Singeing the King of Spain’s Beard – April 1587

| April 19, 2011

On the 19th April 1587 Sir Francis Drake entered the harbour of Cadiz on the Spanish coast and led a pre-emptive strike on the Spanish fleet, destroying a number of ships (20-30) and their supplies, and causing the planned Spanish attack on England to be postponed for over a year. Drake referred to this successful […]

Sir Francis Drake Sets Sails from Plymouth for Spain – 2 April 1587

| April 2, 2011

On this day in history, 2nd April 1587, Sir Francis Drake sailed out of Plymouth bound for Spain, where he destroyed 37 Spanish ships moored at Corunna (A Coruña) and Cadiz, ships that were being prepared for an attack on England You can read more about Sir Francis Drake in my Sir Francis Drake article […]

Sir Francis Drake

| January 28, 2011

On 28th January 1596, Sir Francis Drake’s remains and those of his second cousin, Admiral Sir John Hawkins, were buried at sea in lead coffins, just off the coast of Panama. Drake had died on the 27th January 1596. Here are some facts about Sir Francis Drake, the famous Elizabethan sailor and navigator:- Birth: Sir […]

Spanish Armada 9 – God Blew and They Were Scattered

| August 20, 2010

On this day in history, the 20th August 1588, a thanksgiving service was held at St Paul’s in London to give thanks to God for England’s victory over the Spaniards. The Spanish Armada had been defeated, obliterated in fact, yet the English fleet was left intact and only around 100 English men were lost in […]

Painting the Armada Exhibition

| August 16, 2010

Visitors to London this summer will be able to visit a wonderful exhibition of six huge paintings of the Spanish Armada. The paintings are on display in the Royal Gallery at the Palace of Westminster (the Houses of Parliament) and the exhibition is open until the Autumn, when the paintings will be hung in the […]

The Spanish Armada 8 – Elizabeth’s Tilbury Speech

| August 9, 2010

On the 9th August 1588 (old calendar) Elizabeth I appeared before her troops gathered at Tilbury. In her article “The Myth of Elizabeth at Tilbury”, Susan Frye, writes that there are no reliable eye-witness accounts regarding Elizabeth I’s appearance on that day, but that tradition places the Queen in armour, giving a rousing speech – […]

The Spanish Armada 7 – Elizabeth I Visits Tilbury

| August 8, 2010

Even though the remaining ships of the Spanish Armada were homeward bound, England was still expecting to be threatened by the troops of the Duke of Parma who could come across the English Channel as soon as the wind was favourable. On the 8th August 1588, Elizabeth I decided to accept the Earl of Leicester’s […]

The Spanish Armada 6 – The Spanish Fleet Homeward Bound

| August 2, 2010

By the first week of August 1588, the battered, defeated and demoralised Spanish Armada had started the first part of its long journey back home to Spain. The Battle of Gravelines had seen England victorious and between that and the awful weather Spain had lost five of its main ships and was suffering major damage […]

The Spanish Armada 5 – The Protestant Wind

| July 30, 2010

On the 30th July 1588 the wind changed and the remaining ships of the Spanish Armada were forced northwards and scattered. It really did seem that the elements, particularly the wind, were on England’s side! Alison Weir quotes Sir Francis Drake as writing:- “There was never anything pleased me better than seeing the enemy flying […]

The Spanish Armada 4: The Battle of Gravelines

| July 29, 2010

The day after the English had wrecked the crescent formation of the Spanish Armada and caused havoc, they attacked the Spanish fleet. This battle is known as the Battle of Gravelines because it took place just off the port of Gravelines, a Spanish stronghold in Flanders, part of the Spanish Netherlands, but near the border […]