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· Which storme hath in myne opinion touched the enemy very neere, for divers consideracions followinge, viz. :—The greate sea gate about those Isles; the hugenes of their shippinge, who were soe lighte as in faire weather would hardly beare theire topsailes ; also, the could clymat they are in toucheth them neere, and will doe daylie more and more.

Myne opinion is, they are by this time soe distressed, beinge,soe far thrust of as many of them will never see Spayngne againe, which is the onely worck of God to chastice their malicious practises, and to make them knowe that neyther the strengthes of men, nor their idolatrous gods, can prevaile when the mightie God of Israell stretcheth out but his finger against them. God make all her Majestie's good subiects thanckfull.


The year after the dispersion of the Spanish Armada, under the false title of Invincible, namely, in 1589, Thomas Fenner, still in the command of the Dreadnought, accompanied his friend Sir Francis Drake on the joint expedition to the Groyne and Lisbon ; on which his brother, William Fenner, was associated in command of the Aid. The operations at the Groyne, under the joint directions of Drake and Norris, are briefly described in the following letter to Lord Burleigh :


RightE HONORABLE,—We aryved at the Groyne the 24th of Aprill, landinge the same daie dyvers companyes, some two miles ffrom the towne, and proceded in scarmishe

towardes the base towne, and neere theire ffortresse. The next daie landed contynually, and by trenche laie within muskett shott.

The place beinge of good strengthe, and well considerid of, skallinge ladders were provided, and a hundred boats and pinices broughte in a redynes, and a boute midenighte boarded, with a determinacyon to lande in the base towne, a ffrunte: passinge betwene the shippes, and the ffortresse of the enemy, two warninge peeces were shoute of, which we had planted one the shore, to beate the enemys shippes, which was a token that our lande companyes should approche the Scallads, at which Instance our boats and pinices landed, shoutinge our artilery, and makinge cryes, wherupon the enemyes fforsooke their chardge, and could not recover the highe towne but abandoned themselves into the rockes.

In regard of ffoule wether, and unfitt wyndes, we were dryven to make a battery to kepe the enemy occupied in the highe towne, a place of great strengthe, invyroned two parts and a half of ffower, with the sea, a breache was made, assaulte geven, many men beinge uppon the breache, with greate desiere, the earthe and stones gave waie under theire ffeete, and withall ffell a piece of wall which greatlie incombred us, which moved some loss of equalitie of bothe sides.

We ffounde in the Hareborough two galleys which ffledd to fferro, the St. John, a gallyon of Portugall, which was vizadmirall in the Army unto Ingland, a shippe of greate fforce, with ffyftie two pieces of brasse planted in her. Uppon the takinge of the base towne they comitted her to ffyer, notwithstandinge we saved the metle of the ordinaunce. A Byskyn shippe of a thowsand tonnes some brasse some Iron. A Hulke of six hundred tonnes, some brasse, some Iron. One other greate shippe uppon the Caryn. One other vessell laden with pikes, pike heades, musketts and Callyvers, with dyvers other small vessells and boats.

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Dyvers peeces of brasse mounted in the base towne, and many dismounted. So as we have wasted ffrom the enemy in this place aboute a hundred and ffortie pieces of artillery.

We founde in the towne, and nere the towne, about two thowsande quarters of corne, meale, Beeffe, certaine sorts of ffishe of the King's provisions, greate store of caskes and store of wyne, cables, ropes, ledd, hempe, ankers, all which thinges ys moste hapelie taken ffrom the enemy, consideringe this place appointed ffor the randevous of his shippinge to meete together the ende of this moneth.

The country wasted, some seven or eighte miles aboute, some two thowsande of the enemy, many tymes in severall companyes, but wold never abyd. :

There ys in the towne nyne companyes of ould souldiors, which were in the army for England ; theire companyes, ys but small as ffortie, ffiftie, or threescore.

My truste ys in God that the waste of the shippinge and the king's provision in this place hath greatlie aultered theire purposes, hopinge withall that the like shall befall them in other places, which God graunte to the beatinge downe of theire practizes againste that litle Isle.

Vitle and pouder cannott but be greatlie welcome unto us.

I beseche your Honor that my gracyous Mystrys herebie maie have knowledge of the greate Love and concord betwene our Generalls, nothinge dowtinge the contynuance of the same..

The Marques of Seralvo ys in the towne with one bastard sonne of the Marques Seinte Cruce, named Don Diego de Bassan. Thus comittinge your Honor to the Almightie I humblie take my leave ffrom the Groyne this 6th of Maie, 1589.

This presente daie hit was knowen that an army of the enemy of 8,500 were within ffower miles, wherupon the Lorde Generall with seven regiments marched fforth, and ffounde the enemy in greate strengthe, encamped at a bridge which leadeth up towardes Bittance, and stronglie ffortiffied. The Lord Generall with his Brothers, and dyvers Coronells, chardged verie ffiercelie, and wone the bridge, and the enemyes strengths, and put the enemy to flighte with the slaughter of 400, and gave chase some three miles.* Theyre good ffootinge saved theyr Lyves. The enemy lost a thowsand weapons and armes. Sr. Edward Norrys was hurte in the heade, and relyved by Coronell Sydney. One man of accompte slaine of our side, dyvers hurte. Hit was a verie honorable attempte which hathe much amaied the enemy.

* The following extract from Stow is curious, and highly complimentary to the courage and coolness of Sir John Norris :

-“ Neere unto the Spaniards campe was a river, which had a foord, and a bridge, where they lay strongly fortified ;—the generall (Sir John Norris) still marched on, as if he meant resolutely to passe the foord. Whereupon the Spaniards drew some of their forces upon the bridge, to the foorde, from whence came many large vollies of muskett shot, as thick as hayle, and lighted oft upon the English army, who obeying their generall's command, stirred not, nor discharged one peece. The neerer the English approached the foord, so much the more the Spaniards thundered out their shot, unto every which volly flying round about their eares, the generall turning his face towards the enemie, would bow his body, and vale his bonnet, saying ' I thanke you, Sir—I thanke you, Sir,' to the great admiration of all his campe, and of Generall Drake, who by this time was come to the hil toppe to make supply, and to behould the service, but uppon the suddaine the generall bent his course towards the bridge, and having given his souldiers a signall unto battell, made a fierce assault, being at first very sharply resisted, where Sir Edward Norris and others being at pushe of pike and pellmell, was striken downe and very dangerously wounded in the head with an arming sworde, and was instantly rescued by the generall."

Theyre lodgings wasted and spoiled, dyvers horses and mules taken, and all the country eighte miles aboute wasted and burned. Your Lordeshipp's in all dutye and love duringe lyef,


In Birch’s Memoirs an abstract is given, said to be from a letter of Captain Fenner to Mr. Bacon, relating to the proceedings of this officer subsequent to the embarkation of the troops at Cascais, at which place Captain William Fenner, of the Aid, the brother of Thomas, was killed by a shot from the fort. On putting to sea a storm arose which separated the fleet; and Fenner, in the Dreadnought, with a detachment of merchant ships, failing to discover the fleet, and very much distressed for want of water, bore up for Porto Santo, and fell in with a pinnace that supplied them with apricots and red plums, which refreshed the people for four days, when he fell in with Captain Cross alone, having also lost the fleet. They entered the road being seventeen ships, and the following day seven more joined them. They landed, took possession of the island, and levied a large contribution of water, oil, vinegar, fat oxen, sheep, a multitude of hens and chickens, with as many musk melons, grapes, figs, and mulberries as they wanted, and which supplied them plentifully till their arrival in England.

* MS., State Paper Office.

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