In 1542 Tavistock's most famous son was born at a farm at Crowndale just downstream on the Tavy - he was to become Sir Francis Drake. He left home to become an apprentice on a ship trading on the Channel and in 1567 Drake and Hawkins sailed out to Plymouth on a slave-trading voyage in which he firsrt tangled with the Spaniards.
By 1588 when he helped Lord High Admiral of England to defeat the Spanish Armada he had been knighted by Elizabeth I for his services to the country and her treasury.
He made his home at Buckland Abbey close to Tavistock. On Plymouth Road is Edgar Boehm's statue of Drake, erected by the 9th Duke of Bedford in 1883.