Cutting-edge research involving archaeology, forensic science, technology, and archival analysis has identified the four men interred in the chancel of the 1608 church as the Reverend Robert Hunt, Captain Gabriel Archer, Sir Ferdinando Wainman, and Captain William West. These men lived and died at a critical time in the history of the settlement—when it teetered on the brink of failure owing to famine, disease, and hostilities with powerful local Indian peoples, the Powhatans. Two of the men, Archer and Hunt, were with the expedition that established Jamestown in May 1607. Wainman and West arrived with the new governor of Virginia, Lord De La Warr, three years later and helped save the colony following the “starving time.” The location of the graves in the church’s most sacred space, the chancel, along with the presence of several unique artifacts in the graves indicate the high status of the four men and their importance to the early history of the Jamestown venture. They were among the first founders of English America.


The Founders