Thursday, 19 April 2018

Raleigh 400 in Westminster: 28 October 2018

St Margaret's, Westminster, next to the House of Commons in London: Raleigh's last resting-place  
Image credit: Reinhold Möller

East Budleigh, Oxford, Sherborne, Jersey, Winchester… they’re just some of the places associated with Sir Walter Raleigh. But perhaps the most poignant is St Margaret’s Church, Westminster, where he was buried after his execution on 29 October 1618 in the nearby Palace Yard.

As at the 300th anniversary of Raleigh’s death, when a major commemoration took place, St Margaret’s will hold a special service in 2018.  A Sung Eucharist will be held at 11.00 am on Sunday 28 October, themed around Raleigh’s  life and work. The Dean of Westminster is to preach at this service.

There are also plans for an exhibition of work by young people - teenagers rather than children -  on the theme of Raleigh as a supporter of exploration.

Further details will be announced in due course on St Margaret's website

For many Americans, St Margaret’s is a place of pilgrimage, given Raleigh’s efforts to establish the first English-speaking colony in the New World, an initiative which led to the journey of the Pilgrim Fathers in 1620.

This memorial window over the west door was installed at St Margaret’s in 1882. It was subscribed for by American donors led by J.T.Lord. At the top, angels hold banners with the arms of the United States of America and the Royal Arms. Below, various angels hold other coats of arms and Tudor emblems.

Five figures are shown in the main window - Elizabeth I, Henry, Prince of Wales - son of James I - Raleigh himself, the poet Edmund Spenser and Sir Humphrey Gilbert, the celebrated navigator. Panels represent Raleigh sailing for America, his landing there, Spenser presented to the Queen by Raleigh, his imprisonment and burial. The inscription was composed by James Russell Lowell, US Ambassador in London at the time of the unveiling

Professor Brent Lane at Raleigh’s tomb in St Margaret’s

I’ve received much encouragement in my Raleigh research from Professor Brent Lane, Director of the University of North Carolina (UNC) Center for Competitive Economies and an Adjunct Professor at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.

In connection with Raleigh 400, Professor Lane is hoping to organize an event at the University of North Carolina’s Winston House facility in London that would include a delegation visiting St. Margaret's.

You can read about Professor Lane’s research into Raleigh’s New World exploration, and the comparison that he makes with 21st century space explorers like Elon Musk and Sir Richard Branson at


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