Published Jan 2010
To many Englishmen of his day Sir Walter Raleigh was the greatest of heroes. To others he was an arrogant liar, who deserved every one of his thirteen years in the Tower of London.
Soldier, scholar, explorer, parliamentarian, reputed atheist, patron of poets and himself a fine poet, Raleigh is the epitome of the English Renaissance man. He was also a brilliant operator in the sharkpool of Elizabethan court politics, being for many years the Queens favourite – until he got married without Elizabeth’s permission which caused the Queen to transfer her affections to younger men. ‘He hath been a star at which the world has gazed,’ said the Attorney General when Raleigh was finally condemned to execution in 1618. ‘But stars may fall.’