Britannia Biographies: Sir Walter Raleigh Part 6

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Biography of Sir Walter Raleigh by Christopher Smith
S I R      W A L T E R
 R A L E I G H
Part 6: The Royal Servant

Hayes Barton, East Budleigh (Devon)

Raleigh was not a grandee, but a hardworking servant of the Crown. He was elected a Member of Parliament for Devon; and was appointed as Vice Admiral of the West, Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall and Lord Warden of the Stanneries (the mining towns of Dartmoor). He served his Royal mistress well and was instrumental in uncovering the Babington Plot to put Mary, Queen of Scots, on the English throne. Babington and his conspirators were hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn and Raleigh was given his lands as a reward. However, the only property which Walter really desired was his old Devon family home of Hayes Barton. He tried to purchase it from the owner, Richard Duke, but failed. Perhaps as consilation, Walter was granted twelve thousand acres in Ireland and, later, forty-two thousand acres including the beautiful castles of Lismore (near Cork) and Waterford.

Raleigh, now Sir Walter, owned a number of privateering vessels, two of which, in 1586, captured Sarmiento de Gamboa, the Commander of the Spanish campaign to destroy the Incas. In return for a ransom, Sir Walter arranged for the commander's restoration to Spain and proffered the suggestion that the Spaniard should accept him as a double agent. Raleigh had a relish for intrigue such as this and, though his offer was initially accepted, he handled the situation badly and was dropped by Spain when suspicions of his real loyalties were aroused. Now he turned his mind to plans for a settlement in America.

Part 7: Ralph Lane's Colony    Copyright ©1999, LLC