Hugh Willoughby, Stephen Borough, William Borough, and Martin Frobisher white plaque in London

This tablet is in memory of Sir Hugh Willoughby, Stephen Borough, William Borough, Sir Martin Frobisher and other navigators who in the latter half of the sixteenth century set sail from this reach of the River Thames near Ratcliff Cross to explore the northern seas

Sir Hugh Willoughby of Risley, Derbyshire (died 1554) was an early English Arctic voyager.During the war against Scotland called the Rough Wooing, Hugh Willoughby was the commander of a fort built at Lauder in the autumn of 1548. On 10 May 1553, Willoughby sailed as captain of the Bona Esperanza with two other vessels under his command and with chief pilot Richard Chancellor, by a company of London merchants known as the Company of Merchant Adventurers to New Lands, which later became the Muscovy Company.The ships were seriously delayed by bad winds but eventually reached a point off Northern Norway where they were attacked by storms and "terrible whirlwinds" probably in the vicinity of the North Cape. By 14 September 1553 Willoughby and one other ship had become separated from Chancellor. The two ships travelled east and may have encountered the south island of Novaya Zemlya, known to the Norwegians as Gåselandet (Goose Land). They turned back and as the storms worsened decided to winter in a bay on the coast at a place now known to be on the Kola Peninsula in the general area to the east of Murmansk. Searches were made in three directions but no life was discovered. No-one survived the winter, and the two ships with the bodies of the crews, including Captain Willoughby and his journal, were found by Russian fishermen the following spring. It has also been suggested that Sir Hugh Willoughby and his crew might have been killed by carbon monoxide poisoning, following their decision to insulate their ship from the bitter Arctic cold. The journal was eventually returned to England.Richard Chancellor escaped from the storms and put into the Norwegian port of Vardø. Setting out again despite warnings of the danger he found the entrance to the White Sea and with local help eventually arrived at Arkhangelsk. There he was summoned to Moscow and Ivan the Terrible's Court, opening a trade with Russia through the northern ports that lasted three hundred years.During the voyage, Willoughby thought he saw islands to the north. Based on his description, these were subsequently depicted on maps as Willoughby's Land and Macsinof or Matsyn Island.

Source: dbpedia

Steven Borough (September 25, 1525 – July 12, 1584), English navigator, was born at Northam, Devon.

Source: dbpedia

William Borough (1536–1599) was a British naval officer and the younger brother of Stephen Borough. He participated in the British attack on Cádiz in 1587. He was responsible for the drawing of several early maps including one of Russia.

Source: dbpedia

Sir Martin Frobisher (c. 1535 or 1539 – 22 November 1594) was an English seaman who made three voyages to the New World to look for the Northwest Passage. All landed in northeastern Canada, around today's Resolution Island and Frobisher Bay.On his second voyage, Frobisher found what he thought was gold ore and carried 200 tons of it home on three ships, where initial assaying determined it to be worth a profit of £5.2 per ton. Encouraged, Frobisher returned to Canada with an even larger fleet and dug several mines around Frobisher Bay. He carted 1,350 tons of the ore back where, after years of smelting, it was realised that both that batch of ore and the earlier one he had taken were worthless iron pyrite. As an English privateer/pirate, he collected riches from French ships. He was later knighted for his service in repelling the Spanish Armada in 1588.

Source: dbpedia

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