For the Iowa politician, see Richard F. Drake.
Richard Drake, by John Gower, 1577, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
11 July 1603
John Drake, Amy Grenville
Arms of Drake of Ash: Argent, a wyvern wings displayed and tail nowed gules
Richard Drake of Esher (1535 – 11 July 1603), was Equerry of the Stable and Groom of the Privy Chamber to Queen Elizabeth I. He also held office as a Member of Parliament and Justice of the Peace.
3 Marriage and issue
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Drake was the third son of John Drake (d.1558), of Ash in the parish of Musbury, Devonshire, and Amy Grenville, daughter of Sir Roger Grenville of Stowe, Cornwall. Drake had two older brothers, Sir Bernard Drake and Robert Drake.
Drake was an equerry of the stable to Queen Elizabeth by 1577, and a Groom of the Privy Chamber in 1584. In 1589 he was appointed surveyor of game in Woking Park, and in 1590 steward (office) of the manor of Woking. As a courtier, Drake required a residence near London, and in 1583 he leased Esher Place from Charles, Lord Howard of Effingham.
Drake combined service in the royal household with elected and appointed office. He was Member of Parliament for Morpeth in 1572, and for Castle Rising in 1584. He was a Justice of the Peace for Surrey from about 1591, and a commissioner for the subsidy in 1593.
Drake is said to have been ‘high in the Queen’s favour’, and received valuable grants from her, including gold and silver from the Spanish Armada and a monopoly for manufacturing aqua vitae. In about 1602 the Queen granted him the residue of the moneys still owing to her from Sir Francis Drake’s voyage of 1585-6.
Drake served as factor and prize agent to Sir Francis Drake (to whom he may have been distantly related), taking charge of the Spanish Armada prisoners taken off Plymouth in 1588, which included the Spanish vice-admiral, Don Pedro de Valdez, whom he kept at his manor of Esher in Surrey, pending arrangements for the ransom, a subject over which his heirs and those of Sir Francis quarrelled.
Drake died 11 July 1603. In his will, made 31 May 1603 and proved 31 January 1604, he asked to be buried in Esher church, and appointed his only child, Francis Drake, as his executor. He left his widow, Ursula, his lease of the manor of Walton-on-Thames and the