The Tudors were big on exploration and some of the greatest discoveries of all time were made during this period of exploration and discovery. One of the best known explorers of all time is Sir Frances Drake; it is his vessel, the Golden Hinde that has been brought back to life in the form of the replica galleon Golden Hinde II. This full size replica galleon offers a unique glimpse into the life of such an explorer and shows just how living conditions would have been for Drake and his crew as they circumnavigates the globe in the 1500’s. This is a unique learning experience for adults and children alike as there is currently no other attraction like it. You can explore the vessel on a self guided tour or even hire the galleon out for a birthday party or corporate event with a difference.
The Golden Hinde
It was December 13th 1577 when Drake set sail from the docks at Plymouth with a fleet of five ships; the Christopher, the Marigold, the Swan, the Elizabeth and the Pelican. Drake’s mission was to forge new trade links in newly discovered lands, to chart new routes for shipping and in doing so weaken the dominant hold that Spain had over the region of South America. There are some that claim he was nothing more than a pirate, plundering Spanish vessels for the gold that they carried, and it is true that he returned with Spanish Gold from vessels that he encountered at sea.
During the voyage the Pelican was renamed as the Golden Hinde, one of the patrons of the voyage. The Marigold was lost in a storm and the Elizabeth sailed back to port. Drake was the first European to engage in trade with Native Americans, he called this new land’ Nova Albion’ (New England) and claimed it on behalf of his queen. He returned back to Plymouth in the September of 1580 with more than £600,000 in treasure as the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe. Despite Elizabeth I declaring that his vessel should be retained as a maritime museum it was neglected and was pulled apart in the 1600’s. Sadly all that remains of this vessel today is a chair, constructed from the galleons original timbers which can be found in Oxford’s Bodlian Library, and a table which is situated in Middle Temple in the City of London.
The Replica Galleon
The Golden Hinde II was built to honour the 400th anniversary of Drake’s circumnavigation. It took three years of research using manuscripts, and sailor’s journals from the original voyage as well as study of Tudor ship building methods to be able to pull the plan of the ship together, giving us the incredible fully working reconstructed vessel that we have today. All of the decorative touches both inside and outside the vessel have been meticulously researched and hand built. Even the utensils that you find in the galley are authentic reconstructions of Tudor originals. She took two years to build and was launched from the Devon shipyard where she was constructed in 1973. The Golden Hinde II has traced Drakes course to North America and proven her sea worthiness. She is now located in St Mary Overie Dock.