Authorities differ on the derivation of the name Ferryland. It has been written as Forillon, Foriland, and considered by some as a corruption of Veralum which was the ancient name of St. Alban's in England.

Ferryland was first visited by French fishermen as early as 1504 and used by them as a base for the summer fishery. It was these who called it Forillon, which meant "standing out or seperated from the mainland" and thus aptly described the peninsula now known as the Downs. The French abandoned their east coast resorts early in the sixteenth century and went each summer to the south coast where fishing began a month earlier.

Englishmen then came and build temporary quarters at Ferryland, and so a century passed until Sir George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore, applied in 1621 for a royal charter to colonize a portion of Newfoundland. In 1622, he received a grant of the southeastern peninsula, with quasi-royal jurisdiction. He named his province Avalon.


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