Some of the most famous and renowned explorers in England (if not the World) have come from Devon.
Sir Francis Drake – Drake was born in the middle part of 16th century in Devon and is arguably Britain’s most famous sea dog. His achievements included completing the first circumnavigation of the world by an Englishman, and he was one of the captains instrumental in defeating the Spanish Armada in 1588. The incredibly impressive house that Drake lived in for many years can still be visited today, and his drum can be seen as well as a recently discovered Rembrandt.
Sir Humphrey Gilbert – born in Devon in 1539, he was a famous explorer and soldier famed for claiming Newfoundland in the name of the Crown. He served during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, was half brother to Sir Walter Raleigh and was a pioneer of colonisation. Compton Castle, where the Gilbert family lived for 600 years, is well worth a visit today.
Sir Walter Raleigh – one of our most famous explorers, Raleigh was born in 1552 and bought up in the house of Hayes Barton in the village of East Budleigh, Devon. He was instrumental in the English colonisation of North America, and is well known for popularising tobacco in England. He secretly married one of the Queen Elizabeth’s ladies in waiting without the Queen’s permission, and was then sent to the Tower of London. He was released shortly afterwards, but returned years later for a much longer period. He was eventually executed in 1618 after a life filled with adventure. We can visit the Church in East Budleigh where his family’s pew remains today.