During the reign of King James I, Sir Walter Raleigh was imprisoned in the Bloody Tower for Treason, 1603-1617. Raleigh was pardoned and Letters Patent issued (26th August 1617) enabling him to embark on a private expedition to Guiana in search of gold. Raleigh was betrayed in advance and was ambushed in Guiana. See Raleigh's letter to Sir Ralph Winwood, Secretary to King James I, dated 17th November 1617. Raleigh's son, Wat was murdered, and Lawrence Kemish, Raleigh's dear friend, slew himself. Reduced to failure, Sir Walter Raleigh was committed to The Wardrobe Tower on 10th August,1618. Thomas Wilson joined Raleigh on the 9th September, 1618 posing as a prisoner under strict orders to extract information from Raleigh, reporting to his superiors everything he knew. Both men were moved to the Brick Tower on 14th September and Sir Thomas Wilson was rewarded for his efforts in betraying Raleigh's trust and was liberated on the 16th October 1618. Sir Walter Raleigh was executed on 29th October, 1618.
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Hic Jacet, The Life and Downfall of Sir Walter Raleigh Knight (1552-1618) was a very complex period of history to study and write about. The books I studied were very difficult to obtain (some being written in the 1920s, and another in 1677). Walter Sparrow, actor, and I jointly contacted the University of North Carolina in 1995, Hampshire Record Office; The Mayor of Winchester (and Walter Sparrow Actor was very helpful in helping me to obtain permission to publish Raleigh's trial), and permission was granted to us in 1996.
Once I began writing about Sir Walter Raleigh it led me on to more and more fascinating facts about him and the people he knew, so that I was drawn ever forward in an effort to find out as much information about Raleigh and his friends which took many years to achieve, as when I began the book, I was working full time as a Legal Secretary in London.
Key figures in Raleigh's life were his friends, Christopher Marlowe, the murdered Elizabethan dramatist, Thomas Harriott the mathematician, Henry Percy ninth Earl of Northumberland (the "Wizard Earl") and many others key figures, such as Robert Devereux, Second Earl of Essex, and Lord Bacon and the Cecils.
I found studying and writing the book very upsetting at times as the history is so powerful and complex, full of injustices, and has such a sad ending with Raleigh's execution for Treason, under King James I of England.
Some of the fascinating characters who surrounded Raleigh's during his lifetime were his friends, such as Christopher Marlowe, the brilliant dramatist who was murdered, Thomas Harriott the brilliant scientist and mathematician who was also the friend of the Wizard Earl, Henry Percy (IX Earl of Northumberland) of Syon House, London, who followed Raleigh into the Tower of London having been implicated in the Gunpowder Plot when his cousin called at the Earl's home for dinner one evening. The interrogations of the Earl before his imprisonment are included in Hic Jacet, courtesy of His Grace, The Duke of Northumberland. The Earl of Northumberland remained in the Tower for 21 years as the prisoner of King James I, being unable to pay the fine that would have brought about his release. Whilst imprisoned in the Tower of London, both Raleigh and the Wizard Earl (as he was nicknamed for his interest in the sciences), performed experiments in a little hen house at the Tower, and Raleigh invented and sold an elixir from the Tower of London, which was highly sought after. Raleigh also wrote his History of the World (which he had begun for Prince Henry), and other notable works, from his cell at the Bloody Tower where he was imprisoned for 13 years, before being released for his second voyage to Guiana in 1617, to go in search of gold for King and country (and Letters Patent were issued by King James I (included in Hic Jacet), but upon reaching Guiana Raleigh's eldest son Wat Raleigh was murdered by Spaniards in an ambush, and Raleigh and his men having been thwarted at every turn by sickness and terrible circumstances and unable to find gold, returned home a ruined man and was promptly sent straight back to the Tower of London as a prisoner once again (having also been accused of trying to escape abroad whilst upon his journey home, and not return home as promised).
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