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Preface & Contents:

The Family and Heirs of Sir Francis Drake


Elizabeth Douglas Fuller-Eliott-Drake

London: Smith Elder & Co. 15 Waterloo Place, S.W., (1011) 2 vols. illus. 488pp.

Prepared by Michael Steer

This well researched book has no index, however, it treats in great detail the descendants of Sir Francis until 1662. This branch of the Drake family may properly be said to commence with Sir Francis, since no records of it exist earlier than his grandfather, Edmund Drake, who was possibly a member of a younger and obscure branch of the ancient Devon family. Francis Drake was ignorant of his ancestry and unable to trace his connection with the house of Drake. A complete genealogy is presented at An original copy of the text is held at the University of Toronto Library and a complete electronic copy may be accessed at:
Microsoft (MSN) has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.


A few years ago, a little book, entitled The Family of Sir Francis Drake was put together and privately printed by the Rev. Thomas Hervey. It consisted of a genealogy, the Memoranda of a Lady Drake, written in the reign of William and Mary, the reprint of a funeral sermon, and a few miscellaneous papers, some of which were new to me. Of these the Memoranda interested me the most, because they afforded a clue to the meaning of a bundle of eighteenth-century letters which had been preserved for the justification of one of the writers, yet without any accompanying explanation of the circumstances which had led to the correspondence.

As the story thus newly revealed seemed, from a family point of view, to be worth clearing up, I made some notes about it, to bind in with my copy of Mr. Hervey's book, intending to add thereto a few particulars respecting each successive Lady Drake her lineage, the amount of her fortune, and any personal details discoverable. It soon appeared, however, that the addenda would be out of proportion to the volume to be illustrated, wherefore, at the suggestion of those most interested in the matter, I abandoned that plan, and began a more comprehensive history of the Drakes of Buckland.

Of the great Sir Francis Drake I have said little, abler pens than mine having paid the tribute that was due to him; but I have tried to put on record something of the lives and characters of those who carried on his name, men who were useful in their generation, not afraid of responsibility in dangerous times, and willing always to spend and be spent in the service of their country.

In this narrative there is of necessity frequent allusion to politics and to public events, but, as I have no pretension to write history, I have been careful to quote from original sources or from the works of well-known authorities. With all its shortcomings, I present the book confidently to those for whom it was primarily intended, knowing that they are well aware of the difficulties under which it has been written. Other readers may reasonably be more critical, and from these I ask their kindliest judgment, seeing that I acknowledge my limitations and claim no merit for my work but that it is truthful. If there are mistakes, they certainly are not wilful ones.

I wish to offer the grateful thanks I owe to those who have been so good as to help me ; to Sir Mortimer Durand, who, when Ambassador at Madrid, enabled me, through the British Embassy, to obtain the official copy of an important Spanish document which I could not otherwise have had ; to Count de Salis, for procuring further documents for me and for inquiries made on my behalf in South America and elsewhere, as well as for his great kindness in making the excellent translations printed in the Appendix ; to Mr. Julian Corbett, for assistance and helpful advice ; to the Rev. Thomas Hervey, for permission to make use of the contents of his book ; and to Mr. Pleydell Bouverie, for allowing me to look through and make extracts from his very interesting MSS. at Brymore.

E. F. E. D.

          Chapter I Page 3          
          Chapter II Page 23          
          Chapter III 44          
          Chapter IV 61          
          Chapter V 89          
          Chapter VI 108          
THOMAS DRAKE, 1585-1606
          Chapter I Page 131          
          Chapter II 157          
          Chapter III 174          
          Chapter I Page 197          
          Chapter II 213          
          Chapter III 230          
          Chapter I Page 249          
          Chapter II 282          
          Chapter III 320          
          Chapter IV 340          
          Chapter V 374          
          Chapter VI 403          
          Chapter VII 419