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cene Five
    1609-10 PANEL

At Jamestown the ‘Sea Venture’ survivors discover the settlement in a shocking state. Only 60 people are alive, and the colony’s supplies nearly exhausted, so, instead of finding help for themselves Somers and the new arrivals become the rescuers of the colony. However, though the ‘Deliverance’ and ‘Patience’ bring good supplies with them, they are not enough to sustain Jamestown as well, so the decision is made to abandon the plantation. The plan is to sail to the Grand banks aboard the two Bermuda-built vessels and two pinnaces they have, to get help and a passage to England.

So Jamestown is abandoned on 7 June. The fleet sets sail down the river but, incredibly, encounter at the river mouth a new supply fleet with the next Governor of Virginia, Lord de la Warre aboard, so all put back to the settlement. Even now the supply position is pretty dire and so Somers offers to return to Bermuda for more food. Two vessels are used, one, the ‘Patience’ under Somers’ command, the other with Captain Samuel Argall, Deputy Governor of Virginia in charge but they get separated in foggy weather and only Somers reaches Bermuda. Argall returns to Jamestown.

Sadly, Somers’ good judgement and luck run out when he reaches the island. Hurricanes frustrate his plans then tragically he eats contaminated pig meat (note the meal on the table) and, as is shown in this scene, he dies in his ship’s cabin on 10 November. His nephew Captain Matthew Somers now assumes command and decides to sail the ‘Patience’ back to England, rather than return to Virginia as planned by his uncle. Nevertheless, before leaving, knowing how much Sir George came to love Bermuda, he buries his heart there but takes the body back to Dorset for burial.

Back home, after overseeing Sir George’s internment in the church at Whitchurch Canonicorum (its 13th century shrine is pictured here that ‘cured’ pilgrims’ limbs), Matthew rides on to Lyme Regis, where Sir George was once Mayor and, in the Guildhall (shown here), witnesses the reading of the will by the Councillors. Family duties done, he travels on to the Virginia Company in London, who, so impressed with Bermuda’s possibilities plan sending 50 settlers out next year under artist Governor Richard Moore.

tapestry photo 1609_10 scene five

WOOD SORREL Oxalis acetosella. In the Hebrides, the herbs were put into herb plasters against scrofula or King’s Evil.

GOLDEN ROD Solidago virgaurea. An excellent wound herb brought in from overseas which Gerard noted was ‘once sold for half a crown an ounce’.

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