Kiplin Hall in Yorkshire, pictured here is the
birthplace, circa 1580, of George Calvert, founder of Catholic Maryland in America. (The butterfly
shown alongside the hall is the Comma, Polygonia c-album). A clever lad, George was sent as a boy of 14 to Trinity College
Oxford but not before he and his Catholic father agreed to conform to the established Church of England, otherwise he would
have been refused entrance. To do this George had to sign the Subscription Book, which he did on 12 July 1594.
George graduated in 1597,
becoming proficient in foreign languages and in 1598 went to Lincoln’s Inn London, studying law for three years. 1601
saw him travelling on the continent and then, on returning to England in 1603 he became a secretary to powerful Sir Robert
Cecil, thus entered Court life and came to the attention of King James. So began Calvert’s rise to fame and influence.
In 1606 James gave him a Crown appointment in Connaught in Ireland. In 1609 a clerkship in the Signet office. In the same
year he became MP for Bossiney in Cornwall. 1611 saw George as joint commissary in Ireland. By then he had become a rich man,
a big investor in the East India Company and the London Virginia Company’s operations in the New World.
On Cecil’s death Calvert
worked ever closer with the King at the Court, in Ireland and on the continent. James therefore rewarded him with a knighthood
in 1617, then appointed him Secretary of State and Privy Councillor in 1619. However, James’ increasing persecution
of the Catholics began to trouble him more and more so he decided in 1621 to take up land in Newfoundland where they would
be safer. So he sent out settlers to the Avalon peninsula area of the island and in 1624 bravely converted back to Roman Catholicism,
then dramatically resigned as Secretary of State. Amazingly, James’ reaction was to reward Calvert’s past loyalty
by keeping him as Privy Councillor and to create him Lord Baltimore.
It is now 1628. The Avalon adventure, as is shown, is a disaster.
Newfoundland’s climate is foul, there’s disease and religious squabbling among the planters. So Baltimore himself
sails out beating off and capturing French pirates en route, then takes the settlers from Avalon and heads for Virginia.