Book on Caribbean island reveals its link to Banbury

Scenes from Providence Island, off the coast of Nicaragua. Picture by Tom Feiling who wrote a book about a Puritan colony on the island. NNL-170425-110212001

Scenes from Providence Island, off the coast of Nicaragua. Picture by Tom Feiling who wrote a book about a Puritan colony on the island. NNL-170425-110212001

0
Have your say

The fortunes of an English colony on a remote Caribbean island – many of whom came from Banbury – is the subject of a book.

The Island that Disappeared tells the story of a group of Puritans, who sailed to the island of Providence in 1631 to form a colony to rival the one set up in New England in what is now the United States.

Scenes from Providence Island, off the coast of Nicaragua. Picture by Tom Feiling who wrote a book about a Puritan colony on the island. NNL-170425-110200001

Scenes from Providence Island, off the coast of Nicaragua. Picture by Tom Feiling who wrote a book about a Puritan colony on the island. NNL-170425-110200001

The colony sailed to Providence, which is off the coast of Nicaragua, on board The Seaflower, the sister ship of The Mayflower.

But over the course of 11 years, after their crops failed and their slaves revolted, many of the settlers had turned to piracy. The colony was wiped out following a Spanish invasion.

Speaking to the Banbury Guardian, London-based author, Tom Feiling, said: “It was a dramatic story.

“They went in as Puritans with high-minded ideals and came out as pirates.”

Scenes from Providence Island, off the coast of Nicaragua. Picture by Tom Feiling who wrote a book about a Puritan colony on the island. NNL-170425-110146001

Scenes from Providence Island, off the coast of Nicaragua. Picture by Tom Feiling who wrote a book about a Puritan colony on the island. NNL-170425-110146001

The Banbury link comes from the Providence Island Company, which was founded to set up the island’s colony. Its members were 22 of the most powerful men in England at the time.

One of them was William Fiennes, the 1st Viscount of Saye and Sele, at Broughton Castle.

Mr Feiling found out about the island during a stay in Columbia, in South America.

He said: “I wanted to write a book about England and became interested in the civil war period. The Providence Island Company came up and I thought, ‘There’s a story there’.”

Author Tom Feiling, who has written a book about a Puritan colony on Providence island. NNL-170425-110237001

Author Tom Feiling, who has written a book about a Puritan colony on Providence island. NNL-170425-110237001

To research the story, Mr Feiling spent some time on the island and also spoke with the Banbury Historical Society.

He said: “I was out there for four months. It was fantastic. It is very small, very peaceful, quite idyllic really.”

The Island that Disappeared will be published on May 4 and will be available on Amazon and in bookshops. To find out more, visit www.tomfeiling.com.