The New World Tapestry

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cene Two
    1605 PANEL

Among the sponsors of Weymouth’s expedition to Virginia are Plymouth cos merchants, one of whom could be Mayor Walter Mathew (arms shown here) known to be keen on developing the fishing industry off Cape Cod where the abundance of fish reported by Gosnold (1602-03 panel) could mean big profits.

On the other hand the interest of Sir Thomas Arundell (whose home Wardour Castle is featured in Scene five) lies in finding an area in America where Roman Catholics could establish a colony but Weymouth’s remit is straightforward exploration of the region between Chesapeake Bay and Cape Cod. However he takes two months to reach the New England coast because pushed further north by bad weather, he only reaches the Monhegan coast by mid-May. There he spends a month reconnoitring the main coast making contact with Abenake Indians and trading with them.

The object of this commerce is to gain the Indians’ confidence and then use it for the other purpose of the voyage, to bring back, that is enslave natives to use as guides for future expeditions. The play works. The main picture shows that at Penaboscot three Indians have been lured aboard with offers of trinkets such as beads, hatchets and mirrors. Then set upon. The unfortunate brave in the foreground is dropping a mirror which reflects  you looking at the scene.

Top picture: Weymouth comes across two Indians around a fire on the beach. He gives them food to allay their fears – pease pudding and bread. Trinkets are handed over and he is pictured holding out a mirror to one of the pair. This puts them off their guard for a moment allowing the English to suddenly pounce. Amid shrieks and yells a desperate battle ensues, the unlucky duo are overcome and then dragged aboard ship together with their canoes. Mission accomplished.

tapestry photo 1605 scene two

VIOLET   Viola riviniana .  ‘The decoction of Violets is good against hot fevers, and the inflammation of the liver and all other inward parts’. Gerard.

FENNEL  Foeniculum vulgare.  ‘Fennel seed drunke asswageth the paine of the stomacke, and wambling of the same, or desire to vomit, and breaketh winde’. Gerard.

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