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Cavendish, Thomas, & George -- 1585-1586  military colony - Associated with venture, not necessarily passengers


Raleigh's First Colony, 1585-86
Raleigh sent a colony of 108 persons to Roanoke Island. The expedition, commanded by Raleigh's cousin, Sir Richard Grenville, sailed from Plymouth, England, on April 9, 1585, in seven ships, the largest of which was of 140 tons' burthen.

Included in the group of ship captains and colonists were Philip Amadas and Simon Ferdinando of the expedition of the previous year; Thomas Cavendish, then on his first great voyage but destined to be the third circumnavigator of the globe; Grenville's half-brother, John Arundell, and brother-in-law, John Stukeley; and other Raleigh cousins and connections, among them Richard Gilbert, a Courtenay, a Prideaux, Ralph Lane, and Anthony Rowse, a friend of Drake's. There were an artist, or illustrator, John White; a scientist, named Thomas Hariot; and, among the humbler folk, an Irishman, Darby Glande or Glaven. The two Indians, Wanchese and Manteo, returned to America on this voyage.

Thomas is named in the records and his position known, but George is not mentioned by name and possibly only connected to the project because he helped financially supported it. Further research is needed here. Were they related? How?

Thomas's ship was the 50-tun Elizabeth, one of the seven ships used. It was commanded and outfitted by Thomas, but  it is not known if he owned the ship. It is doubtful he stayed with the military colony.

Write up extracted from: 

Cavendish Research File

Cavendish, Thomas, & George -- 1585-1586  military colony - Associated with venture, not necessarily passengers


From Roberta Estes:


After working with the names of these early colonists for several years I've begun to imagine what some of them looked like. There are portraits or engravings of Raleigh, Drake, Cavendish, Grenville, and perhaps a few of the others who are fairly well known. I also discovered that portraits of Edward Gorges and David Williams exist and that a portrait at Trinity College, Oxford, may be of Thomas Hariot.


Thomas Cavendish is nearly always given special mention in accounts of the Roanoke colonists and it is generally implied that he is famous and widely known. Perhaps so, but I had to "read up" on him to get the facts. His chief claim to fame is based on the fact that he sailed around the world in 1586, the year after he visited Roanoke. For Grenville's voyage to Roanoke in 1585 he supplied and commanded a ship, perhaps as a sort of training period for his circumnavigation. In 1591 he sailed again on what was to have been a second voyage around the world, but he died at sea in June of the following year.


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