This is the transcript of episode 1 of my podcast series on, and leading up to, Thomas Dallam, the Elizabethan organ builder who sailed to Constantinople with a gift for the Sultan. You can listen to the episode here or through the usual podcast services.
“The ship wherein I was to make my voyage to Constantinople, Lying at Graves End, I departed from London in a pair of ores, with my chest and such provision as I had provided for that purpose, the ninth of February 1599, being Friday.”
So begins the travel journal of a man on the cusp of a 15-month adventure. Its writer was no professional sailor, soldier, merchant or ambassador, but he was entrusted with the international delivery of a very special package. He seems never to have left England before, but on that February day, he was leaving for the court of the Ottoman Sultan, Mehmed the 3rd.