Trinity House of Deptford Transactions, 1609-35. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 1983.
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John Davis of Ratcliff and William Ball of Wapping, mariners, enter bonds of £200 to accept the award of Richard Chester, Thomas Best, Michael Geere and John Moore, or any 3 of them, in their dispute, provided that the award is made at Trinity House at Ratcliff not later than 9 March 1616. [See 63].
The award is that since Davis failed, as Ball alleges, to perform his promise to keep company with him in their late voyage from Spain, he is to take no action for the alleged wrong done to him by Ball. Likewise Ball is to take no action. Both are to lodge at the usual meeting place of the writers at Ratcliff, commonly called Trinity House, before 12 March 1616, acquittances made before 2 or more witnesses in respect of all wrongs done to each other up to 23 Feb. 1616.
64. [f.28v] 3 Apr. 1616. Privy council to the master of the rolls and Sir Daniel Dun [admiralty court judge] concerning exports in alien ships and freight charges [Printed in APC 1615–16, 468. Lord Knollis appears as a signatory in 64 but not in APC.]
65. [ff.28v–29] 16 June 1616. Order of the privy council concerning freight rates [Printed in APC 1615–16, 611–14. At the end of 65 it is stated that 'the publishing of this order is entered in the next leaf', i.e. 68.]
At the request of the bearer, Nicholas Rawledge, mariner of London, they certify from the knowledge of some of them and of other seamen that he was taken by the Spaniards at the latter end of the late queen's reign, lost his estate and was held in their galleys for about 4 years. He then engaged himself industriously in merchants' affairs but last Nov., when master of the Feather of London bound for the 'port of Portingale' [Oporto], he was captured by 2 French men-of-war and lost his entire estate. Later he lost his sight and is now utterly impoverished.
At the request of the bearer, Elizabeth, wife of Moses Mason, mariner, they certify that her husband, who has lived among them for a long time, is a man of honest life. On a voyage to the Straits as gunner's as mate in the Long Robert of London, he was captured by the Turks and is still held prisoner. His wife and 3 small children are in such poverty that they cannot provide for themselves or for his release.
R. Gardener, rector of Whitechapel; Robert Bourne, constable; Robert Tyler, Tyman Warde, churchwardens; Edmond Jurden, John Beedom, William Mott, John Bourne, Jo. Dearsley, Thomas Hard, R. Wheatley, part-owner of the ship, Richard Bix, part-owner of the ship.
68. [f.30] 16 Oct. 1616. Whitehall. Order of the privy council [Repetition of the final paragraph of 65 with the additional requirement that the order be published.] (fn. 1)
G. [archbishop of] Canterbury, T. [lord] Ellesmere, lord chancellor, T. [earl of] Suffolk, [bishop of] Ely, [earl of] Pembroke, T. [earl of] Arundel, [Sir] Ralph Winwood, [Sir] John Digbye, [Sir] Thomas Lake, [Sir] Julius Caesar, [Sir] Francis Bacon.
70. [f.30v] 31 Jan. 1614. Privy council to the mayor and aldermen of Newcastle about silting in the river Tyne [Printed in APC 1613–14, 340–1. The signatories in 70 are the archbishop [of ?Canterbury], the lord chancellor, the earl of Exeter, Sir Julius Caesar, Sir Thomas Parrie, and the 'lord chief justice' [? Sir Edward Coke].]
72. [f.31. 16 June × 16 Oct. 1616] (fn. 2) Trinity House to the privy council
They have long been suitors to the privy council about the decayed condition of ships and seamen. From time to time the privy council has heard their pleas and on 10 [recte 16] June last, on the report of the master of the rolls and the admiralty court judge, ordered a table of freight rates which was fair both to the merchants and the shipowners, and which had been agreed by both parties, to be entered in the register of council causes and to be published . Nothing is yet done and a proclamation or other action is requested.
At the request of the bearer, Nicholas Rudes of Dunwich in Suffolk, mariner, they certify that his natural son, William Rudes, mariner, was captured by the Turks on a voyage to the Straits in the Long Robert of London. A large ransom is required but his father, being aged and poor, and his friends cannot provide it.
Commendation of the above petition . Rudes is a very young man. Thomas Best, master; Roger Gunston, Robert Kytchen, Robert Bradsho, Hugh Merit, Richard Chester, Nicholas Diggins, Robert Rickman, Matthew Woodcot, William Ivey.
Thomas Whitney, esq., owner of the Thomas and Francis appointed Michell as attorney to go to Newcastle to recover the ship and her furniture. After doing so, Michell went on 3 voyages in her to Newcastle for coal. On the instructions of Whitney, he then supervised the new building of the ship and paid the weekly wages of the carpenters. Whitney then sent him on another voyage to Newcastle, promising to clear his account and pay him for his time. The ship has now been sold but Whitney refuses to come to account or to refer the matter to arbitration. Michell, in view of his poverty and that of his wife and child, asks that Whitney be ordered to abide by arbitration.
77.2 Nov. 1616. Ratcliff. [Return to the lord chancellor. See 76.] No settlement has been made because Whitney wants them to report their findings to the lord chancellor. He also objects in general terms to Michell's accounts, but neither he nor the present writers can disprove any part of them or charge Michell with dishonesty. The account shows that £35 8s 1d is due to him, besides allowance of £10 or £12 more for the 8 or 9 months which he spent attending to Whitney's ship.
After receipt of 77 he has heard Whitney, gentleman, alone and together with Michell, mariner, a native of Scotland and does not mislike their certificate, but since Whitney alleges that he has further material evidence, they, together with such other members of Trinity House as they see fit, are asked to review the case to avoid any exception. He has such confidence in their judgement that he will accept their certificate and cause it to be implemented. A speedy decision is requested because Michell has long been delayed in his employment abroad owing to this business.
They have re-examined both parties and find the state of the case unaltered. Whitney has provided no new evidence. £47 8s remains due to Michell, besides £3 or £4 incurred since their last report, leaving aside whatever is due for his loss of time and labour which is for the lord chancellor to decide. Also Whitney should covenant to discharge Michell of a debt of £30 for coal loaded at Newcastle on Whitney's account. Michell should discharge Whitney for the items in his account by a similar bond.
Mr Sergeant Richardson, counsel for William Clarke, pl., today informed the lord chancellor that Clarke, a poor mariner, had petitioned the lord chancellor concerning wrongs done and wages owed to him by William Isack, def.; that the lord chancellor had referred the case to Trinity House, and that 5 masters had certified that £8 5s wages were due; that thereupon the lord chancellor had ordered Isack to pay but that he had refused to do so, and had prayed a new reference to Trinity House, alleging that Clarke had turned roman catholic, and had left the ship 'for religion', whereas according to counsel Clarke detested that religion and had received holy communion since his return; that on which petition, the case had again been referred to Trinity House but that they saw no reason to alter their opinion. If the 5 masters will make a further certificate, the lord chancellor will order payment.
In accordance with his letters of 23 Dec. they were hearing the dispute between William Isack, master of the Elizabeth and Joseph, and William Clarke, one of the crew; Clarke was represented by his solicitor, Mr Fenn, who produced a chancery order , in view of which they are taking no further action.
Thomas Best, master; Roger Gunston, Rowland Coytmore, Robert Kytchen, Robert Bradsha, Richard Chester, John Vassall, William Hare, Matthew Woodcot, Nicholas Diggins, Robert Salmon, William Ivey, John Skinner, John Osborne, Henry Rawlyn, Robert Adams, John Maynard.
They are concerned about the weal and reputation of the fellowship and of every member according to their duties and oaths 'taken with all due respect to your worships as from inferiors to their superiors, or youngers to their elders', and crave assistance 'for the further manifestation of truth and justice' in a case already judged by the master, wardens and assistants. They ask that a certificate be sent to the lord chancellor in the case of Isacke and Clarke [80–1, 83], so that he may be better informed. If the master, wardens and assistants rule that Isack must pay Clarke for time not served in the ship, 'he may be satisfied and the cause ended'; if not, Isack can be released from prison. The petitioners are concerned for their own sake and for that of a wronged brother. They prefer to seek justice from the master, wardens and assistants, who understand the cause, rather than to pursue other courses and prevent the inconveniences which might otherwise follow this example.
Thomas Johnson, John Bennet, Thomas Pye, Thomas Smyth, Henry Beale, Thomas Hunt, Daniel Bannister, Matthew Kevell, Thomas Needes, William Stevens, Robert Mott, Richard Bromfild, William Hayles, Richard Goodlard, John Goodlard, John Lyngwood, Gervais Hocket, William Shawe, William Care, Nathaniel Salmon, William Rickes, John Dennys, Robert Grant, Roger Sherman, Robert Tockeley, Peter Kenton, Richard Harris, Seth Hudson, Tristram Wise, John Bredcake, William Knight, Walter Whyting, Anthony Tutchen, William Cocke, Walter Cooke, John Bredcake.
His order of 23 Dec. directed them to examine the case of Isacke and Clarke. Many of the company being out of town, there was not a competent number so the master wrote to those away requiring their appearance on 18 Jan. On that day  Henry Fenn had produced a chancery order  and had said that they were to proceed no further because the lord chancellor intended to hear the case, whereupon their proceedings ceased. On 29 Jan. they received the enclosed petition . They declare that they had considered the case and had delivered their verdict to Clarke before receiving the lord chancellor's letter of 23 Dec. and before Clarke's petition to the lord chancellor. Their opinion was that Clarke deserved no wages but rather punishment for reasons which can be explained if desired. Furthermore [f.33v] Clarke or Fenne has misrepresented them to the lord chancellor. The chancery order  states that they saw no reason to alter the certificate of the 5 masters whereas Trinity House had not examined the cause since receipt of the lord chancellor's letter of 23 Dec., much less confirmed the certificate, 'but directly contrary'.
The king has granted letters patent to Andrew Boyd and others for the survey of coal at Newcastle, Sunderland and Blyth, and 4d per chaldron there laden, the burden of which is intolerable and will result in the decay of trade and shipping. The 4d per chaldron may not seem much but will yield about £4,000 a year, which is a large part of the profit of the trade, obtained with great labour and desperate adventure. The facts are as well known to Trinity House as to the petitioners, and in one respect concern Trinity House more because the king has given them trust for the increase and preservation of shipping. They are asked to petition the privy council to secure the removal of the imposition.
Ipswich: (fn. 3) Robert Bull, Richard Barnes, John Affield, Robert Longe, Thomas Lawsonne, John Warde, Thomas Colbye, James Peacocke, John Barnes, Edward Ellmint, Edward Maye, Edward Prat, Edward Laverick, Robert Hunt, Richard Barton, Richard Birlingham, Edmond Morgan, Richard Sadlington, John Evans, Thomas Bernard.
[? Aldeburgh]: Thomas Juell, John Steward, John Revet, James Talbot, senior, John Warner, Thomas Wright, Susan Lowe, Elizabeth Searles, William Searles, Samuel James, Thomas Galant, Nicholas Freeman, John Carnabye, Richard Fisher, William Hamand, Jeremy Cornelis, Thomas Cocke, William Lowe, Thomas Geslyn.
[? Harwich]: Jeremy Tye, Anthony Payne, Richard Tye, Henry Ford, Thomas Wilkinson, Robert Braye, Richard Wasse, Richard Boulle, George Haildocke, Robert Coates, Edmond Tye, James Talbot, Stephen Dykes, Thomas Balye.
Woodbridge: Thomas Bolton, Thomas Cole, William Carye, Jonas James, Robert Holgrave, John Redgrave, Nicholas Ellenger, William Herbert, George Burwood, Richard Oteley, John Whale, Richard Davye, Thomas Base, William Battelle.
Dun wishes to be satisfied about the need for lights at or near Winterton. A motion has been made to them by masters trading that way and contradicted by others who would have to contribute towards the charges. Trinity House, from their experience, considered that there was at present no need since there are already lights and buoys not far away at Caister; and also in view of the small profit in the trade to Newcastle, additional charges should be avoided. Nevertheless, after the present foul weather, they are sending 3 or 4 of their most experienced men to sound the channels and to provide lights and seamarks as necessary. They have already conferred with some of Yarmouth about materials and workmen if needed.
86. [? Before 14 Feb. 1617] Trinity House to the king (fn. 4)
A statute [8 Elizabeth, c. 13] gave them the right to provide all buoys, beacons, marks and signs for the sea throughout the realm. In 36 Elizabeth, the lord high admiral resigned all his rights in this respect to the queen because Trinity House were the most experienced and fittest for this responsibility, and thereupon the queen by letters patent granted the rights to them [C 66/1410, mm. 11–12]. The king is asked not to grant rights in respect of the provision of lights or marks to any but the petitioners, who are responsible for the conduct and pilotage of his 'navy royal' and the greatest part of the shipping of the realm. They make this petition because they understand that the king has been asked to confer rights upon some who are not seamen and have no knowledge or experience. Since channels and sands alter with every great tempestuous wind, experience is essential. Otherwise ships, goods and men will be imperilled. [f.35 is lacking.]
87. [f. 36. ? Before 11 Feb. 1617. (fn. 5) Notes about Boyd's patent]
Reasons against the 4d per chaldron of coal: (a) Owners will be soon impoverished and shipping decay. (b) The motive of trade is profit, and if removed, trade and shipping will decline; seamen will be forced to seek employment in Holland, France, Spain or Turkey, there to be pirates, and their wives and children forced to beg. (c) The best nursery for seamen will be lost; the king's navy will then either not have sufficient seamen or be forced to employ landsmen who for want of knowledge will imperil his ships or those of merchants. (d) The office of survey will be tedious and will hinder the 300 ships engaged in the trade of a quarter of their time; profits will be reduced, owners impoverished and seamen undone; exports of 40,000 or 50,000 chaldrons of coal will be lost and the city and other places will lack supplies; prices will rise and thereby 'the poor of all trades impoverished'. (e) The 4d per chaldron is more than the profit cleared by many ships at the end of the year.
[Printed in APC 1616–17, 145–6. The signatories, not listed in APC, were the archbishop of Canterbury, the lord high admiral, the lord chamberlain, the earl of Arundel, the bishop of Ely, lord Zouch, Mr comptroller, Mr vice chamberlain, Mr secretary Winwoode, Mr secretary Lake, the chancellor of the exchequer, the master of the rolls, and the attorney general.]
The king has ordered that Bacon and others of the king's counsel should consider what rights Trinity House have to provide seamarks under the statute of 8 Elizabeth [c. 13] and by letters patent, and report to the council.
96. 15 March 1617. The lord keeper to the privy council about the right of Trinity House to provide lighthouses [The report of Bacon, who had become lord keeper on 7 March 1617, in reply to 95 is in the privy council order of 26 March 1617 (APC 1616–17, 204).]
The bearer, Mary Cooke, widow, is very poor. Her late husband, Henry Cooke, part owner of the Mary Constant of London, was taken with the ship by Turkish pirates and sustained great loss to his utter undoing. Her son, Martin Cooke, was also lately taken by the Turks and held in slavery. She cannot redeem him without help.
[Note at end] A true copy of the certificate given to Mary Cooke by Trinity House on the date stated; copied from the register today, 9 Jan. 1619. Thomas Best, Thomas Love, Roger Gunston, Matthew Woodcot, Walter Whyting.
They are to go without delay to Winterton and select a suitable site near Winterton Ness for a turret or watchhouse in which to maintain a light of sea coals for guiding ships from the sea into the roads, and sites for 2 other lighthouses for leading marks. They are then to arrange for the supply of materials and make contracts with workmen for building the lighthouses, so far as the £60 allocated to them for that purpose permits. If more money is needed, any which is taken up in the country will be repaid in London. They are to pay Mr Amys of Yarmouth for candles or wages delivered by him to Wilson, keeper of the lights at Caister. Accounts are to be rendered on their return. The keeping of lights at Caister and Stamport is to be inspected and they are to employ men and boats as needed to help in sounding the channels and sands.
Mr Secretary Lake instructed him in April to consult other counsel about the king's power in erecting lighthouses and whether the statute of 8 Elizabeth [c. 13] so incorporates the power and sets the trust in such erecting in Trinity House that the king without straining the prerogative may not perform the same or delegate his power. The present lord keeper, as attorney general, has already partly resolved the question in his report . Having heard the counsel of Trinity House and also Sir William Erskine, who has petitioned the king about erecting a lighthouse at Winterton Ness, opinion is given that (a) lighthouses are seamarks within the meaning of the statute; (b) by the statute Trinity House possess authority and trust to provide lighthouses if they will; (c) Trinity House cannot transfer this authority. But the grant to Trinity House does not inhibit the crown under common law because its provisions are in the affirmative, allowing Trinity House to erect lighthouses but not excluding the king from doing so; since the passing of the statute both he and the late queen have authorised the erection of some lighthouses. So although authority is vested in Trinity House as persons of skill, if they fail to do so, the king is not restrained from providing lighthouses in all necessary places. The question of convenience as opposed to law is for [the privy council] to judge.
110. [f.46v] 16 June 1617. Privy council to Trinity House and others concerning a levy to finance an expedition against the Turkish pirates [Printed in APC 1616–17, 262–4 and dated 1 June 1617. The signatories, not listed in APC, were the archbishop of Canterbury, the earl of Worcester, lords Zouche, Stanhope and Carew, and Sir Ralph Winwoode.]
In reply to their letter of 16 June , they summoned a meeting of all masters and owners of ships who are seamen and outlined the plan. All applauded it, and agreed that ships trading to the Straits east of Cape Gata will pay 1s 6d per ton; that those trading to the Straits west of Cape Gata and Spain from the Straits' mouth to the North Cape (viz. Cape Finisterre), the Islands, Barbary, Guinea, Benin, etc. will pay 8d per ton; and those trading to Biscay, France, Flanders, Holland, Friesland, Hamburg, Danzig, Melvin, Norway, Russia, Greenland and all northern parts overseas will pay 3d per ton. These impositions are to be paid every voyage, half at the entry* of the ship outward bound, the other half at her entry on her return home. A letter to the Customs House is requested so that they may have their deputy for collection there. Judging from the number and tonnage of ships employed in 1616, the following sums will be levied:
John Davis, John Bigat, John Bourne, John Flud, William Case, William Rand, John Bennet, Reynold Hoxton, Robert Mott, John Hone, John Blake, Richard Plumpton, Peter Whyte, William Shaw, Robert Tyler, William Mathew, John Grant, Roger Sherman, William Becke, Edmond Gardner, junior, Walter Cooke, Robert Stevens, George Hatch, William Mallet, John Wootten, William Isacke, Robert Myller, Robert Bence, junior, Thomas Johnson, John Startup, William Cocke, William Dowglas, Thomas Hart, Simon Nickoles, John Rickes, John Patteson, John Sayer, Anthony Tutchen, Peter Kenton, Lawrence Nixe, John Felton, Edward Nicholles, Richard Malym, George Lyssant, John Franckton, John Lyngwood, Thomas Needes, John Chester, William Startout, Josiah Church, William Bushell, Peter Blake, Stephen Church, Samuel Each.
In accordance with his reference to them of the cause of Isacke and Clarke, they have summoned Clarke to appear several times by letters left at his house and by their officer but he refuses to come. They know no more of the case than they did in the late lord chancellor's time when he referred it to them [80–3] which they can certify if desired.
In accordance with his reference to them of 3 July of the cause of Isacke and Clarke, they have tried to summon Clarke to appear but cannot find him. They therefore certify what they ascertained from earlier examinations [80–3, 113]. Isacke was master of a ship on a voyage into the Straits for some of the Turkey company, and hired Clarke as cook. At Messina in Sicily Clarke quarrelled with a fellow seaman and being reprimanded by the master shortly afterwards went ashore with other members of the crew and 'insinuating himself to the Jesuits and others of the Inquisition there abiding' secured an order for the payment of all wages due to him to date contrary to his contract with the master under which wages would be paid on the return of the ship to London. Having also been persuaded to become a roman catholic, Clarke 'obtained so much from thence as that the master Isacke was fain to enter into bond in the sum of 2,000 ducats not to receive him into the ship again'. Clarke was sent by the Jesuits with letters to Rome and, he and others meeting Isack at Naples on the way, would have had him apprehended had he not escaped in great danger. On the evidence no money is due to Clarke for time not served in the ship, but rather the contrary because he did what might have turned to the overthrow of the whole voyage, the ship and the master.