Sir Francis Drake is often regarded as a hero to the English, and a pirate to the Spanish. He reputation in Spain earned him the name El Draque, or the Dragon and the Spanish King Philip ll placed a bounty of 20,000 ducats on his head—the equivalent of $6.5 million today.
He would attack Spanish ships, looting their treasure, and would raid both Spanish and Portuguese ports. Elizabeth l knighted him in 1581. His prowess at sea was nothing short of extraordinary.
The Drum That Beats When England Is In Need
Despite Drake’s active life upon the world’s seas, the legend that he is most remembered for is connected to a snare drum that he sailed with for years. Legend has it, that the drum, emblazoned with Drake’s coat of arms circumnavigated the world with him. He also took the drum into battle on numerous occasions.
Shortly before he died, off the coast of Panama in 1596, he ordered that this drum be returned to England where in times of trouble it should be beaten.
Drake said that when his country needed him the most, he would rise again and come to defend it.
After Drake’s death, his drum was returned to his family home, Buckland Abbey located in Buckland Monachorum, Devon. The drum is now on display at the Abbey, under the care of the National Trust.
It’s said that just as Sir Francis Drake had foretold, the drum has been heard on more than one occasion. It’s said that it was heard when the Mayflower left Plymouth for America in 1620. It was also heard when Napoleon was brought to Plymouth Harbour as a prisoner. Then finally, the drum again sounded when the First and Second World wars began. The drum was most recently heard in 1940 at the Dunkirk evacuation during World War ll.
The Haunting of Buckland House
The house built on the site of the former abbey was sold to Sir Francis Drake in 1580. He made Buckland his home after returning to England after his three-year circumnavigation of the globe on The Golden Hind.
Situated near Yelverton and under the ownership of the National Trust, Buckland Abbey is 700 years old and was originally a Cistercian abbey. The house was renowned as the home of Sir Richard Grenville the Younger and also Sir Francis Drake. Drake is said to still haunt the premises to this day.
Selling His Soul To The Devil
While Sir Francis was regarded by many as a hero, many locals also feared him, and believed he had been given supernatural powers.
Legend has it, that he had sold his soul to the Devil in order to beat the Spanish Armada. The Devil was said to be so pleased with Drake, that he built him a house at Buckland Abbey in only three days.
His ghost is believed to ride across Dartmoor in a black coach driven by headless horses, led by 12 chattering goblins and pursued by a pack of baying dogs. The story asserts any living dog that hears the spectral barking dies instantly.