Golden Hind

Golden Hind

New Albion. Sir Francis Drake's ship "Golden Hind" - painting by Simon Kozhin (2008)
Name: Pelican, then Golden Hind(e)
Launched: 1577
Sponsored by: Queen Elizabeth I of England
Renamed: 1578 – Pelican to Golden Hind(e)
Fate: Disintegrated and broken up in late 1600s; two replicas exist
General characteristics
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

The Golden Hind was an English galleon best known for her 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.


  • History 1
  • Replicas 2
    • Replica in Essex 2.1
    • Replicas in Devon 2.2
    • Oceangoing replica 2.3
  • Other modern ships of the same name 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


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 the spring of 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 4,700%."[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.


Replica in Essex

A replica of Golden Hind was constructed at Adventure Island (amusement park), Southend-on-Sea, Essex. It was constructed from 1947 and opened in 1949 together with a waxworks. 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

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

A replica of Golden Hind has been permanently moored in the harbour of the sea port of Brixham in Devon () 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 destroyed in a storm in 1987, after which it was towed to Dartmouth and scrapped, and replaced with the current replica with a gallery.[11]

Oceangoing replica

A full-size replica of the ship, called Golden Hinde, was built by traditional handcraft in Appledore, North Devon, and was launched in 1973. 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. Between 1981 and 1984, she was berthed in England and was established as an educational museum, but in 1984–1985 she sailed around the British Isles and then crossed the Atlantic to the Caribbean. In 1986, she passed through the Panama Canal to sail on to Vancouver. In 1987, she began a tour of the US Pacific coast. In 1988, she passed back through the Panama Canal to visit Texas. In 1992 she returned home to tour the British Isles again.

The oceangoing Golden Hinde has been featured in several films. Since 1996 she has been berthed at St Mary Overie Dock, in Bankside, Southwark, London where she hosts visits from schools.

Other modern ships of the same name

For many years, a Great Lakes dry bulk carrier was named Golden Hind, in honour of the original ship. She was a steam turbine powered tanker built in Collingwood, Ontario, during 1951–1952. She sailed as Imperial Woodbend under the Canadian flag for Imperial Oil. Transformed during the winter of 1954–1955 when Imperial's need for her ended, she was converted to a 601.50' dry bulk carrier at Port Weller, Ontario. She resumed sailing for the Mohawk Navigation Company. Carrying primarily iron ore and grain cargoes, she sailed the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence Seaway for many years until the downturn in the North American steel industry and changing patterns in the grain trade spelled her end. Laid up throughout much of the early half of the 1980s due to lack of cargoes, the veteran ore carrier was finally sold for scrap in 1986 after making a handful of trips for the Groupe Desgagnes fleet.

The first-produced example of the Short Brothers G-class passenger flying boats produced just before World War II, for Imperial Airways in mid-1939, bearing the civil registration G-AFCI, was named Golden Hind in honour of Drake's ship.

See also


  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,  
  7. ^ John Sugden (1992), Sir Francis Drake, New York: Simon Schuster,  
  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 Pathe news 1964 retrieved 7 January 2013
  11. ^ Wreck of the Golden Hind retrieved 30 May 2013
  12. ^ Spokane Daily Chronicle May 10, 1975

External links

  • Golden Hinde museum
  • Mother Lode Musical Theatre: reenactments of the Drake-Miwok encounter in California
  • The Sea Cadet Training Ship Golden Hind, Plymouth