The New World Tapestry

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cene Five
    1617-18 PANEL


The two butterflies shown are: on the left the female Mazarino Blue (Cyanaris semiagus): Right: the female Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus). The illustration of Raleigh’s house in Islington is taken from an old print.

Stukely’s smug satisfaction about doing a bad job well is short-lived. The rumour spreads like wildfire that the King has paid him the enormous sum of £500 for his part in tricking Raleigh. The English public are outraged. Raleigh the soldier, courtier and revered sea dog has always been a national hero. Now he’s been betrayed for pieces of silver. No wonder Stukely now smarts under the nickname of ‘Judas’. The family’s name will be tarnished for generations, too. Also, his coin dipping crime will be uncovered next year and his fortune confiscated.

Stukely is not the only big time currency crook named on the Tapestry. Sir John Bingley of Chester, shown below Scene 4, is another. He is one of the foremost figures in the Virginia Council and this year has been made Lord High Treasurer. But, £215,000 is missing from the nation’s coffers and he and the Earl of Suffolk are suspected of embezzling it. Next year, after a trial they’ll be found guilty, sent to the Tower for 10 days and have to repay the embezzlement plus pay fines of £30,000 each. That’s millions in today’s values.

Raleigh has broken the promise he made to the King that he would not fight the Spanish in Guiana, so James, to appease the Spanish, has him brought to trial again. It is an old, tired and sick man that now faces the judges in Old Palace Yard. Those judges are, left to right, Sir Henry Montagu, Lord Chancellor Francis Bacon and Privy Councillor Sir Edmund Coke. It’s simple. The stay of execution from his previous trial is cancelled, he is sentenced to be beheaded and, to avoid public outcry, it will be carried out the next day, October 28.

Raleigh spends his last hours in the gatehouse of the Westminster Monastry and the following morning mounts the scaffold in Old Palace Yard. He is watched by the two Sheriffs of London, and given the last rites by Dr Robert Townson, Dean of Westminster. CHOP. It is the end of England’s greatest Virginia colony promoter.


SWEET WILLIAM Dianthus. ‘There is a little wilde creeping Pinke, which growth in our pastures neere about London…especially in the great field next to Detford.’  Gerard

MULBERRY Morus alba.   The berries are good to quench thirst, they stir up an appetite to meal, but they nourish the body very little. Gerard

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