Flamborough’s lost landmarks

We in Flamborough live in a landscape rich with historical landmarks. Some, however, are more noticeable than others. Today, if you stand at the corner of Hwy. 6 and 10th  Concession in East Flamborough, you see rolling farmland and trees lining a branch of Bronte Creek. But if you were to travel 380 years into the past, the view would be dramatically different.

You would see a wall of cedar posts, reaching up to 10 metres high, and enclosing a space of nearly seven acres. Inside would stand roughly 50 wooden houses, some over 25 metres long.The space between these houses would be filled with people carrying out all the activities required by a flourishing community, while outside of the palisade would stretch carefully tended fields of corn, sunflowers, and tobacco.

Called the “Hood Site” by archaeologists, this thriving village was occupied between the years 1630 and 1645 and was home to roughly 1,500 people. The settlement belonged to what is today known as the “Neutral Confederacy,” a powerful group of tribes whose members lived between the Grand River and Lake Ontario. The Hood Site was likely the chief settlement of the local tribe, though up to 10,000 people lived scattered around the area.

Following the collapse of the Confederacy due to famine, plague and war, Flamborough’s population would not reach a similar level until after the Second World War.

While Hood Site was simply a name chosen by archaeologists, historians believe that the original name of the village may have been “Teotongniaton.” This name was recorded by the Jesuit Jean de Brébeuf, who spent 25 days in this village in 1641.

The collection of seven rare Jesuit rings found on the site, along with what we know of the location and dating of Teotongniaton all fit perfectly with the Hood Site, making it possible that the abandoned village in Flamborough is the same one visited by this Jesuit missionary, nearly four centuries ago.

As one of the largest towns of the Neutral Confederacy ever discovered, the Hood Site ranks alongside Smokey Hollow as one of Flamborough’s great historical landmarks.

So, as we drive up Hwy. 6 past the 10th Concession, we should give pause to consider the true scope of our history, and let ourselves be transported to that towering cedar palisade that once kept watch over Bronte Creek.

Nathan Ince, Flamborough Archives volunteer

This article was originally published in the Flamborough Review, 10 October 2013.


Your Cart