Trinity House of Deptford Transactions, 1609-35 London Record Society 19. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 1983.
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473. [f .89.? Before 2 Feb. 1635] Trinity House to the king about Sir John Meldrom's proposed lighthouses at the North and South Forelands [Cf SP 16/283/1, annotated March 1635; CSPD 1634–5, 497, ascribing it to 2 Feb. 1635. The Trinity House text states that a similar petition was sent to the council. SP 16/89/27, ascribed incorrectly in CSPD 1627–8 (p. 494) to 1627, is a further copy.]
A great number of men and ships have been lost at Orfordness in Suffolk because of the dangerous sands and cliffs on that coast. They ask for authorisation of a watch house with fires kept there continuously at night, similar to those elsewhere. A charge of a halfpenny a ton on ships passing by that place would be fitting.
John King, master of the John and Barbary of Ipswich, Isaac Bromell, master of the Ensurance of Harwich, Stephen Callmege, master of the Elizabeth, George Mullett, master of the Blossome, George Lawes, master of the Neptune, Henry Rivers, master of the William and Francis of London, John Laurlstond of North Shields, master of the Pationesses of Shields, John Wilds, master of the Unity of Manningtree, John Martrey, master of the Prudence of London, Edward Rand, master of the Dolphin of Newcastle, Thomas Rickaby, master of the Neptune of Bridlington, mark of William Cason, master of the Ann and Ann of London, mark of Anthony Groome, master of the Mary of London, Samuel West, master of the Talbott of London, [f.90] John Horner, master of the Nathan of Ipswich, Thomas Chapman, master of the Content of Ipswich, John Bell, master of the William of Newcastle, James Shrive, master of the Mary Ann of Ipswich, mark of John Coles, master of the Hermite of Woodbridge, Robert Partridge of Woodbridge, master of the Centurion, mark of George Clarke, master of the White Lyon of London, John Niddock, master of the Exchange of Harwich, John Westwood, master of the Jonas of Lynn, mark of John Whaly the elder, a great owner of Woodbridge, Robert Clarnly, the Ann and Samuell, owner of divers ships at Ipswich, (fn. 1) John Tillott, master of the John and Dorothy of London, John Moore, master of the Robert and Ellen of London, mark of George Battell, master of the Amity of Woodbridge, John Wright, master of the Lilly of London, Henry Harrison, master of the Appletree [of] London, Edmund Levar of Ipswich, Humphrey Mason, master of the Endevor of Aldeburgh, James Beetes of Aldeburgh, Anthony Taillor, master of the Presala and Thomasin of London, Richard Skinner, master of the Recovery of Ipswich, Stephen Greenwich, master of the Greenwich of Ipswich, Anthony Woodward, master of the George of Woodbridge, mark of George Leafe, master of the Unicorne of Aldeburgh, Humphrey Witoh, master of the Protection, mark of Godfrey Tilman, master of the Litle David, Frank Knall of Trinity House, Henry Ford, master of the Rosemary, Thomas Cletcher, master of the Releefe of Ipswich, [mark of] Henry Askettle, master of the Margarett and James of London, James Ricrost, 'pilot for the coast by the Trinity Houses', [mark of] Charles Hawkins, master and brother of Trinity House, Peter Lunt, master of the Peter Bonaventure of London, William Partrich of Woodbridge, James Talbott, master of the Luffuld Mary of Ipswich, John Caboern, master of the Ann of London, Robert Wright, master of the Rebecca [of] Newcastle, William Copland, master of the Mathew of London, Peter White, one of the 4 masters, (fn. 2) Nicholas Skinner of Rye, Francis Scurtes of Aldeburgh, Stephen Richard of London, Peter Logie, James Daling, William Kay, George Dinling, Andre [sic] Alexandre, Edward Thurston, John Mavon of Newcastle, Thomas Haliwell of Sandwich, [f.90v] Reuben Broade of London; John Allen, William Stanford, Robert Redmer, Robert Baker, William Smith, John Fowler, Robert Engle, Robert Fish, Robert Hill, William Walborne, Robert Dennis, Francis Fuller, Christopher Bregwell, Nicholas Wyatt, Adam Mells, Robert Baker, Robert Meddowes, John Sayaward, John Bledor, John Swan, Walter Aklenne, John Dobes, Thomas Dunn, John Arnold, Thomas Cheney, Thomas Wilche, Henry Lambe, Christopher Dunne, Nicholas Robertes, John Troudell, John Baxter, Richard Blogd, John Rolleson, Robert Duck, Thomas Browne, Robert Smith, William Faune, James Crages, Henry Pelcher, William Lockett, John Fish, Oliver Sharpe, Peter Gunwell, all of Yarmouth; John Webb, Phoenix Worde, Daniel Hercoy, Thomas Aldermaine, Henry Groome, all of Rotherhithe; Nicholas Kirk, William Tomlinson, Thomas Barnard, Robert Marison, William Rookes, all of Hull; Roger Crepen, John Hume, Robert Mells, all of Sandwich; John Gobson of Rochester; William Shank, Robert Ripen, James Chevin, all of Aldeburgh; John Harrison, mark of Cuthbert Sharper, both of Newcastle; James Gibbs of 'Burrowstones' [? Borrowstounness]; William Bagg of Ipswich; Thomas White, James Marie, Edmund Woodgreene, Richard Gakope, Robert White, John Kiddy, Tristram Stephens, William Keyte, William Caller, Richard Tutter, Edward Donfeld, all of Dover; Richard Stimsen, George Richardson, mark of Thomas Botte, Christopher Browne, John Denton, Thomas Forth, Nicholas Samson, the mark of John Arnold, the mark of Thomas Poters.
From a letter of 23 Feb. sent by Mr John Pringle to his kinsman, Mr John Tompson, (fn. 3) the addressees are understood to have been informed by Mr Williams of the Dover fellowship of the plan of Sir John Meldrome for lighthouses at the North and South Foreland and to have desired to know how far Meldrome had proceeded. On a petition to the king in the names of shipmasters, inhabitants of Sandwich, Dover and 'Norgate' [? Margate], together with chief pilots of the king's navy, Meldrome obtained a grant to erect the lighthouses. As soon as Trinity House heard of Meldrome's proceedings they petitioned the king without delay certifying that neither the corporation nor the masters attendant [see 475] had had any notice of the grant nor had their approbation been given, 'the like we did conceive of you'. Thereupon the king temporarily stayed proceedings, but they do not know how soon they will be called to give their reasons for opposing the grant. Since the addressees do not agree with the project, they are asked to write as soon as possible giving their reasons. The levy is to be 2d a ton per voyage, as appears in the enclosed copy of the warrant which would prove a great grievance to navigation, besides other bad consequences. Those who set their names to the petition are unlikely to contribute much to the levy. The mayor of Sandwich and the 2 Randes of Deal are the principal signatories of the petition, and there are 50 or 60 others whom they do not know.
Their letter  and the enclosed petition were received by which they were fully informed. The mayor and jurats of Dover wrote last week to the lord warden touching the dangers to these parts and to the kingdom if lighthouses are erected at the Forelands, viz. the danger to the state, increased charges for merchants and mariners, and that in time of hostility the lights would enable enemies to land on the coast and anchor in the Downs and in places nearby. In a chase at night, the lights would bring ships into the Downs where the ships of the king and of merchants lie at anchor, and these might be boarded at night without any resistance, and set on fire. It may be said that the lights will not be kept in times of hostility, but meantime they will acquaint strangers with the coast 'that they may go through by their depth as well as our ships'. In the late hostility with France, the lord warden took care to order the cutting down of all stairs and passages in the cliffs. The lights would therefore be more advantageous to an enemy than beneficial to the kingdom. The writers have not given an opinion on, or approbation of, the lights and are abused in the report and the petition. They hear that a bond of £1,000 has been given to Sandwich, freeing the inhabitants from paying the charges. As for Deal, the addressees know that there is no shipping to be charged. Many more who set their names to the petition are believed to have no shipping or understanding in sea affairs, and have acted without regard to the state or shipping. If a further certificate is needed, 100 masters and owners will set their hands to the same.
He well remembers that lately Mr Paule and Mr Spycer of London sealed a bond of £1,000 to the mayor and jurats of Sandwich, with condition that the masters of ships of Sandwich and its 'limbs' should not pay any charge for the intended lights at the North and South Foreland. The bond was left with the mayor of Sandwich.
It is their duty to give a relation of, and their exceptions against, the proceedings of Sir John Meldrome for lights at the Forelands. In his petition to the king, Meldrome states that Dover, Sandwich, Norgate [? Margate] and other ports, with the 'chiefest' pilots of the navy royal were suitors for the lights. Rather Meldrome was the suitor. Neither he nor his agents came to Dover, as appears by a letter [? 477] from the corporation there. He and his agents could not get a signature at Sandwich, where he was the suitor, but when he gave a bond of £1,000 to free the town and its limbs from the charge, the mayor and all other men of the town and its ports were willing to subscribe. Trinity House and all owners and seamen of London and the Thames would be ready to sign if freed of the charge. As for the chief pilots of the navy, the principal pilots are the king's 4 masters [see 475]. Of these, William Cooke and Peter White have certified orally before Trinity House that they oppose the project, and they certify that Mr Austen is of their opinion; the fourth, Mr Goodwyn, is at Portsmouth. As for knights and gentlemen (sea captains), nothing need be said because they will acknowledge that they cannot take the places of masters or pilots, neither know they the channels, depths and dangers, and how to avoid them. The reasons why these lights would not be a safeguard against the dangers of the Goodwin Sands are: (a) The distance between the lights at South Foreland and the danger of the Channel of the Gulls is at least 10 miles, at which distance the lights could not be seen and therefore could not be of use. (b) The lights at North Foreland cannot be useful for the Channel of the Gulls because the leading mark for channels must be on the same point of the compass from the ship 'as will carry you through'. [f.93] The lights at North Foreland 'when we shall come to the entrance of the Gulls will be 4 points differing from the point or lying of the channel' and, therefore, are of no use for avoiding the dangers of the Goodwin Sands. (c) The lights at the South Foreland are of no use for ships out at sea, because landmarks and soundings are more certain than lights. (d) If lights at the Forelands were of use, the writers who daily adventure their estates there would be most forward to obtain them. There are other objections too tedious for the board. If the king wishes there to be lights, the levy should be proportionate to the costs of erection and keeping, which would be one quarter of the levy of 2d per ton proposed by Meldrome for laden ships. Trinity House would provide lights for ½d a ton, if the king wishes. The danger of the Goodwin Sands is no greater than they have been since time out of mind. Trinity House have never known any ship to be lost for want of lights. Ships are cast away there when driven from their anchors by storms which lights could not prevent.
481. [f.93v] 1 May 1635. Whitehall. Privy council to Sir Thomas Pellam, bart., Sir Thomas Sackvill, knight of the Bath, Sir Edward Burton, Robert Foster and John Fagg, esquires, Giles Waters, mayor of Winchelsea, Thomas Trenchfeild, George Hatch and Anthony Tutchin of Trinity House, Mark Thomas and John Nowell, jurats of Rye, or any 4 of them [Cf PC 2/44, p. 551.]
Enclosed is a petition to the board from the jurats and inhabitants of Rye, complaining that the inning* of divers land endangers the harbour and causes its decay; that without speedy remedy it will become unusable by shipping; and that the inhabitants, being mostly merchants and mariners, will then have to find a new place of habitation. All of which is certified under the hands of most of the petitioners. Although the petitioners would not presume to present untrue information on such a public matter, for better satisfaction the addressees should visit the harbour on 19 May and certify the condition of the harbour to the board and what can be done to effect a remedy. They are also to order those who meddled with any inning of land to proceed no further.
In reply to 481, they have inspected the harbour at Rye and find it much decayed, as stated in the petition. The inning* of saltmarshes within the harbour against the channel to Winchelsea by Richard Milles, mayor of Rye and tenant of the earl of Thanet, Peter Farneden and Anthony Norton, gentlemen, and Thomas Peacock was almost complete. Other saltmarshes lying against the channel within the harbour running to Tillingham were being inned by Thomas Shreele. The completion of these works would have been very hurtful to the harbour, and they ordered the works to be stopped and the innings to be opened. They also viewed the harbour called the Camber which used to be a succour for ships and barks of good burden in stress of weather, and found it utterly decayed owed to the inning of great quantities of saltmarshes up the Weyneway channel (fn. 4) within the last 40 years, partly within the last 6 years, by Sir Henry Gilford and George Curtis, gentleman. Henry Peck, esquire, has inned saltmarshes against the channel to Winchelsea within the last 20 years. Gilford has done likewise on the other side of the channel within the last 40 years. William Sheppard, esquire, deceased, inned part of St Mary Marshes (fn. 5) now belonging to the town of Rye. Joseph Benbricke, jurat of Rye, has done likewise within the last 40 years. Sheppard inned saltmarshes against the channel to Tillingham within the last 40 years. All these works have conduced to the decay of Rye harbour. The stop made by the commissioners of sewers 12 years since across the indraught near Old Woodruffe (fn. 6) about 4 miles up the channel from Rye has swarved [i.e. silted] the [f.94v] channel from the indraught to and below the sewers of White Kempe and the Five Waterings towards Rye. The groins set alongside the channel to Winchelsea and in the harbours and creeks of Rye are a danger for navigation and a means to gather 'swerne' [silt] there. They are credibly informed that Rye is decayed and impoverished, with fewer merchants, seamen and fishermen than formerly because of the decay of the harbour and of fishing; that the inhabitants cannot improve the harbour or keep it in its present state; and that in short time without help it will be lost.
Present: the king, archbishop of Canterbury, lord keeper, archbishop of York, lord privy seal, duke of Lennox, marquess [of] Hamilton, earl marshal, lord chamberlain, earls of Dorset, Bridgewater, Carlisle and Holland, lord Cottington, Mr treasurer, Mr secretary Coke, Mr secretary Windebancke.
Ships coming from sea are not to pass Gravesend with ordnance loaded with bullets. Those leaving the port of London are not to load ordnance until they reach Gravesend. When ships going to and from London fire their ordnance as they pass the king's court at Greenwich, the ordnance is to be aimed at the side of the river opposite to that on which the palace stands.
Shipmasters warned about the 'warrant aforesaid' : Thomas Johnson, John Hemings, Roger Martin, Rowland Langram, Nicholas Isaac, Lawrence Moyer, Edward Johnson, John Severne, Nicholas Barnes, Richard Russell, Thomas Davis, Edmund Grove, Walter Mayniard, John Lymbrey, George Bodham, Robert Hackwell, John Tanner, John Jaye, Nicholas Hilson, Thomas Gibbs, John Babb, Andrew Batten, Benjamin Cranley, Peter Swyer, Thomas Hughes, George Downes, John Baker, Joseph Baker,—Cole, —Barker, —Gayner, John Piggott,—Flowers, John Blake, Nathaniel Goodladd, Robert Swyer, Anthony Thorne, Anthony Cole, John Webb, Nathaniel Case, John Jones, John Thomas, Thomas Nicolles, Jeremy Blackman, Richard Wight, [f.95v] John Seayres, Brian Harrison, Richard Fernes, Christopher Fothergill, George Watkins, John Martin, John Hall, John Grant, William Jenkins, John Plumley, John Smith, Robert Bowers, John Whetston, Thomas Babb, Thomas Baxter, John Ellison, John Smith, Robert Toackley, Robert Page,—Smith, Diggory Man, Edmund Bostock, James Gray, James Bacon, Thomas Punt, Edmund Ellison, John Goodladd, John Lowe, William Munt,—White, Richard White.
Philip White has certified that Martin requires their opinion as to whether the laying of chains for mooring ships in St Katherine's pool in the Thames, between Horseydown stairs and St Saviour's dock, will prejudice the river or ships passing by. Their opinion is that it will not. Mooring ships with anchors and cables was always dangerous for barges, light horsemen and wherries, especially at low tide, because the channel is narrow and ships' cables lying high and the upper arm of anchors being dry, casualties happened. Mooring with chains will prevent the danger because the chains lie very low under water, and the anchors to which they are fastened have no upward arm. Besides, cordage which daily grows scarcer will be saved.
486. [f.96. Before 3 Oct. 1635] (fn. 7) Trinity House to the privy council
Some 20 years ago, at the request of Sir Edward Haward, merchants, owners and masters signed an agreement for building and maintaining a fire light at Dungeness with a charge of 1d a ton upon ships and goods benefiting thereby, payable on return, the owner paying half. Haward then obtained letters patent from the late king with provision contrary to the agreement of 2d a ton (1d outwards, 1d homewards), being double the amount formerly agreed. At first payment was refused but the contention and delay was too great a charge upon the owners who were thereby forced to pay according to the patent, being 4 times the agreed amount, since merchants pay no part. The king's pleasure of late was to renew the patent, and their suit is that the patentee should receive what was agreed, namely 1d a ton payable on return, the merchant paying half. The petitioners would erect and maintain the light for 1d a ton.
487. [f.96v. ? Nov. 1634 × June 1635] (fn. 8) Trinity House to the king
They apologise for troubling the king about ballastage, he having in 2 references of their petitions [see 492] declared his intention not to abridge their rights by any new grant. Yet if the king leaves them, the ballastage office will be taken from them and the corporation will suffer loss of their ancient privileges, although by special order under the privy seal they pay Capt. Thomas Porter £50 a year for the enjoyment of the office and are willing so to continue. The suitors to the king for the office are Mr Webb, secretary to the duke of Lennox, and Mr Barnett, secretary to lord Carlisle, who are incapable of the business which they cannot perform without much offence to merchants, owners and shipmasters. The king is asked to continue to settle the office on the corporation as it has been for over 100 years, still under the lord admiral.
488. [f.97. 9 May × 3 Oct. 1635] Trinity House to the privy council about the dues for Dungeness light [Cf SP 16/296/65; CSPD 1635, 362–3, attributed to Aug. 1635. In substance the text is similar to 486.]
Many suits have been begun in the admiralty court by merchants and freighters against shipowners, masters and mariners touching damage to goods after the ship is safely arrived in her port of discharge and the goods delivered into lighters to be carried ashore. There is an erroneous opinion that owners, masters and mariners are responsible until the goods are put ashore, and are liable for damage to goods between ship and shore, resulting in many suits against them, whereby they are discouraged, navigation is disturbed, and the suits are fruitless to the merchants who began them. On the advice of Sir Henry Martin, the admiralty court judge, the king declares that by the law and custom of the sea, after a ship is moored as close as is safe to the place where the goods are to be landed, the liability of the owners, master and mariners ceases as soon as the lighter appointed by the merchant or freighter to collect the goods is free of the tackle of the ship. [f.98] Similarly they are not liable while the goods are in transit from the shore to the ship.
Mariners often dishonestly hire themselves to several masters at the same time, thereby disappointing some masters who have then to seek new mariners when their ships are ready to sail and the wind is fair. Mariners proved guilty of this offence before the admiralty court judge shall be committed to prison for one month. Masters, upon notice that a mariner was previously hired by another master, shall discharge him and not suffer him to go to sea upon pain of paying 20s a week for use of the poor during the time he is aboard.
Whereas much damage has been caused by fire to ships and merchants' goods because of the heating of tar and pitch aboard ships in the Thames, the practice is hereby prohibited upon pain of forfeiture of £5 for the use of the poor. Great seal of the admiralty affixed.
Order made in the third session, Trinity term, 1631. Complaint is made daily to the admiralty court judge by ship masters and commanders employed in voyages overseas that mariners are so disobedient and mutinous that they cannot bear the command. Mariners conspire to depose a master who does not conform to their wishes and put another of their choosing in his place. Voyages are hindered and many times overthrown, to the loss of the employers and the discouragement of commanders. Such insolences commonly spring from one evil spirit who, once he has drawn matters to a head, shelters himself under their common answer of 'one and all', or by writing all names in a circle so that the ringleader who put his name first cannot be detected. To avoid such evils, it is ordered that any mariner who uses the pernicious phrase 'one and all' or who signs his name in a circle shall not only lose his wages but shall be noted for principal mutineer and severely punished.
His courteous letter was received long since but was not answered because it was thought that he would visit them, nor did they know how to send by post to him until yesterday. If he can come to London, they will meet him, given notice, and, they believe, content him. If not, on receipt of his letter, they will give him a fair return. He should be well advised in cutting down his trees which are a special mark not only for the king's ships but also for 'all the prime merchants' ships of this kingdom'.
492. [f. 99v. ? 12 Oct. 1633 × 24 June 1636] (fn. 9) Petition by Trinity House
If the duties of the ballastage office are neglected, evil consequences will follow. [The first 7 duties listed in 425 then follow, but it is here stated that it takes 10 or 15 days for ballast to dry before it can be used as dry ballast and that the prices of 12d a ton for merchant ships and 4d for colliers are 'according to present time and former custom'. f. 100] In his references of 29 Jan. 1630 and 16 Apr. 1631 made at Whitehall, the king declared his intention not to abridge the rights of Trinity House by any new grant. They have enjoyed the office under the lord admiral for 100 years, providing all things necessary for ballastage and ensuring fair quantities and prices for purchasers. The profits amount to only £140 a year, from which £50 is paid to Capt. Thomas Porter by an order under the privy seal [see 359]. The rest of the money has been employed to relieve poor, lame and impotent seamen, their wives and children, and to pay for repairing wharves and other charges which have already cost £1,000 or £1,200. They have never been charged with injustice or negligence. They crave the help of the addressee.
493. [f.100v] 3 Oct. 1635. Agreement by Trinity House about the dues for Dungeness lighthouse [Contained in order of the privy council (cf SP 16/299/39; CSPD 1635, 420; PC 2/45, pp. 142–3). The names appended to the SP text, not listed in CSPD, are John Tatam (Totton in PC 2/45), Thomas Best, Robert Salmon, Walter Cooke, John Bennett, George Hatch, William Case, Anthony Tutchin, William Ewen, James Moyer, Gervais Hocket, William Goodlad.]
494. 9 Oct. 1635. Order of the privy council ratifying an agreement between Trinity House and William Bullocke  about Dungeness lighthouse dues [Cf SP 16/299/39; CSPD 1635, 420; PC 2/45, pp. 142–3. Those present at the meeting, not listed in CSPD, were the archbishop of Canterbury, lord keeper, lord privy seal, earl marshal, lord Cottington, Mr. Secretary Windbancke.]
495. [f. 101. Before 23 Dec. 1635] (fn. 10) Trinity House to the privy council
They are credibly informed of certain gentlemen who are suitors to the king for the sole making of salt and that foreign salt might be prohibited or a heavy imposition placed on it. Their duty is to certify the prejudice that will ensue to king and country. The merchant ships of the kingdom are not matched by those of any other king. Most of them are employed for the Straits and are freighted here at home only for the outward voyage. Owners expose themselves to fortune for homeward freight but are encouraged by the certainty of salt if better employment fails. The prohibition of, or a heavy duty on, foreign salt will result in the unemployment of a third of the best merchant ships, prejudicing the honour and profit of the king, for if shipping declines, so will trade and customs duties. If salt cannot be carried homewards, outward freight will not defray the cost of the voyage and it will not be undertaken. Furthermore, on voyages abroad, ships are often employed by the French, Italians, Turks and Jews, whereby double gain is won; £4,000–£10,000 is made thereby, and is used to buy commodities for import. Customs duties on these imports will return a better account than can be raised by any imposition on salt.