The New World Tapestry

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cene Three
    1602-03 PANEL



After doubling Cape Cod and sailing to the southward Gosnold lands on a small island about six miles from Gay Head and, as the top scene shows he names it Martha’s Vineyard because of the abundance of the grapevines he discovers there and ‘Martha’ because it’s a favourite family name.

The next day he lands on a nearby larger island. After exploring it and finding it so large, well-wooded and with even more luxuriant grapevines, many beautiful lakes and springs of the purist water, he changed his mind about the smaller island and renamed it ‘No man’s Land’ and dubbed this ‘Martha’s Vineyard’. Note the fresh water stream in the picture.

The general area today is known as Maine.

Soon afterwards Gosnold explores the group of islands to the northwest of the Vineyard naming them Elizabeth Islands in honour of the Queen who is still reigning. It turns out that there are eight in all: Naushon, Nonamesset, Uncaten, Wepecket, Nashawens, Pasque, Cuttyhunk, and Penikese.

On 28 May he founds a colony for the 32 settlers on  Cuttyhunk and there, as the main picture shows he discusses plans with one of the soldiers then builds the first house and fort in New England.

The man named at the bottom of the scene here and his coat-of-arms shown is Thomas Walker Mayor of Exeter this year, 1602. As is shown in the next scene Gosnold will be returning to Exmouth in Devon at the end of his voyage. Exmouth at this time was only a few fishermens’s huts and a harbour. All the wealthy merchants in the area, including Walker live in Exeter, a few miles up the river Exe from its mouth. This is why the Mayor if Exeter is named here, for the merchants were all very interested in the colonisation of America at this time and some would back the Plymouth Adventurers Company which will get its Charter from James I in four years’ time.

Walker was three times Mayor of Exeter. As a merchant he gave considerable support to the New World settlements and to such worthy causes as Exeter charities that included the foundation of the free Grammar School. His memorial is in St Mary Arches Church, Exeter.

tapestry photo 1602-3 scene three

TOADFLAX  Linaria vulgaris.  The plant was regarded as useless as to be only fit for toads.

SELF-HEAL  Prunella vulgaris. Scholars identified the plant as the herb Dioscorides the ancient Greek physician, to cure the inflammation of the throat.

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