La Trinidad Valencera
Trinidad Valencera was one of five Venetian traders requisitioned
by Spanish authorities in Sicily for use as an armed transport with
the Spanish Armada. At 1100 tons, this was one of the largest ships
in the fleet. Over the objections of her merchant captain Horatio
Donai, she was fitted with twenty-eight bronze guns. When the fleet
sailed, she was the most heavily armed ship in Martin de Bertendona's
Levant Squadron, which included ten converted merchant ships from
the Mediterranean. In addition to her own armament, she carried
four of the King's guns, and a complement of 79 seaman, 281 Neapolitan
soldiers, and a cadre of officers.
During the Armada campaign, Trinidad Valencera (a Spanish corruption
of her Venetian name, Balanzara) saw action off Portland Bill (August
1-2), the Isle of Wight (August 2-3), and in the crucial rearguard
action fought at the Battle of Gravelines on August 7-9, just before
the Armada sailed into the North Sea for the brutal return to Spain.
On about August 20, Trinidad Valencera, Gran Grifón, and
two other hulks separated from the main fleet off northern Scotland;
none would return to Spain. On September 12, Trinidad Valencera
was caught in a storm off the north coast of Ireland and, leaking
badly, came to anchor in Kinnagoe Bay on the 14th. Two days later,
she split in two and sank. Most of the ship's company seem to have
made it safely to shore, but several days later they were tricked
into laying down their weapons. Stripped of their clothes and other
possessions by a nominally inferior force, three hundred of the
soldiers and sailors were killed by an Anglo-Irish force under Richard
and Henry Hovenden. Thirty-two of the surviving crew eventually
made it to Scotland and, with safe passage from James VI, on to
France. The officers were marched to Dublin, where all but two were
murdered on orders from the Lord Deputy, Sir William Fitzwilliam.
The wreck of "La Trinidad Valencera" was discovered by the City
of Derry Sub-Aqua Club in 1971. As the crew had removed what they
could from the ship, there are few substantial artifacts. Chief
among them are the ship's guns, which have added considerably to
the knowledge of naval gunnery in the sixteenth century. In addition,
there are ship's fittings, a few dislocated structural timbers,
and pieces of rigging and other cordage.
A plaque which commemorates the 400 Anniversary of the Armada
was erected in Kinnagoe Bay by Bord Failte, Donegal/Leitrim/Sligo
Regional Tourism Organisation and Donegal County Council in 1988.
Top Photograph - Viewing the new commemorative plaque to
mark the sinking of the Spanish Armada Vessel 'La Trinidad Valencera'
at Glenagivney, outside Moville are Senor Nichola Pasqual, the first
secretary at the Spanish Embassy, Dublin, who performed the unveiling,
Mr John Hume MP, MEP and Mr Brendan Keaveney, Vice Chairman of Donegal/Sligo/Leitrim
Tourism. (Sept 1988).
2nd Photograph - Bronze Siege Gun from La Trinidad Valencera,
found in Kinnego Bay, now in Derry Museum. Shows arms of Philip
II of Spain.