Trinity House of Deptford Transactions, 1609-35. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 1983.
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They have considered the warrant of 2 Jan. 1633 concerning the ships at Deptford and Woolwich [Henrietta Maria and Charles]. The ship at Deptford draws 16½ ft and her ports will be about 4½ ft above water. Her ports are mostly too little; in future those on the lower gundecks should be made bigger by '2 or 3 inches square'. Her ports are also too near each other; in ships of this burden, they should be 9 ft apart. Orlops* of ships built for the king hereafter should be flush, fore and aft (i.e. without falls). The ship at Woolwich is 'full bodied. … and will not easily settle into the water for at 16 foot she will be a steady ship fit for service' [sic]. Her ports will be about 4 ft above water. Ports of ships built for the king hereafter [f.58v] should be 4½ ft or 4 ft 8 or 9 inches above water. The size of the ports is right and they are 9 ft apart. The beams on both gundecks 'round* too much' by 3 or 4 inches, and this should be mended in ships hereafter. Other deficiencies are noted in the former certificate .
Thomas Best, deputy master; Robert Salmon, Walter Coke, Mr Ransbury [of Trinity House]. (fn. 1)
409. [? Oct. 1632 × July 1633. (fn. 2) Trinity House] to the court of requests [Cf SP 16/16/164.]
According to the commission of the court of 9 Nov. last about the suit between Elias Henderson, pl., and William Jones, def., concerning payments and disbursements for building the Mary and John of London, they have heard the allegations of both parties and examined their witnesses according to articles provided by the parties. The account for the ship with provisions and fitted for sea came to about £1,850. At the time, the pl. presented the account to the owners [f.59] at the Mairemaide Tavern, Cornhill, where it was audited, approved and signed and the book of accounts was left with the pl. About 2 years later, when the pl. was dismissed from the ship on exception taken against him by the owners, he had made a second account showing that the ship cost more than appeared in the first account. With John Barker, his father-in-law, as his assignee, he commenced his suit, alleging himself wronged by the first account. His assignee presented the second account to some of the owners and Mr [Anthony] Haviland, deceased, gave him £10 and Mr [Thomas] Woodgate £12 to be free of trouble, as testified on oath. No other owner gave more than their part of the original £1,850. The first account with the alleged error wronging the pl. cannot be produced by him, but depositions show that it was left with him after clearing. If it were produced, the case would be clear. They consider that the account was left with the pl. because the custom is to leave all accounts with the master in case the part-owners want an account of expenditure and of money received for freight; and that the first account was only £1,850 for the ship wholly furnished. No wrong can be proved or recompense [f.59v] given until that account is examined.
Nicholas Howard and Peter Talbott of Purbeck came today to complain about the mayor, stating that Howard's brother, Peter Baker, taken by the pirates of Algiers in the ship with Mr Mott, had been redeemed by Howard and his friends for £77, but that Baker, on coming home, had visited the mayor and Mr Robarts several times in vain to obtain something towards the cost. If Howard's allegation is true, there is just cause of complaint to the lord keeper against Harwood; if not, the parties deserve punishment. Talbott seeks a contribution towards the release of his brother who is still in Algiers, which if Harwood can assist, course will be taken for the rest.
They have received a letter from women of the town whose husbands are captive, but Trinity House are replying to the mayor and aldermen because the letter was written by the town clerk, presumably at the direction of the mayor and aldermen. In a letter of 24 Apr. the writers explained that they had attended the lord keeper who had told them to instruct the mayor and aldermen to appoint a person or persons to deal with the business and who, together with the writers, was to attend him next term. A reply dated 10 June was received but nobody has come this term, nor has a letter been sent to the lord keeper or to themselves. If the present letter is that of the mayor and aldermen, any default is theirs, because had they attended the lord keeper, the business would now be ended. They are ready to accompany the mayor and aldermen to the lord keeper, and there should be no delay lest the women become better informed and complain not of the writers but of the mayor and aldermen. [Marginal note] The women can be acquainted with this letter. 7 Sept. 1633.
They are tenants for the office of ballastage at Greenwich, Woolwich and Erith. Their lease of the wharf and land at Greenwich belonging to the earl of Arundel has expired. They ask Trinity House to negotiate with the earl for a 15 year lease of the ballast wharf at Greenwich, the ballast way, the ballast pit, the ballast field of about 3 acres, 2 other fields, each of 5 acres lately bought by the earl from Clement Lyneere, the old ballast pit of one acre, the stable yard of half an acre, a field of 2 acres encompassed by the highway, and a corner of the great mead of wet ground containing a road adjoining the wharf. They will pay whatever rate is negotiated, provided that it is no more than £50 a year. Subject to that proviso, they will accept whatever is agreed and will take a lease either from Trinity House or the earl, whichever Trinity House prefer.
They consider the proposition to build houses on the Bridge to be inconvenient to the river because the soil from many or all those houses, of which there is a great quantity, is thrown into the river, thereby increasing shoals, sands and banks and the river will be less capable for the great trade and traffic to London. If it is objected that the houses are of long standing, and the question asked what damage had been done to the river, they say that every shoal and bank from the Bridge to Blackwall had been nourished thereby, but it was not noticed in former ages when ships were small, drawing little water. Ships for the service of the king and the city are now larger with a greater draught, whereby there is more danger from shoals. The river, which they dare presume is the greatest for navigation in the known part of the world, decays yearly. Within their memory the Pool near St Katherine's and Wapping was 12 or 13 ft at low water, and is now at most 8 or 9 ft; at Limehouse, formerly 15 or 16 ft, now 12 or 12½ ft; at Blackwall, 18 or 19 ft, now 13 or 14 ft. If special care is not taken to prevent the casting of soil into the river, it will grow unnavigable within 6 or 8 miles of London, except by boats, with evil consequences. The building of houses would also require the best and largest timber in the land, of which there is already great want for building ships of the king and of merchants. The king's officers, especially the shipwrights, can vouch for this. It would be better to have no houses or buildings on the Bridge than there to be a lack of timber for building ships. Experience has lately shown the danger of fire, which is a threat to the city. (fn. 3)
Cases of Hollander captains dishonouring the king and abusing subjects: (a) In 1614, Mr Trenchfeild, master of the Delight, and Mr Blith, master of the Centurion, met Capt. Mole with 3 of the States' ships off the South Cape, and they had to take in their flags or else fight, which they refused to do being richly laden. (b) Mr Walter Coke has divers times had to take in his flag on the Barbary coast. (c) In Feb. 1618, Mr Anthony Wood, master of the Royal Exchange, and Mr Walter Whitinge, master of the Dorcas, met Capt. Quass with 6 States' ships off Cape Gata, 50 leagues within the Straits, who ordered them to strike their flags 'for the Lords the States'; had they declined he would have fought them and they were richly laden. (d) In 1618, Mr Page was at Gibraltar in the Marigould of London with divers English ships from Malaga under the command of the town when Capt. Quass entered the road with 6 ships. The Marigould was flying her flag 'in top' [at her topmast]. Quass sent his lieutenant in a pinnace to order the flag to be taken in, which Page refused to do, saying that he was as free to wear his king's colours as Quass was to wear the States'. When the wind came fair, the whole fleet set sail and came to sea, but Page, being threatened, dared not wear his flag any more. Whenever the States' ships meet any merchant ships, they make them take in their flags, in contempt of the king.
416. [f.62] 22 May 1633. Trinity House to Mr Secretary Coke about a ballast wharf at South Shields [Cf SP 16/239/23; CSPD 1633–4, 66. The SP text is signed by Robert Bell, master; Anthony Tutchen, Samuel Doves, John Totton, T. Best, William Rainborowe, William Ewen, Gervais Hockett, Robert Salmon, John Bennett, Christopher Browne, and William Case.]
They have had Mr Punt and the purser before them several times about the expense of the victuals. Whereas the proportion of victuals for passengers was for 12 weeks, they were victualled for 7 or 8 days more. There were victuals for 20 weeks for the crew, but the voyage lasted 26 weeks before the men were discharged. The expense of the victuals for the extra time they 'set against the lessening of his [? Punt's] full proportion'; the small difference in balance they pass by. 'For the master his directions in the expense of the victuals' they find not much amiss, 'but little regarded'. It could not be otherwise because the defects of the master caused the 'disgovernment' in the men. Yet it may be turned to good account in future voyages by making better choice [of master] and employing Trinity House for advice. The master admits his abuse of Mr Hailhead and blames it on his own 'choler and discontent'. He says that it has taught him a lesson and will admit his fault before the addressees. He blames his carriage towards the crew on their want of duty, mutinous stubbornness and ill language. Trinity House, however, attribute it to his lack of discretion in command and 'too much forgetfulness of himself and too little esteem of his men'. That which concerns the purser is 'little worth', only they wish the addressees a better steward hereafter. Nevertheless, since the master pays to the negligent servant no less than to the good, so must both the master and the purser be paid their wages. Trinity House will be ready to rebut the slander that the addressees had failed to victual the ship.
The suit in the court of requests brought by Ellis Henderson against William Joanes about errors in the account for building the Mary [and] John of London, together with all other differences between them, was by their mutual consent referred to the writers for arbitration. Henderson shall pay £7 16s to Joanes within 30 days in full settlement of a bill for £14 15s which Henderson owes to Joanes, on payment of which Joanes is to deliver the bill to Henderson; no error is found in the account for building the Mary [and] John; both parties are to pay their own legal charges; and all actions are to cease.
The lords commissioners of the admiralty have instructed them to survey the king's 2 ships building at Woolwich and Deptford [Unicorn and James]. Both ships being well advanced, any defects should be amended before the decks are laid. They have been ordered to take some of Trinity House, the king's masters attendant [see 475n] and master shipwrights as assistants, and to report on what needs to be done before the ships are completed. Trinity House are to choose 3 elder brothers, who should include Capt. Best and Mr Rainsborow, to attend a meeting at Woolwich at 9 a.m. on Thursday. The ship at Deptford will be inspected in the afternoon.
They have surveyed the ships building for the king at Woolwich and Deptford. The dimensions of the ship at Woolwich [Unicorn] are: length by the keel, 107 ft; breadth from outside to outside [the planks], 36 ft 4 inches; breadth between the planks, 35 ft 8 inches; depth from the upper [edge] of the keel to the diameter of the breadth, 15 ft 1 inch; depth of the keel, 1 ft 8 inches; depth from the upper edge of the keel to the upper edge of the deck, 17 ft 10 inches; draught of water amidships, 16 ft 3 inches, at which draught she will be port free 5 ft. The dimensions of the ship at Deptford [James] are: length by the keel, 110 ft; breadth from outside to outside [the planks], 37 ft 6 inches; breadth between the planks, 36 ft 10 inches; depth from the upper edge of the keel to the extreme breadth, 16 ft 2½ inches; depth of the keel, 1 ft 9 inches; depth from the upper edge of the keel to the lower edge of the ports, 22 ft 2 inches; draught of water amidships, 17 ft 2 inches, at which draught she will be port free 5 ft. The timbers are of sufficient size and scantling with convenient scarfing*. The quality of the timber and planks is good, especially in the ship at Deptford which cannot be better, while that used in the ship at Woolwich is as good as could be got in the New Forest. The workmanship is sufficient. [f.64v] The orlops* lie at a convenient height; the beams 'round* well'; both are flush fore and aft. The ports are not yet cut out but are marked out about 9 ft apart. They and the master shipwrights consider that the first 2 ports, both fore and aft, should be 2 ft 6 inches broad, and the remainder should be 2 ft 2 inches square between the timbers. They agree with the outstanding work as proposed by Mr [Peter] Pett and Mr Boates. Both will be very serviceable men-of-war. William Rainborow, Walter Coke, Anthony Tutchen [of Trinity House], William Coke, (fn. 4) Thomas Awstin [masters attendant], (fn. 5) Edward Steevens, Henry Goddard, John Graves, Ro. Tranckmore, John Ducy, John Southern, John Taylor [shipwrights]. (fn. 6)
On coming into the Arches [of Pelagos], they sent a boat to sea which brought word that corn was plentiful everywhere, but especially at Volos, whither they sailed. Having been there for 5 days, and having been promised a sale, the Turks betrayed them at the agreed time, but only 2 were taken and 3 killed in the ambush. They tarried several days, trying in vain to redeem the captives. They then sailed to 'Zetourn' [? Zituni, now Lamia], where none dared to sell them corn. After 10 days, having got 700 'killoes', (fn. 7) they came to the Gulf of Salonica where they agreed with a Turk for '6,000 killoes at 62½ per killoe'. While this was being loaded, boats were sent to fetch more. They went from there to Cassandra Gulf, loaded about 6,000 'killoes' at Paliuri, and decided to stay there for fear of the galleys. Contrary to expectations, however, the galleys approached them on Whitsunday [9 June 1633] determined to despoil them by fair means or foul. They had a present for Capt. Bushawe and saluted him but, without one word or sending to them, he assaulted and, it being calm, boarded them. The fight lasted for more than 2 hours and Bushawe did not leave until he had fired the Hector and, half an hour later, Spaight's ship too. Twenty of the crew were slain and 70 men made slaves, including himself and Messrs Harris, Wylds and Duckmanton. He beseeches the addressee to secure the release of himself and the others, for he was taken in his service. Spaight, together with his father and mother, will contribute towards the ransom. His pen cannot express his miserable condition, chained as a rower, and fed on bread and water. They are to be taken to 'Stambolo' to be seen by the grand signor, and God knows their fate thereafter. He does not doubt that Sir Peter Wych [ambassador in Turkey], with a letter from the addressee, will be very effective. This letter is written in a dark hole.
P.S. 'They have done more than they can answer. We laded our corn for Venice from whence we came, and were thither bound per a Voizo [? Vijose in Albania] right to Constantinople, that we passed the time till new currants'. Those who he knows were saved include: George Lamden, Robert Stanherd, John Comfort, Messrs Wyld, Parr and Harris, —Morice, Goodman Wylde, Messrs Parratt, Lacken and Nunnes, Philip Legon, John Preston, Thomas Handly, —Pitcher, —Cadwell,—Duckmantine, —Chilbourne, —Organy, —Orwell, —Pacey, Edward Lambe, Zachary Champion, George May, Christopher Lutcombe, Christopher Bowman, William Trenchfeild.
423. [f.65v. ? Aug. × Nov. 1633] (fn. 8) Trinity House to the king
They petition on behalf of Richard Harris, William Wylds, and 70 Englishmen taken by the Turks with the loss of the Hector and William and Ralph of London. Last March the ships sailed from Venice into the Arches [of Pelagos] which owes obedience to the grand signor, who is in amity with the Venetian states, to await the 'reculta' [i.e. harvest] for new currants. In June they began trading with the Turks at Paliuri in Cassandra Gulf lading corn for Venice. Capt. Bushawe, sailing from 'Stambolo' with a fleet of 60 galleys, came into the port on Whitsunday and, without parley, contrary to the custom of the sea, suddenly assaulted and boarded the ships. After a bloody fight in which 20 were killed, he set fire to both ships and took the surviving 70 in chains in the galleys. The Turks had no just cause and acted contrary to the law of arms. Much misery will be caused to wives and children and many able men will be lost to the king. Their fight against such a mighty armada was the wonder of Christendom. The king is asked either to send a letter to the grand signor, or to instruct his ambassador to seek justice and secure the release of the seamen and compensation for the loss of the ships.
In reply to his enquiry about the command of the fort of Glückstadt in the river of Hamburg [the Elbe], they are well acquainted with the river and its navigable channels. The distance between the fort and ships as they pass is less than the range of a saker* shot. Ships would therefore be under the command of the fort which has ordnance of the greatest force, namely whole and demi-cannon*. Ships could not pass without desperate danger. Besides the northeast side of the channel lies in the land of the king of Denmark from Brunsbuttel to 'Copper Church', which is 3 miles above the fort. The king could plant cannon to command navigation in the river for most of the way. As soon as is convenient, they will provide a draught [i.e. plan] of the river, showing the fort and channel and the distances from land to land.
Neglect of the responsibilities of the office of ballastage will cause grave inconveniences. Those seeking to ballast are wholly incapable of carrying out these responsibilities. (a) There must be a sufficient number of wharves at convenient places on the sides of the river. (b) Enough ballast must be available at these wharves to meet all requirements. (c) As much gravel, sand and rubbish as possible should be taken out of the river from shoals and places of danger. (d) Sufficient great and small lighters need to be available to take the ballast to wharves and ships. Gravel and sand must lie on the wharves for long enough [cf 492] to dry so as to be suitable for all ships, especially those which carry cloth and other dry goods which must have dry ballast since otherwise the merchant will suffer damage which the shipowner has to make good. (fn. 9) (e) Ballast lighters must be measured and their ballast-carrying capacity clearly marked so as to prevent abuse, and to set down a reasonable price [see 492] for every kind of ballast according to quality. (f) Ships must be assigned to the right place for ballast. (g) There must be no cause for complaint by subjects of a lack of ballast or of just weight. If ballast is not available, the employment of ships will be hindered and merchants and owners will suffer prejudice. The lack of ballast for a day or 2 can cost £6, £7, or £8 a day, depending upon the number of the crew. (fn. 10) (h) They have had the office of ballastage for 120 years and have always fixed prices without complaint. These idle fellows know nothing of ballastage, much less about the Thames, its dangers and places from which it is fit or unfit to take up gravel. Furthermore Trinity House have for long provided all things necessary for the execution of the office of ballastage and the cleansing of the Thames, and have never been reproved. They are ready to prove this to the king or to the privy council. [f.67] The provisions for the ballastage office have cost them and their assignee, Mr William Burrell, lately deceased, about £3,000. To change the execution of the office after 100 years will confound the work and prejudice subjects and navigation. Mr attorney [general] has already given the legal view and he should also consider the question of convenience.
According to his reference of 27 July last about the difference of account between John Bennet, pl., late master of the Grace of London, and Edward Beane, John Victers, Robert Burdett and John Deasrsly [sic], part-owners of the ship, both parties have appeared and the account drawn up and audited by their nominees. The owners owe £113 2s 6d [or £173 2s 6d] to Bennett, who has been much wronged and prevented from getting his due and maintaining his wife and family.
They have received his letter of 'the 20th present' [sic] and copies of his former letters which they had already had. At the end of this term, they intend to tell the lord keeper what they have done: the number of shires committed to their trust with the money collected, charges arising, and who have been redeemed, and so accordingly to the mayor's part, insofar as he tells them. Whereas he conceives that they wanted him to come to perfect the business, it was the lord keeper who expected some of the alderman last term. As to the extraordinary charges in his account, they do not consider that all is due from the 'poor remains' of the captives' money. William Raineborow, master.
The Providence of Bristol, Samuel Andrewes master, recently sustained great damage in her late voyage from London to Bristol in cutting down her masts by the board and otherwise in a storm to save the ship and her goods. The undersigned [not entered] who are merchants, laders of the ship, are content to include these losses in a general average*, and to pay their part according to the law and custom of merchants.
429. 30 Nov. 1633. Trinity House to Mr Hollworthy (fn. 11)
In answer to his enquiry, their opinion is that a ship with all her furniture is liable to an average*. As to whether the goods in a ship which has received damage are liable to average, their opinion is that damage to goods is not to be made good by way of average, but the damaged goods are to be included in the average according to their value.
430. [f.68] 12 Dec. 1633. Trinity House to Dr Reeve (fn. 12)
In reply to his letter of the 5th about 'loadsmonye' [cf 312] taken by a new court of law at Dover, this is what they call the pilot's wage for taking a ship in or out of port. What a corporation receives for 'loadsmony (as you call it)' is the 1s in the pound levy on the earnings of pilots for admitting and appointing pilots. No man can be pilot to take charge of a ship unless appointed by a corporation. The money is used to relieve the poor of the corporation. Taking 'loadsmony' does not tie a pilot, court, or corporation to make good damage which happens under the hand of the pilot. There never was such a precedent, nor would there be a pilot in the world if it were so. The fee is £2 for piloting a small ship from London to the Downs, £3 for a large one, and £5 for the largest, while the value of the lesser ship and her goods will be £20,000, sometimes £30,000, and the greater sort £50,000, £70,000 or £100,000. What justice there would be in making a pilot liable for such losses is left to his judgement. They never have heard of such a law, nor will, they presume. Skill avails a pilot nothing without the blessing of God. For a pilot to be deprived of his best anchor and cable is a custom of the lords of the Cinque Ports, but Trinity House know not by what law and it seems 'to smite where the Lord hath wounded'. As for the abuse of the people, if the report of the master is true, it is barbarous.