The New World Tapestry

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cene One
    1607-08 PANEL



The beautiful Plym river which runs down from Dartmoor to the sea emerges at Plympton close to Plymouth. At one time Plympton was a port itself more important than its neighbour but now the river has silted up and the real trading harbour is Plymouth. However, the Parker family who live at Boringdon Hall at Plympton are still a very influential family in the area and their grand house is pictured here. As the year begins final preparations are being made in Sutton harbour in Plymouth to the Plymouth Company’s two ships, the ‘Gift’ and the ‘ Mary and John’. Watching the feverish activity is Sir John Mallet from Enmore in Somerset, one of Sir John Popham’s sons-in-law, married to Popham’s fifth daughter Marie but here concerned as a Company shareholder in the fate of the coming expedition. However, he’s not in charge.


Supervising the operations are Sir Francis Popham, Sir John’s son together with Sir Ferdinando Gorges, Governor of Plymouth Fort and St Nicholas Island in Plymouth Sound. As the future Governor of Maine Gorges is hugely important in Anglo-American history. The pair are dealing with a number of local merchants but principally Abraham Jennings who will later testify to the Lord Chancellor that ‘Sir Ferdinando Gorge and Sir Francis Popham brought and tooke up divers wares and merchandice as iron potted boxes chafying dishes lockets and other divers wares for the said intended voyage amounting to the sume  of thirte six poundes nyteene shillings and eleven pence which wares were sorted out by the said Sr Ferdinando Gorge or by his appointment… and afterward caryed aboard the said shipps…’


The precise number of settlers or ‘planters’ that are aboard the two ships is not certain. Gorges says ‘one hundred landmen’ and Strachey  records that there are ‘one hundred and twenty for planters’ Certainly Gorges’ Indian captive Shetwarroes is aboard to act as guide and interpreter in Virginia. He is shown here in the cabin of the ‘Gift’, receiving instructions from Captains George Popham and Raleigh Gilbert and watched by the tobacco smoker William Parker. Thus, with everyone briefed, on May 31st the expedition’s ships weigh anchor, pass under the guns of Plymouth Fort and the watchful eye of Gorges, skirt St Nicholas Island in the Sound and make for the open sea, bound for the Azores.

tapestry photo 1607-08 scene one pic

GROUND IVY Hedera Terrestris. ‘The juice being tempered with verdagrease, is good against sistulacs and hollow ulcers.’ Matthiolus.


ROCKET Barbarea Vulgaris.  The seed of winter Cresse causeth one to make water and driveth forth gravel, and helpeth the strangurie.   Gerard.

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