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scene is set in Plymouth whose Mayor this year, 1585 is Christopher Broking (Arms shown). Broking is
a member of the family of prosperous Devon merchants thought to originate from the hamlet of Broking near Totnes.
(Another Broking, Nicholas, will become Mayor of Exeter in 1655 and, on his death, be buried in St Mary Arches church there where his monument displays his heraldry).
Two other coats-of-arms shields are shown in this scene as well, those
of Sir Richard Grenville who commands this year’s expedition to Roanoke and Edward Kelly who as a colonist is one of
the 600 men involved in the adventure. Edward comes from Kelly, north-west of Tavistock in Devon. (The Kellys are a fascinating family as visitors to their church
at Kelly will discover. Built in 1259 by Sir William Kelly, it is stuffed full of memorials, monuments and graves containing the bones
of family members interred there over the succeeding centuries. The one exception is however “our” Edward whose
fate was to drown at Roanoke when the boat he was going ashore in capsized in the turbulent waves).
Grenville was born at Buckland Abbey in Devon. He’s a descendant from the Grenvilles of Stowe – their seat on the site of a farm
in Combe Valley, near Kilkampton in north-east Cornwall. Now he’s the commander of the second Roanoke expedition and
is shown walking down the steps in Sutton Harbour to be taken to his flagship.
His seamen eye him warily for he is a ruthless man, much admired for his seamanship in fighting the Spanish
but he’s feared, not loved. One of his after dinner party tricks, if a rumour is true, is to eat his glass after making
a toast to his awed companions. Follow that.
Grenvilles fleet, as recorded here, consists of the barke Dorothy, two pinnaces
and the Tiger of 40 tons, the Lion 100 tons, Elizabeth 50 and the Roebuck
140. Some have been victualled by Plymouth’s ship chandlers whose warehouses surround the harbour. For water supplies
they fill up great oaken casks from Drake’s Leat on the quayside. Two of their barrels are shown here near the customs house (still in existence). Drake’s
Leat was an aquaduct, a slate channel which brought fresh water all the way down from the edge of Dartmoor by gravitational
feed through the town and finally to the Sutton Harbour itself. (It was a brilliant idea and much of the leat can still
be followed today).