Trinity House of Deptford Transactions, 1609-35 London Record Society 19. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 1983.
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On 10 July 1617 and 5 July 1619, the great inquest of the assizes at Maidstone in Kent presented that divers persons had been drowned because of defects in the common way over a creek between the parish of Stoke and the Isle of Grain. Trinity House certify that the bridge and way, when finished, will be very beneficial and will save lives, especially those of poor fishermen who, because of the bridge, will have a nearer way and will thereby escape many dangers.
Henry Rawline, Thomas Best, Walter Whiting, Hugh Merret, Michael Geere, John Moore, Robert Salmon, Nicholas Diggens, Thomas Milton, Roger Gunston, Matthew Woodcot, John Skinner, Rowland Coitmore, Robert Rickman.
Their opinion was sought concerning the erection of dwelling houses for seamen at Blackwall, west of the landing place on the ground of Mr Burrell next to the Thames, and whether it would be prejudicial to the river. They consider that the site is suitable in view of the nearness of the east India works and the number of ships lying there. The river will not be prejudiced and the inhabitants will be a safeguard in the event of fires, storms, etc.
Robert Bourne, shipwright of Wapping, wishes to enlarge his wharf or building place for ships at Wapping by extending it 14 or 15 feet further into the Thames, as others of his profession have done, because ships are now built of greater burden and length than formerly. To obtain a licence sooner he has asked for this certificate. Trinity House certify that the extension will not harm the Thames but will be useful for the building and enlarging of ships 'so as the said wharf be brought straight from Hedgors' wharf, being the wharf to the westwards, to the end of his own wharf to the eastwards'.
They have been asked by James Carter, mariner of Plymouth, and others to certify that he was master of the John of London (about 60 tons) bound from Kinsale in Ireland to Cadiz and Malaga in Spain when the ship was surprised by Turks and Moors on 17 Sept. last. He and all his crew, numbering 8, were taken to Arcila in Barbary, enslaved, sold 5 times, and cruelly misused. Carter lost his adventure of £140 in goods and merchandise. His release was secured by a Jew, and he was sent home to obtain ransom for himself and 5 others who are held in great misery at Tetuán in Barbary. The ransom of 800 rials a man, equivalent to a total of £420 for all of them, would make his total loss £560, which he will never be able to raise without help.
They have summoned shipmasters who trade to the Straits to discuss his letter and after much debate conclude that the sea within the Strait of Morocco or Gibraltar is usually called the Levant Sea, and extends to the coast of Syria, viz. Scandarowne, Tripoli, etc. They received the same by tradition from their elders and from Italians and Frenchmen trading in those seas.
At the request of Clement White, mariner of Weymouth in Dorset, and others they certify that he was pilot of the Hopewell of Rye (about 35 tons) which last September sailed from thence to Bantry in Ireland where he loaded a cargo of pilchards. Sailing from thence to Alicante in Spain, the ship was surprised by a Turkish man-of-war near the Southern Cape. He was sold to the Moors in Arcila in Barbary who took him to Tetuán, where he was kept in cruel slavery for about 2 months. English merchants then ransomed him for £30 which he now owes and cannot repay because he lost his estate of £40 when the ship was taken. He, his wife and 6 children are likely to perish.
Whereas foreign shipping is daily employed to ports of this kingdom to transport coal and to import many goods of the king's subjects, whereby English shipping and mariners are unemployed and foreigners enriched, the king is asked to order that (a) no coal of Newcastle, Sunderland or Blyth be exported in stranger's ships except from the Thames or from western parts of England and Wales except from Plymouth; (b) the king's subjects are not to import or export in foreign ships if English ships are present; (c) if no English ships are present, those who use strangers' ships must pay to the king 10s a ton on goods loaded on this side of the North Cape, £1 a ton if loaded on the south side of the North Cape, and so much more according to distance. In return the petitioners will pay to the king 4d per chaldron of coal unladen in any English port or transported in English ships, and 6d per ton on goods loaded on this side of the North Cape and unladen in any English port.
His letter is fair and honourable but they crave pardon for not subscribing [to 161] albeit they will not oppose the staple. They prefer not to be suitors to the king, not because English ships engaged in the coal trade will be prejudiced—rather the contrary—but because the staple will cause inconvenience to the city and the large suburbs of London; moreover Newcastle will strongly oppose it. They therefore prefer to leave the furtherance of the petition to others. If the 6d per ton mentioned in the petition were to be dropped and the levy on strangers' ships increased, the project would meet more favour and much less opposition.
The merchants of this port 'take freight of Scotchmen here for wine for [sic] Bordeaux, and likewise carry goods thither outwards'. The merchants and their deputies in the East Country also freight Hollanders there with flax and iron for this port although ships of the port or other English ships are available. Unless some remedy is found, the navy of this port will be ruined. They seek advice and have asked the bearer, William Clarke, a brother of the Hull House, to obtain their answer.
William Smorthwait, Henry Chambers, wardens; John Preston, Cuthbert Thompson, Andrew Barker, Andrew Rakes, William Dobsonn, Joel Gaskein, George Carlill, Robert Rake, Christopher Frisby, John Helmester, John Johnson.
In reply to 163, the best redress is to petition the council, which is what they themselves do on all occasions. Moreover there is a project in hand [161–2] which may provide relief without further trouble about which they will write if there be cause.
In accordance with his command, they have considered his letter. The Mediterranean Sea begins at the Strait of Gibraltar or Morocco and extends to Malaga, Alicante, the Isles of Majorca, Minorca, Zante, Candy, Cyprus, Scandarowne, Tripoli and Alexandria, and is called the Levant Sea, and has ever been so known to navigators of those countries. Malaga lies 20 leagues within the Levant Sea, with no land between, for the Levant Sea washes the coast of Malaga, even to the walls of the town, and wines of Malaga are rolled in casks into the Levant Sea and so are embarked in English ships. This they know by experience.
Henry Rawlin, Thomas Best, Thomas Love, Walter Whiting, Hugh Merrit, John Moore, Robert Salmon, Roger Gounston, William Hare, Robert Rickman, Matthew Woodcot, John King, Rowland Coytmore. [Marginal note] Mr Munsey had a copy of this certificate on 8 July 1628 with the seal of the House affixed.
At the request of Sara, wife of Matthew Clarke, mariner of Limehouse, they certify their knowledge that he was master of the Susan of London (about 80 tons) on a voyage to Alicante in the Straits when on 5 Jan. last he met 2 great Turkish men-of-war, each of about 300 tons and full of men and ordnance, and fought for 9 hours in the night. Some of his principal men were killed and others sore hurt before the ship was captured and taken to Algiers. Clarke lost his adventure of £50 and he and the rest of the crew were sold in the market as slaves. They were given only bread and water and lay on the ground with chains on their legs. After 4 or 5 weeks Henry Warde, an English merchant lodging there, ransomed them for about £300. Clarke is to remain prisoner there until the money is raised, and neither he nor his friends can do so without help.
Henry Rawlin, Thomas Best, Walter Whiting, Hugh Merret, Michael Geere, Thomas Milton, William Ivye, Robert Bradsho, Rowland Coytmore, Robert Rickman, William Hare, Matthew Woodcot, John Osbourne, Robert Salmon, Richard Chester, Thomas Love.
At the request of the bearer, William Leske, mariner of Ratcliff, they certify that he served in the Mary Margaret of London, Stephen Bennett of Tower Wharf master, on a voyage to Greenland, but she was cast away there in 1611. He then served in the Elsabeth of Dover, James Poole master, but she was also cast away at Greenland. Of late he went on a voyage into the Straits in the Will and Raphe of London, Richard Goodlard master, but homeward bound in May coming out of the Straits, the ship and her goods were captured by Turkish pirates. He lost his year's wages, his apparel and adventure. He has a wife and 4 children, the eldest of whom has been under the surgeon for 8 years, at great expense, to the utter undoing of himself and his family.