The New World Tapestry

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cene Five
         1595-6 PANEL

Joint Commander of the expedition with Lord Charles Howard (Scene 3) is Lord Robert Devereux Earl of Essex who lives at Wanstead in the county. Even greater favourite of the Queen than Raleigh he will also lead an expedition to the Azores in 1597 which will be a failure. Despite this power will go to his head in 1601 when he will plot to secure the dismissal of the Queen’s Councillors, be proclaimed a traitor and be executed at the Tower of London on 25 February that year.

However, Essex’s particular claim to fame at Cadiz comes during the land operation and shown here when he organises the sacking of the Bishop of Faro’s palace (In today’s Portugal) and loots 178 precious books from his library. Note the enraged cleric stamping his foot in anger at the top of the scene, surrounded by the flowers of the black poplar.

The stolen tomes are seen being loaded on board then unloaded back in England and carried by Essex’s men to Oxford. There Essex personally hands them over to Sir Thomas Bodley (coat-of-arms shown here) to add to the existing public library which he is expanding and will open up next year under its new title the Bodleian Library.

As all library users are requested to remain quiet on the premises, Bodley, as depicted, has had the word ‘HUSHE’ painted over the doorway. What the fate of the snail will be is an official secret – or the spider.

At the top right of this scene is a little cameo of Sir John Harington (coat-of-arms shown here) the thoughtful inventor of the first water closet. He stands proudly by his masterpiece which he installed for his godmother the Queen in her palace at Richmond. So, not only was Sir John her godson but proved to be a godsend as well. Educated at Eton and Christ Church Cambridge he has done well for himself for he is the High Sheriff of Somerset with a home at Kelston in the county. What the plumbing arrangements are there is not known.

Standing proudly in front of Harington is his dog Bungay. It grips a sheet of soft tissue in his jaws which is not included in his portrait that hangs in Anglesey Abbey, a property now owned by the National trust of Cambridgeshire.

tapestry photo 1595-6 scene five

BLACK POPLAR   Populus nigra.  ‘ The leaves and yong buds of blacke poplar doe assuage the pain of the gout in the hands or feet, being made into an ointment with May butter’. Gerard.

SNEEZEWORT  Ptarmica.  ‘The juice mixed with vinegar and holden in the mouth easeth much the paine of the toothache’. Gerard.

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