II. The Bark Talbot

Talbot is the Earl of Shrewsbury.

In 1581/2 another expedition was planned under the command of Frobisher. But Martin Frobisher laid down his command in March 1582 the reasons of which will be examined in a later post. Edward Fenton took over. Nelson writes:

"Instead, the * Edward Bonaventura * (named after Edward VI) came under the control of Fenton, along with a galleon called the * Leicester * (formerley the Ughtrede) and the * Talbot *." (p. 189). As his source Nelson gives Matus' * Shakespeare, in Fact *.

This is unfair. And is unwise.

It is unfair because the original source is certainly Capt. B. Ward in his biography of the 17th Earl of Oxford: "There were three ships: the galleon * Ughtrede *(renamed the Leicester), the * Edward Bonaventure *, and the bark * Talbot *." Lo here! An Oxfordian who write the name * Ughtrede * in italics, while Nelson omitted that. Something for the Golden Book of Records?

It is unwise because Nelson missed the opportunity to correct Ward. Had Nelson been aware of Ward's error, he would certainly have quoted Ward and not Matus as his source. A basic book on the Fenton expedition, not available to Ward in the 1920s but available to Nelson (and Matus), is: * The Troublesome Voyage of Captain Edward Fenton - 1582-1583 *, ed. for The Hakluyt Society by Eva G.R. Taylor, Cambridge: UP, 1959. The bark * Talbot * was originally proposed by the earl of Shrewsbury who later withdrew his proposal and preferred a share of £200. Possibly Shrewsbury's withdrawal of the * Talbot * was due to John Hawkins. Fenton's ships were: * Galleon Leicester *, * Edward Bonaventure *, and the barks * Francis *(named after Drake) and * Elizabeth *(Taylor, p. xliii).

But Nelson did not read Taylor. It is not in his bibliography. Sane rules of scholarship would have required that he read it. And yet he still could have avoided the repetition of Ward's and Matus' error. Another book is listed in his bibliography, David B. Quinn. * Voyages Humphrey Gilbert *. In Vol. I, on pages 78-9), Nelson could have learnt that the bark * Talbot * was still in England after Fenton had set sail:

"Before 14 May he had approached Thomas Bawdewyn, the earl of Shrewsbury's factor in London to try to raise £100 from the earl. In his reply on 20 May Shrewsbury suggested first of all that instead of contributing money he would be willing to allow Carleill to take his ship, the * Bark Talbot *, with him, if John Hawkins, who had apparently some interest in the vessel, agreed. While he was writing he received a further letter from Bawdewyn, and one from John Hawkins himself, about the Carleill venture. These made him change his mind and offer to contribute a hundred marks in money instead of the ship." The same tactic as for Fenton's expedition.

Tom Veal concludes his review of Nelson's book: "It is not Professor Nelson's fault that his subject's weaknesses overshadow his virtues or that, born with every prospect of success, he squandered his opportunities, leaving to posterity an interesting example of how to not to succeed in the Elizabethan Age."

I conclude this post:

"It is not the Earl of Oxford's fault that Prof. Nelson squandered his opportunity to correct the Oxfordian B. Ward."

And not only this.

© Robert Detobel