"Meet another notable local - A seafaring man." Top 5 Page for this destination Sir George Somers Tip by ranger49
Sir George Somers, Lyme Regis: 1 reviews and 2 photos
The plaque on the wall of the Guildhall commerorates Sir George Somers who was born in Lyme Regis in 1554, became Mayor and later Member of Parliament for the Town.
He was, in many ways, typical of those adventurous men of the first Elizabethan Age and lived a colourful, daring and courageous life..
A friend of Sir Walter Raleigh he had access to men of wealth and standing. His activities as a merchant trader and as a privateer running ships licensed to stop, seize and confiscate enemy ships in wartime - made him a wealthy and powerful man, the equivalent, some might say, of a modern Mercenary.
But his fortune enabled him to buy a Manor in a village near Lyme Regis with the delightfully Dorset name of Whitchurch Canonicorum.
With prosperity came respectability. His daring exploits at sea during early colonial expansion earnied him the gratitude of King James 1 who Knighted him in 1603.
His subsequent career was in private colonial expansion leading expeditions to the Americas financed by merchants and noblemen for the Virginia Company who appointed him Admiral of their Supply Fleet sailing between Plymouth, England and Jamestown, America
During a hurricane Somers' ship, the Sea Venture, fetched up in Bermuda, then known as "Virgineola" Britain's first Crown Colony. King James1 renamed the Islands the Somers Isles but now again known as Bermuda.
He was impressed by the island and it is said that his descriptions were used by Sylvester Jourdan, a native of Lyme Regis also onboard Sea Venture) in his book - A Discovery of the Bermudas. (1610).
In turn fancy has it that Shakespeare was inspired by this " land of devils and spirits".
to write The Tempest
Sir George continued his career taking supplies to the colonists but became ill aboard ship form a "surfeit in eating pig" and died in 1610.
Better not to ask why or how - but his heart was buried in Bemuda while his body was pickled in a barrel of brine. 8 years later it was shipped home to Lyme where it was landed on the Cobb to a salute from a volley of musketsand cannon before being taken to the ancient church in Whitchurch Canonicorum for burial.
Address: Guildhall, Lyme Regis
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