John Rashleigh – The Local Lad Done Good

John Rashleigh of Fowey and Menabilly, first in a spate of many John Rashleighs to follow,  built the Ship Inn in 1570. By 1582, the Rashleigh family were one of the most influential forces in Fowey. A good pub, then.

When you enter The Ship Inn you’re entering one of Fowey’s oldest buildings. It’s a relic of John’s remarkable life story and there are reminders of him wherever you look. He was son of the prestigious Phillip Rashleigh who had held a commission from Queen Elizabeth as a privateer in her war with the Spaniards and who brought fame and riches to the port of Fowey. With a lot to live up to, John sailed his ship ‘The Frances of Fowey’ to the Americas, accompanied by his cousins Drake and Raleigh. In July 1588, he left Fowey harbour to play his part in the defeat of the Spanish Armada, returning triumphant to become MP in 1589 and 1597.

I may not pass in silence the commendable deserts of Master Rashleigh the elder, for his industrious judgement and adventuring in trade and merchandise first opened a light and way to the townsmen’s new thriving, and left his son large wealth and possessions, who (together with a daily bettering his estate) convert the the same to hospitality and other actions fitting a gentleman well affected to his God, Prince and Country.

~ Richard Carew, author of Survey of Cornwall