Monday, 5 August 2013

Celebrating Sir Francis Drake (1540-96)

August 4th  On this day in 1586, Sir Francis Drake was feted in the Middle Temple on his return from the New World - where he had been busy “privateering” (plundering Spanish possessions).

Middle Temple Hall is visited on our Wednesday morning walk  “Historic Smithfield, Clerkenwell and Holborn – Fanfare and Plainsong”, Wednesday afternoon walk “St Paul’s to Westminster Abbey – Priories, Palaces and Parliament”, and Friday afternoon walk “Tower to Temple – The Heart of the City”. 

On a related note, the reconstruction of Drake’s “Golden Hind(e)”, the ship on which he became the first person to circumnavigate the globe between 1577-80, is visited on our Thursday afternoon “Historic Southwark – Shakespeare’s London and more” walk.

Readers may be interested to know that the original “Golden Hind(e)” was “drawn into a creek ... at Deptford as a perpetual memorial for having circuited round about the whole earth” in 1581, a plaque on the water-front there marking the site and commemorating the event.  

Queen Elizabeth I banqueted on board the ship on 4th April, 1581, “consecrated it with great ceremonie, pompe and magnificence eternally to be remembered”, and forthwith knighted Drake.  The ship remained in Deptford  for about 100 years, until it started to disintegrate and had to be broken up. 

Incidentally, Drake (re)named the ship (previously called The Pelican) in honour of his patron Sir Christopher Hatton (1540-91), whose coat-of-arms featured the device of a golden hind.

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