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The Legends, Folklore and Ghosts of Sir Francis Drake

Sir Francis Drake, a stipple engraving.

Drake's Ball

Location: Combe Sydenham (Somerset) - Sydenham Hall
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Still present
Further Comments: Sir Frances Drake's future bride was now about to marry another man, when this cannon ball rolled down the aisle - Drake had fired it from hundreds of miles away to let his loved one know that she was not forgotten. The ball has resided here since, and it is said that if taken away, it always makes its own way back.

Large Black Hound

Location: Dartmoor (Devon) - General area
Type: Shuck
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Said to have inspired the famous 'Hound of the Baskervilles', several phantoms are held to blame for this creature (including Drake (for his dealings with the devil) and Richard Cabell (a man so evil that he now hunts children with his devil dogs!)).

Wish Pack

Location: Dartmoor (Devon) - Marchant's Cross
Type: Shuck
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Led by Drake, this pack of hounds patrol the area.

A pencil sketch by Wayne Lowden of a ghostly crying woman.

Crying Mother

Location: Exeter (Devon) - Martin's Lane, general area
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A weeping woman waits along this lane at night - her daughter ran away to follow Sir Francis Drake on his last voyage, and never returned.

Sir Francis Drake

Location: Exeter (Devon) - Ship Inn, Martin's Lane
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The inn claims to have once banned Drake from coming in, as his behaviour once drunk was intolerable - maybe this is the reason he returns here...


Location: Exton (Devon) - Nutwell Court
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: While the house is haunted by Sir Francis Drake, the road outside is also populated by the ghosts of a horse and rider. Eliot Drake broke his neck in a fall while racing, but now continues to ride.

An old woodcut showing a coven of witches standing on the edge of a cliff, summoning a storm which is sinking a ship in the distance.

Drake and his Witches

Location: Plymouth (Devon) - Devil's Point (west of docks)
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Sir Francis Drake and the rest of his coven stood here and summoned a storm to destroy the Spanish Amanda - their chants can still be heard today.

Drake's Water

Location: Plymouth (Devon) - General area
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: When the town required a safe and plentiful water supply, Sir Francis Drake rode out to Dartmoor and recited a spell. Water sprung up and followed Drake as he returned to Plymouth.


Location: Tavistock (Devon) - Road between town and Plymouth
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Pulled by black headless horses, Sir Frances Drake drives a dark hearse down these roads whenever his drum is heard to beat (see Yelverton (Devon) entry).

Sir Francis Drake, engraving by C de Passe, 1620.

Drake's Drum

Location: Yelverton (Devon) - Buckland Abbey
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Whenever England is in Danger
Further Comments: Sir Francis Drake's drum can be found in the Abbey - with Drake's soul contained within. The instrument is said to beat when England is in danger (last heard in 1939), although was said to have been heard beating when the German fleet surrendered on 21 November 1918. Another legend has the foundation stones of the abbey being moved each night by the Devil, though Drake outwitted him, ensuring the abbey's construction could continue unhindered.

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