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The contrasting fates of two properties associated with Sir Francis Drake….

 

Crowdale Farm, Tavistock, Devon - birthplace of Sir Francis Drake

Crowndale Farm, Tavistock, Devon, birthplace in 1540 of Sir Francis Drake.

The recent concern https://www.metro.news/sir-francis-drakes-birthplace-at-risk-of-being-lost-forever/1243118/ gradual disintegration of Sir Francis Drake’s birthplace, the Grade II listed Crowndale Farm, in Tavistock, Devon, where he came into the world in 1540. It is unbelievable that such neglect has been allowed to take place. What is the point of listing a property, and then not providing the owner with the funds to restore/protect it? Not all owners are rolling in money. And what is the point of listing something at all, if that’s the end of it? Listing would appear to = slow demise.

Crowndale is not the only building associated with Sir Francis Drake, nor is the Gatcombe associated with the present Prince of Wales the only place of that name in Gloucestershire. There is another Gatcombe, a tiny place on the Forest of Dean side of the River Severn. Most people will have heard of the prince’s Gatcombe, but not this other one.

Here is an extract from Riversprite: A Trow’s Story, by Roger Poole:-

“The ancient town of Lydney is situated a few miles north of ~Chepstow on the Forest of Dean side of the River Severn. It has a history that goes back many centuries. Iron Age tribes lived and worked here, as did the Romans, but as a port it grew maninly during the 18th and 19th centuries.

“One of the main cargoes that went through the harbour was coal from the pits in the Forest of Dean, although large quantities of timber and iron ore also passed through the port and on across the Severn Sea.

“Before that, In Tudor times, ship-building was an important business in the area, Warships for the King’s navy were built here, using oak and other timber from the Forest of Dean. Sir Francie Drake lived for a time at nearby Gatcombe, and Sir Walter Raleigh is said to have done business with local timber merchants while staying in the tiny hamlet of Purton, a couple of miles upstream….”

If you go to https://www.sungreen.co.uk/gatcombe/severn-fishermen.html, you will find a very old photograph of Severn fishermen (see below), and in between them the distant white rectangle of Drake’s house.

Old View of Gatcombe on the River Severn

Severn fishermen on “Waveridge Sands”. The Old Severn Bridge pub is on the left, the Purton ferry staging is on the water’s edge and between the two men with the Lave nets is Drake’s House.

And if you go to https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-66396161.html you will see much more about the same house. Doubt is cast upon the connection with Sir Francie, but nevertheless, the legend is very strong, on both sides of the Severn.

Drake's House, Gatcombe, Lydney

Drake’s House, Gatcombe, Lydney, Glos.

I have drawn attention to this house on the Severn as a contrast to the fate that is being allowed to befall Crowndale Farm in Devon. Maybe the present appearance of Drake’s House isn’t to all tastes, not everyone likes pink, or wishes to live right next to a main railway line, but at least the house is still standing and still loved. Still there for future generations to appreciate.

The same should be able to be said of Crowndale Farm!

 

 

 

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