At this time, when the name of Sir Francis Drake has been so prominently before the public, some gleanings relative to him not generally known may be acceptable. The story given by Prince, in his " Worthies of Devon," is too well known to need repeating, and was for some time generally accepted as a correct account of the quarrel between Sir Francis and Sir Bernard Drake; and though Barrow, in his life of Sir Francis Drake, quotes it, declaring it to be " as absurd as improbable," he adds, "it appears to be unsupported by any evidence." Although much embellished in the telling, there were undoubtedly some grounds for the tale, for the wyvern of Drake was, it is certain, originally introduced into the crest of Sir Francis, but not hung up by the heels, as will appear below.
The facts of the case appear to be these :Sir Francis was born in a humble station; his parents had no thought of being entitled to armorial ensigns, nor was it until their son had acquired a prominent position that the thought was ever entertained of claiming relationship to the Family of Drake of Ashe (whose representative at that time was Sir Bernard Drake), yet it is quite certain that Sir Francis greatly desired to graft himself on to the house of Drake of Ashe, but whether this desire arose from a personal weakness on the point of ancestry, or whether there was some vague tradition in his family that they were descended from the same stock as Sir Bernard, while the evidence is against such a connection, it is certain Sir Francis did all he could to get the connection acknowledged. For instance, in his will, he calls Richard Drake of Esher (brother of Sir Bernard) his cousin; he also became mortgagee of the estate of Ashe.
In the Herald's College is a MS. (F. 12, p. 164) which is apparently the original draft of the grant of arms to Sir Francis, as it contains many paragraphs subsequently erased and altered. Amongst these alterations and additions is the following : " Notwithstanding the sayd Sir Fraunces Drake may, by prerogative of his birth, and by right from his auncestor, bear the arms of his surname and family, to wit, Argent, a wyver dragon gewels, with the difference of a third brother, as I am credibly informed by the testimony of Bernard Drake, of the county of Devon, Esquire, chief of that cotarmure, and sondry others of that family of worship and good credit."
It would appear that Sir Francis, presuming on Bernard Drake being under some obligation to him, expected he would have attested the foregoing statement of their relationship, but he refused, and Sir Francis, having failed to satisfy the heralds, the paragraph was for very sufficient reasons omitted from the grant made by Rob. Cooke, Clarencieux King of Arms, dated 20th June, 1581, of which the following is a copy, viz. :
" Whereas it hath pleased the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty graciously to regard the praiseworthy deserts of Sir Francis Drake, knight, and to remunerate the same to him not only with the honorable order of knighthood and by sundry other demonstrations of her Highness's especial favor; but also further desirous that the impressions of her princely affections toward him might be, as it were, immortally derived and conveyed to his offspring and posterity for ever, hath assigned and given unto him arms and tokens of virtue and honor answerable to ye greatness of his deserts and meete for his place and calling. That is to say, a field of sable, a fesse wavy between two starres Argent. The healme adorned with a globe terrestrial, upon the height whereof is a ship under sail trained about the same with golden haulsers by the direction of a hand appearing out of the clouds, all in proper collour, with these words AUXILIO DIVINO. The said Arms with all other the parts and ornaments thereof here in the margin depicted, I Robert Cooke Esq., al's Glarencieux King of Arms of the East, West and South parts of ye realme of England, according as the duties of mine office binds me, have caused to be registered, entered and recorded for perpetual memory with the arms and other honourable and heroicall monuments of the nobility and gentry within my said province and marches.
" In Witness whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name the twentieth day of June, in the year of our Lord God 1581, and in the 23rd of the prosperous reign of our most Gracious Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth, &c.
" Robt. Cooke, al's Clarencieux, Roy d' Armes."
Although in this grant no reference is made to the " wyvern," its insertion in the rigging was at one time intended, as in a draft or docket of the grant (Coll. of Arms, R. 21, p. 31), a "Dragon volant sheweth itself; a sketch in the college of Arms (MS. 184, p. 54) shows the wyvern with its wings displayed, standing on the deck gules, and also an estoile or, on the mast-head. This crest does not appear to have been used by Sir Francis himself, but it was used by the descendants of his brother, as late as Feb., 1740, as seen in a workbook in the College of Arms, I.B., 18. 139. In an exemplification of the crest in 1813 at the College of Arms (grants 27, p, 277), the wyvern and estoile are omitted.
In the Bodleian Library, Ashmole MS. 834, folios 37 and 38, are two drafts of the grant of Arms ; one gives the red dragon and estoile in the crest, with the same Arms as those in the grant above ; the other gives the " vpper 1 haulf of a red dragon," and makes the stars in the Arms gold.
After the death of Sir Bernard Drake, Sir Francis quartered Drake of Ashe, with the coat granted to him
viz., 1 and 4 arg., a wyvern wings displayed gu., 2 and 3 Sa., a fesse wavy betw. two estoiles arg., as appears on a seal attached to some letters (Lansdowne MS. 70.) from Sir Francis Drake to the Lord Treasurer Burghley in 1592 ; and in Harl. MS. No. 4762, attached to a document dated 24th July, 1595, both after the death of Sir Bernard, which happened in 1586 ; but it is pretty clear that Thomas Drake, brother and heir to Sir Francis, nor his descendants, considered they had any right to the wyvern coat. The earliest mention of the name of Drake in Devonshire is in the Assize Rolls, temp. Hen. III., when Reginald Ie Drake held lands in Tiverton; the next one Reginald Ie Drake a monk of Tavistock 4 Edw. III., De Banco, but the name spread rapidly. The baptisms of the children of Thomas and Robert Drake occur about 1590 in the parish Registers of St. Andrew, Plymouth, beside many other entries in the above and other Registers.
In Burke's Peerage, Sir Francis Drake is said to have married Elizabeth, only daughter and heir of Sir George Sydenham, of Comb Sydenhammarriage settlement dated 25th Aug., 1595, but no mention is made of his first wife Mary Newman, she was buried at St. Budeaux, and entered in the register there .is Mary Drake, wife of Sir Francis Drake, Knight, buried 25 Jan., 1582 ; her burial is also entered at St. Andrew'sviz., 1582, Jan. 20. The Lady Mary, wife of Sir Francis Drake.
I hope to return to this subject at a future time by some notes on the arms and monuments of Drake at Buckland Monachorum.
THE ARMS OF SIR FRANCIS DRAKE.
BY ARTHUR J. JEWERS, F.S.A.
In continuation of our former paper, and in fulfilment of the promise contained in it, we proceed to notice the Arms in Buckland Abbey, and in the parish church of Buckland Monachorum.
At the Abbey, on a full-length portrait of Sir Francis himself, there are, in the upper corner to the spectator's left, the arms granted by Cook, Clarencieux, as before-mentioned, with this difference: the red wyvern is added on the deck and estoile at the mast-head; while in the opposite corner is painted "ætatis suæ 53, Anno 1594 " (the same arms are on the portrait of Sir Francis in the Plymouth Guildhall). Over the fire-place, in what is known as the Chapel-room, in the tower, are precisely the same Arms as on the above painting, the ship in this case being three-masted; on the side of the projecting chimney to the left is a shield quarterly, viz., 1 and 4 a wyvern displayed, 2 and 3 a fesse wavy betw. two estoile; beneath it the date 1655, and the initials R. N.; on the opposite side are two shields, the upper one, on the base barry wavy thereon a duct naiant, doubtless for Maddock of Plymouth. The lower shield bears, within three increscents, as many mullets (Gregorie). Such is the armorial evidence remaining at Buckland Abbey. The following are notes of the Drake monuments in the church of Buckland Monachorum; on an old ledger stone almost obliterated, a shield of arms, viz.; Three bars, thereon as many martlets, on a chief two bars nebule (Crymes of Buckland Monachorum); imp. per fesse, in chief, a fesse wavy betw. two estoiles (Drake), in base per fesse, in chief three wolves heads erased, the base paly of six ; the inscription is quite gone. Another large ledger stone, quite perfect, but without any inscription, has these arms; a fesse wavy betw. two estoiles, with the badge of a baronet, imp. on a bend cotised betw. six lions ramp., five escallop shells (Boon); for Sir Francis Drake, 3rd Bart., and his second wife Ann, daughter and co-heir of Tho. Boon, of Mount Boon, co. Devon, Esq. This Sir Francis died in 1714. On a mural monument arms, Sa. a fesse wavy betw. two estoiles arg., with badge of a, baronet; crest as in Cook's grant above. It is in memory of Sir Francis Henry Drake, Bart, who died 19th Feb., 1794, aged 70. There are mural monuments for the first and second Lord Heathfield, but as both have the arms of Eliot only, it is unnecessary to describe them here. The foregoing are all the Drake arms now in the church, though previous to its restoration the arms of Drake, as granted by Cook, were in one of the windows, also a lozenge charged with. Or, on a bend gu. ' three estoiles of the field (Bamfylde). There were also two hatchments, the first for Francis Augustus, second Lord Heathfield, viz., quarterly 1 and 4 gu. on a. bend or, a baton az., on a chief of the last betw. two ' pillars a castle arg. from the gate a golden key pendant, and below in letters of the last, plus ultra (Elliot); 2 and 3 Sa. a fesse wavy betw. two estoiles arg. (Drake); the arms surmounted by a baron's coronet, and for crest a cubit arm erect vested gu., on it a key, the ward in base gold, the hand gloved arg. holding a scymiter ppr. Supporters, dexter a ram arg. armed and unguled, or, sinister a goat arg., armed and unguled or; motto, FortHer et recte. The arms on the other hatchment were in a lozenge, quarterly, 1 and 4 Sa, a fesse wavy betw. two estoiles (Drake), 2 Eliott as above. 3 arg. three bars and a canton gu., imp. quarterly, 1 and 4 arg. a greyhound pass. Sa. gorged with a crest coronet or, on a chief az. a lion ramp. betw. two fleur de lis of the third, 2 and 3 per fesse emb. gu. and erm. three, five-barred gates counterchanged on the centre of the shield the badge of a baronet; It was for Dame Eleanor, wife of Sir Thomas Drayton Fuller Eliott Drake, Bart., and only daughter of James Halford Esq. of Laleham in Middlesex; she died 18 Sept. 1841, aged 55, and is recorded on a mural tablet.
Beside the above, we may mention the following as giving evidence of the arms used by the family. In the church of St. Andrew, Plymouth, is a mural monument for Francis Drake, Esq., Capt., R.N.,who died 26th Dec. 1729, aged 61, and his sister. Prudence Saussure, widow, who died 22 Nov. 1737, aged 90. Arms, Sa. on a fesse wavy betw. two estoiles arg., a crescent gu. imp., quarterly arg. and az. in the first and fourth a lion ramp. gu. Crest as in Cook's grant. In the Church of Cornwood, Devon, is a ledger stone partly covered by the font, for Lady Jane Rolle, daughter of .... formerly wife of Richard Hals Esqre., and late wife of Sir Henry Rolle Knt., she died 9 June 1634; Anns (of which the dexter half only is uncovered) dexter per fesse, in chief a fesse betw. three dragons' heads (Hals), in base a fesse wavy letw. two estoiles (Drake) Sinister hidden by the font. In the same church is a mural monument for Mr. John Savery, son of Wm. Savery of Savery Esqre. by Prudence, daughter of John Drake of Ivybridge Esq. He died 21 Feb. 1696. Arms, Gu. a fesse vaire betw. three unicorns' heads couped or, imp., Sa. a fesse wavy betw. two estoiles arg. (Drake). Also Savery alone with a mullet for difference. From the above notes it will be seen that the only place where we have been able to find the wyvern quartered with the coat granted to the great Sir Francis, is in an obscure corner in the tower at Buckland Abbey, and here it must be noted, the wyvern does not appear in the principil shield, whose ample size would well allow of quartering, and show them prominently, but the quartered shield is where it can only be seen when carefully looked for, a wall facing it at about the distance of two feet. The space at command has prevented our doing more than give a brief summary of the arguments and evidences in the case, the sum of which points that Sir Francis Drake failed to prove to the heralds of his day, his descent from any one whose legal right to Arms was recognised, whether it were the red wyvern or the older coat of Drake of Asheviz., arg. a chev. purp. betw. three halberts az.
In closing this paper we gladly avail ourselves of the opportunity of acknowledging the courteous attention and assistance of Frederick Bundock Esq., of Buckland Abbey, in pointing out the Arms remaining there, and of the Rev. K. J. Hayne, M.A., Vicar of Buckland Monachorum, in a long search, and making copies from the registers of his parish, relative to Drake, and other names of local note. Those who wish to follow the subject up without going to the original evidences will find the matter more fully treated in the papers of Sir William Drake, and Dr. H. H. Drake, in the Herald and Genealogist, Vol. VIII., pp. 307-476478-482, to which this paper is indebted for reference to MSS. in the College of Arms, British Museum, &c.