This Is Margate

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Margate © Stewart Weir 2013

Philip II of Spain originally planned to invade England at Margate in  1588 with the “invincible Armada” to gain control of the whole country.  Throughout the whole campaign, the English lost no ships and only 100 men in battle.  However, over 7,000 English sailors died from disease (dysentery and typhus mostly)  during the time the Armada was in English water. Also those English sailors who survived  and fought against the Armada were poorly treated by the English government. Many were  given only enough money for the journey to their home and some received only part of  their  pay.   John Hawkins showed concern for his men: ” The men have long been unpaid and need relief”. The overall commander of the English Navy, Lord Howard was  shocked claiming that ” I would rather have never a penny in the world,  than they (his sailors) should lack…”. Howard wrote to William Cecil ( 20 Aug 1588)  ” … It is a most pitiful sight to see, here at Margate, how the men, having no place to  receive them into here, die in the streets.  I am driven myself, of force, to come a-land, to see them bestowed in some lodging; and the best I can get is barns and outhouses. It would grieve any man’s heart to see  them that have served so valiantly to die so miserably…”. With this, he used his own  money to pay his sailors.

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