The New World Tapestry

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cene One
         1586 PANEL


Sir Richard Grenville is back in England to pick up further supplies and reinforcements for the settlers he has left on Roanoake Island (in today’s North Carolina). Back there the English set about reinforcing the fort – Fort Raleigh – and this scene shows the work being carried out.

Two men are shown here on the foreground working at a saw pit. Others dig holes in preparation to drop in and erect the huge logs that form the walls of the fortifications while two others who are gunners are about to start testing one of the cannons in order to scare the Indians who have never seen this sort of weaponry before.

At the top of the scene the High Bridge of Lincoln is depicted in honour of Thomas Luddington (arms scene two) who comes from the city and has joined the expedition as a preacher.

In charge of the settlers as Governor is  Ralph Lane. It will be a short-lived appointment for he and the other colonists will soon lose heart and return to England with Drake – scene 4. Later, in 1589 he’ll join Drake’s expedition to Portugal then, in 1590 serve under Hawkins. Between 1592 and 1594 he’ll fight in Ireland be knighted and when he dies, be buried in Dublin.

The arms at the bottom of this scene belong to Thomas Ford, Mayor of Plymouth this year.

As explained in the last scene of the 1585 panel Sir Francis Walsingham (the other arms shown here) is one of the backers of the Roanoke venture. His history is that he was born at Scadbury near Chislehurst in Kent around 1530. Later he became a student at King’s College Cambridge from 1548-50 then a student at Gray’s Inn in London 1552 and was knighted in 1577 after extensive home and foreign service.

He inherited nearby Foot’s Cray from his uncle Sir Edmund Walsingham, which he sold and settled at Barn Elms in Surrey in 1579 where he entertained Queen Elizabeth last year – 1585 and will again in 1588 and 1589. Entertaining the Monarch is always a very costly business so he will require to dig deep into the share he received of the loot Grenville filched from the Spanish when he captured the treasure ship Santa Maria last year (1585 panel scene 5)

tapestry photo 1586 scene one

SCABIOUS  Scabiosa.  ‘Scabious scoureth the chest and lungs; it is good against an old cough, shortnesse of breath, pain in the sides, and such like infirmaties of the chest’. Gerard.

WELD  Reseda luteola.  Weld was an ancient trio of plants used by medieval dyers – woad for blue, madder for red and weld for yellow.

ALKANET  Anchusa officinalis.   ‘The decoction being inwardly taken with Mead or honied water, cureth the yellow jaundice, diseases of the kidneys, the spleene and agues’. Gerard.

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