The New World Tapestry

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cene Five
         1587 PANEL


Roger Bayle (arms shown here) is another of White’s assistants helping him at Roanoke.

The beautiful Tudor house illustrated at the top of this scene is still part of Southampton’s heritage, well preserved and used today as a museum.

The middle scene shows life in the busy seaport that White experiences as he makes his way to meet Sir Walter Raleigh. There’s a carter with his packhorse. A felon locked in a pillory to atone for some misdemeanour. A farmer’s wife rides by on her way to the market with chickens in a wicker basket strapped to her saddle, whilst a gentleman and his wife follow, also on horseback to see what the town’s cloth merchants have to offer.

As illustrated in the lower main scene, White meets up with Raleigh on 5 November to make his report and plea for much-needed supplies and reinforcements to be sent to Roanoke as soon as possible. He brings with him his drawings of Indian life (now in the British Museum). The pageboy on the left has them in the open box that he is holding and has handed the first sheet to White who shows it to Sir Walter. Raleigh, who never set foot in Roanoke (or ever will) is fascinated to examine them but not too happy with the report that White gives him on the current situation in the colony. He now knows that the second Roanoke colony has been proved to have been lost and the first Chesapeake Bay colony has failed to take effect. On the other hand, a lively, if inexperienced community has been established on Roanoke Island. But there is a problem. In fact a huge problem.

Whilst White was sailing back home across the Atlantic a general stay of shipping in English ports had been ordered on 9 October in view of the Armada maritime danger from Spain. Now here he is begging for an immediate relief fleet to be sent to Roanoke to save the settlement and all Raleigh can do to reassure him is to say that he will seek an exception to the ban in regard of the Virginia squadron and instruct Grenville and Bideford to stand by with his fleet to await exceptional permission to be granted by London.


tapestry photo 1587 scene five

FORGET-ME-NOT  Myosotis.  Herbalists once recommended the tufted forget-me-not and the rest of the forget-me-nots, as a cure for lung complaints when made into a syrup.

THYME  Thymus serpyllum agg.   Oberon in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Nights Dream mentions that ‘I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows / Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows.

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