The New World Tapestry

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cene Four
    1609-10 PANEL

It is now 1610. Two babies have been born to passengers and though John Rolfe meets with tragedy when his wife dies, other survivors find increasing happiness, with the climate of Bermuda more than just agreeable, in fact, Somers by his own account, loves it ‘as the most plentiful place for hogs (escapees from previous Spanish shipwrecks), fowl and fish that ever I came to.’ He busies himself with surveying the island by boat, producing an extremely accurate map of it (still in existence in the archives of Hamilton). Governor Gates has ordered shipwright Frobisher to oversee the building of two ships, ‘The Deliverance’ and ‘The Patience’ to escape the island and continue on to Virginia. He and Yeardley work on them as hard as anyone but many of the passengers and crew don’t, reasoning ‘Why not just stay in this paradise? There’s lots of food, no hostile Indians and the living is easy.’ Mutiny is afoot. Two small revolts are put down and pardoned but a third is rumbled, where a group of dissidents, many working on ‘The Patience’ with Somers plan to kill the Governor, seize the storehouse and make off with whatever tools and food they need. Gates and Yeardley order every man to carry a weapon with him at all times and double the night watch. One evening, 13 March, a rebellious Henry Paine refuses to join the watch, is tried the next day, and as the scene shows, is shot. All rebellion is crushed and as is also shown, a month later, before the adventurers leave the island the Union jack is raised to claim Bermuda for the Crown.

As final preparations to leave take place two sailors, Robert Waters, a murderer and Christopher Carter, a mutineer, successfully hide themselves away until their companions on 12 May, after all their troubles, leave Bermuda aboard their two small ships to reach Chesapeake Bay ten days later. It is a triumph.

The Tapestry’s Library identifies William Strachey with the William Strachey of Saffron Walden in Essex, who married in 1595 and was known to be alive in 1620. The Strachey home still exists in Saffron Walden but is privately owned. However, to celebrate William, part of the Jacobean screen above the door in the Great Hall of Audley End House, Saffron Walden is shown here. It is open to the public and can be visited in the spring and summer months.

tapestry photo 1609_10 scene four

HAWKWEED Hieracium parvum Creticum. ‘ I find not anything at all set downe either of their natures or virtues.’ Gerard

SOLOMON’S SEAL Polygonatum multiflorum. Application of the fresh root taketh away in one night or two at the most any bruse black or blew spots gotten by women’s wilfulness in stumbling on their hastie husbands fists.’ Gerard

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