Sir Walter Raleigh
(1554-1618)

Died aged c. 64

Sir Walter Raleigh (/ˈrɔːli/, /ˈræli/, or /ˈrɑːli/; circa 1554 – 29 October 1618) was an English landed gentleman, writer, poet, soldier, politician, courtier, spy, and explorer. He was cousin to Sir Richard Grenville and younger half-brother of Sir Humphrey Gilbert. He is also well known for popularising tobacco in England. Raleigh was born to a Protestant family in Devon, the son of Walter Raleigh and Catherine Champernowne. Little is known 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 the Siege of Smerwick. Later, he became a landlord of property confiscated from the native Irish. He rose rapidly in the favour of Queen Elizabeth I and was knighted in 1585. Raleigh was instrumental in the English colonisation of North America and was granted a royal patent to explore Virginia, which paved the way for future English settlements. In 1591, he secretly married Elizabeth Throckmorton, one of the Queen's ladies-in-waiting, without 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 being involved in the Main Plot against King James I, who was not favourably disposed toward him. In 1616, he was released to lead a second expedition in search of El Dorado. This was unsuccessful, and men under his command ransacked a Spanish outpost. He returned to England and, to appease the Spanish, was arrested and executed in 1618. Raleigh was one of the most notable figures of the Elizabethan era. In 2002, he was featured in the BBC poll of the 100 Greatest Britons.

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Commemorated on 2 plaques

Eagle House. A fine Queen Anne house built in the dutch style, in 1706, probably for Ferando Mendez, a Royal Physician. The land was originally owned by Walter Raleigh. In Victorian times, it was part of the Holborn Union Workhouse School

224 London Road, Mitcham CR4 3HD, London, United Kingdom where they owned land

Raleigh's Seat Sir Walter Raleigh built this stone seat into the wall beside the road so he could sit here and look over his gardens, while at the same time keeping an eye on the traffic. The road was the main route to Dorchester until 1856 when the present New Road was built. Raleigh learnt how to smoke tobacco from the Red Indians and there is a story that Sir Walter was sitting here enjoying his pipe, when a servant approached with a jug of ale. Thinking his master was on fire he threw the ale over him!

Raleigh's Seat - Sherborne Castle & Lakeside Gardens, Sherborne, United Kingdom where they built this stone seat into the wall beside the road