Sir Walter Ralegh



Sir Walter Ralegh is buried in St. Margaret's Church next to Westminster Abbey, London, England. (The parish church of Parliament).

Burial Plaque of Walter Ralegh
Photograph by Mike Reed

In 1603 Ralegh was implicated in the Bye plot to oust James I. He was initially sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered but this was transmuted to 13 years imprisonment. However, he was released from the tower in order to undertake a voyage to Guiana to hunt for gold and silver mines. Unfortunately, his voyage was unsuccessful and when he returned, he was subsequently beheaded.

His head was embalmed and given to his wife who kept it with her at all times until she died 29yrs later. Their son, Carew, took care of it until his death in 1666. It was finally buried with his son at West Horsley in Surrey.

Much of Ralegh's poetry was written in the Tower of London. ( He was locked up there with his family from 1603-1616.)

Today there are many doubts concerning the authenticity of Ralegh's poetry. Poems such as Walsingham and The Passionate Man's Pilgrimage  - traditionally attributed to him - are now thought to have been written by another poet. However, An Epitaph upon Sir Philip Sidney is believed to be genuine.

Ralegh also famously wrote  The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd responding to The Passionate Shepherd to His Love by Christopher Marlowe.

Even such is Time, which takes in trust
Our youth, our joys, and all we have,
And pays us but with age and dust;
Who in the dark and silent grave,
When we have wandered all our ways,
Shuts up the story of our days:
And from which earth, and grave, and dust,
The Lord shall raise me up, I trust.


(This was written by Ralegh the night before he was beheaded, and left at the Tower of London Gate-House).

Read more of Ralegh's poetry






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