Golden Hind

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"Golden Hinde" redirects here. For the Canadian mountain, see Golden Hinde (mountain).
Golden Hinde, a modern replica
Name: Pelican
Launched: 1577
Sponsored by: Queen Elizabeth I of England
Renamed: Golden Hind(e) (1578)
Fate: Disintegrated and broken up in late 1600s; two replicas exist
General characteristics
Type: Galleon
Tonnage: 100–150 tons
Displacement: 300 tons
Length: 102 ft (31 m) on deck
Beam: 20 ft (6.1 m)
Draught: 9 ft (2.7 m)
Propulsion: Sail; Wind
Speed: 8 knots (15 km/h)
Complement: 80–85
Armament: 22 guns
Armour: None
Notes: Sail area: 386 m²

Golden Hind was an English galleon best known for her privateering circumnavigation of the globe between 1577 and 1580, captained by Sir Francis Drake. She was originally known as Pelican, but was renamed by Drake mid-voyage in 1578, in honour of his patron, Sir Christopher Hatton, whose crest was a golden 'hind' (a female deer). Hatton was one of the principal sponsors of Drake's world voyage.


Golden Hind at Deptford 1581

In 1577, Queen Elizabeth chose Sir Francis Drake as the leader of an expedition intended to pass around South America through the Strait of Magellan and to explore the coast that lay beyond. The queen's support was advantageous; Drake had official approval to benefit himself and the queen as well as to cause the maximum damage to the Spaniards. This would eventually culminate in the Anglo–Spanish War. Before setting sail, Drake met the queen face-to-face for the first time and she said to him, "We would gladly be revenged on the King of Spain for divers injuries that we have received."[1] The explicit object was to "find out places meet to have traffic." Drake, however, acted as a privateer, with unofficial support from Queen Elizabeth.[2]

He set sail in December 1577 with five small ships, manned by 164 men, and reached the Brazilian coast in early 1578. Drake's flagship, Pelican, which he renamed Golden Hinde, displaced only about 100 tons.[3]

On 1 March 1579, now in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Ecuador, Golden Hind challenged and captured the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de la Concepción. This galleon had the largest treasure captured to that date: over 360,000 pesos.[4] The six tons of treasure took six days to transship.[5]

On 26 September 1580, Francis Drake sailed his ship into Plymouth Harbour with only 56 of the original crew of 80 left aboard.[6] Despite his piratical conduct on his voyages, Queen Elizabeth I herself went aboard Golden Hind, which was lying at Deptford in the Thames Estuary, and personally bestowed a knighthood on him;[7] her share of the treasure came to almost £160,000: "enough to pay off her entire foreign debt and still have £40,000 left over to invest in a new trading company for the Levant. Her return and that of other investors came to £47 for every £1 invested, or a total return of 4700%."[8]

After Drake's circumnavigation, Golden Hind was maintained for public exhibition in Deptford. This is the earliest known example of a ship being maintained for public display because of her historic significance. Golden Hind remained there for nearly 100 years before she eventually rotted away and was finally broken up.

A table, known as the cupboard (pronounced "cup-board"), in the Middle Temple Hall (in London) is reputed to have been made from the wood of Golden Hind, as is a chair in the Great Hall, Buckland Abbey, Devon. Upon the cupboard is placed the roll of members of Middle Temple, which new members sign when they are called to the Bar. The ship's lantern also hangs in the vestibule of Middle Temple Hall.[citation needed]

The Pelican Inn in Gloucester is just outside the Cathedral precinct and opposite the ruins of St Oswald’s Priory. It appears in licensing records by 1679 and claims to be constructed using timbers from the Golden Hind.[citation needed]


Replica in Essex[edit]

A replica of Golden Hind was constructed at Peter Pan's Playground (now Adventure Island (amusement park)), Southend-on-Sea, Essex. It was constructed from 1947 and opened in 1949 together with a waxworks. It was popular at first, but by 1992 attendances had dropped; rising maintenance costs together with the need for major renovation to the wooden structure caused its closure in 1997. The ship was replaced by a replica of Blackbeard's Queen Anne's Revenge. This ship was demolished in 2013.[9]

Replicas in Devon[edit]

The first replica in Brixham, 1968
The second replica in Brixham

A tourist attraction replica of Golden Hind has been permanently moored in the harbour of the sea port of Brixham in Devon (50°23′48″N 3°30′46″W / 50.39667°N 3.51278°W / 50.39667; -3.51278) since 1963 following its use in the TV series Sir Francis Drake, which was filmed in and around the bays of Torbay and Dartmouth. The replica ship used in the TV series cost £25,000 to construct and had no gallery.[10] The ship was not full size and sunk whilst under tow in 1987, after which it was towed to Dartmouth and scrapped. It was replaced by the current replica, which despite claiming to be full size, is not. Based on the hull of a steel barge, it has no gun deck and is not sea-going. [11]

Oceangoing reconstruction of The Golden Hinde[edit]

Main article: Golden Hinde (1973)

A full-size reconstruction of the ship Golden Hinde was built by traditional handcraft in Appledore, North Devon and launched in 1973. Golden Hinde was the result of 3 years research and construction. Since then she has travelled more than 140,000 miles (225,000 km). She sailed from Plymouth on her maiden voyage in late 1974, arriving on May 8, 1975 [12] in San Francisco. In 1979 she sailed to Japan to make the movie Shogun, after which she returned to the UK having completed a circumnavigation. Between 1981 and 1984, she was berthed in England and was established as an educational museum. In 1984–85 she sailed around the British Isles and then crossed the Atlantic to St Thomas in the Caribbean. In 1986, she passed through the Panama Canal to sail on to Vancouver where she was the main attraction in the Marine Plaza at Expo86. In 1987, she began a tour of US coastal cities spending two years on the Pacific coast. In late 1988 she passed back through the Panama Canal to continue port visits on the Gulf and East Coasts of the USA. In 1992 she returned home to the UK and spent the next 4 years visiting ports in Europe. Since 1996 she has been berthed at St Mary Overie Dock, in Bankside, Southwark, London where she is open to the public and hosts a range of educational programmes.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sir Francis Drake" by Lord Simon Fitz Tomas
  2. ^ Kelsey, Harry, Sir Francis Drake; The Queen's Pirate, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1998, ISBN 0-300-07182-5
  3. ^ Cummins, John, Francis Drake: The Lives of a Hero, 1996, Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0-312-16365-7
  4. ^ To Rule the Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World (2004) Herman, A. Harper Collins, New York ISBN 0-06-053424-9 p.88
  5. ^ To Rule the Waves: How t Modern World (2004) Herman, A. Harper Collins, New York ISBN 0-06-053424-9 p.94
  6. ^ Turner, -Michael (2005), In Drake's Wake — The Early Voyages, Paul Mould Publishing, ISBN 1-904959-21-0 
  7. ^ John Sugden (1992), Sir Francis Drake, New York: Simon Schuster, ISBN 0-671-75863-2 
  8. ^ To Rule the Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World (2004) Herman, A. Harper Collins, New York ISBN 0-06-053424-9 p.94
  9. ^ Hind, Golden. "Southend Timeline". Retrieved 15 July 2014. 
  10. ^ British Pathé. "Golden Hind". Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  11. ^ Dartmouth - The Wreck of the Golden Hind 1987. YouTube. 10 September 2010. Retrieved May 30, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Spokane Daily Chronicle - Google News Archive Search". 
  13. ^ Jenkins, Philippa (4 April 2013). "Replica Golden Hinde Celebrates 40th Anniversary". North Devon Journal. Retrieved 27 December 2015. 

External links[edit]