Source 3a

Part one of a letter from John Hawkins to Francis Walsingham (SP 12/213)


my bounden duty humbly reme[m]bred unto yo[u]r good Lo[rd] sh[ip]. I have not busyed my sealf to write often to yo[u]r Lo[rd] sh[ip] in this great cause, for that my Lo[rd] Admyrall, dothe continuallye advertise the manor of all things that dothe passe. So doe others that understande the state of all things as well as my sealf.

we mett w[i]th this fleet, somewhat to the westwarde of Plymouth upon sondaye in the morning, being the 21 of Julye wheare we had some smale fight withe the[m] in the after none. By the cominge aboarde one of the other of the spaniards, a great shipe a Biscane[r], spent hir formast, & boxsprite, which was left by the fleet in the sea, and so taken up by S[i]r ffrauncis Drake the next morninge.

The same sondaye ther was by a fyer Chauncing by a barell of powder a great Biscane spoyled and abandoned, w[hi]ch my Lo[rd] tooke up and sent awaye.

The tuesday following athwarte of portland, we had a sharpe and long fight w[i]th them, wherein we spent a great parte of our powder and shott, so as it was not thought good to deale w[i]th the[m] any more, till that was releved.

The thrusdaye followinge by the occasion of the schateringe of one of the great ships fro[m] the fleet, w[hi]ch we hoped to have cutt of, ther grew a hot fraye, wherein some store of powder was spent, and after that liteII done till we came neere to Caliis, wheare the fleet of spaine Ankered and our fleet by them, and because they should not be in peace, ther to refresh ther water, or to have conference w[i]th those of the Duke of Parmas partie, my Lo[rd] Admyrall w[i]th fyring of ships, determined to remove them, as he did, and put the[m] to the seas, In w[hi]ch broile the Cheife galliasse spoyled hir rother, and so rowed ashore neere the towne of Callis, wheare she was possessed w[i]th of our men, but so agrounde, as she could not be brought awaye.

That morning being mondaye the 29 of Julie we folowed the spaniards & all that daye had w[i]th the[m] a longe and great figtht, wherein ther was great valure shewed generally of our company in this Battaile, ther was spent very much of o[u]r powder and shot, and so the winde begane to growe westarlye, a fresh gale and the Spaniards put the[m]

« Return to God blew and they were scattered

3. The dates mentioned in this account are based on an old calendar which is slightly different from the one we use now. These events took place at the end of July and first week of August according to our calendar.

  • According to Hawkins, what was the main problem for the English fleet in the battle near Portland?
  • Why was the ‘fyring of ships’ a turning point in the fighting?
  • Does Hawkins think that the English have a chance to beat the Spanish Armada?
  • What is causing the biggest problem to the Spanish ships?
  • Does Hawkins seem confident that the Spanish have been defeated?
  • Why did the English chase the Spanish as they sailed towards Scotland?