Walter Raleigh, Sr. (c.1500 - 1581)

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Nicknames: "Walter /Raleigh/"
Birthplace: Fardell, Devon, England
Death: Died in Hayes Barton,East Budleigh,Devon,England
Managed by: Martin Rogers
Last Updated:

About Walter Raleigh, Sr.

'His father, WALTER RALEGH (1496?–1581), a country gentleman, was originally settled at Fardell, near Plymouth, where he owned property at his death; he removed about 1520 to Hayes, where he leased an estate, and spent the last years of his long life at Exeter. He narrowly escaped death in the western rebellion of 1549, was churchwarden of East Budleigh in 1561, and is perhaps the ‘Walter Rawley’ who represented Wareham in the parliament of 1558. He was buried in the church of St. Mary Major, Exeter, on 23 Feb. 1580–1. He married thrice: first, about 1518, JOAN, daughter of John DRAKE of Exmouth, and probably first cousin of Sir Francis Drake; secondly, a daughter of DARRELL of London; and, thirdly, after 1548, KATHARINE, daughter of Sir Philip CHAMPERNOWNE of Modbury, and widow of Otho Gilbert (d. 18 Feb. 1547) of Compton, near Dartmouth.

  • 'By his first wife the elder RALEGH had two sons: George, who is said to have furnished a ship to meet the Spanish armada in 1588, and was buried at Withycombe Ralegh on 12 March 1596–7, leaving issue believed to be illegitimate; and John, who succeeded to the family property at Fardell, and died at a great age in 1629. Mary, the only child of the second marriage, was wife of Hugh Snedale. By his third wife, KATHARINE (d. 1594), whose will, dated 11 May 1594, is in the probate registry at Exeter, the elder RALEGH had, together with a daughter Margaret and Walter, the subject of this notice,
  • Sir Carew Ralegh (1550?–1625?), Sir Walter's elder brother of the whole blood. Carew engaged in 1578 in the expedition of his half-brother, Sir Humphrey Gilbert [q. v.], and figured with Sir Walter and his two elder half-brothers, George and John, on the list of sea-captains drawn up in consequence of rumours of a Spanish invasion in January 1585–6. He sat in parliament as member for Wiltshire in 1586, for Ludgershall in 1589, for Downton both in 1603–4 and in 1621, and he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1601 at Basing House. For some time he was gentleman of the horse to John Thynne of Longleat, and on Thynne's death he married his widow, Dorothy, daughter of Sir William Wroughton of Broad Heighton, Wiltshire. On his marriage he sold his property in Devonshire, and settled at Downton House, near Salisbury. Until 1625 he was lieutenant of the Isle of Portland (cf. Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1608–25). Aubrey says of him that he ‘had a delicate clear voice, and played skilfully on the olpharion’ (Letters, ii. 510). His second son, Walter [q. v.] (1586–1646), is separately noticed.
  • The early Ralegh family lived for many centuries at Nettlecombe court. Through his father and mother, who are both credited by tradition with Puritan predilections, Walter Ralegh was connected with many distinguished Devon and Cornish families— Courtenay, Strode, Malet, Chichester, Bampfyld, Hody, Sydenham, Cromwell, Seymour, Luttrell, Grenville, St. Leger, Russell, Drake, Trevillian (Trevelyan) and Gilbert.

Sir Humphrey Gilbert was his mother's son by her first husband. His early boyhood seems to have been spent at Hayes, and he may have been sent to school at Budleigh; Sidmouth and Ottery St. Mary have also been suggested as scenes of his education. It was doubtless by association with the sailors on the beach at Budleigh Salterton that he imbibed the almost instinctive understanding of the sea that characterises his writings. Sir John Millais, in his picture ‘The Boyhood of Ralegh,’ painted at Budleigh Salterton in 1870, represents him sitting on the seashore at the foot of a sunburnt sailor, who is narrating his adventures. He certainly learnt to speak with the broadest of Devonshire accents, which he retained through life. From childhood he was, says Naunton, ‘an indefatigable reader.’ At the age of fourteen or fifteen he would seem to have gone to Oxford, where he was, according to Wood, in residence for three years as a member of Oriel College. His name appears in the college books in 1572, but the dates and duration of his residence are uncertain.

Sir Walter Raleigh or Ralegh[1] (c. 1552 – 29 October 1618), was a famed English writer, poet, soldier, courtier and explorer. Raleigh was born to a Protestant family in Devon, the son of Walter Raleigh and Catherine Champernowne.

Raleigh's father, Walter Raleigh of Fardell, had moved east from Fardell, on the edge of Dartmoor, upon his marriage to Joan Drake, a distant relative of the famous sailor, Sir Francis. Walter owned the manors of Collaton Raleigh and Wythecombe Raleigh. He leased Hayes Barton, a large house and estate nearby and set up as a gentleman farmer. From here he ran his growing business and the Raleighs soon owned the grazing rights on both Lympstone and Woodbury Commons. Joan died in 1530 and was buried in East Budleigh Church. Walter Sr. entered into a short-lived marriage to the daughter of a Genoese merchant, but was later joined with a third wife named Catherine Champernowne. Catherine had previously been married to Otto Gilbert of Compton Castle, and was the mother of John, Humphrey and Adrian Gilbert. Her brother was Vice-Admiral of Devon and her aunt, also Catherine, had became tutor for Princess Elizabeth. Catherine bore her new husband a daughter, Margaret, and two more sons: Carew and their youngest, Walter.

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Walter Raleigh, Sr.'s Timeline

1500
1500
Fardell, Devon, England
1529
1529
Age 29
1540
1540
Age 40
Devonshire, England
1548
1548
Age 48
1550
1550
Age 50
1552
January 22, 1552
Age 52
Devon, England
1581
1581
Age 81
Hayes Barton,East Budleigh,Devon,England
????
Bef. 1550
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