The New World Tapestry

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    1616 PANEL

During February Argall’s ship Treasurer is prepared for retiring Governor Dale’s last voyage to England and to take Rolfe and Pocahontas with him. So, when the ship is made clean and ready she is sent up river from Jamestown to Henrico to pick them up, load some of Rolfe’s tobacco as part cargo then call in at other outposts for the remainder en route back to Jamestown. It is at this point, just days before the Treasurer is due to sail, that Dale has a brilliant idea. It suddenly dawns on him that it would be far more impressive if, when he lands in London, he has more Indians with him, painted and feathered, than just Pocahontas, who would by then just be dressed in English costume.  So, Pocahontas persuades two of her half sisters, her brother-in-law Tomocomo, four girls and three young braves to join in the adventure and act as her servants and aides.

Thus it is, in the early spring of 1616, leaving the colony in the capable hands of Deputy Governor Yeardley, that the Treasurer  sets out across the Atlantic and, after an uneventful voyage, makes landfall in Plymouth. She enters the Sound, passes by St Nicholas Island, sails under the guns of Plymouth Fort and eventually ties up in Sutton harbour near the Barbican Gateway (pictured).  It is now 12 June and, as Dale has predicted, when the Rolfes come ashore for a rest, accompanied by their colourful entourage, they cause a sensation among the Plymothians gathered to greet them. It’s as though they have come from Mars, they are so unbelievably exotic.

Mayor Colmer officially greets them. He has come from the Guildhall where his parlour is situated. It also houses the Clink, the town’s prison. Tomocomo has been given a stave by Powhatan to cut a notch to record every Englishman he sees. Sensibly, he soon gives up.

In this scene Tom Mor the designer pays tribute to his three friends who helped in the 20 year research involved with the Tapestry Project, by showing Freda Simpson, Paul Presswell, Tom Maddock and himself standing watching the Rolfes’ arrival in Plymouth. The butterfly is the Large Blue (Maculinea arion).



RHUBARB Rheum officinale.It is tonic and astringent and is one of the ingredients of ‘Gregory powder’ found effective in cases of dysentery.’  Ranson

PURPLE LOOSETRIFFE   Lythrum salicaria.  ‘ It is reported that the fume or smoke of the herbe  burned, doth drive away flies and gnats, and all manner of venomous beasts.’ Gerard

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