On this day in 1586, Sir Francis Drake was feted in the Middle Temple on his return from the New World – where he had been busy “privateering” (plundering Spanish possessions).
Drake is also famous as the first person to circumnavigate the globe, between 1577-80, aboard the “Golden Hind(e)”. On April 4th, 1581, Elizabeth I visited his ship, which had been “drawn into a creek … at Deptford as a perpetual memorial for having circuited round about the whole earth”, and “consecrated it with great ceremonie, pompe and magnificence eternally to be remembered”; and knighted him. The ship remained at Deptford for about 100 years, until it started to disintegrate and had to be broken up. A plaque on the water-front there marks the site and commemorates the event. There is a modern reconstuction of it in St Mary Overie Dock in Southwark.