Sir Francis Drake’s Will

This document was made at the beginning of one of the most celebrated campaigns in English history (and perhaps his very last act before it began).   On May 30, 1588, the same day that Drake signed the present document, the entire English fleet set out for the first time against the Armada.  Drake’s great project of taking the offensive against Spain, for which he had fought so hard in the previous weeks now seemed as if it was coming to fruition. It was also on May 30 that the entire Spanish Armada was standing off the sea of Lisbon – the San Martin fired the signal to weigh anchor and the Armada set sail for England.

“For as much as I am now presently bound unto the seas for special service of her majesty and that during the time of my absence sundry things are to be done which I cannot supply in person,  I have therefore thought good upon the singular trust and confidence which I have of Dame Elizabeth,  my wife and Thomas Drake gent., my brother,  to authorize and depute them.  As also by these present,  I do authorize and depute them as well to let and set all and singular my lands, tenements and hereditaments whatsoever to my best benefit and behoofe,  as also to receive all such rente and revenues as unto me are belonging or appertaigninge.  And to do in all other things in as large manner as I might do if I were personally present.  And whatsoever the said Dame Elizabeth and Thomas Drake shall do and procure to be done in the pregnesses I promise to ratify the same by these present.”

Dated this 30th of May 1588     (signed)       Frances Drake   1588

On the verso:

My brothers commission  for sitting and letting.  (signed)        The Warrior