As for Gilbert’s two remaining vessels off Newfoundland, on 31 August they set a course for England.
He is still in the frigate Squirrel despite entreaties from Captain Hayes of the Golden Hinde for him to
come aboard his much larger ship. “I will not forsake my little company going homeward, with whom I have passed so many
storms and perils” comes the shouted reply.
All goes well until they reach the longitude of the Azores.
But here they encounter absolutely dreadful weather and as Hayes reports later “Monday the ninth
of September…in the afternoon the frigate was near cast away, oppressed by the waves; yet at that time recovered and
giving forth signs of joy, the General sitting abaft with a book in his hand cried out unto us in the Hinde (so often did
we approach within hearing). We are as near to heaven by sea as by land”.
They are Sir Humphrey’s last known words
for at 12 that night the Squirrel goes down with all hands, leaving the Golden Hinde to
bring back the terrible news to Dartmouth’s Mayor Gilbert Staplehill (arms scene 4) and the Gilbert family at Compton Castle.
There is a unique feature regarding this panel. In 1983 Tom Mor was flattered by being contacted from
St John’s Newfoundland by John Perlin, Cultural Attaché. John said that a group of embroiderers there had heard
about him designing the Newfoundland panel, planned to be stitched in Totnes. St John’s he said “were desperately
looking for something to permanently mark their 400th and the ladies had pleaded on stockinged knees to beg Tom Mor to make
a copy for them to stitch as well” John then came over and visited Plymouth where Tom entertained
him and finally agreed to help out. There was no fee asked for or given, despite the amount of work involved.
next year, the copy being ready, John sent over Florence Severs to pick it up and learn the techniques involved with the embroidery,
so that the two panels would look as similar as possible. Florence was a top brass professional tapissier and her role in
Canada was to be the Organiser and tutor to the team in St John’s. She had however been told by John Perlin that it
was Tom’s idea of having a copy stitched in Newfoundland and was taken aback to find that the opposite was really the
The original panel in Totnes took seven years to complete while Newfoundland’s
tapissiers finished theirs in twelve. It’s now on permanent exhibition in the Culture Centre in St John’s.