Monday, December 15, 2008

Replica of Discovery handed over to Westenhanger Castle

From Traditional Boast and Tall Ships Magazine

A replica of ‘Discovery’, one of the three ships that established the first English speaking colony in America, will formally be presented to Westenhanger Castle later on this week.

The ship will be given into the custody of the castle by the Jamestown UK Foundation, a charity which was set up to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, the first permanent English-speaking settlement in the New World.

The Chairman of the Jamestown UK Foundation, KCC Deputy Leader Alex King, will formally unveil a plaque to commemorate the handover. Attending the event will be other members of the foundation including Sir Robert Worcester KBE DL, the Lord Cornwallis OBE DL and Lady Cornwallis, the Rt Hon Michael Howard MP, a number of Kent Ambassadors and representatives from the US Embassy.

John Forge, the owner of the castle and Mark and Terry Whitling, who are distant descendents of Sir Thomas Smythe, will formally receive the ‘Discovery’.

Discovery Westenhanger Castle was the home of Sir Thomas Smythe, who obtained a Royal Charter in 1600 to set up the East India Company. He subsequently commissioned the construction of a number ships including ‘Discovery’.

The three ships left London on 19 December 1606 and arrived in Chesapeake Bay in April 1607. On 13 May 1607, the settlers landed in the area that went on to become Jamestown, Virginia.

A ‘Pocahontas’ mermaid sculpture designed by Georgia Mason and given to the people of Kent by the City of Norfolk, Virginia, will also be unveiled to take up permanent residence in the castle.

The well known Kent artist, Graham Clark, will also display his etching commemorating the 400th anniversary.

The handover event, which takes place exactly 402 years after the ships left London for the New World, also marks the closure of the UK’s commemorations of America’s 400th anniversary.

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