The New World Tapestry

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cene One
    1588-90 PANEL

Two of the men featured on this panel owned Buckland Abbey near Tavistock in Devon which is illustrated at the top of this scene. Its original owner was Grenville (arms shown here) who sold it in 1580 to Sir John Hele of Wembury near Plymouth (see 1602 panel). Unknown to Grenville Hele was acting as Drake’s agent who immediately sold it on to him because Grenville hated Drake and wouldn’t have sold the property to him if he’d known he wanted it. Buckland Abbey is now a National Trust property.

However this year, 1588 Grenville’s energies are taken up with checking the defences of Devon and Cornwall on instructions from the Crown for the threat of a Spanish invasion is very real. Nevertheless he also prepares a fleet himself at Bideford for the relief of Roanoke if special permission to sail is given. Among the would-be passengers is the Indian guide that he brought back from Roanoke to act as interpreter on the expedition. The Indian has been persuaded to accept the Christian faith and so this year is christened with the name ‘Raleigh’ in St Mary’s church which is featured here and the actual ceremony is illustrated too. Unfortunately ‘Raleigh’ will never see his native land again for he will die next year and be buried in St Mary’s where his memorial is to be seen today.

But the settlers anxiously awaiting relief at Roanoke are doomed for, as the lower picture shows, whilst ‘waiting for a faire winde’ at Bideford Grenville gets an order from the Queen’s Privy Council commanding him to ‘forbeare thy intended voyage’ and take his five ships to Plymouth to prepare to do battle with the Spanish Armada.

The ships shown in this scene are as follows. Above the St Mary’s sign: An Elizabethan Hoy a small coaster with one mast and a sprit sail. Behind the horse: a ship based on the Judith a 50 ton vessel extant 1569. Behind the Queen’s messenger and Grenville: on the left the Revenge, Grenville’s own. On the right Drake’s Golden Hind.

tapestry photo 1588-90 scene one

BASIL  Clinopodium Vulgare.  Herbalist Culpeper recommended it as a cure for afflictions of the brain, helped cure jaundice, leprosy, convulsions and cramp.

TANSY  Tanacetum vulgare.  ‘The root preserved with hony or sugar, is an especial thing against the gout, if every day for a certain space, a reasonable quantitie therof be eaten fasting’. Gerard.

WILLOW HERB Epilobium angustifolium .   ‘The smoke of the burned herbe driveth away serpents and killeth flies and gnats in a house’. Gerard.

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