Raleigh, Sir Walter

Sir Walter Raleigh introduced tobacco to Queen Elizabeth I. Appalled by the taste, she told him to go to the New World and find out what the natives served it with. And how they kept their potatoes alight.

He established the first English colony there. It was not a success. The inhabitants found it hard to survive on a diet of tobacco and those that did choked on potato fumes.

Babington Plot
Where he planted his first potatoes.

He is credited with helping disperse the Spanish Armada with fire-ships. In fact, these were accidentally ignited by sailors whose potatoes fell out of their pipes.

Elizabethan favourite
Raleigh was hotly tipped to win the Virgin Monarch Handicap Stakes.

After Elizabeth I’s death, King James outlawed smoking. Raleigh was detained after a suspicious fire in the Hampton Court outlet of Spud Thou Lik’st.

Historie of the World
He wrote this in prison. It was difficult as quills tended to go straight through loo-paper, which didn’t help his spelling.

His poems were shorter and easier to fit on a sheet. But many didn’t survive as he had no cigarette papers and used them to roll up whenever anyone smuggled in a potato.

Strike, man, strike!
Raleigh is said to have demanded this of his executioner, in the hope that wildcat industrial action by the Amalgamated Union of Hired Killers and Legal Murderers would save his neck.

He was beheaded, ironically, just days before an alchemist came up with the first potato patch.

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