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Understandable, but not wise; Robert Cecil had a house on the Strand too, and spies galore. He already knew about the marriage. Rumors started spreading from late May, although the Queen still held her hand. She even transferred the rich estate of Sherborne to Ralegh in June. But everyone who was anyone was watching and waiting for the axe to fall.


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Foolishly, the guilty couple made no effort during this time to beg for clemency. Ralegh could have pleaded his natural desire for children. They continued to sneak around, acting like nothing untoward had passed between them. Rowse thinks Elizabeth gave them time to apologize, to explain. So on Monday, 7 August, , she sent them both to the Tower. Bess is famous for her free-spirited spelling. They let Ralegh out in five weeks to send him down to the coast to resolve some ship-related conflict.

He was the best at that work. Bess was kept prisoner until the end of the year. The upper crust had a decent room and good food. Friends and relations could come to visit and bring the baby, I think. No one says. She went to Sherborne on her release, re-united with husband and son.

Second son Walter was born there in They had a third child, Carew, in Ralegh was in prison again. In addition to managing their estates and rearing the children, Bess kept up an active correspondence with everyone who could do Ralegh any good, especially after Elizabeth died. King James never liked him. Her principal correspondent was Sir Robert Cecil, the most powerful man in the kingdom. Sometimes she had news to offer him, maintaining the value of her communications. Kepe thies I besech you to your selfe yet; himself will now. Pardon my rewed wryteng with the goodnes of the newes.

Ralegh was executed on 29 October, Bess spent much time thereafter in the Court of Chancery, suing and being sued for all sorts of old debts.

Sir Walter Raleigh's imprisonment at the Tower of London

Francis Bacon had recently been appointed Lord Chancellor; he must have heard and judged some of her cases. She died around , at the respectable age of It was worth it. Beer, Anna. Ballantine Books. Rowse, A. Whitelock, Anna. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. Categories: Biographies , Elizabethan period , Ralegh. Francis Bacon must have spent many, many hours in his proximity, if not in his company, standing around in the presence chamber. Robert Cecil both schemed against him and recruited him, when necessary. Courtiers hated him; common sailors loved him.

Through all the centuries since his death, he has been regarded as the quintessential Elizabethan. Walter was born around , exact date unknown. They were just beginning to keep good parish records in mid-sixteenth century.

Ralegh | Author Anna Castle

And no one could have predicted how famous that infant would become! But in fact, his family, like theirs, extended all the way back to the Conquest. The family declined in fortune, if not in status. Lady Elizabeth bore sons with many strong qualities. Humphrey became obsessed with discovering the fabled Northwest Passage to Cathay — rumored to lie in the northern wastes of what we now know as Canada.

He exhausted the family fortune in that vain and grandiose pursuit.


  • Walter Raleigh.
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  • All young men of good family were expected to receive a modicum of formal education, so Walter attended Oriel College, Oxford, for the token year. The Inns of Court were next on the standard program, so he became a member of the Middle Temple, where he distinguished himself by fooling around with a semi-wild gang; more or less standard issue for gentlemen with no desire to become barristers.

    He also started writing poetry, some of which has survived. Little is known about these years, but we can readily assume that Ralegh had an eye out for the main chance. A man with his vision, intelligence, and drive would sit around playing cards for long.

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    We know that he entered the service of the Earl of Oxford. That must have been quite a clash. Ralegh was a true Protestant and a hard-working man of serious purpose; the earl had none of those qualities. Ralegh left Oxford for Leicester, where he must have been put to better use. Ralegh fought for the Huguenots — French Protestants — in France from , popping back and forth from battlefield to university. He fought in Ireland between and , participating in the Desmond Rebellion.

    That service earned him 40, acres of Irish lands. It also commended him to the Queen and her counselors. Ralegh was also witty and well-read and not intimidated by Her Majesty. I imagine him looking her in the eye to answer her tricky philosophical questions boldly, if respectfully. She was in her early 50s when they met. Her recommendation was crucial in the advancement of her nephew. Perhaps through her influence, Ralegh was granted a charter to send ships to the New World in By all accounts, he dreamed of being an English conquistador, discovering new sources of wealth and glory to lay at the feet of his monarch.

    That venture failed, as we know, but it left his name all over our eastern seaboard, even though he never came to our shores himself. It also gave him lots of great stories with which to beguile his queen. That part of their relationship was just about the only thing in Elizabeth: The Golden Age that rang true for me. She knighted Ralegh in Interestingly, she never granted him any grander title.

    She was a shrewd judge of character. She doubtless recognized that elevating Ralegh to the peerage would disrupt the artful balance she maintained among her ministers, giving an innately powerful man too much practical power. Ralegh, as we can see, was tall, handsome, and bold. He had shining dark eyes, a flair for dramatic self-presentation, and a naturally curly beard. His courage had been proven over and again, as had his administrative abilities. He reportedly only slept hours a night and he wrote excellent poetry. His near-instantaneous rise to favor inspired great envy, which he chose to exacerbate, rather than mitigate.

    Ordinary folks in the West Country loved him and he treated them fairly. Like the Queen, he understood the value of showmanship. Ralegh held the right to grant licenses to sell wine, which netted him some L a year — enough to support a peer. Some people hated him just for that. These were important posts that brought him considerable revenues, but also cost him plenty in travel expenses, clerks, etc.

    On her side she certainly attached a remarkably able man to the chariot of the state and got manful service out of him. Ralegh had everything in honors, lands to support, and a great estate in which to establish his family. Except he had no family — no wife and no sons to carry on his name.

    We know the season, because she gave birth to his son, Damerei, on 29 March, The couple married in great secrecy in November, Bess returned to court almost immediately, leaving the baby with a nurse in Enfield on the western outskirts of London today. She said nothing, simply took up her old duties. As late as 10 March, , Ralegh was still holding up the lie, writing to snooping Robert Cecil that if he had married, he would surely have told Cecil about it first, of all people.

    Ralegh set sail with a fleet heading for the West Indies on 6 May. Elizabeth constrained him to go no farther than Spain, so he was back by 12 May. Bess brought the baby boy to Durham House; recklessly, but his father wanted to see him. Robert Cecil nosed the infant out around 28 May. Yours, for the little while I shall desire to do you service. Rumors of his impending disgrace spread rapidly, fueled by vengeful delight.

    You know, that chaps my hide too, when people screw me up in some heedless or incompetent way, then refuse to acknowledge their error and take responsibility.

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    She sent them to the Tower, lodged separately, on 7 August. He stayed there for 5 weeks, until they needed him to sort out the chaos resulting from the capture of the Spanish treasure ship, Madre de Dios. Bess spent the rest of the year in prison, but Ralegh was too useful to be wasted. He and Robert Cecil toiled together to record and divide those fantastic spoils.

    He still held all his important West Country offices; only a fool would fire so able an officer. He had his lands. The Raleghs retired to Sherborne Castle, which they promptly began to repair and remodel. Ralegh was returned to Parliament from the town of Mitchell — a nothing place, but it got him in the door. He performed admirably, speaking persuasively about the need to support the French king against the Catholic League. It speaks well of him.

    His stock rose among the gentlemen of the House of Commons, which Rowse thinks played a role in his positive posthumous reputation. Ralegh also started plotting another voyage, this time to Guiana. In , Ralegh sold some property and sent Captain Jacob Whiddon to Trinidad to scope out the situation. Somehow, Ralegh persuaded himself that the expedition had been successful and outfitted another one in , which he led himself. He captured Berrio and made a mildly positive impression on the local chiefs — who would prefer anything to more Spaniards.

    He ransomed a few Spanish coastal towns to pay the expenses, which means he stood his ships in the harbor and threatened to bombard them with cannon fire until they coughed up a few sacks of gold. He became as obsessed with Guiana as his step-brother, Humphrey Gilbert, had been with that non-existent Northwest Passage. So many mysterious places left in the world back then! Ralegh wrote a book about his voyage, the first to be published under his name.

    It was hugely popular; people had an appetite for books about the New World. Essex had been sole favorite all these years, but his ambition was starting to show and causing friction. Ralegh and Cecil pulled together for several years, united in a genuine drive to perform services for Queen and country and a mutual loathing for Essex. Other Editions 4. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Favourite , please sign up. Lists with This Book.

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    Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Mar 31, Jo Barton rated it it was amazing. A larger than life character, Sir Walter Raleigh lived the life of a glittering celebrity, had he been alive today he would most certainly have been hounded by the paparazzi.

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    I found the book very readable, with a degree of informality that made the text interesting without being too arduous, and on a personal level maintained my interest and kept me intrigued until the end. Mar 17, Erin rated it it was amazing. Having read much on Queen Elizabeth I over the years including her letters , I was curious to see another side of her personality and that of a man who was so important to her. This book caught my imagination from the beginning, and I found myself easily picturing the relationship between Ralegh and the Queen.

    Beautifully written and expertly researched, this book is a must for any aficionados of Elizabeth I or the era. Apr 01, Jane Walker rated it really liked it Shelves: history. There are hundreds of books around on Elizabeth I, but this is the first I've come across that deals with her relationship with Walter Ralegh. Well researched and well written, this is an engaging book.

    But it doesn't so much end as just stop, at what feels like an arbitrary point, and that lets the book down. Nov 08, Rachel rated it really liked it Shelves: biography , elizabethan , history. Very interesting, lots of detail on Ralegh and his rise to prominence - although I did feel it rather rushed over his subsequent fall, as if the author ran out of time or space or maybe had just had enough and wanted to finish him off quickly. Started off great. Really interesting, but got a little complex and hard to read by the end. I did feel I learned more about her. Jul 17, Carolyn rated it it was amazing.

    I enjoyed it. Kate Tyers rated it it was ok Jan 22, Nicole Lyons rated it it was amazing Oct 20, Caroline rated it liked it Sep 19, Jowita rated it it was amazing Oct 19, Anna Castle rated it really liked it Jan 16, Judith A Morera rated it liked it Apr 11, Margaret rated it it was ok Apr 01, Sarah rated it it was amazing Jul 17, Rosanna Heverin West rated it liked it Aug 28, Erin rated it it was amazing Sep 11,