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Sir Walter should never have started the filthy habit!

Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618) is widely credited for having introduced tobacco to England, having played a leading role in establishing colonies in North America that were particularly suitable for growing the crop, despite the fact that he never set foot on North American soil himself.

Whether Raleigh was directly responsible for bringing tobacco to England is open to doubt, but it is certainly true that he popularized pipe-smoking and was a keen smoker himself.

On one occasion this habit appears to have led to Raleigh having an unpleasant shock. It is not entirely clear where the incident took place, but one strong candidate is Raleigh’s Dorset Home of Sherborne Castle.

One of Sir Walter’s man-servants – so it is said – saw smoke arising from behind a bush. Knowing that Sir Walter was there, he deduced that something terrible had happened and that his master must be on fire. He therefore poured of jug of ale over the bush to quench the flames. This certainly did the trick as far as extinguishing the fire was concerned, but was the servant “fired” for soaking Sir Walter in ale?

Your guess is as good as mine!

What do you think?

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  1. It is interesting the number of things the new world brought to the old world. I suspect if one were to be fair, there were a lot of good things. Corn. Potatoes and other things of value.

    It remains interesting to me, to see the speed of things throughout the world. The reality is things today spread so much faster than they did in the time of Sir Walter.

  2. That is a most amusing story, I would think dousing anyone for lighting up any form of smelly tobacco would be commendable. You know just below my window I have smelled smoke like someone smoking something either cigarette or cigar but no one in this house smokes and I am sensitive to the world beyond perhaps for some reason Sir Walter has come to visit.

  3. Yes it is sure a shame that Sir Walter Raligh introduced pipe and eventually cigarettes smoking to the Western world. But it would have been discovered by somebody else I am sure as the North American First Nations did have their peace pipes a long time before. The South American First Nations have also been smoking for a long time even before the white men (Spaniards) arrived. So, Sir Walter is not the only one to blame. And I should know as I am a cigarette smoker and I am starting to become tired of it but I still smoke anyway…

    • I’m one of those annoying people who have never smoked, and so have never had to give up. I had a puff once when i was a student, but thought “what’s the point of that?” and never did it again.

      I have also never taken any recreational drugs, and can honestly say that I have never had the opportunity. Even during a total of five years at University, in the 1970s and 1980s, I was never offered anything dodgy, not even cannabis. I suppose that if I had asked around I could have found a supply, but I didn’t feel that way inclined.

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