History Of The Raleigh Estate

Sir Walter Raleigh Statue

The Raleigh Estate

The current Raleigh Estate is owned by descendants of the Elizabethan adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh.  However, although he lived for a time just across the river at Greenway, he never actually owned the land which is now known as the Raleigh Estate.

During his time as favourite to Queen Elizabeth I Raleigh amassed large estates in England and Ireland. However, after his execution in 1618 Sir Walter Raleigh’s property and estates were sequestered by James 1st, and the family left virtually destitute.

The Raleigh family fortunes rose and fell during the 17th and 18th centuries, but by the middle of the 18th century things began to improve and a military and minor diplomatic tradition was established.

There were Raleighs serving in both the 11th and 13th Regiment of Foot (the county regiments of both Devon and Cornwall) and as Military Secretary to the Government of Gibraltar and on the staff of the Duke of Wellington.

It was actually one of these later descendents of Sir Walter Raleigh who purchased the current estate from Sir Henry Seale in the late 1800s.  This man was Edward Walter Raleigh who was appointed to the Governor General of India and later founded both the Calcutta General Hospital and Eye Infirmary.

Proud of his lineage and aware of the family’s historical misfortunes, he became determined to re-establish the Raleigh name amongst the landed gentry of his time.  This was achieved only after his death when the executors of his will purchased the land and property of local landowner Sir Henry Seale in 1873.

The estate still belongs to descendants of the Raleighs.

Sir Walter Raleigh

There has been so much written about Sir Walter Raleigh over the years that there simply isn’t space here to do this important historical figure justice.  The following is an extract from Wikipedia:

Sir Walter Raleigh, Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall (c. 1552 – 29 October 1618), was a famed English aristocrat, writer, poet, soldier, courtier, and explorer.

Raleigh was born to a Protestant family in Devon, the son of Walter Raleigh and Catherine Champernowne. Little is known for certain of his early life, though he spent some time in Ireland, in Killua Castle, Clonmellon, County Westmeath, taking part in the suppression of rebellions and participating in two infamous massacres at Rathlin Island and Smerwick, later becoming a landlord of lands confiscated from the Irish.

He rose rapidly in Queen Elizabeth I’s favour, being knighted in 1585, and was involved in the early English colonisation of the New World in Virginia under a royal patent. In 1591 he secretly married Elizabeth Throckmorton, one of the Queen’s ladies-in-waiting, without requesting the Queen’s permission, for which he and his wife were sent to the Tower of London. After his release, they retired to his estate at Sherborne, Dorset.

In 1594 Raleigh heard of a “City of Gold” in South America and sailed to find it, publishing an exaggerated account of his experiences in a book that contributed to the legend of El Dorado.

After Queen Elizabeth died in 1603, Raleigh was again imprisoned in the Tower, this time for allegedly being involved in the Main Plot against King James I, who was not favourably disposed toward him. In 1616, however, he was released in order to conduct a second expedition in search of El Dorado. This was unsuccessful and the Spanish outpost at San Thomé was ransacked by men under his command.

After his return to England he was arrested and, after a show trial held mainly to appease the Spanish after Raleigh’s attack of San Thomé, he was beheaded at Whitehall.

Sir Walter Raleigh & his son

The Raleigh Estate
Hole Farm

Tel: +44 (0)1803 722 340

Email: info@raleighestate.co.uk

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