Friday, October 21, 2011

The Armada and Putney

So how could Putney be linked to the Spanish Armada?

There must, of course, be so many ways. It's a bit like saying what's the connection between Putney and WW2: you wouldn't know where to start.

However there was one in particular worth mentioning, Queen Elizabeth's spy chief lived there. Sir Francis Walsingham controlled a network of spies across the continent, feeding the English with vital information as to the status of preparations.

He would retire to peace to his manor house at Barn Elm's just upriver from Putney, where now you will find two canoe clubs, one sailing club and a rowing club. There he'd plot, plan and scheme how England would defend itself.

And there he entertained his Queen and their court in May 1589, the year after the Armada. And no doubt they toasted their victory in fine wines, though maybe not Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

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