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cene Five
         1585 PANEL

Late in August Grenville leaves Ralph in charge of his 107 colonists including John Stukley his brother-in-law (arms shown here) to expand the settlement of Roanoke Island. The Stukleys are Lords of Affeton Castle near West Worlington in Devon, where they settled in medieval times to become allied to the leading families in the county including the Gilberts, the Raleighs and the Grenvilles. 

Making his way back across the Atlantic to England Grenville is always on the look out for Spanish treasure ships and hits the jackpot when he captures no less than three, including the biggest prize of all, the Santa Maria. 

So richly valuable is his prize that he removes his command from his own ship Tyger and transfers it to the massive but sluggish Spanish vessel. Slowly but surely he brings the booty back to Plymouth where he arrives on 18 October, three weeks after the rest of the fleet has reached Falmouth. 

Awaiting Grenville in Plymouth and rubbing his hands in greedy anticipation of getting even richer quicker, is his cousin Raleigh. He’s there because together with Sir Francis Walsingham he’s a backer of the Roanoke venture and thus entitled to the lion’s share of any booty that Grenville the privateer (licensed pirate!) can wrest from the Spanish. 

This scene therefore shows the moment has come when the Spanish captain in chains, has to watch, in bitter frustration, as Raleigh is truly amazed as Grenville lifts the lid of the huge treasure chest to reveal a fabulous fortune. The act means instant extra wealth for the backers and Grenville has done everyone proud. Now all that remains is to appease another more than interested party – the Queen herself who demands a sovereign’s rightful share of the spoils. She will get it, of course and it will be in the form of a huge casket of lustrous pearls. Mission accomplished. 

This panel was stitched at Bristow’s Pottery at Chillington in Devon. So, as a tribute to the team who worked it, a potter is shown at his wheel at the top of this scene.

tapestry photo 1585 scene five

MELILOT  Melilotus officinalis.    In medicine it was a chief ingredient of the famous Melilot Plaister or Poultice.

HOP   Lupus salictarius. ‘The floures are used to season Beere and Ale with, and too many do cause bitternesse thereof, and are ill for the head’.  Gerard.

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