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Sir Richard Grenville



Sir Richard Grenville (1542 - 1591) was an Elizabethan Era sailor, soldier and explorer who was famed for his voyages to the Roanoke Islands and the Azores. He was cousin to Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Francis Drake.

However he was far more famous for his death at the hands of the full force of the Spanish Armada which he chose to take on with a single galleon which some regard as an act of seamless bravery while others denounce as suicidal foolishness.

Early Years:

Grenville was born in Clifton House and was brought up in Devon. He was related to both Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Francis Drake. By 1566 he had his first taste of the military in Hungary. He was made the sheriff of Cork in Ireland the centre of the Desmond Rebellions led by James Fitzmaurice Fitzgerald.

There was a time when Fitzmaurice, who had ransacked the town of Cork during the rebellion had demanded that Grenville hand over his wife along with all the prisoners that the British had taken captive.

Richard Grenville: The Explorer

Sir Richard Grenville was made admiral of the fleet of British ships that brought the first settlers to Roanoke Islands to establish a colony in 1585. He was entrusted with the task of organizing the defences of Devon and Cornwall during the anticipated attack by the Spanish Armada.

Richard Grenville : Death and Legacy

Grenville was handed command of HMS revenge which was considered a naval masterpiece at that time. Under the admiralship of Thomas Howard, Grenville was commissioned the command of a squadron to plunder the treasure fleets of Spain. Unfortunately this move which was anticipated by the Spanish was met by a larger force of the Armada waiting for them.

In the end Grenville decided to face the larger force despite Howard retreating. The HMS Revenge and its crew fought hard sinking 16 Spanish ships. However eventually the crew surrendered and Sir Grenville died of his wounds a few days later.

   
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