Walter Raleigh in popular culture

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man smoking a very long pipe
Raleigh's First Pipe in England, 1859

Sir Walter Raleigh (c. 1554 – 29 October 1618) was an English gentleman, writer, poet, soldier, courtier, spy, and explorer, well known for popularising tobacco in England.

In fiction[edit]

  • He is one of the principal characters in the historical novel The Grove of Eagles by Winston Graham.
  • He is a character in Gloriana's Torch, the third of the Elizabethan spy thrillers by Patricia Finney.
  • He is the main character in the historical novel The Voyage of the Destiny by Robert Nye.


  • In late 1940s to early 1950s, actor and comedian Andy Griffith appeared as Sir Walter Raleigh with other cast members in the stage play The Lost Colony.[2]

Other media[edit]

  • Raleigh is a playable character in the video game Jamestown.[6]
  • According to 1066 and All That, James I, with his "logical and tidy mind" had Raleigh executed "for being left over from the previous reign."
  • Bob Newhart's monologue "Introducing Tobacco to Civilisation" takes the form of a telephone conversation between "Nutty Walt" Raleigh and a sceptical business associate.
  • Raleigh Cigarettes were a popular brand during the 1950s and 1960s [7] as was Sir Walter Raleigh Tobacco during the 20th century.[8]

In music[edit]


Raleigh allegedly laid his cloak over a puddle so Queen Elizabeth I would not get her feet wet.[12] The story is generally considered to be apocryphal.[13]