Saturday, 15 July 2017

More about Will

As I inferred in my last post, the people of Gillingham knew nothing about Will Adams - and, for the most part, cared even less! But that we 60 years ago. Now I understand that there is a Will Adams NHS Treatment Centre, a Will Adams ward in the Medway Maritime Hospital, a Will Adams Pupil Referral Unit, a pub named The Will Adams - and even an annual Will Adams Festival! It seems that Gillingham's most famous son is at last becoming famous!

So who was Will Adams?

The pub sign. Photo Brian Curtis

Will was born in 1564, he was apprenticed to a Limehouse shipyard owner and learned shipbuilding, astronomy and navigation before entering the Royal Navy, where he served under Sir Francis Drake and saw action against the Spanish armada. In 1598 he sailed in a convoy of Dutch ships for the Dutch East Indies via the Magellan Straits, the west coast of South America and Japan. After many disasters, Adams was one of the few men to reach Japan, the first Englishman to have reached that country. He was forbidden to leave Japan, became a samurai and was forced to take Japanese nationality. He died in Japan in 1620.

1 comment:

OldAFSarge said...

Apparently James Clavell knew who Will Adams was.

Fascinating story!