Dramatic life-size Robert Blake stands, right-hand pointing, left hand resting on his sword. Dressed in contemporary leather jacket and high sea boots with cape thrown back over his shoulders. Plinth surrounded by low stone wall accommodating seats plus four lamp standards (all modern) and a hamburger stand. Originally outside the Cornhill before being moved, in 1986, after much public discussion and dissent, nearer to entrance of Fore Street.
Robert Blake (born 1598) was Cromwell's greatest General-at-Sea. The plaques commemorate his greatest victories. Died 1657 as his ship 'George' entered Plymouth Sound. Lay in state in Greenwich. Funeral 4 Sept 1657 - buried Henry VII Chapel in Westminster Abbey.
The son of a Bridgwater merchant, Blake was elected MP for the town in 1640 and was on the Parliamentary side during the Civil War successfully defending Lyme Regis and Taunton. After the war he took to the sea at the age of 50 as Admiral of Cromwell's Fleet. In 1652-3 he took part in bitter naval engagements with Dutch Admiral Tromp. Blake won the battle of Portand, fought up and down the Channel which finally led to an overwhelming English victory. After successes in the Mediterranean he engaged the Spanish West Indian Fleet in 1654 at Santa Cruz in the Canary Islands destroying every ship in it. Honours flowed from a grateful nation but Blake died of a fever on his way home.
Front of plinth: ROBERT BLAKE/BORN IN THIS TOWN/1598/DIED AT SEA 1657
On the three sides of the plinth in three plaques: 1) OFF PORTLAND FEB 16
2) SANTA CRUZ APRIL 20 1657 3) PLYMOUTH SOUND AUG 7 1657
PMSA recording information