Did Mary Newman Really Live In Saltash?

Mary Newmans cottage
Mary Newmans cottage

There is very little known about Mary Newman, the wife of Sir Francis Drake.

However, Wikipedia states that ‘The cottage of Mary Newman, Sir Francis Drake’s first wife, can be found in Saltash on Culver Road downhill from Saltash railway station.’

The historian Bruce Hunt writes about this on his website and says

There is no known record of Mary Newman’s birth or baptism.

Mary Newman married Francis Drake at St Budeaux church on 4th July 1569. St Budeaux was a Devon country parish adjoining the eastern bank of the Tamar estuary, 4 miles NW of the town of Plymouth. Today it is a suburb in the City of Plymouth.

From 1552 to 1571, three other Newman women and one Newman man were married at St Budeaux. It is therefore reasonable to assume that they were Mary’s siblings, and that the Newman family resided in St Budeaux parish.

Also in 1581, Drake acquired Buckland Abbey, a mansion in the Devon parish of Buckland Monachorum, 8 miles north of Plymouth. Mary then became mistress of a country house as well as a town house. But she did not enjoy that status for long. In January 1583 she died (there is no record of the cause).

There are no Newman baptisms in the St Budeaux registers (which do commence in 1538). When John Drake (Sir Francis’s cousin) made a deposition to Spanish inquisitors in 1587, he stated that Mary Newman was born in London.

The above is all that is known about Mary Newman. So what was the connection with Saltash? (a Cornish town on the western side of the Tamar estuary, opposite St Budeaux).

There is also a detailed rebuttal of the claim that Mary Newman lived in Saltash in the article Mary Newman’s Cottage: A case of mistaken identity by Susan Jackson.

In Susans’ article she states that ‘ I find contentions about Drake properties which are not founded upon supportive evidence, both annoying and misleading. Also, she wrote that ‘Spurious claims of a Drake connection in order to deliberately promote tourism are equally vexing.’


So the short answer is: NO! She Has No Connections To Saltash!

Unless You Know Better?





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