Sacking of Cadiz 1596

The Counter-Armada

The Counter-Armada by Stephen & Elizabeth Usherwood: This icon is used elsewhere in my site as a link to this page!

The Counter-Armada

The Journal of the Mary Rose


Lord Howard of Effingham, Lord High Admiral of England and Queen Elizabeth’s favourite the Earl of Essex in command, sailed out of Plymouth in 1596 to attack Cadiz accompanied by a Dutch squadron. Cadiz was sacked, burned and many Spanish ships destroyed contributing to Spain’s bankruptcy the next year.

Published in 1983 by The Bodley Head Ltd., London

1st edition.

ISBN: 0 370 30556 6

Available in Hardcover.

 Jacket flap blurbs: 

The Counter-Armada by Stephen & Elizabeth Usherwood: A small photograph taken in bright sunshine, hence the dark shadows, showing the general condition and appearance.

by Stephen & Elizabeth Usherwood

Charles, Lord Howard of Effingham, Lord High Admiral of England, sailed out of Plymouth in 1588 at the head of the English fleet that repulsed the Spanish Armada. Eight years later he again put to sea from Plymouth, this time to attack Cadiz with a counter-armada of one hundred and twenty ships carrying an army six-thousand strong. With him sailed a Dutch squadron under the Admiral of Holland. Queen Elizabeth appointed, as joint commander with Lord Howard, her favourite, the Earl of Essex. One of six hundred volunteers sailing with him was the young poet John Donne. Sir Walter Raleigh served as Rear-Admiral and Sir Francis Vere brought two thousand veterans from the Netherlands.

The defence of Cadiz was the responsibility of the Duke of Medina Sidonia, the Admiral of the Spanish Armada, for it lay on a promontory jutting out into the Atlantic, in the vicinity of his vast estates. Its magnificent harbour was the assembly point for merchantmen and convoy escorts passing between Spain, the Caribbean and the Americas. The Invading fleet trapped one of these, and the Spanish gave the order for its destruction by fire. Four great galleons fought hard in vain defence of the harbour; the garrison was quickly overwhelmed; many ‘of the better sort’ were held for ransom and the rest driven off to the mainland; churches, public buildings and houses were systematically looted and burnt. On the way home the English landed in Portugal and Essex carried off the Bishop of Faro’s library.

Among the expedition’s chief officers was Her Majesty’s Lieutenant of Ordnance, Sir George Carew, in the Queen’s ship Mary Rose, named after Henry VIII’s great ship, in which his uncle, Sir George Carew, had gone down. A  Journal kept on board the Mary Rose brings vividly to life the preparations in the fleet and at court, the shipboard routines meticulously detailed, the deliberations of the commanders, the landing and assault on the city, the successful withdrawal. It is all here, for the writer was Sir George Carew, a member of the Council of War, and so able to give us a privileged view of this, the most ambitious and highly co-ordinated Angle-Dutch operation mounted from Britain before the campaigns of the Duke of Marlborough.

The existence of the Journal in Lambeth Palace Library has been known for many years, but it is only now, with its author definitely identified, and its text fully transcribed and published for the first time in this book, that its contents gain a wholly new authority as one of the great eyewitness accounts of naval and military life in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

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 Book Details: 

176 pages.
140 mm. x 210 mm. x 15 mm.
Weight unwrapped 308 gms.
Weight wrapped for postage <  500 gms.

A light orange 'cloth' bound book with gilt lettering to the spine - very little wear so condition is NEAR FINE. The unclipped dust wrapper is also in NEAR FINE condition. An extremely nice copy!

PRICE (GBP) £9.00 including UK postage.