The New World Tapestry

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cene One
         1587 PANEL

On 7 January the incorporation of the City of Raleigh in Virginia is established in London with artist John White as Governor and twelve assistants. The intention is to make a settlement on Chesapeake Bay further north  of Roanoke Island, not to supersede Roanoke but serve a different purpose leaving Roanoke as a base for privateering, i.e. licensed piracy.

The coats-of-arms of all thirteen are known, including of course White’s, the shield of which is shown here. In the 1980’s the Tapestry’s designer Tom Mor, together with his old friend and co-researcher Tom Maddock decided to further investigate White’s heraldry and discovered that the arms shown were those of the White’s of Truro and Anthony. Anthony is close to Plymouth but tiny. So the logical step was to travel to Truro and search the Public Record Office for any more clues. They found gold. They were shown and copied the Will of Robert White of Truro who held the same coat-of-arms and was alive at the same time. In the Will he made a bequest to my twin brother John of Plymouth which is why Mor and Maddock felt that Plymouth can claim John as one of their own.

Please now refer to the lower scene, for it is now February 8 when, at Fotheringay Castle in Northamptonshire, after the reading out of the death warrant signed by the monarch, three minutes later the blows of a headman’s axe will have Mary Queen of Scots executed to remove the greatest threat to Queen Elizabeth’s throne. The flag behind ginger-haired Mary shows the saltire of Scotland.

John Humphrey (arms shown here) is the Mayor of Portsmouth in Hampshire this year. The top illustration shows the old fort at the entrance to Portsmouth harbour. It’s near where three of John White’s ships leave on April 26th bound firstly for Plymouth stopping briefly here until May 8, before sailing on over to Roanoke, reaching it in July.

Grim news awaits the expedition at Fort Raleigh. The newcomers, as the central picture shows, are dismayed and shaken when all they can find of the men of the garrison left by Grenville last year are their bones. The Indians have left a calling card.

tapestry photo 1587 scene one

BIRDS FOOT TREFOIL  Lotus corniculatus.  The caterpillars of the green hairstreak and dingy skipper butterflies feed on the birds-foot-trefoil. Butterflies visit the flowers for nectar but it is unlikely that they bring about pollination.

BUGLE  Ajuga reptans.  In his Complete Herbal NICHOLAS CULPEPER advised readers to -  ‘ keep a syrup of it …always by you’ as it healed all kinds of wounds, thrusts and stabs, as well as ulcers and broken bones.

TUTSAN  Hypericum androsaemum.   Before the age of modern medicine leaves of tutsan were laid across flesh wounds to help them to heal. The plant has genuine antiseptic properties.

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