At present Vice Admiral
Stukely’s criminal activity has not been uncovered and he still lives happily in North Devon at Affeton near Ilfracombe.
Ironically, his official position means he can arrest people, as his cousin Raleigh will discover next year.
change dramatically when he is released from prison, having eventually persuaded the King that he really can find gold in
Guiana. The proviso on his freedom is that he leaves the Spanish alone. His fleet of 13 ships carrying 1,000 men sails in
The expedition is an absolute disaster from the start. Sickness and disease dog the outward voyage. On reaching Guiana
Raleigh himself is ill, so remains with the anchored fleet while his son Walter then takes charge of the land force of 400
men. They journey up the Orinoco River, land, then leave their boats and set out for their objective, the fabulous gold mine
the natives ‘revealed’ to Raleigh under torture during his first expedition. Understandably, they lied. It doesn’t
exist but the fortune hunters press on in their greedy ignorance. Next they stupidly pass close to the Spanish town of San
Thome and, naturally, the Spaniards mount an ambush in which young Walter Raleigh dies but the English drive the Spaniards
back into town and kill the Governor.
Lawrence Keymis, friend of Sir Walter Raleigh since his teens, now takes charge but another attempt
at finding the mine a week later ends in disaster when they fall foul of another ambush. 250 men have now been lost. Keymis
gives up, retreats to the coast, reports to Raleigh who upbraids him: ‘You have undone me and wounded my credit with
the King past recovery.’ Keymis commits suicide and Raleigh now a broken man, his son and Keymis
dead, realises his grand Guiana adventure is over.
‘WR’ over the open prison door = Walter Raleigh. The main picture is
simply symbolic: the bereft father – grieving for his beloved son. The fight scene behind them is pictured in mirror