The New World Tapestry

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cene One
    1609-10 PANEL

Sir Thomas Cambell originally of Foulsham in Norfolk is Lord Mayor of London this year. He was master of the Ironmongers’ Company in 1604 and though he personally is not an investor in the London Virginia Company the ironmongers themselves are, having ‘ventured’ £33.6s.8d to back the colonisation attempt at Jamestown. Their  contribution, along with that of other Livery Companies and merchants in the City of London, helps pay for the seven ships now being provisioned at Woolwich and Rotherhithe on the Thames to be sent out as a relief fleet to Virginia. The ships and captains are:
The ‘Sea Venture’ (the flagship), Captain Newport
The ‘Falcon’, Rear Admiral Captain Martain
The ‘Diamond’, Captain Ratcliffe with Captain King
The ‘Blessing’, Captain Adams
The ‘Unity’, Captain Wood and Master Pett
The ‘Lion’, Captain Webb
The ‘Catch’, Captain Fitch
The flagship ‘Sea Venture’ is described as being ‘of 300 tons’. This does not refer to its weight but that its hold is capable of containing 300 large casks called tuns. A tun’s liquid volume is 252 gallons. 

On May 15 the fleet leaves the Thames, reaches the open sea and sails through the English channel to Plymouth where it joins two other vessels owned by Sir George Somers. They are:           
The ‘Swallow’, Captain Moon and Captain Matthew Somers
The ‘Virginia’, Captain Davies and Master Davies

Berne Manor (Top scene) near Whitchurch Canonicorum in Dorset is the home of the old seadog Sir George Somers, founder member of the London Virginia Company. However he was born and bred in the coastal town of Lyme Regis then went to sea on reaching manhood, seeking fame and fortune. As regards fame, his subsequent exploits against the Spanish at Cadiz, then in the Azores and later fighting their fleet at Kinsale in Ireland earned him a knighthood in 1603. In 1604 his booty fortune made him a valuable Mayor of Lyme Regis and MP. Now in 1609 the respected seafarer, he is chosen C in C of the expedition and is shown stepping aboard his flagship with orders to weigh anchor for Jamestown. The fleet sails on June 2nd.


tapestry 1609_10 scene one Photo

YELLOW IRIS  Iris pseudacorus.  In Ireland bunches are hung outside the doors on the feast of Corpus Christi. So it is apotropic: averts evil. 

WATER MINT Mentha aquatica.  ‘The savour or smell of the water mint rejoiceth the hart of man.’ Gerard.

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