous.

Early in 1536 he chartered from Dolphyn the William of London, Richard Elyot master, for a voyage to Newfoundland. She had a Breton pilot, Alayne Moyne. Late in August, at the end of her voyage, she was at anchor at “the Isle of Spere” (Spear Island), completing her lading of fish and repairing, with timber sawn from trees felled near the harbour, three leaks caused “by reasons of labouring at the seas and long lying at Newfoundland.” Despite a further leak on the return voyage she was back in the Thames by early October. Nothing is said, in the documents which tell this story, about discovery, or passengers. Hakluyt, citing Thomas Butts, says there were two ships, the Trinity, 140 tons, Capt. Hore, on which Butts sailed, and the Minion (for the William?). With the king’s goodwill they carried 30 gentlemen, including John Rastell, the younger, on “a voyage of discoverie upon the Northwest parts of America.” Hore took his ships to Cape Breton and then coasted southern and eastern Newfoundland to Penguin (Funk) Island, where they killed great auk and bear.

Thus far the story is credible. Hakluyt then switches to a narrative by Oliver Dawbeny, who claimed to have sailed on the Minion. He recalled some contacts with the Beothuk Indians, and then told of starvation suffered in harbour (where, it is not stated), culminating in cannibalism by one of the seamen. He said disaster was prevented only by the arrival of a French ship which the English seized. They exchanged their ship for the French one and finally arrived, much emaciated, in Cornwall late in October. Dawbeny and Butts told their stories some 50 years later; part of Dawbeny’s, if applied to the William, is demonstrably false. Nothing is certainly known of how the Trinity fared after she left Funk Island.

Though usually considered to have voyaged up the eastern shores of Labrador, Hore cannot be proved to have left Newfoundland waters. However, a possible explanation of the objective and course of the voyage is suggested by the employment of the Breton pilot, Alayne Moyne, namely the following of Jacques Cartier’s track of 1534 through the Straits of Belle Isle, along the southern shores of Labrador or northwest Newfoundland, into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The taking of sea-birds for food at Funk Island might be thought to have copied Cartier’s action two years before. The exhaustion of food supplies could then have been caused by delays brought about by the leaking of the ship and its repair. The barren coast could be southern Labrador. Finally, the appearance of a French ship, and her robbery if not permanent seizure, would parallel Cartier’s discovery of a La Rochelle vessel fishing in these waters. An exaggeration of hardships encountered and of time taken would account for the rest of the story with its omission of the voyage to southern Newfoundland (through the Straits of Belle Isle rather than by Cabot Strait) to fish and refit. This theory of the voyage is proposed with little confidence as it is, at present, impossible to prove it. It may well be that any attempt to reconcile the two stories in Hakluyt is impossible if one of them is substantially false.

The combination of sightseeing, fishing, and perhaps some original exploration was novel. It gave a number of educated Englishmen, for the first time, an opportunity to see part of North America, and it may thus be a link with the revived interest of Elizabethan intellectuals in Newfoundland after about 1575. Richard Hore may therefore be a valuable link between the early and later English ventures in this area.

David B. Quinn

PRO, H.C.A.13/2, ff.51–53, 61–65, 100–53v; 24/2, 13; 30/542, 56–58. Thomas Butts’s and Oliver Dawbeny’s accounts are found in Hakluyt, Principal navigations (1903–5), VIII, 3–7. E. G. R. Taylor, “Master Hore’s voyage of 1536,” Geog. J., LXXVII (1933), 469–70. Voyages of Cartier (Biggar), 273–77. Williamson, Voyages of the Cabots (1929).

General Bibliography

Cite This Article

David B. Quinn, “HORE, RICHARD,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 1, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed July 24, 2014, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/hore_richard_1E.html.

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Permalink: http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/hore_richard_1E.html
Author of Article: David B. Quinn
Title of Article: HORE, RICHARD
Publication Name: Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 1
Publisher: University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication: 1966
Year of revision: 1966
Access Date: July 24, 2014