THE EXECUTION OF SIR WALTER RALEGH AND SOME OF THE
EVENTS THAT FOLLOWED IT.
T. N. BRUSHFIELD, M.D., F.S.A.
(Read at Axminster, 25tfi July, 1907.)
[Reprinted from the Transactions of the Devonshire Association for the Advance-
ment of Science, Literature, and Art. 1907,—xxxix. pp. e^-S63.]
if £■» if If
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Photo— Bedford, lemerh & Co.
Great "West "Window,
St. Margaret's Church, Westminster.
The Gift of American Citizens.
THE EXECUTION OF SIR WALTER RALEGH AND SOME OF THE
EVENTS THAT FOLLOWED IT.
BY T. N. BRUSHFIELD, M.D., F.S.A.
(Read at Axminster, 25th July, 1907.)
[Reprinted from the Transactions of the Devonshire Association for the Advance-
ment of Science, Literature, and Art. 1907.-j.xxix. pp. 242-263.']
" The last word said :
He bowed the sorrows of his perfect head,
And passed where never any troublous clays
Shall touch him now, nor any blame nor praise ;
But on the other side of Death's fair shore,
He knows that dream of his is now a dream no more."
Sir Rennell Rodd.
The series of articles embraced under the heading of
"Ealeghana," which have been brought under the notice
of the members of this Association during the last few
years, may be fittingly brought to a close with an account
of various incidents which transpired subsequent to the
execution of Sir Walter on October 29, 1618, and to which
they, for the most part, bore an intimate relation. It is,
however, necessary to make a few preliminary observations
on some of the proceedings that took place during the
previous twenty-four hours. 1
1 Brief references to works quoted : —
^ 01dys= « Life of Sir W. Ralegh," in ' < Works " (1829), Vol. I (first edition,
" Works" (1829) = " Works of Sir W. Ralegh," Vols. II-VIII (1829).
" D. A. '' = Transactions Devonshire Association.
" Court," etc. = ' ' Court and Times of James I," by T. Birch (1849), 2 vols.
"Brief Lives " = " Brief Lives," by John Aubrey (1898), 2 vols, (first
edition, 1813). J * V
Edwards = " Life of Sir W. Ralegh," by E. Edwards (1868), 2 vols.
Gardiner = " History of England," by S. R. Gardiner, Vol. Ill (1883).
"Arraignment, etc." = ' 'The Arraignment and Conviction of Sir W. R. . . .
coppied by Sir Tho. Overbvry " (1648).
Shirley = " Life of Sir W. Raleigh," by John Shirley (1677).
Gosse= '•' Memoir of Sir W. Raleigh," by Edmund Gosse (1886).
W T alcott= " Memorials of Westminster," by Rev. M. E. C. Walcott (1851).
120 RALEGH AX A.
On Wednesday, October 28, Ralegh, then a prisoner in
the Tower, " at eight o'clock in the morning was awaked out
of a fit of a fever, with summons presently to appear at the
king's bench bar at Westminster; and, soon after nine
o'clock, he was, by writ of habeas corpus, brought thither "
(Olclys, 550). On being then asked, " why execution should
not be done upon him," he began to "justifie himself in his
proceedings in the late voyage"; but he was stopped by
the Lord Chief Justice, Sir H. Montague, who informed
him, " there was no other matter there in question, but
concerning the judgement of death, that formerly hath been
given against him, The which the Kings pleasure was, upon
some occasions best knowne to himself e, to have executed, unlesse
he could shew good cause to the contrary!' 1 Called on to
award execution against Ralegh, Foss remarks, " His address
evidently showed his regret in being compelled to the
performance of this duty, and its terms do credit to his
humanity." 2 This formed a striking contrast to the brutality
exhibited towards Ralegh at his trial in 1603. So deter-
mined, however, was the King for Ralegh to be executed,
that to avoid the numerous importunities for the death
sentence not to be carried out, he left London for Hertford-
shire before October 28, although the Royal Warrant for
the execution bears that date, as " Witness ourself at West-
Although this document declares that Ralegh was to
suffer death for having been indicted after trial of " divers
high treasons," the date of that trial (1603) is not stated,
nor is there any reason noted why the sentence remained in
abeyance for fifteen years. One alteration in the mode
of carrying it out is directed to be made; and in lieu
of being "drawn, hanged and quartered according to the
lawes and customes of this our Realme of England," the
King's " pleasure is to have the head only of the said
sir Walter Raleigh cut off at or within our palace of
Of the extreme restlessness of the King at this period,
Oldys gives the following graphic account : —
"The king was all this while retired as it were, or at some
remoteness from this tragical scene, ... as if he would have
diverted himself, not only from the sight or report, but even the
thoughts of it . . . very often in his boots, and hunting to and
1 Appendix to the " Arraignment, etc.," 26. Italics not in the original.
2 "Lives of the Judges " (1870), 450.
3 A transcript of it is printed in OMvs' " Works " (1829), VIII, 773-4.
RALEGH ANA. 121
fro ] sometimes at Theobalds, sometimes at Hampton-court ; not
but he found time to dedicate his Meditations on the Lord's
Prayer to his favourite Buckingham " (553-4).
It is very doubtful whether these "Meditations" bene-
fited either James or his protege. 1
No day or time for carrying out the sentence is mentioned
in the Koyal Warrant, but the indecent haste with which
Ealegh was hurried to the scaffold within twenty-four hours
of his sentence must be wholly attributed to the command
of James, who, no doubt, felt that until the beheadal was
effected there was no prospect of his son's alliance with the
Spanish Infanta. 2 At the Council meeting on October 28
the Attorney-General, Sir H. Yelverton, told Ealegh "he had
lived like a star, and like a star must he fall, when it
troubled the firmament. . . . His warning was short ; for he
had no word to prepare himself for death, till that very
morning he was convented before the judge." 3
On " the eve of the blackest day in James's black reign," 4
Sir Walter was removed for the night to the Gatehouse
at Westminster ; and from thence next morning to a scaffold
in Old Palace Yard. According to Aubrey, "the time
of his execution was contrived to be on my Lord Mayer's
day (viz. the day after St. Simon and Jude) 1618,
That the pageants and fine shewes might drawe away the
people from beholding the tragoedie of one of the gallant
worthies that ever England bred." 5 The hour when the
execution took place is unknown. A paper in the "Ash-
molean MSS." (No. 830, s. 27), "written by Ashmole,"
affirms it was " betwixt the hower of five and sixe in the
morning"; 6 but Shirley declares it was "about nine of the
Clock" (223), and this is probably correct, as "at eight
the officers came to fetch him away " from the Gatehouse. 7
Notwithstanding the attraction of the city pageants, a
large crowd was present at the execution, among whom
were many notables and, it is believed, some of the leading
The details of the execution, including the behaviour
1 A curious paraphrase of the Lord's Prayer printed in " Xotes and
-Queries," 1st Ser., V, 105, has been "ascribed to James I."
2 Vide Buckingham's letter in "D.A.," XXXVIII, 464-5.
3 Letter from Rev. T. Lorkin to Sir T. Puckering dated November 3,
1618, in "Court, etc.. of James I," VI, I. 99.
4 J. A. St. John, "Life of Sir W. Ralegh" (1862), II, 341.
5 " Brief Lives," II, 189. 6 Black's "Catalogue," 491.
7 Gardiner, III, 149.
122 RALEGH AN A.
of Ealegh, his last speech, etc., are fully recorded in many
works, and do not require to be repeated here. Suffice it to
say that no more appropriate lines than those of Shake-
speare could be adduced to express the gallant bearing of the
great Elizabethan, during the last hour of his life, on that
" Cowards die many times before their deaths :
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear ;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come, when it will come."
"Julius Cresar," act ii. sc. 2.
After the executioner had finished his office, Ealegh's
" head was shewed on each side of the Scaffold, and then
put into a red leather bag, and his wrought velvet gowne
throwne over it, which was afterwards conveyed away in a
mourning coach of his Laclyes." 2 As far as is yet known,
this is the earliest printed record of what took place on
that memorable occasion ; and as the account was probably
written soon after the execution had taken place, it must
have been in the memory of many who were living at that
date (1648). This relation of the removal of her husband's
head by Lady Ealegh, is printed verb, ct lit. in Shirley's
work (237-8), and also in that by Oldys (564). 2
There is no foundation for the statement by Mrs. Sinclair
as to the dissevered " head being placed on Westminster
Hall." 3 Once in the possession of Lady Ealegh, it remained
in her keeping for the remainder of her life. Leaving the
subject of the subsequent disposal of the head for the
present, we pass on to consider the burial of Sir Walter's
When Ealegh, after his trial at Winchester in December,
1603, was found guilty and ordered to be executed — a
sentence he expected to be carried speedily into effect — he
wrote to his wife one of the most affecting letters known
in the English language. Evidence of its great popularity is
shown by its having been frequently reprinted ; the earliest
occasion was in a separate form, and published in 1644,
under the title of " To day a man, To morrow none : Or,
Sir Walter Eawleighs Farewell to his Lady, &c." It is
1 "Arraignment, etc.," 34.
2 In "Notes and Queries," 10th Ser., I, 130, Oldys is mentioned, in
error, as the earliest authority on the subject.
3 History, etc., of the windows of St. Margaret's Church, Westminster
included in all editions of the "Remains" (1651 et seq.).
It will be found in the "Arraignment" (1648), and even in
the Appendix to such a work as " The Fatal Curiosity," by
Lillo (1767). The following paragraph is transcribed from
this letter: "Beg my dead body which living was denyed
you, and either lay it in Sherborne (if the land continue)
or in Exeter Church by my father and mother." The portion
in brackets is taken from Sloane MS. The rest of the
extract from " To day, etc." (1644). 1 Neither of these wishes
could be carried out : Sherborne had been wrested from him
some years before his beheadal in 1618, and " Exeter
Church" — not the cathedral, but the church of St. Mary
Major (vide "D.A.," XXVIII, 291) — was too far away.
In the last interview Ralegh had with his wife, on the night
previous to his execution, she " told him she had obtained
the disposing of his body. To which he answered, smiling,
1 It is well, Besse, that thou mayest dispose of that dead,
that hadst not the disposing of it when it was alive.' " 2
This evidently referred to the subsequent burial of his
remains, as expressed, a few hours later, in a remarkable
letter to her brother, Sir Nicholas Carew, as recorded in the
following transcript : —
" I desiar, good brother, that you will be pleased to let me berri
the worthi boddi of my nobell hosban, Sur Walter Ralegh, in
your chorche at Beddington, wher I desiar to be berred. The
Lordes have geven me his ded boddi, thought [sic] they denied
me his life. This nit hee shall be brought you ith two or three
of my men. Let me here presently. God hold me in my wites.
Addressed: "To my best brother, Sur Nicholas Carew,
at^ Beddington." 3 According to C. R. B. Barrett, 4 "The
original ... is amongst t£e Lambert family papers,"
at G-arratt's Hall, Banstead ; but there is greater reason to
believe it to be only an early copy, with some variations in
the word-spelling. Unfortunately this letter is undated;
it however proves the ardent desire of Lady Ralegh for
the interment to take place at Beddington, and that, at the
time she wrote it, either she had actual possession of the
body, or had relied upon the promise made that it would be
1 Cf. Edwards II, 287.
2 Letter from Chamberlain to Carleton, November 7, 1618, in "Court,
etc., of James I," II, 104 ; from " S. P. Dom.," James I, CIII, 73.
3 "As printed from the Original (?) by Manning and Bray, 'History of
Surrey,' Vol. II, p. 495|," in Edwards II, 413.
4 " Surrey Highways, etc." (1895), 239.
surrendered to her. The latter is the more probable. The
expression in the letter to her brother, "The Lordes have
geven me his ded boddi," has been generally accepted in
proof she had it in her possession after the execution ; but
this was simply a reiteration of the remark she made to
her husband at their last interview ; " she told him she had
obtained the disposing of his body." This was recorded
within ten days of the execution by one who could have
known nothing of Lady Ralegh's letter.
Some authors aver the head to have been deposited in
a red leather bag, and then, after the body had been
wrapped in his " cloak," or " velvet gown," both were con-
veyed in a coach to her house. 1 This view is also enter-
tained by Edwards (I, 706), who suggests the letter to have
been penned on October 30 (?) (II, 413). If, however, the
present epitaph (vide photo illustration) be correct, the body
had been interred "on the day he was beheaded" (October 29).
That it was buried in St. Margaret's Church, Westminster,
is proved by the entry in the burial register, from
which the accompanying facsimile (photo print) has been
taken. 2 The entry in the burial register, as shown in the
accompanying facsimile, records the month, but not the day,
of the interment. As, however, only two days intervened
between the day of the execution and November 1, and
three other entries after that of Ralegh, it seems more
probable that the burial took place on the same day as the
beheadal, although Edwards (II, 417) suggests it was on
the following day. This entry is undated, but it is the last
save three that was made in that month (October). The
following paragraph in Aubrey's work throws no additional
light upon it: "In the register ... in the moneth of
October, Sir Walter Raleigh is entred, and is the last of
that moneth, but no dayes of the moneth are sett downe,
so that he being beheaded on the Lord Mayer's day, was
bury ed the . . ." 3 This extract seems to imply that the
interment did not take place on the day of the beheadal, but
on one of the two succeeding days. It is noteworthy that in
his " Extracts from the Parish Registers " of the church, the
Rev. M. E. C. Walcott should have omitted Sir Walter's
name from the list. Edwards remarks : " Nothing, I believe,
is now known of the causes which led to the interment of Sir
1 " Life of Ralegh," by C. K. True (1881), 204 ; Gosse, 222.
2 For this, as well as for the one relating to the entry of Sir Walter's son,
Carew, the writer is indebted to the kind offices of the rector, the Rev. Canon
H. Henson. » "Brief Lives," II, 190.
'RALEGH ANA. 125
Walter Raleigh in St. Margaret's Church . . . instead of at
Beddington" (II, 413). That some powerful cause had
operated to bring about the alteration is certain, although
none is alluded to by any of the leading authorities; and
yet a consideration of the following remarks may afford
a clue to the probable explanation.
Popular feeling had shown itself opposed to the whole of
the proceedings which had been instituted against Ralegh
from the time he landed after his last expedition. It was
exhibited towards Sir "Judas" Stukeley, who, in his
" Appollogie," written a few weeks only after Ralegh
reached England, complained, " I haue bine accused for con-
spiracy and falshood towards him." 1 But when an inde-
cently hurried execution was ordered to take place within a
few hours of the sentence, and was carried out on a day
when it was thought that the pageantry at the east end of
the city would draw off a large crowd, who would otherwise
have been present at Old Palace Yard, the authorities soon
discovered the public feeling against all who had taken part
in the final act to be of too angry and grave a character to
be neglected. They would be forced to the conclusion that
to allow the headless trunk to be removed to its Surrey
resting-place would be an extremely hazardous proceeding,
and might lead to a popular outbreak. As the only means
to avert any such movement, they hastened (whether at
that time in the possession of Lady Ralegh or not) to have
the body "buryed privately" 2 and without delay in the
church of St. Margaret. There was no apparent reason this
church should be selected in preference to any other, except
that it happened to be the nearest to the place of execution.
That the public indignation increased as time went on
appears to be corroborated by the circumstance of the great
hurry of the King and Court party to publish a hastily
conceived and printed " Declaration," a month after Ralegh's
death, in justification of their proceedings, 3 but which the
public refused to accept as such, regarding it as an
" Apology," especially as it omitted all reference to the real
cause why Ralegh was sacrificed, viz. to please the Spanish
The foregoing remarks favour the view expressed in the
memoir of Ralegh in the " D.IST.B." (in which the present
writer fully agrees), that the burial of her husband's body
1 " D. A.," XXXVII, 311. 2 " Brief Lives," II, 189.
3 In " D.A.," XXXVIII, 410 et seq., there is a full analysis of this docu-
in St. Margaret's Church took place " in spite of Lady
Ralegh's wish that he should be buried at Beddington." It
is, indeed, very doubtful whether, at any time after the
execution, she ever had personal (actual) possession of it.
We may here briefly enumerate some of the places noted
(in error) by writers as the burial place of Ralegh. Accord-
ing to Aubrey, " The bishop of Sarum (Seth Ward) saieth
that Sir Walter Raleigh lyes interred in St. Marie's church
at Exon, not the cathedral" (II, 193); the Bishop evidently
mistook the grave of the father for that of the son. 1 Then
in Brayley and Britton's " Surrey," Lady Ralegh's letter
is relied on for believing the burial was at Beddington
(II, 94), while Lord De Ros, in his description of St. Peter's
Chapel in the Tower, affirms, "In James I's reign, Sir
W. Raleigh here found rest after his life of vicissitude and
There is some doubt as to the precise spot in the chancel
of St. Margaret's Church where the remains of Ralegh were
deposited. Ashmole informed Aubrey, " He was buryed as
soon as you are removed from the top of the steps towards
the altar, not under the altar" (II, 190). From another
authority (noted on the preceding page) he heard they were
" Buryed privately under the high alter ... in which grave
(or neer) lies James Harrington, esq., author of ' Oceana.' "
Of the latter Aubrey remarks, "[James Harrington] lyes
buried in the chancell . . . the next grave to the illustrious
Sir Walter Raleigh, under the south side of the altar where
the priest stands " (II, 193). His memorial tablet was " for-
merly, according to Bishop Kennet, ' within the communion
The Rev. S. Kirschbaum (formerly one of the curates of
the church) informed the writer, " the tradition is that Sir
Walter Raleigh was buried in the great vault under the
chancel." Although Aubrey recorded the gossip he heard
from various sources, he never seemed to verity or to com-
ment upon it. Nevertheless, from the foregoing statements,
we may reasonably conclude that Sir Walter was buried
near to, and probably on the south side of, the altar.
We pass on to endeavour to answer the question, " What
became of Sir Walter's head?" Within ten days of the
execution, Chamberlain, in a letter to Carleton, dated
7 November, declared that " the body and head were buried
1 "D.A.," XXVIII, 291.
2 " Memorials of the Tower of London" (1867), 30.
;! Walcott, 143. In Wood's works is a copy of its original inscription.
together " in St. Margaret's Church. 1 J. A. St. John states
that Lady Ralegh, " who certainly embalmed her husband's
head, performed the same office also for the whole body, and
kept' them near her through life" (II, 350). According to
another "popular tradition," the head "was brought to
Devonshire by his widow, and buried under the incised slab
at East Budleigh Church, which covers the remains of Joan,
the first wife of Sir Walter's father." 2 These and the two
following are simply idle tales unworthy to be called tradi-
tions, and without a vestige of truth, as far as Sir W.
Ealegh was concerned. A correspondent in the "Gentleman's
Magazine " (1790), 420, relates that beneath a stone pave-
ment in a room, formerly a chapel, at West Horsley, there
was "discovered an earthen pot or urn, in which it was
supposed the bowels of Sir Walter Raleigh were contained."
Then in "Notes and Queries" (2nd Ser., V, 11) a contri-
butor asserts that Sir Walter's son Carew
"Is said to have had it [his father's head] interred with hirn at
[West] Horsley. In 1703 a head was dug up in that churchyard,
from the side of a grave where a Carew Raleigh was buried, there
being no bones of a body, not room for any, the rest of that side
of the grave being firm chalk. An embalmed heart was also
found under the floor of a room at Horsley which had once been
Although not stated, the source of this information was
evidently derived from a foot-note at page 565 of Oldys'
work, first published in 1736. The last portion of this
quotation is not taken from Oldys' work, but was apparently
copied from the "Gentleman's Magazine," the asserted
" embalmed heart " of Sir Walter being substituted for his
" bowels " ! That author mentions it as a tradition, and was
opposed to his own statement on a previous page that the
body "was buried ... in the chancel of St. Margaret's
Church, near the altar."
After the death of her husband we hear very little about
his " dear Besse." His head " was long preserved in a case,"
remarks Oldys, " for she survived him twenty-nine years.
The same writer remarks, " I have found by some anecdotes
remaining in the family" (564). In what he thought at
the time was his last letter to her in 1603, he advised her to
marry again after his decease, 3 but, faithful to his memory,
1 "S. P. Dom.," James I, GUI, 73.
2 P. O. Hutchinson, "Jour, of Archceol. Inst.," XII (1855), 192.
3 Vide Edwards, II, 286.
128 .RALEGH AN A.
she remained a widow, and died in 1647, "thus witnessing
the ruin of the dynasty which had destroyed her own
One remembrance of her husband requires to be noticed.
There is in the possession of the Duke of Eutland at Belvoir
Castle a brooch, of oval shape, about 21 in. in its long axis,
with an enamelled surface, on which are the letters "W, ER."
(for "Walter and Elizabeth Ealegh), with a heart and other
emblems. The case of the brooch holds two posthumously
painted miniatures of her husband and of her son Walter,
who was killed at St. Thomas, and below each respectively
a representation of Ealegh's fleet at Guiana and the storm-
ing of St. Thomas. It, in all probability, dates soon after
Ealegh's execution, and was kept by his widow until her
death. 2 A facsimile of the miniature of Sir Walter forms
the frontispiece to his " Life " by W. Stebbing, published in
The remainder of Lady Ealegh's long widowhood was
spent in retirement. Excepting that in January, 1621, she
appended her signature and her seal to a deed, 3 we know
literally nothing of the remainder of her life. Dying in
1 647, not only is the place of her interment unknown, but
we possess no clue even to its probable site. True is it that
she desired " to be berred " by the side of her husband in
Beddington Church. This wish she expressed in 1618, but
in the year she died (1647) it was apparently not carried
out either at Beddington or in St. Margaret's Church.
The Rev. T. Bentham, of Croydon, who was formerly of
Beddington, kindly examined the registers of the latter
church, and from him I obtained the following information.
Here is a transcript from the baptismal register: "Ap. 16,
1565. Elizabeth Throgmorton, baptized." This was the
lady who married Sir Walter in 1592; she was then about
twenty-five years of age and he fifty. She was fifty- two at
the time of his execution, and she died when eighty-one
years old — in 1647.
In Beddington Church is a tomb containing an inscrip-
tion, from which the following portion is taken : —
"Here resteth Sir Francis Carew, Knight, sonne and
heire of Sir Nicholas Carew, Knight. . . . The said Sir
Francis living unmarried, adopted Sir Nicholas Throck-
1 Gosso, 222.
- Illustrations of them will be found in Williamson's "History of
Portrait Miniatures," Vol. I, Plate XVI.
3 "Raleigh Pedigree," by J. L. Laurence, pr. pr., 1869.
RALEGH AN A. 129
morton, sonne of Anne Throckmorton, his sister, to be
heire of his estate, and to beare his surname ; and having
lived lxxxi yeares, he in assured hope to rise in
Christ ended his transitory life the xvi day of May
This inscription is important to bear in mind in the quest
for information respecting the burial place of Lady Ealegh,
and for this reason : the burial register of the same church
contains this entry: "Jan. 20, 1640. Elizabeth Carew
was buried." 2 This, it has been suggested, records the
burial of Lady Ealegh, but this must be an error, unless we
suppose the registrar substituted " Carew " for " Ealegh."
The year antedates that given by Oldys by seven years.
Then Sir Walter's wife never had the name of Carew : she
was born a Throgmorton ; her name is so recorded in the
baptismal register of the same church, and she retained
that name until she married Ealegh. We are therefore
forced to conclude the entry quoted does not refer to her,
and we have to fall back on the statement that the place of
her interment is yet unknown. If one might offer a conjec-
ture, or express a wish on the subject, it would be that at
some day in the future it may, after all, be proved that her
body had, perhaps surreptitiously, found a resting-place
beside that of her husband.
That Lady Ealegh retained possession of her husband's
head until her death, when it passed into the care of her
son Carew, is certain. " After her death," notes Oldys, " it
was kept also by her son Carew, with whom it is said to
have been buried " (564). 3
In 1680 Aubrey records: —
"Mr. Elias Ashmole told me that Sir Walter's son Carew
Ealegh told him he had his father's skull ; that some years since,
upon digging up the grave, his skull and neck-bone being viewed,
they found the bone of his neck lapped over so that he could not
1 Brayley and Britton's "Surrey," IV, 64. In II, 76, Sir Francis is
stated to have died in 1607.
2 Since the foregoing was written, the pedigree of the Carew family, con-
tained in Lysons' "Environs of London," I, 53, has been examined, which
shows that Elizabeth Carew, who died in 1640, was a daughter of Francis,
son and heir of Sir Nicholas Carew (nee Throgmorton), and was therefore
the grandniece of Lady Ralegh.
3 A curious and erroneous assertion made by Mr. Barrett in his " Surrey
Highways, etc." (1895), maybe corrected here. He states that "Raleigh's
only [sic] legitimate son by her [Elizabeth, his wife] named Carew was born
in the Tower of London " (54). His elder brother, Walter, who was killed in
Guiana, was certainly equally legitimate.
have been hanged. Quaere Sir John Elowys (Ellis) for the skull,
who married Mr. Carew Ralegh's daughter and heire " (II, 189).
The whole of this paragraph is omitted from the earlier
edition of Aubrey's work, published in 1813. As Carew
died in December, 1666, Ashmole must have received his
information prior to that date. The remainder of the
paragraph evidently does not refer to Carew, but accords
with the prevailing tradition that his father's head was
interred at West Horsley. The skull found in 1703, as
related by Oldys, was probably a rediscovery.
In his "Court of King James" (1830) Bishop Goodman
remarks : —
"No man doth honour the memory of Sir Walter Raleigh and
his excellent parts more than myself ; and in token thereof I know
where his skull is kept to this day, and I have kissed it " (I, 69).
He could not have shown greater reverence for it had it
been the head of a saint. Some have assigned this letter to
some period prior to the death of Lady Ralegh, but there
is greater reason to believe it to belong to a later date.
On the death of his uncle, Sir Nicholas Carew (Lady
Ralegh's brother), in 1643, Carew Ralegh succeeded to the
West Horsley estate. His eldest son, Sir Walter, knighted
in 1660, died in the same year, whose son survived him
only a few months. The circumstance of this Sir Walter
having been buried at West Horsley probably gave rise to
the suggestion that the remains found there were those of
Carew's father, Lady Ralegh's husband. However much
authors differ as to the place where Carew's body was buried,
they agree that his father's head was interred with it (Oldys,
565). In 1665 Carew sold the estate to Sir E. Nicholas;
he then went to London and resided in St. Martin's Lane,
where he died at the close of the year following. His
remains were interred in the chancel of St. Margaret's
Church, Westminster, according to the entry in the burial
register— " 1666  Jan. 1 Carew Rawleigh, Esq., Kild.
M. chancel" 1 — of which the accompanying illustration is
Carew Ralegh, the son of the great Sir Walter, is affirmed
in Foster's "Alumni Oxon" (copied from Manning and Bray's
" Surrey," III, 40) as " Buried in West Horsley, Surrey,
Sept., 1680." But Carew died in 1666, and his son of the
same name in 1660.
1 Of the probable cause of his death, vide " D.A.," XXXVIII, 309.
RALEGH ANA. 131
It is an open question whether the body of Carew was
deposited alongside that of his father ; both Aubrey (II, 193)
and Wood assert that it was. But if the " M. chancel " in
the entry of the register denotes the middle of the latter,
it could not have been, as that of Sir Walter was buried
adjacent to the altar. However, the remains of both may
be included in the great vault under the chancel, already
mentioned. Most probably the head of the latter was
interred with the remains of the son ; and although this is
simply conjectural, it accords with "a tradition handed
down from rector to rector of St. Margaret's . . . that the dis-
severed head was buried in the same grave with the body of
his son, Carew Ealeigh " (Mrs. Sinclair, 30). Certain is it
that after Carew's death we hear no more about the head ;
although an attempt to discover it was made a few years
since, as thus recorded in the " Life of Dean Farrar," by his
11 Bishop Montgomery, late of Tasmania, a former curate of the
Dean, writes : ' The church (St. Margaret's) was shut for about a
year, while the work of restoration went on. ... I remember
spending an evening with the Abbey clerk of works in a vault
under the altar trying to find Raleigh's head, but without
In an article " On the head of Simon of Sudbury, Arch-
bishop of Canterbury," the Rev. Dr. Sparrow Simpson
enumerates several other heads of decapitated persons that
were subsequently preserved separately from their bodies. 1
Ko stone or other indication points out the actual site of
Sir Walter's grave, notwithstanding the assertion of Edwards
(I, 706) of the spot being marked "by the armorial bearings
of its tenant," for which he mentions no authority. More-
over, it is directly opposed to the statement of Aubrey that
" Ealeigh hath neither stone nor inscription" (II, 193).
Tytler ascribes it " to the destitution in which Lady Ealeigh
and her son were left, or to the fear they felt of drawing
down the further indignation of the monarch " (426). The
latter is probably the true reason, for James evidently
favoured the obliteration of everything relating to Ealegh ;
otherwise we may feel assured the friends of the latter
would have adorned his burial place with a memorial of
some kind but for the marked disapproval of the King and
Court. They were not allowed to befriend him during his
1 " Jonrn. of Brit. Arclueol. Assoc." for June, 1895. Fide also " N. and
Q.," 8th Ser. VIII, 242.
life, 1 or to praise his memory after his death. John Ford,
the dramatist, a native of Devon, published his "Linea
vitse . . . Pointing out the Immortalitie of a Vertuous
Name," in 1620 (reprinted in Vol. VII of the Shakespeare
Society's works in 1845). A portion of the original MS.
contained so favourable an account of Ralegh's character,
and especially as to the manner in which he met his death,
as to cause it to be obliterated by the censor. There is a
copy of this MS. in Lansdowne MSS., 350, Ser. 4, in which
the suppressed portion is given at length ; a reprint of it
will be found in the "Western Antiquary," V, 51.
Although the majority of Ealegh's literary works were
written during the reign of James I, none were printed (or
were allowed to be) while that monarch was alive, with one
exception, that of his "History of the World," but even
this was ordered to be suppressed, fortunately without
success. And yet, a month after the execution, the King
was obliged to attempt to appease the general indignation
by issuing that " plausible palliation " the " Declaration," in
which he endeavoured to mislead the public — a public that
would not be misled — by omitting all direct and indirect
reference to the true cause why he had sacrificed Ralegh,
and in substituting a false one; and yet, as a kind of
counterblast, and issued almost simultaneously with it, the
real reason is acknowledged in that remarkable letter penned
by Buckingham, 2 which gave the direct lie to the special
pleading of the King's manifesto. This letter to the
English Ambassador at the Spanish Court bears ample
testimony to the great and grievous mistake he (the King)
must have felt he had committed, in fruitlessly getting rid
of Ralegh in so summary a manner at the dictation of
the Spanish Court. If James experienced any feelings of
remorse for the act, and most probably he did, he certainly
stirled them, by avoiding, and by causing all others to do so
as far as he was able, all reference ■ to the name and person
of Ralegh. It was, therefore, no matter of surprise that on
a later occasion, when an attempt was made to introduce
Carew Ralegh to Court, " his likeness to Ralegh awoke a
pang of remorse in the bosom of the monarch, and James,
turning away from him, observed that 'he looked like his
father's ghost.' Warned by this, Carew took the advice of
his kinsman, the Earl of Pembroke, and retired to the
Continent till the beginning of a new reign." 3
1 "D.A.," XXXVIII, 474. a Ibid., 464-5.
3 Tytler, 434, from Carew Ralegh's " Petition.'' Vide Birch, I, cxvin-ix.
RALEGH AN A.
Pennant, in his "London" (first published in 1790), was
apparently the earliest author to allude to the absence of
any memorial in St. Margaret's Church, where " the remains
of the great Sir Walter Raleigh " were interred " on the
same day on which he was beheaded." He added, " It was
left to a sensible churchwarden to inform us of the fact,
who inscribed it on a board about twenty years ago " ; this
would be c. 1770 (ed. 1813, I, 124).
According to an entry in Manning and Bray's " Surrey "
(III, 40), published in 1814, this wooden tablet still retained
its place ; but some time after that date, year unknown, there
was substituted for it
" A memorial of ' plain tin or copper with a frame, painted blue
with gilt letters,' which was replaced in 1815 by an elegant mural
tablet, with a brass plate, at the expense of several subscribers "
This tablet yet remains, and will be found at the east end
of the south aisle on the north wall, separating the latter
from the chancel, and in a rather dark corner, adjoining the
south-east entrance. It consists of a highly-decorated and
sculptured stone frame surrounding a metal plate contain-
ing this inscription : —
" Within the Chancel of this Church was interred
The Body of the
Great Sir Walter Raleigh K*
On the day he was beheaded
in Old Palace Yard, Westminster,
Oct. 29 th An Dom. 1618.
Reader — Should you reflect on his errors,
Remember his many Virtues,
And that he was a Mortal.'"' x
The supposed arms of Sir Walter are emblazoned in the
centre of the upper part of the frame: Gules, seven lozenges
in lend, argent — the proper arms being five fusils in bend.
The name appears as " Raleigh," a form never used by him
— it should be " Ralegh." Very little can be urged in jpraise
of its commonplace inscription, to remember his "Virtues
as well as his faults — a plea, surely, that every man might
well wish should be made for him at last." 2
" No better epitaph," remarks Gardiner, " could be found
to inscribe upon Raleigh's tomb" than his words to the
1 Vide illustration.
2 L. Hutton, " Literary Landmarks of London," 252 (1S85).
134 RALEGH AX A.
executioner : " No matter how the head lie, so the heart be
right" (III, 152). His own writings would furnish one
equally good, e.g. the beautiful lines forming a prose poem
at the end of his "History of the World," commencing: "0
eloquent, just and mighty Death." But perhaps the last lines
that were probably penned by him, and were found in his
Bible after he had been executed, would be the most appro-
priate, especially as they contain the expression of his hope
in the resurrection. The earliest printed version known is
that in the small tablet, " To day a man, etc.," published in
1644, from which it is now transcribed: —
" Even such is time, which takes in trust
Our youth, our age, and all Ave have,
And payes us but with age and dust,
Who in the darke and silent grave,
When we have wami'red all our wayes
Shuts up the story of our dayes.
And from the earth, the grave, and dust,
The Lord shall raise me up, I trust."
It is noteworthy that the most important lines — the last
two — are omitted by Walcott (275).
The great east window, which sheds its light on the site
where Ralegh was buried, has an interesting history (vide
illustration). It was the gift to Henry YII by the magis-
trates of Dort on the occasion of the projected marriage of
his son Prince Arthur with the Princess Catharine of Ara-
gon. Some delay took place, and it was not received in
England until after the death of that prince. It came into
the possession of Henry VIII, but was not used by him, and
after his divorce from Catharine it passed into the hands of
the Abbot of AValtham. At the Dissolution it was sent to
Boreham, and after changing proprietorship several times it
was bought by General Monk, who concealed it from the
Puritans. At the Restoration Monk had it fixed in his
chapel at Xew Hall. Subsequently it was bought by a Mr. J.
Conyers, who sold it, in 1758, to St. Margaret's Church for
400 guineas, and it was then fixed in its present position.
Some time afterwards a suit was instituted, in the name of
Daniel Gell (the Registrar of the Ecclesiastical Court of the
Dean and Chapter), against the churchwardens, on the
grounds of the window containing a " superstitious image or
picture"; but after it had lasted several years it terminated
in favour of the wardens, and the window remained undis-
turbed. 1 This action led to the publication in 1761 of a
1 Walcott, 103-4.
RALEGH ANA. 135
curious quarto work, entitled " The Ornaments of Churches
Considered," written, according to Dr. Oliver, by the Kev. W.
Hole, Archdeacon of Barnstaple, but attributed by others to
Thos. Wilson, d.d. According to a paragraph in the " Life of
Dean Farrar " (224-5), the suit was instituted by the Dean
and Chapter " to recover what they considered, perhaps not
unjustly, to be their property."
During the most recent alterations, etc., in the church the
floor of the chancel and of the aisles was paved with encaustic
tiles, thereby obliterating any vestiges that remained of the
memorials of those whose bodies had been interred there —
such memorials, that is to say, as formed portions of the
floor. A similar plan was pursued at the church of Clyst
St. George, near Topsham, by the rector, the Eev. H. T.
Ellacombe (the well-known campanologist), with the follow-
ing variations, as recorded by him —
11 In the nave and aisle, tiles twelve inches square, laid at
intervals and intermixed with others of divers colours, are
encaustically inscribed with memorial records of persons long ago
buried underneath, and whose names are almost obliterated from
the much- worn tombstones." *
The only memorials of Sir Walter Kalegh in England
consist of the following : —
1. Guildhall, Plymouth. — A four-light stained-glass win-
dow, the gift of Mr. C. F. Tanner, represents Kalegh and his
companions leaving Plymouth to embark on board his ship,
"The Destiny." The fleet of seven ships and three pin-
naces left that port on June 13, 1617, on his second voyage
to Guiana. 2 Shortly before his departure he was enter-
tained by the municipal authorities, of which a few particu-
lars are thus noted in the Municipal Kecords : —
' Allowed M r Kobert Trelawnye beinge Mayor for
entertayninge S r Walter Rawley and his followers
at his house w c h was done by grail consente . ix h '
" Sir John Duckhame, Chancellor of the Duchy, entertained, his
followers being lodged in M r Johnson's house.
1 It. allowed for a pownde of Tobacco w c h was
geven to S r John Duckhame .... viij s
It. paid the drufiier for calling S r Walter Kau-
leighs company aboord . . . . . xij d ' " 3
1 "Trans. Exet. Dioc. Arch. Soc," I, 2nd Ser., 104.
2 The illustrations of these windows are from photos kindly supplied by
Mr. R. Hansford Worth, of Plymouth.
3 "Calendar," R. N. Worth, 150 (1893).
136 RALEGH ANA.
2. Council Chamber, Plymouth. — A two-light stained-glass
window containing four full-length portraits. The upper
left-hand one represents Sir W. Ealegh with an open book
in his left hand, with this inscription at the base : —
" Sir Walter Raleigh
Introduced Tobacco into England."
3. St. Margaret's Church, Westminster. — The great stained-
glass west window. This was the gift of American citizens,
and was unveiled on May 14, 1882, on which occasion the
Eev. Canon (afterwards Dean) Farrar delivered an appro-
priate sermon. The middle portion of each of the five lights
contains a single standing figure ; that of Queen Elizabeth
occupies the centre one. Prince Henry, Ealegh, Spenser,
and Sir Humphrey Gilbert are depicted in the others. All
have their respective coats-of-arms emblazoned above them.
Various scenes in the life of Ealegh are delineated at the
base. Two of the number show respectively his sailing for
America and his landing there ; but these must be regarded
in a symbolical sense, as Ealegh never visited North
America. What he did was to send out his ships on a
voyage of discovery, and on their return the captains
reported to him how they found and landed on the coast of
Virginia, on that part now known as North Carolina.
Below these scenes is a quatrain written by J. E. Lowell,
at that time the American Ambassador in England : —
" The New World's sons, from England's breasts we drew
Such milk as bids remember whence we came ;
Proud of her Past, wherefrom our Present grew,
This window we inscribe with Raleigh's name."
A good description of it will be found in the " History,
etc., of the Windows of the Parish Church of the House of
Commons," by Mrs. Sinclair, pp. 26-30 (1895). 1
Canon Farrar's sermon was printed for private circula-
tion, and as it is almost unknown to bibliographers, the
title, etc., are here given : —
" Sir Walter Raleigh. A Sermon preached at St. Margaret's
Church, Westminster, on May 13, 1882, at the unveiling of the
1 raleigh window,' the gift of American Citizens. Published by
"London: Printed at the 'Anglo-American Press,' 127,
1 Vide an article by R. W. C[otton] in " Western Antiquary," II, 24-5.
0K . I#i
" vir H'ulfer\Kaleicd>
i I 1
Stained Glass Window, Council Chamber, Plymouth,
Stained Glass Window, Guildhall, Plymouth,
RALEGH AN A. 137
8vo, pp. 21, with a photo print of the window, and a pre-
fatory letter from the author to [now Sir] J. H. Puleston,
Esq., m.p., under whose direction it was printed for the
members of the congregation. It is now very rare, and
certainly deserves to be reprinted as an eloquent tribute to
the memory of Ralegh as well as to the generous donors of
such a beautiful window.
These three public memorials, in Devonshire and in West-
minster respectively, comprise, with the mural epitaph, all
that are known to the writer as having been erected to honour
the memory of one of the most illustrious Englishmen of
the Elizabethan period. This neglect has been commented
on by various writers ; thus S. Tymms called public attention
to it in an article on St. Martin's Church printed in " The
G-entleman's Magazine " December, 1824, p. 491. In this he
expressed the hope that "a monument would have been
erected [in it] worthy of the name of Raleigh." Again, in the
following year, when the same writer recorded the erection of a
tablet in that church "to the memory of William Caxton," he
added, " there is another individual to whose virtues I trust
a monument will be erected in this church — the murdered
Sir Walter Raleigh — for the barbarous usage he experienced
from the pedantic James can only be atoned by a national
monument thus recording the injustice of his execution." 1
When the great west window was unveiled the Canon
remarked (in the sermon already noticed) : —
" It is strange to me that one paltry tablet should hitherto have
been almost the only memorial of such a man. The fact of the
only great and worthy memorial in England being due to American
citizens does not redound to the credit of the English people."
In the same sermon the Canon thus relates how the gift came
to be made : —
" I had but to mention to one or two American gentlemen that
the man who named and colonized Virginia lies almost unrecorded
here, and they, with the ready munificence which marks their nation,
and which is certainly one of the lessons which we may learn from
our kin beyond the sea, at once, and without any toil or anxiety
of mind, gave the £600 which that window required."
In several ways the Americans have done honour to the
memory of Ralegh in their own country. The city of North
Carolina was named after him. This evidently accorded with
1 "Gent.'s Magazine," 198-9, March, 1825.
his own wish, as John White, the governor of the new
colony, took with him in the fourth voyage, in 1587, a charter
addressed to "the Governour and Assistants of the Gitie of
Ealegh in Virginia." * Nine or ten other places in various
parts of the States also bear his name. The writer is
informed that some ten years since there was "erected a
memorial on the site of the old Fort Ealeigh, Eoanoke Island,
to commemorate the first English settlement in America. It
bears the following inscription: ' On this site, in August, 1583,
the colonists sent from England by Sir Walter Ealeigh built
a fort called New Fort, in Virginia.' " 2
Although there are several parishes, etc., in England bear-
ing the name of Ealegh, all, without exception, were so
designated several centuries prior to the birth of Sir Walter.
Old Fuller said of him he was " Dexterous ... in all his
undertakings, in Court, in Camp, By Sea, by Land, with
Sword, with Pen"; 3 but (apart from his "History of the
World ") his claim to the gratitude of posterity consists in his
repeated endeavours, undaunted by failures, to found a per-
manent colony in Virginia. Towards this object his first char-
ter, " For the Discovery and Planting of New Lands and Coun-
tries," was granted him, and bears date March 25, 1584 4 To
this project he devoted much time, and sent out several expedi-
tions at his own cost. In the second expedition (1585-6) he
commissioned Thomas Hariot, one of the leading scientific
men of the day, to accompany it, so that from personal inquiry,
etc., he would be able to report to him " Of the Commodities,
and of the Nature and Manners of the Naturall Inhabitants " ;
this was published in 1588, and still excites our wonder and
admiration at its completeness. Although his untiring efforts
were unsuccessful during the reign of Elizabeth, they were
the foundations upon which the subsequent permanent settle-
ment of the colonists was founded in the year 1609 or 1610,
while Ealegh was a prisoner in the Tower. Before the end
of James's reign (1625) the colony had become a prosperous
one. As already pointed out, Ealegh's energetic exertions
in this direction have been fully recognized and appreciated
by the Americans. 5
It has been otherwise the case in England, although it
1 Ilakluyfs " Voyages," XIII, 358 (1889).
2 Information obtained through the kindness of Professor G. E. Wood-
berry, of Beverly, Massachusetts.
8 "Worthies," 262 (1662). Cf. Wood, II, 240.
4 Cayley, "Life of Sir Walter Raleigh," II, 253-60 (1806).
5 Vide "Sir Walter Ralegh and his Colony in America" (Boston, 1884),
one of the principal works of the Prince Society.
would naturally be thought that some public acknowledgment
of his labours would at least be found in the Colonial Office.
But neither there nor in any place in London, except St.
Margaret's Church, Westminster, is a memorial to him of any
kind to be found. It is affirmed that his landing in Virginia
was to have formed the subject of one of the frescoes where-
with to adorn the Houses of Parliament ; fortunately, this
was not carried into execution, as, for the reason already
given, it would in all probability have become the subject
of one of " Punch's " cartoons.
It has been the custom in recent years to affix to houses
(or to those erected on their sites) tablets inscribed with
the names of celebrated persons who have occupied them,
as in this example : —
11 The London County Council have decided that the residence
of Sir Charles Lyell and, at a later date, of Gladstone, at a house
recently demolished, on the site of which No. 73 Harley Street,
W., now stands, shall be commemorated by a tablet." 1
Durham House, Strand, was occupied by Ealegh during
the last twenty years of Elizabeth's reign. It was pulled
down in the early part of the seventeenth century, and the
present Adelphi Buildings were erected on its site. Should
not this be considered a fitting place for a tablet whereon to
commemorate Sir Walter's long residence there ? Another
building worthy of a similar tablet is that of his birthplace,
Hayes Barton, in the parish of East Budleigh, Devonshire.
The building remains in much the same state as when he lived
there, about 350 years since. His own letter, recording he
" was borne in that howse," has found an excellent resting-
place in the Boyal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter.
One can scarcely omit a brief passing notice of Sir J.
Millais' beautiful painting of "The Boyhood of Ealegh "
that was exhibited at the Eoyal Academy in 1870, and
which, through the munificence of Lady Tate, has found a
home in the Tate Gallery. It was painted in a house ad-
jacent to the beach at Budleigh Salterton (which must have
been frequently visited by Ealegh), and is believed to be the
only Devonshire subject painted by that eminent man. 2
Ealegh was a true patriot, " confident in the prowess of
his country, and keenly sensitive to her honour. . . . Had
his wish been fulfilled he would have explored wherever
1 ' ; Athenanim," December 1, 1906.
2 An account of it is printed in " Devon N. & Q.," I, 97-101 (1900), with
an illustration of his studio.
colonization held out hopes of prosperous settlement." x He
sacrificed time and money in his endeavours to establish the
English in Virginia ; and it was wholly owing to his exer-
tions that the colony subsequently attained its great success.
In America his memory has been honoured in many ways,
in remarkable contrast to the marked neglect it has experi-
enced in this country. "Great nations," remarked Canon
Farrar, " should have more pride in their few great sons."
This has recently received ample illustration in a letter by
Lord Curzon that appeared in " The Times " of April 8, 1907,
in which he advocated the erection of a public memorial in
England in commemoration of the great work effected by
Lord Clive in India. His arguments and remarks form a
striking parallel to those that may be advanced to advocate
the claims of Ealegh to be honoured in a similar manner.
He wrote : —
" I need not urge the case for a memorial to Lord Clive.
Though his life was passed amid startling vicissitudes of fortune,
and went out in tempestuous gloom, it was a life of pre-eminent
service, of dazzling achievement, and of eternal renown ; and yet
his grave is 'unmarked by slab or monument.'"
Not a word of all this requires to be altered in its applica-
bility to Sir Walter Ealegh, one of the greatest of the
worthies of Elizabethan England, whose unselfish aim was
to promote the greatness and the welfare of his native
1 A. C. Ewald, "Studies Restudied," 205 (1885).
Photo— UEDFORD, LE1IERE & CO.
St, Margaret's Church, "Westminster.