It all started a year ago, when English merchants, spending a lot of money, outfitted three ships — «Bona Esperanza», «Confldenza» and «Edward Bonaventure». This expedition, sent May 10, 1553 King Edward VI in search of the Northeast Passage from Europe to China, led by Captain «Bona Esperanza» Sir Hugh Willoughby, gallant sailor and a gentleman, who took part in the battle with the Scots under King Henry VIII. Second vessel — «Confldenza» — commanded Cornelius Dyurfert, and on «Bonaventure» captain was Richard Chancellor, a widower with two young sons. Ships sailed from London to the North Sea, then went along the coast of Norway to the Norwegian Sea, where on August 3 in the storm broke. Two of them are under the command of Hugh Willoughby and Cornelia Dyurferta reached the New Earth, and then turned in the direction of Varde and September 14, anchored off the coast of the Kola Peninsula in the Bay Varzina River, where they decided to winter.
Willoughby wrote in his diary: "We went into the harbor and anchored at a depth of six fathoms. This harbor juts into the mainland for about 2 miles, and the width is half a league. There were a lot of seals and other large fish, and on the mainland we saw bears, deer and other large strange animals and birds, such as wild swans, gulls, and other, unknown to us and excite our surprise. Having stayed in the harbor for a week and seeing what time of the year and later established that the weather is bad — from the cold, snow and hail, as if it was in the middle of winter, we decided to spend the winter here. Therefore, we sent three people to YU.-YU.-Z. to see if they do not find people, and they were three days, but people have not found, and after that we sent 4 more people to the west, but they returned without finding any people. Then we sent 3 people in the south-east that are returned in the same order, having found neither people nor any were home. "
Wintering was ordinary, no accidents from happening, but … In May 1554 the first coast-dwellers who came to fish and animals, found at the mouth of Varzim «Bona Esperanza" and «Confldenza». All 66 members of the polar expedition were dead. In Moscow from Kholmogory flew dispatch: "They found they de Murmansk sea two ships: at anchor in the encampment, and the people on them are dead, and the goods on them — say — a lot." All property of the polar expedition, as well as the remains of the dead Moscow government gave the English side. Upon delivery to England Venetian ambassador in London in November 1555 was a very strange message: "Some of the dead were found sitting with pen in hand and paper in front of them, others — sitting at a table with plates in hand and spoon in his mouth, and others — opens the closet, others — in other positions, like statues, which have put in this way. Just looked like a dog. " Mystery of the loss of ships Willoughby has not yet disclosed. On this occasion, expressed different versions, ranging from carbon monoxide poisoning and ending with "banal" death from the cold. But the exact reason we seem to never learn.
The fate of the third ship of the expedition was more happy. «Bonaventure» under Captain Richard Chancellor reached the Pomeranian coast and landed in the bay of St. Nicholas, near St. Nicholas Korelskogo monastery. Chancellor, then reached Moscow and started a Russian-British trade.