Wegg's House, Setting Lake 1795-1796


Wegg's House, named after Samuel Wegg, HBC Governor from 1774 to 1799,1 was a Hudson's Bay Company fur trade post established in 1795 by William Sinclair, a trader who later rose to Chief Factor.2

William Sinclair (1766 - 1818) was born in the Orkney Islands, Scotland, and was sent by the HBC to York Factory in 1792. "In a few years he managed to establish and become master of several good trading posts in the region between the Churchill and the Nelson rivers, at Nestoowyan [later known as York House], Setting Lake, and Hulse House."2

Wegg's House was located on the lower end of the Grass River on Setting Lake at what is now called Sandy Beach—a short boat ride through Chimney Narrows from the present day cottage area. The life of the post was short lived, as on July 19, 1796, Sinclair was given instructions to relinquish Wegg's House in favour of building a post at Nestoowyan (York House).

All that visibly remains of the historic site is the base of a once towering, double-hearth stone chimney that was held together with sticks and clay mortar, now reduced to piles of rubble.

Starting in 1988 and over the next two summers, Brian Smith, a Winnipeg archaeologist, excavated the site when the ruins were in better condition. According to reports, trading beads, clay pipes and remainders of the structure's floorboards were found in addition to the chimney. 

Currently stashed inside the chimney base is a so-called "Geocache" containing various objects and a notepad in which coordinates and comments from vistors are written.


Adjacent to the chimney, visitors to Sandy Beach will also see the remnants of a log trapper's cabin believed to have been built in the 1960s.


2 http://kingcrest.com/sinclair/wmsinclair.html-ssi

Photos and text by S. Fraser & H.J. Fraser