Our Sir Walter Ralegh* Room has been created in the run-up to the 400th anniversary of the death of East Devon's best known historical figure, born in East Budleigh around 1552.
Politician, courtier, explorer, scholar and poet, Sir Walter is one of the most fascinating men of his era.
* Sir Walter is known to have spelt his name in a number of different ways.
East Budleigh is naturally proud of its link with Sir Walter. This statue, created by sculptor Vivien Mallock FRBS, was set up near All Saints Church in the village and unveiled by the Duke of Kent in 2006.
In prime position in the Sir Walter Ralegh Room is Budleigh Salterton Venture Art Group’s 2015 re-creation of Sir John Everett Millais’ famous painting ‘The Boyhood of Raleigh’. The copy was made as a collaborative venture, with each member of the Group working on a separate panel.
The original painting, a Pre-Raphaelite masterpiece owned by Tate Britain, was lent to Fairlynch in 1970, shortly after the museum was founded back in July 1967. It was a masterstroke of publicity for the town, with annual visitor numbers at the museum shooting up from just over 2,000 to almost 12,000 in the space of a year.
The feat was repeated as a millennial event for the museum in 2000. Pictured here on that occasion with the original painting are pupils from Drake’s School in East Budleigh.
Millais stayed in The Octagon, next door to Fairlynch while working on the painting, which is set on Budleigh’s beach. A commemorative plaque has been mounted on what is known as The Raleigh Wall, and this round blue plaque can be seen on The Octagon.