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'Discovery' Replica - Westenhanger Castle, Kent, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 05.660 E 001° 01.918
31U E 362189 N 5662157
Quick Description: This full-size replica of 'Discovery', built 1984, was a gift to mark the 402nd anniversary of the departure of three ships, one being the original 'Discovery', from London in 1606 That arrived in what is now Jamestown in May 1607.
Location: South East England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 5/3/2016 1:56:03 AM
Waymark Code: WMR2K5
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member DougK
Views: 0

Long Description:

A plaque alongside the hull of the replica tells us:

This replica of 'Discovery'
was officially handed to
Westenhanger Castle
by the
Jamestown UK Foundation
on Friday 19 December 2008
the 402nd anniversary of its historic departure
from London Docks bound for Jamestown, Virginia

This post at the Kent History Forum tells the story:

The Discovery, a full size replica of which can be found at Westenhanger Castle, was a pinnace of 20 tonnes built at the Blackwall shipyard in 1601. She had been ordered by Sir Thomas Smythe, who was the third son of ‘Customer’ Smythe of Westhanger Castle.

Sir Thomas was born in 1558 at Westenhanger. He was a very successful businessman and entrepreneur who had financed numerous trade ventures and voyages of exploration and had amassed a considerable fortune from commerce. He also held a number of official posts including Governor of the Muscovy and French companies and Special Ambassador to the Tsar of Russia. In 1600 he was Organizer of the East India Company and it was in this position that he ordered the construction of three new vessels, including Discovery, at a cost of £45 per tonne.

Discovery was used on at least six voyages from England in five years including, one in 1602, under the command of Capt. George Weymouth. Crewed by 13 men & boys she set sail for an 18 month voyage but this was cut short after a mutiny on board.

A year later she was sent on a voyage of exploration to the New World commanded by a William Brown. The course took them to Cape Cod, via the Azores and in three months they were back in Bristol with a cargo of native North American Sassafras trees. Then, between 1604-05, she made at least four voyages to try and find the North West Passage.

In 1606 Sir Thomas obtained a Royal Charter from King James I to establish the London Company with the purpose of settling a colony on the east coast of America. With the backing of the King and others keen to make their fortunes, Sir Thomas purchased the Discovery together with the 40 tonne vessel 'Godspeed' from the East India Company. These two ships, along with the chartered 100 tonne 'Susan Constant', left London on the 19th December 1606. On the 28th April 1607 107 English men and boys were sailing up the Chesapeake River. This intrepid group formed the first permanent English Settlement in the New World naming it Jamestown after their Sovereign.

Discovery remained at Chesapeake Bay whilst her sailing companions returned to England. She was used for fishing trips, exploratory voyages and trades with the local Powhatan Indians.

In 1609, under the command of Capt. Samual Argall, Discovery set sail for Bermuda to collect supplies but was forced to turn back. She returned to England in 1622 but little is known of her after that date.

In 1984 the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation built a full scale replica of Discovery and sailed it on the James River. In 2006, as part of the 400th Anniversary of Jamestown, the ship was brought over to the UK on the deck of RFA Fort Rosalie and then toured the country as part of the celebrations.

On the 19th December 2008, 402 years to the day of the original vessel setting sail from London, the replica Discovery was handed over to Westenhanger Castle.

(Source: ‘The Discovery at Westenhanger Castle’ visitors leaflet)

The Tall Ship blog also advises:

A replica of ‘Discovery’, one of the three ships that established the first English speaking colony in America, will formally be presented to Westenhanger Castle later on this week.

The ship will be given into the custody of the castle by the Jamestown UK Foundation, a charity which was set up to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, the first permanent English-speaking settlement in the New World.

The Chairman of the Jamestown UK Foundation, KCC Deputy Leader Alex King, will formally unveil a plaque to commemorate the handover. Attending the event will be other members of the foundation including Sir Robert Worcester KBE DL, the Lord Cornwallis OBE DL and Lady Cornwallis, the Rt Hon Michael Howard MP, a number of Kent Ambassadors and representatives from the US Embassy.

John Forge, the owner of the castle and Mark and Terry Whitling, who are distant descendents of Sir Thomas Smythe, will formally receive the ‘Discovery’.

Westenhanger Castle was the home of Sir Thomas Smythe, who obtained a Royal Charter in 1600 to set up the East India Company. He subsequently commissioned the construction of a number ships including ‘Discovery’.

The three ships left London on 19 December 1606 and arrived in Chesapeake Bay in April 1607. On 13 May 1607, the settlers landed in the area that went on to become Jamestown, Virginia.

A ‘Pocahontas’ mermaid sculpture designed by Georgia Mason and given to the people of Kent by the City of Norfolk, Virginia, will also be unveiled to take up permanent residence in the castle.

The well known Kent artist, Graham Clark, will also display his etching commemorating the 400th anniversary.

The handover event, which takes place exactly 402 years after the ships left London for the New World, also marks the closure of the UK’s commemorations of America’s 400th anniversary.

Country or International City that Gave the Gift: United States of America

Country or International City that Received the Gift: United Kingdom

Website Verifying this Item as a Gift from Another Country or International City: [Web Link]

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