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This webpage updated 31 January 2010

The Business of Slavery - Chapter 4

Sir William Winer re-examined - Drake harries the Spanish - The time of the Spanish Armada - Fresh maritime business arises - A quickening in business - The Winter family story continued -

Sir William Winter re-examined

Between 1584-1585, a commission was appointed to examine Sir William Winter, consisting of Burghley, Francis Walsingham, Sir Walter Mildmay, chancellor of the Exchequer, the Earl of Lincoln who was Lord Admiral, the Lord Chamberlain and Lord Hunsdon, who chose a jury of sea captains: Sir Thomas Cotton, Sir William Gorges, Sir Francis Drake, Richard Bingham, Martin Frobisher, Fulke Greville, Carew and Walter Raleigh, Henry Palmer, George Beeston and Thomas Ellis. The Commission found Sir William Winter "at fault". This meant even less of the Winters in naval management circles.

News in July 2006: The history websites on this domain now have a companion website, and an updating website as well, on a new domain, at Merchant Networks Project, produced by Dan Byrnes and Ken Cozens (of London).

This new website (it is hoped) will become a major exercise in economic and maritime history, with much attention to London/British Empire and some attention to Sydney, Australia.



"A second (naval) Bargain was made on 1 January 1585, under which shipwrights became crown servants and Hawkins would repair ships at sea or in dry dock, wharves and storehouses at Plymouth, Deptford, Woolwich and Chatham, pay the wages of shipkeepers, clerks, watchmen, gunners the Upnor garrison, moorings for ships in the harbour, materials, food and lodging of workmen at his own expense, for which he would receive a lump sum of £4,000 per annum. The provision of armaments were still under Winter as Master of Ordnance."
Calendar of Patent Rolls, Elizabeth I, Vol.4, Nos. 19858 & 2618, PRO. Some material here is adapted with author's permission from sections of the Winter family history, The Golden Falcon, a website book by Wendy Florence Winter Garcia, with index page given as (URL has changed, go Google): http://www.pillagoda.freewire.co.uk/

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Garcia comments: "Sir William, who was now getting old and becoming tired of the quarrels, made peace with Hawkins, but the latter does not seem to have been able to abide by the bargain..."

1585 was a busy year indeed...

From about 1585, many English privateers were at sea, hostile to Spain, officially blessed. The Earl of Cumberland had ships out . About 100-200 privateers were out, seeking prizes per year of £150,000 to £300,000, many backers being merchants of the Barbary, Guinea, and Levant companies. During an era which popularized sugar in England, the task of backing voyages had shifted to London, and shipbuilding boomed.

In 1585, an expedition went out led by a seaman of Dartmouth, John Davis (who by 1592 discovered the Falkland Islands), who had the backing of Adrian Gilbert, the brother of Sir Humphrey Gilbert. Adrian had secured a patent from William Sanderson, a London merchant whose wife was a niece of Gilbert and Raleigh. Sanderson supplied money, plus backing from Raleigh and Walsingham "of the Court interest". Davis made three voyages 1585-1587, at least one part-backed by Sanderson. With the Spanish Armada problem of 1588, Davis' work was not followed up, but he established that Greenland is separate from America, sailed into Baffin's Bay, and avoided false turnings.
It should be noted that this is the first time Sanderson's name (or the name of his kind of merchant) appears in lists available of merchants backing voyages of exploration. Sanderson's appearance at this juncture perhaps marks the beginning of a new era with the demise of the Winter era?

About now, England's seekers of the north-west passage included Adrian Gilbert, William Sanderson John Davis, all aided at court by Raleigh, Walsingham and John Dee. (Sanderson paid for Davis' later expedition.) In June 1585, Davis sailed from Dartmouth for Greenland, then to Baffin Land (Frobisher's Meta Incognita).
Williamson, Drake, p. 249.

In 1585, Raleigh had established a first English colony in Virginia. The third attempt was "the famous lost colony of Roanoke" in 1587, with governor John White, a project which fell into difficulties regarding supplies in the difficult year of the Spanish Armada. 1585 was also the year in which tobacco made a fresh appearance, introduced to England by Raleigh. It was also introduced to Europe by the Spanish in the sixteenth century. In England, tobacco was initially sold by apothecaries as a prophylactic and medicinal, before tobacco use became a pleasure in its own right, when other retailers began to handle it.
Paul R. Johnson, (Ed), The Economics of the Tobacco Industry. New York, Praeger, 1984., p. 4. Williamson, Age of Drake, p. 240ff, p. 249.

The second effort to settle Virginia had been more significant; in 1585, led by Sir Richard Grenville and Ralph Lane, eventually settled on Roanoke Island. Sir Francis Drake soon appeared there after raiding the Spanish. In April 1585, Grenville sailed with seven ships for America, with Ralph Lane who was to stay as governor of Virginia, and Philip Amadas was appointed admiral of the American coast. Thomas Cavendish sailed also, later becoming a famed navigator. John White lasted longer as an administrator than Ralph Lane. (White's daughter married a planter, Ananias Dare, and the granddaughter was named Virginia Dare.)

Clarence L. Ver Steeg, The Formative Years, 1607-1763. London, Macmillan, 1965., pp. 20-21.

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Drake harries the Spanish

Drake dreamed up an expedition reminiscent of his 1579 idea, to use naval ships, Elizabeth Bonaventure 600 tons, the Aid 250 tons, 27 others large and small, including the galleon Leicester of 400 tons, and total force of 2300 men, to harry the Spanish. Drake was admiral and general, Martin Frobisher vice-admiral. Lt-General was Christopher Carleill, Sgt-Major was Anthony Powell; plus Edward Winter a son of Sir William Winter, Richard Hawkins son of John, and Thomas Drake the brother of Sir Francis, William Cecil a grandson of Lord Burghley, Francis Knollys the brother-in-law of Leicester, Robert Cross and Thomas Fenner. Drake's fleet assembled at Plymouth in July/August 1585 and departed on 14 September 1585.
Williamson, Drake, pp. 279ff.

Garcia writes: "As yet another reference has it, amongst those who sailed with Drake to Cartagena on the east of Gulf of "Darien" were Thomas Fenner, the Queen's cousin Francis Knollys, Sir William Winter's eldest son Edward Winter. Also sailing was the later Sir Richard Hawkins (1560-1622). Edward Winter joined the landing party after bartering his ship for Captain Cecil's company of foot. He marched with troops commanded by Christopher Carleill, but became separated from his company although he fought at Carleill's side. He was captured by the Spaniards and exchanged for Pedro Flores de Valdes who had been captured with his ship the Nuestra Señora del Rosario by Drake and taken to Tor Bay. Valdes was later given a farewell banquet by the Lord Mayor of London after his ransom of £3000 was paid."
Carleill was a stepson of Walsingham, being son by her first marriage of Walsingham's first wife, Anne Barne. Some material here is adapted with author's permission from sections of the Winter family history, The Golden Falcon, a website book by Wendy Florence Winter Garcia, with index page given as above:

The fleet of 25 ships, with 2300 mariners and soldiers, sailed out of Plymouth on 14 September 1585, and took course towards Spain where they met a fleet of nine or ten French ships laden with salt. They took one ship (which they paid for on their return), which was renamed Drake.

Carleill, in the Tiger, captured a Spanish ship from San Sebastian (manned by French mariners from St. Jean de Luz), laden with dried fish from Newfoundland which was distributed amongst the English fleet. A day or two afterwards they anchored at the Island of Bayona, south west of Vigo in Galicia, which they intended attacking. They were met by an English merchant, John Sampson, who mediated between the Spanish and the English. The Spanish governor assured Drake that there was no war between England and Spain and sent him fresh supplies. After a three-day storm, Carliell nevertheless captured some ships off Vigo, one containing church treasures and anchored in another port above Vigo where they met the governor of Galicia.

They then sailed to the Canaries and landed in Hierro where they were met by the inhabitants led by a youth who had been in England but the island was too poor to loot. On 13 November 1585 they reached Cape Blanco where they caught fresh fish and met a French fleet. They left the same day for the Cape Verde Islands, reaching Santiago on 16 November 1585 and anchored between Playa and Santiago, landing 1000 men under Carliell.

They looted the city of Santiago for 14 days but found no treasure, only fresh food supplies. The inhabitants had murdered William Hawkins's men during a former voyage four or five years earlier. In revenge for the brutal murder of one of Drake's men, they set fire to Santiago before setting off for the West Indies.

Within a few days more than 200-300 of the English had died of disease. They reached the island of Dominica where the natives welcomed them and left for St. Kitts where they spent Christmas. They then decided to leave for Santo Domingo in the island of Hispaniola where they landed on New Year's Day 1586 and which they subsequently attacked. They went on to Cartagena de las Indias in Colombia which they also attacked, captured and where they stayed for 6 weeks whilst the sickness continued. They burned both Santo Domingo and Cartagena (for the second time).

They left on the 31st of March and reached Cape St. Anthony in Cuba on 27 April 1586, but left for Matanças as no water was available. They went back to Cape St. Anthony which they left on 13 May 1586, sailing to Cape Florida where they landed on 28 May 1586 and captured Fort St. John. They sailed upriver to St. Augustine and after passing St. Helena, they went ashore and met some Englishmen who had been sent there by Sir Walter Raleigh.

These men were offered a passage back to England which they accepted and the fleet sailed back home on the 18 June 1586, reaching Portsmouh on 28 June 1586. The brought back treasure worth £60,000, having lost 750 men, two thirds from sickness.
Some material here is adapted with author's permission from sections of the Winter family history, The Golden Falcon, a website book by Wendy Florence Winter Garcia, with index page given as above:

1585-1586: The first Spanish war developed after Drake's West Indies voyage in 1585-1586 when he sacked Santiago in the Cape Verde Islands (a port of call on the Africa trade route), Santo Domingo and Cartagena in the Caribbean. Drake's policy had been to attack Spain by sea and capture the Spanish plate ships bringing silver from the Americas. Philip II of Spain had "long cherished" the dream of invading England and bringing her back into the Catholic fold, but what really made Philip determine on eventual invasion in 1586 was the execution of the Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots, regarded by all Catholics as the real heiress to the English throne, which Elizabeth had usurped.
Some material here is adapted with author's permission from sections of the Winter family history, The Golden Falcon, a website book by Wendy Florence Winter Garcia, with index page given as above:

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The time of the Spanish Armada

In 1587... Drake heard of preparations for the departure of a Spanish Armada and with "Elizabeth's connivance" sailed to Cadiz Harbour and Coruña to attack; he took the carrack San Felipe worth £100,000. Drake's ravaging and Mary Stuart's execution decided Philip II to prepare an invasion of England - the famous Armada mentioned so often in English history and so seldom in Spanish history.

In 1588... Drake was appointed vice-admiral under Howard of Effingham at Plymouth, and John Hariot (1560-1621) appeared, a "navigator, coloniser, mathematician". Little-known to history, Hariot by 1588 was writing, and inventing astronomical instruments. He once prepared charts for a voyage to Guiana, also a manual on navigation for Raleigh. "He worked in Sion House as a pensionary of Henry Percy, Earl Northumberland".
Who’s Who in Shakespeare's England, p. 104.

1588: Garcia writes: The Spaniards' Invincible Armada sailed on 11 May 1588 armed with 2,431 guns, 123,790 shot 10,000 pikes, 7,000 spare arquebuses, 1,000 muskets, 20 gun carriages and 40 mules. There were 8,052 sailors, 18,795 soldiers, 2,088 oarsmen, 146 gentlemen, 238 officers and 728 servants, 167 gunners, 180 priests, 6 surgeons, 6 physicians and 62 medical orderlies on board. About 4,000 of these were Portuguese, Italians, Germans and Flemings, even several hundred Irish and English.

1588: "The only professional naval officers amongst those who fought the Invincible Armada" were Sir William Winter (son of the clerk of the king's ships who became surveyor of the navy in 1549), William Borough, William Holstock and John Hawkins (a merchant seaman who replaced William Winter)".

In a list of men fit to command ships "The Names of Sea Captains, the 5th January Anno 1585 were Sir William Winter, knight, Edward Winter, esquire, John Winter esquire and William Winter gent".
SP Dom. clxxxvi. 8, PRO Adapted with author's permission from sections of the Winter family history, The Golden Falcon, a website book by Wendy Florence Winter Garcia, with index page given as above: See Paul M. Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery. London, Allen Lane, 1976., where Kennedy indexes Hawkins but not Sir William Winter.

Garcia writes, "Although a seaman, Drake was not in the Navy. He received all the kudos for defeating the Armada but he had been trained by the Winters who had been in the royal navy for at least two generations. Sir William, his sons Edward and William, his brother George, his nephew John of Dyrham and his kinsman Thomas Winter of Huddington were either naval officers, privateers whose ships took part in the Battle of the Armada or volunteers in Robert Dudley's army in the Netherlands".
Make an order for payment thereof. W. BURGHLEY.

1588: Sir William Winter did not forget his feud with Hawkins and sent a note to Lord Burghley accusing Hawkins of extravagance and inefficiency.
8th October 1588. Comparison of charges.
(ccxvii 12 - Winter's autograph but not signed, endorsed in Burghley's hand).
A comparison betwixt the expenses for five years afore Mr Hawkyn's bargain and of the five years since the bargain of Mr Hawkyns. Sir William Wynter's declaration.

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Item: 29 July 1588: Drake played a leading part in the English attack off Gravelines on Spanish Armada, "which shattered the Armada's force". But in 1589, Drake commanded a naval force as Sir John Norreys commanded a land force for an attack on Lisbon. The attack failed and Drake was unemployed for five years.

It seems, the Winters had not entirely given up. In 1588, Raleigh began to fall from court favour, challenged by Essex. Raleigh in 1589 resigned part of his patent/company of merchants interested in colonisation and gave himself a rent plus right to one-fifth of any gold discovered. He visited the poet Edmund Spenser (creator of The Faerie Queen) in Ireland, and later was with an expedition to Portugal which failed to raise a revolt against Phillip II. Until...

"And in the service of his country, Sir William Winter was hurt by the recoil of a gun during the battle against the Spanish Armada and he died on 20 February 1589, but his sons Edward and William and his nephew John continued voyaging..."
eg., In the expedition to Portugal in 1589... [was]... Foresight - Captain William Winter...

State Papers Dom. Eliz., xxiii 76 9.4.1589 & Armada Papers ii p.236, et seq., Prof. Laugh ton's list, PRO. Some material here is adapted with author's permission from sections of the Winter family history, The Golden Falcon, a website book by Wendy Florence Winter Garcia, with index page given as above:
In the Channel Squadron under Martin Frobisher: Antelope - John Winter, captain and vice-admiral 1st January to 13th July 1589 at 8 shillings a day.

Item: In 1589 in the Caribbean was Lord Thomas Howard, whose ships got away except for the Revenge under Sir Richard Grenville, which fought a whole day against the whole Spanish fleet.
Unpublished, K. R. Andrews, Economic Aspects of Elizabethan Privateering, Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Records (UK), 1952. Elton, England under the Tudors, p. 337.

Garcia writes: "And in 1591 died an ally of the Winter family, the noted customers farmer and merchant Thomas "Customer" Smythe (1522-1591) of Westenhanger, Kent, one of Sir William Winter's partners in the syndicate which backed Drake's slaving voyages. He was second son of John Smythe, a clothier and minor land owner of Corsham, Wiltshire. Thomas Smythe married Alice, daughter of Sir Andrew Judd, city merchant and Kent landowner. (Sir Andrew Judd's widow Dame Mary Mathew married secondly to Thomas Langton, Sir William Winter's father-in-law.) Sir Andrew Judd, alderman and lord mayor of London in 1551-8, was buried at the church of St. Helen's in Bishopsgate Ward, London. Sir Andrew had his house near Leadenhall Street in Broad Street Ward".
Some material here is adapted with author's permission from sections of the Winter family history, The Golden Falcon, a website book by Wendy Florence Winter Garcia, with index page given as above:

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Fresh maritime business arises

1589: Item: Richard Hakluyt, writer on navigation and prospects for colonisation published his Principal Navigations in 1589. The Hakluyt cousins, older and younger, came from the Welsh border area, Richard Senior and Junior. Richard, died 1616, married Douglas Cavendish, who by repute was a connection of mariner Thomas Cavendish. Richard Senior was a lawyer with London City links, interested in advising major companies (Muscovy Co.) and discussing Virginia with Gilbert and Raleigh. Richard Junior was a divine at Oxford, supported by the Clothworkers Company. He became the first to lecture at Oxford on "the new geography".
Lorimer, (Ed.), Amazon, p. 30, Note 2.

E. G. R. Taylor, Tudor Geography, 1485-1583. London, Methuen, 1930., pp. 10ff. Rowse, Elizabethans and America, p. 36.

Item: In 1590 and 1591, Frobisher, Hawkins and Cumberland all had squadrons in the Azores seeking Spanish treasure ships, though they made no captures. In 1591 arose an English plan for an expedition to the Azores... Raleigh was interested but was replaced by his cousin, Sir Richard Grenville.

In 1592 died Thomas Cavendish, mariner, privateer, MP.
Lorimer, (Ed.), Amazon, p. 30, Note 2. GEC, Peerage, Northumberland, p. 727. K. Andrews, Elizabethan Privateers, p. 68. Gwenyth Dyke, ‘The Finance of a Sixteenth Century Navigator, Thomas Cavendish of Trimley in Suffolk’, Mariner's Mirror, Vol. 44, 1958., pp. 108-115. Who’s Who in Shakespeare's England, p. 42.

In 1592, Raleigh provided funds for an expedition at sea to "intercept" Spanish trade, and booty was taken from the carrack Madre de Dios, but Raleigh was recalled by Elizabeth I who was annoyed he has seduced one of her maids, Elizabeth Throgmorton/Throckmorton - whom he married. On his return, Raleigh was placed in the Tower; his wife had a son in 1593.
Elizabeth Throckmorton was daughter of Chamberlain and Exchequer official, Sir Nicholas Throckmorton (d.1571). Remarkably, Sir Nicholas was cousin to the hot gospeller, Edward Underhill, as was William Winter. Hasler, House of Commons, pp. 489-490, suggests Sir Nicholas was once a servant in the house of William, Baron Parr. A. L. Rowse, Raleigh and Throckmortons, pp. 10ff. Burke's Extinct Baronetcies for Carew of Beddington, Burke's Extinct Baronetcies, variously.

Item: 1595: By 1595, Portugal now had armed ships on the Upper Guinea coast. There were some in the autumn of 1595, for they sank a vessel (Mary Fortune) sent out by William and George Winter of the Navy Board.

And at the end of sea roads... In 1595, Drake and Hawkins sailed with 27 ships to attack Spanish possessions in Caribbean as in 1585. Hawkins was killed off Puerto Rico, and Drake died off Porto Bello on 27 January, 1596, buried at sea.

Hawkins' fourth voyage of 1595 was overrated, Andrews says, (it was "a miserable failure"), but it had national-plus-private backing, with six ships totalling 1333 tons carrying about 500 slaves - but a final disaster. The English did not bother slaving for some time later, mostly due to cost, as Hawkins had over-invested in such trade. The voyage had first been proposed by March 1593, according to Sir Richard Hawkins, for three of the queen's ships and 20 private ships. Nothing came of it. It was discussed again in mid-1594, and Drake and Hawkins had letters of patent by January 1595. Security was poor. Rumours of an impending English strike on Spanish resources - somewhere - spread from The Netherlands to Spain and as far as the Caribbean.


Raleigh by now was "very unpopular" in England due to his greed and atheism. In 1595 he sailed on a voyage of exploration off the coast of South America, influenced by tales of El Dorado, sources of gold. In 1596, Raleigh took part in an English capture of Cadiz - and his booty meant he regained some court favour.
Per Wendy Florence Winter Garcia

1596: Garcia writes: "On 8 November 1596, was a double wedding at Essex House on the Strand, once the property of Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester and then of his step-son Robert Devereux, earl of Essex, which Edmund Spenser the Elizabethan poet often visited.
The brides were the ladies Elizabeth and Catherine Somerset, daughters of the Earl of Worcester, who married Henry Guilford and William Petre. Edmund Spenser wrote his Prothalamion in their honour, each verse of which ended Sweet Thames! run softly till I end my song. In the next reign, another earl of Worcester's daughter, Anne Somerset married Sir John Winter of Lydney, Sir William's grandson and on 4 June 1610 took the part of the river Wye in a masque called Tethys' Festival or The Queen's Wake. Sir William and his family had connections with the Severn, the Wye and especially the Thames, so Spencer's refrain could well accompany his life and career."

Some material here is adapted with author's permission from sections of the Winter family history, The Golden Falcon, a website book by Wendy Florence Winter Garcia, with index page given as above:

In 1597, Raleigh and Essex did go on an expedition to the Azores... but their quarrel was renewed... Poet John Donne (according to his entry in Encyclopedia Britannica), went on Essex' Cadiz expedition of 1596 and on the Islands voyage of 1597, voyages which show in the "poetical journalism" of The Storm and The Calm. Yet oddly, the literary reportage of Shakespeare or Donne have done relatively little to spread wider knowledge of English expansionism... for we find that in 1598 arose another item indicating another new wave of interest in expansionism, not from a merchant such as William Sanderson, but an aristocrat... Catherine Carey (died 1602) the wife of Charles Howard (1536-1624) second Baron Howard of Effingham. He maintained a set of stage players (in Shakespeare’s world of theatre) and more importantly here, he had jointly-commanded English moves against the Spanish Armada.
(Who’s Who in Shakespeare's England, p. 123, p. 140. Hasler, History of Parliament, Vol. 2, p. 344, and p. 422. GEC, Peerage, Norfolk, tabulations; St John, p. 335; Nottingham, p. 782; Effingham, p. 10; Kildare, p. 240; Monson of Bellinguard, p. 68; Mordaunt, p. 200; St John, p. 335; Tyrconnell, p. 113; Northumberland, p. 726; Willoughby, p. 692; Galloway, p. 604.)

Howard had licences to export woolen cloths and in 1598 to trade with Guinea. His titles became extinct. Charles' father, the first Baron Howard of Effingham, William (1510-1572/73), Lord High Admiral (1553-1557) is said to have been greatly instrumental in Elizabeth I gaining her throne.
(Who’s Who in Shakespeare's England, p. 224. GEC, Peerage, Dudley, p. 482; Effingham, p. 9. Bath, p. 19. Nottingham, p. 782. Information on an earlier period can be found in Gordon Connell-Smith, Forerunners of Drake: A Study of the English Trade with Spain in the early Tudor Period. London, Longmans Green and Co., 1954.

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