The Family and Heirs of Sir Francis Drake
Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. IX, (January 1916 to January 1917), p. 32.
Oswald J. Reichel
Prepared by Michael Steer
Association member Reichel provides a positive, if brief review of Lady Elliott Drake’s book on her family’s history, and points to an error in the text referring to the location of the North Devon village of Burrington near Pennycross. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. This extract, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. 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. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. This extract, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. 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.
Note 32. "The Family and Heirs of Sir Francis Drake," by Lady Elliott Drake, 2 vols. (London: Elder &. Co., 191 1), is a book well worth perusal. Unlike many so-called "family histories," the object of which appears to be to glorify the family at the expense of truth, these volumes read like the work of an impartial outsider using members of the Drake family as pegs on which to display the political and economic history of the West country from the time of Queen Elizabeth to that of George IIL The display is very well set up and the reader's interest is never allowed to flag.
Sir Francis Drake, the founder of the family, was a really great man, with whom none of those after-mentioned can be compared, though most of them were among the best representatives of the times in which they lived. But Lady Drake is not led away by that fact to give to Sir Francis a lineage among the gods. His father, she tells us, was Edmund Drake, rector of Alpchurch, who most probably came of a yeoman stock settled in the neighbourhood of Tavistock.
She regrets that pedigree-makers do not distinguish, as they ought to do, between descents which are proven and descents which are conjectural. In Sir Francis' case the descent cannot be proved beyond his father. The social and political life of Devon is brightly and interestingly sketched, and Lady Drake is rarely caught tripping.
One little remark in a note on p.346 calls for correction. Sir Francis' forces are said in a contemporary account to have fallen on the enemies' quarter at "Burrington near the Tamar." Lady Drake says in a note, "Burrington is in the north of Devon, . . . There is no such place in or near the Tamar ? "The ordnance map, however, tells a different tale. The contemporary
scribe was quite correct. There is a Burrington in Weston Peveral, alias Pennycross tithing, some two miles from the Tamar; and this Burrington is the place referred to.
Oswald J. Reichel.