Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Raleigh's Birthplace Remembers

When that Millais fellow did his famous painting of young Walter and Humphrey on the famous pebble beach in 1870 he no doubt persuaded many people that the Great Elizabethan Explorer had been born in the town of Budleigh Salterton

Some no doubt even thought that Raleigh had sailed off to North America from Budleigh to bring back his potatoes and grow tobacco.

Of course he was actually born just outside the village of East Budleigh, at the farmhouse of Hayes Barton. Picturesque though it is, the building, at the time of Raleigh’s birth between 1552 and 1554 was, according to some historians who always want to bring us down to earth, probably a one-storey affair.

But never mind those details. East Budleigh celebrated its local hero in style with a street party on Bank Holiday Monday 27 August. I paid my respects to Sir Walter on his plinth, feeling more confident this time after previous issues with a fake beard during the last Bank Holiday heatwave.

Arranging any outdoor event during an English summer is always a bit of a nightmare because the weather can let you down at the last minute. You can see from the poster how much effort had gone into planning the event.

I met my Queen

Elizabethan costumes, music and dance had all been arranged and the High Street closed off to traffic. Tables were provided but people were asked to bring their own chairs, food and drink. It worked brilliantly. And after the early morning drizzle the sun came out.  

We admired each other’s costumes

A barrow of my special Raleigh 400 ale was one of the prizes

The celebrations included a comprehensive exhibition of text and images illustrating the major aspects of Sir Walter’s life.

East Budleigh resident Charles Abram at East Budleigh's Raleigh 400 exhibition

Set up in the village hall it was put together with many hours of painstaking effort by local residents including Stephen Jones, Maria Malinowska, Charles Abram and Cathy Moyle.

Raleigh is just one of the interesting figures from East Budleigh’s rich historical past who deserve to be better known. Forget the ‘spuds and ciggies’ stories: he was more important than that.

And then there’s Roger Conant, one of the founding fathers of the American city of Salem MA; the French Huguenot refugee and East Budleigh vicar Daniel Cauniรจres; the so-called ‘smuggling vicar’ Ambrose Stapleton.  And of course all the people buried in All Saints churchyard: they include HMS Agamemnon captain Admiral G.W. Preedy, the wealthy London bookseller James Lackington and members of the Tanqueray family of gin-making fame. 

Sadly I had to leave the street party when it was just getting going. So I missed all the other events in the afternoon: falconry, tug o'war, Morris Men and the rest. I had a pre-arranged appearance to make at the Raleigh Wall in Budleigh Salterton. 

Continued at http://raleigh400.blogspot.com/2018/08/re-enacting-boyhood-take-2.html


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