Sir Francis Drake
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Tintagel is known for its fine beach - Bossiney Cove, and a point on the wonderful cliff side walk from King Arthur's Castle to the quaint harbour of Boscastle.The path is part of the Coastal Foot Path. However did you know that on Bossiney Mound in days long gone by, villagers raised their hands to vote for Sir Francis Drake in an election and send him to the Houses of Parliament as the Borough of Bossiney's Member of Parliament. Bossiney's first charter was probably granted by Richard, Earl of Cornwall, somewhere between1235 and 1250.

Certainly Edward V1 gave a new charter which was surrendered to the second Charles and then given back by James 2nd. Drake was returned to the House of Commons for the Borough in 1584 and in the six-month-long session he behaved like a dutiful Member, sitting on various committees and making several speeches. Drake, whether at home or at sea aboard the Golden Hind, insisted on prayers twice a day and occasionally he preached a sermon: not surprisingly therefore he worked on the committee considering clauses "for the better and more reverent observing of the Sabbath." His other committee work concerned a bill for bringing in staple fish and ling and a third - Walter Raleigh's - dealing with the planting of Virginia.
Meanwhile preparations for a voyage to the Indies went slowly forward & on Christmas Eve Drake received Her Majesty's signed Commission to organise & command a fleet. But suddenly the Queen withdrew his Commission. She had shut her ears to the clang of tools in the Spanish shipyards and the old grievances were forgotten.

Philip & the Queen were to be real friends and she prorogued Parliament on April 7th & left Drake free to become married for a second time to an aristocratic landed family. His wife's name was Elizabeth Sydenham & she was much younger than Sir Francis Drake. On the day of their marriage Drake handed over to trustees his manors of Yarcombe & Sherford, Samford Spinney and Buckland Abbey, to hold for the use of "the aforesaid Francis Drake and the Lady Elizabeth his wife, and the heirs and assigns of the aforesaid Francis for ever." Thus it looked as if sir Francis Drake, like so many good sailors after him, was going to settle down to the life of a country gentleman with a lodging in London for the session of Parliament. But on June 8th of the year 1585, a ship named the Primrose sailed up the river to the Port of London; and the sea claimed her own again. Whether the legend of King Arthur is true or not, there is much history attached to Tintagel.

 (partly taken from A.E.W.Mason's book 'The Life of Sir Francis Drake' published in 1941)



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