To stand on Plymouth Hoe is to see the finest spectacle on our English coast, and to feel the thrill of something eternal in our race.
From the great heights of Devon the waters gather into two rivers which find their way to the sea and enfold in their arms this wondrous place that ever since we sailed the seas has meant so much to us. Drake and the Mayflower—it is enough; we have only to let our thoughts run back to the wonderful years when Drake was coming in and the Mayflower was going out.
She is the mother of cities, and her children are gathered far and wide. They have given her name to forty Plymouths in four corners of the earth. Her fame befits her splendour, for every traveller knows that she is beautiful to see. Her name is on all our tongues, for it belongs to history. Her memory lives with all who have passed this way, for the spectacle of this town with three communities in one, this city that rises on a rock 150 feet above the waves, is one of those few sights of the world that men do not forget. Like the Statue of Liberty, the Pyramids, or the Dome of St Paul’s, Nature has made her wonderful to see, and man has made her unforgettable.
Here life has been going on since the days before history. There were settlers here then, and it is known that the Phoenicians traded with them for tin. After them the Romans worked the tin mines and fished in these waters, and after the Romans the Saxons settled here. It was about 13 centuries ago, and they fought a great battle with the Danes at one end of the Sound. The little settlement of fisherfolk grew in numbers, and we know from written records that in Saxon days they built St Andrew’s Church, which has grown until today it dominates the Guildhall Square, and is one of the architectural sights of the city that has grown up round it. The church was centuries old when the town was given a charter for a market, and it was a town with generations of history that claimed representatives in the first English Parliament. In due course they sent to represent them that man of courage Sir Humphrey Gilbert, who founded our first colony, and that man of daring Sir John Hawkins, who founded the infamous
In sailing into Plymouth take care of the Shovel and Tinker rocks;
on the former is sixteen , on the latter seventeen feet.
The mark to sail in clear of them, is to keep Plymouth old church just open to the west of the citadel wall.
Sail in with this mark till you bring Withy hedge right up and down , and Drake’s island N.W. or open Mount Edgecombe , when you may anchor in six and seven fathom, coarse sand.
If bound for Hamoaze, take care of the Winter Rock (on which there is a beacon) that lies between Drake’s Island and the main.
Go between the rock and east part of the island, and give the island a good birth [sic]. To clear the German Rock, which lies about two-
Plymouth is two parishes called the .old town and the new, the houses all built of this marble and the slatt [slate] at the top look like lead and glisters ip the sun; there are no great houses in the town; the streetes are good and clean, there is a great many tho’ some are but narrow; they are mostly inhabited by seamen and those which have affaires on the sea, for here up to the town there is a depth of water for shipps of the first rate to ride; its great sea and dangerous
by reason of the severall points of land between which the sea runs up a great way, and there are severall little islands alsoe, all which beares the tydes hard one against the other; there are two keyes the one is a broad space which leads you up into the broad streete and is used in manner of an exchange for the merchants meeteing, for in this street alsoe is a fine cross and alsoe a long Market House set on stone pillars; there are several good conduits to carry the water to the town, which conveyance the famous Sir Francis Drake ( which did encompass the world in Queen Elizabeths days and landed safe at Plymouth) he gave this to the town; there are two churches in the town but nothing fine; I was in the best and saw only King Charles the First Picture at length at prayer just as its cut on the frontispiece of the Irenicum, this picture was drawn and given the Church when lie was in his troubles for some piece of service shown him; the altar •.lands in the Chancell or railed place, but it stands table wise the length and not up against the wall; the font was of marble; there are .( large Meetings of the Descenters in the town takeing in the Quakers and Anabaptists.