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cene One
         1607 PANEL



December 1606. Captain Christopher Newport’s home is on Tower Hill in London – hence the illustration of a gateway at the nearby Tower of London. It’s guarded by 2 Yeomen of the Guard or Warders, commonly called Beefeaters today. The Tower is famous for its black ravens, a couple of which are shown beside them. Legend goes that should the Tower’s ravens ever die out, the British Empire will cease to exist. Cunningly, today’s ravens are on a strict Commonwealth diet.

Newport is appointed by the London Virginia Company to be the Admiral in sole charge and command of their expedition to Virginia; that is the territory south of what is today’s New York. Three ships are involved. His vessel is the ‘Susan Constant’ with 71 aboard. The second is the ‘Godspeed’, 52 aboard with Bartholomew Gosnold from Otley in Suffolk in charge as Captain. The third in the little fleet is the ‘Discovery’ with 21 souls commanded by Captain John Ratcliffe (alias Sicklemore) also from Sufflok. All three adventurers are members of the London Virginia Company and, of course, practising Christians so they take a huge wooden cross with them to plant and convert the heathen native Americans they will encounter

Bad weather delays their departure from the Downs in the mouth of the river Thames until mid January but weeks later on April 26th they make landfall at a place they name Cape Henry in Chesapeake Bay. A party is sent ashore and they have their first encounter with the local Indians when several colonists are wounded, including their experienced leader, a man with the unfortunate name of Gabriel Archer. Why unfortunate? Because he was shot through both hands with arrows. Later on, Archer will name a point of land Archers Hope. Unlucky for him in history again – one day it will be renamed College Creek.

Keeping the most detailed description of the Virginia Company’s voyage and account of the first five months of the Jamestown settlement to come is the third man named here in Scene One. Mister George Percy. He is destined to be the Colony’s Deputy Governor 1609-10 and 1611 and is the son of Sir Henry Percy, the 8th Earl of Northumberland.

1607 scene one tapestry photo

SCURVEY GRASS  Cochlearia officinalis.  The dried herb or a bottled distillation was taken aboard ship for those who would lie, as Gerard  said ‘lamentable sicke of the scurvies.’

LIME TREE  Tilia platyphyllos.   So long as you pick the flowers and dry them yourself to make a tea, it has a delicious scent and savour of honey. Grigson.

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