Trinity House of Deptford Transactions, 1609-35 London Record Society 19. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 1983.
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Henry Rowndkettle, mariner of Ipswich, was part-owner and master of the Christian Mary when, on a voyage to the East Country, she was lost on 21 March last in foul weather on the coast of Norway near Wariburrow [? Waersbergen, now Varberg in Sweden] with his adventure of £170. He, his wife and family will perish unless the king extends his favour. All which was proved in open session, and this petition made at Rowndkettle's request.
The navy commissioners required their opinion as to how fishing boats of the north coast from Harwich to Boston might benefit from the waftage* or convoy appointed for them. Their opinion is that boats from petty places to the south of Yarmouth, viz. Harwich, Aldeburgh, Southwold, Dunwich, etc., should repair to Yarmouth on a certain day, wind and weather permitting, and, in the road there, meet the ships which are to provide waftage. Meanwhile, the day should be notified to all places from Yarmouth, viz. Lynn, Wells, Boston, so that all can be at or near Cromer to meet the fleet coming from the south. One convoy should leave Yarmouth a tide or 2 before the rest and sail for Cromer'so that all can meet at the appointed time.
At the request of the bearer, Elizabeth Ensome, they certify the knowledge of some of them that her husband Robert, mariner of Ratcliff, is honest. He was master of the Unicorne of London on a voyage to the Canary Islands, but returning homewards the ship was surprised by Sallee men-of-war on about 29 Apr. last, within 10 or 12 leagues of Scilly. Ensome lost his whole estate of at least £250, was taken to Sallee and sold as a slave. He is cruelly misused to make him forsake Christ and serve Mahomet. His ransom is set at 500 Barbary ducats which, at 10s a ducat, amounts to £250. Neither he nor his wife can procure this amount and she cannot maintain their 3 small children without charitable relief.
St Claude of Calais: Peter Dulsnea, master gunner, 25 guilder; Jacob Johnson, boatswain, 26 guilder; Peter Barnes, cook, 22 guilder; Jerricke Myer, carpenter, 25 guilder; Nicholas Tise, carpenter, 25 guilder; Symon Rych, sailor, 14 guilder.
If the king pays full freight to the owners of these ships as if the ships had arrived at their home ports, the wages up to the date of the arrival of the ships at Plymouth should be paid by the owners. If the king does not pay freight, then he should pay these wages which the enemy should have done in the previous case. From Plymouth they should be paid at the same rate as 'our own seamen' for the period that they were in the king's service.
Having received from Mr Cason the certificate which they sent 2 days ago to the addressee concerning the wages of Dutch seamen who were in the prizes [239,] for his full satisfaction they sent to the Nightingall of Schiedam for the steersman, Bowen Johnson, the boatswain, Cornellis Clayson, and the cook, Clayse Janson, the chief officers in the Holland ships, who have certified that the monthly wages in their country are: steersman from Holland, 36 guilder; gunner, boatswain and cook, 23 guilder each; carpenter, 32 guilder; ordinary man, 12 and 13 guilder. While these men were before them, John Clayson, shipper of the White Dove of Medemblik, came and confirmed these figures.
The ill service of seamen in the king's ships is due to the smallness of their pay and an increase is the only remedy. The pay should be such that they can live fairly on it, which they could do for 20s a month. This may be given without any increase in charges or harm to the service by a reduction of one-sixth in crews and by paying the men 20s a month, 12 months to the year. The common seamen in a ship allowed 200 men is about 167. A one-sixth reduction would leave 167, of whom 40 would be officers, leaving 127 sailors. Only men able to do all service, that is, for top yards, helm, 'leedes' [? taking soundings with the lead] shall have 20s. A small advance for the officers will give content: 20s a month for the master, 25s for the pilot, 20s for the two master's mates, 6s or 7s for the quartermasters, and so according to that rate for the other petty officers, surgeons, trumpeters, drummers, etc. Trinity House will not meddle with [the rates for] officers resident in the ships. These rates given, the king will be well served, abuses of late years reformed, and the ships in more security. Provided always that 'it be death to every man that shall receive the king's money and not perform the service'. The difference in pay is:
|A ship with 200 men now paid 14s costs £140 a month for wages and for 13 months:||1,820||0||0|
|Victuals for 200 men at 8d a man per day:||2,433||6||8|
|The same ship with 167 men paid 20s a month will cost £167 and for 12 months:||2,004||0||0|
|The advance for officers for a year:||150||0||0|
|Victuals for 167 men at 8d a man per day:||2,031||16||8|
The business of raising the money is too weighty a matter for them, and they leave it to the state to whom it belongs. Each great ship trading for coal from 150 tons upwards should carry 4 pieces of ordnance. The new light pieces of about 3 cwt. with minion* bore [? drakes*], 3 pound shot and 2 pound powder to carry as far and as true as a minion would be very suitable for all ships, especially those trading to Newcastle.
244. [f.84. ? 8 Feb. × 24 Apr. 1626] (fn. 1) Trinity House to the house of commons
The defence of the kingdom much depends on its shipping and navy, for which able and sufficient men are essential. Of late, whenever seamen have been required for any service for defence, however important, a sufficient number has been found only with difficulty, and being found, many have evaded the service of the state in favour of that of the merchants. Worse, some have fled to serve foreign princes and even enemies, and have been the instruments of great loss to 'our' merchants. The sole cause thereof is the smallness of the pay in the king's service which is based on an ancient rate when victuals and other provisions were much cheaper. The pay is not above 4d a day for ordinary seamen and according to the same mean proportion for officers. Since most have wives and children to support, it is far too little and not more than half the amount usually allowed '(and the same well paid) both by our merchants and by foreign states'. Furthermore merchant ships are vital for defence and 'a navy royal' cannot set forth without them. Only 2s a ton per month for merchant ships is allowed by the king, which, considering the wear and spoil of ships in war service, is no way proportionate to the loss, whereby shipowners are discouraged from building new ships or repairing old.
4th, 160, £144 16s; 5th, 120, £107 11s 4d; 6th, 70, £64 11s 4d. Remaining for the captain's pay each month: 1st rank, £38 17s 6d; 2nd, £23 14s; 3rd, £17 10s 6d; 4th, £15 4s; 5th, £12 8s 8d; 6th, £5 8s 8d.
Michael Fletcher, mariner of Rotherhithe and husband of the bearer, was master of the Little James of London on a voyage to a plantation in New England in America. Over a year ago, homeward bound and fully freighted, the ship was surprised by a Sallee man-of-war on the west coast, not many leagues from Plymouth. He and the ship were taken to Sallee and it appears from his letters that he is in miserable captivity there, having lost all that he is worth which, they are credibly informed, is about £80. Neither he nor his wife can raise his £300 ransom. They have lived honestly and it would be charitable to help to redeem him. Thomas Gataker, parson of Rotherhithe, Aaron Woodcocke, William Case, Gervais Hockett, David Edwardes, Henry Jesson, Thomas Wood, John Blake, Austin Smith.
248. [f.87v. After 13 May 1626] Thomas Askew of Faversham to the same A petition seeking letters patent for a collection in Kent, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Middlesex and the cities of London and Norwich for his relief, the need for which appears in the annexed certificates [249–50].
At Askew's request they certify that he has lived honestly among them for many years, and is a mariner who was of good estate and who has employed and trained many young seamen, many of whom have served the king. On 2 July 1622, a small bark, the Ann of Faversham (23 tons), which was laden with coal, John Calliver [Cullyver in 250] master, was taken by Hollanders between Gravelines and Dunkirk. He was sole owner of the bark and her cargo and he lost £60. On 14 Sept. 1623, another bark, the Thomas of Faversham (30 tons) was cast away in foul weather on the French coast on a voyage to load corn at 'St Valleries in Sun' [Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme] in Picardy. The master was Thomas Michell. Askew was half-owner and lost £45. On 12 March 1624, a new bark [the Charles of Faversham, of which Askew was master in 250] (46 tons), was cast away in foul weather [in Yarmouth haven in 250] when bound for Newcastle, laden with corn. The bark and most of the corn belonged to Askewe, and his loss amounted to £300, while that of other men came to £150. [f.88] On 2 July 1625, a bark, the Hopewell of Faversham (80 tons) worth £200, of which he was master and owner, was taken by a sloop or frigate of Blankenberge commanded by Capt. Cornelis Stone, when bound for Newcastle. The crew were taken to Blankenberge, cruelly handled and were kept in slavery for 5 months, despite the efforts of Mr Trumball, the king's agent at Brussels, to secure their release. They had to pay £155 14s 6d for ransom and charges, and the bark and her goods worth £660 were confiscated. In addition there was the loss of time and other damages. Askew's share of the loss was £360. His total losses amount to about £765 and he and his wife and 5 small children are undone.
A certificate [as 249 with the differences there noted]. Thomas Love, Thomas Best, Richard Chester, Samuel Doves, Edward Maplesden, Robert Salmon, William Case, Robert Bell, Robert Adhams, Walter Cooke, John Bennett, Gervais Hockett, William Bushell.
251. [f.89] 28 June 1626. Certificate by Trinity House for William Bunn, mariner of Ratcliff [His misfortunes are recited as in 226 but (a) his losses are given as £100 in 1616, £700 in 1622 and £300 in 1624; (b) the third shipwreck is said to have occurred on 24 Nov. 1624; (c) in Nov. 1625 the William and Thomas of London (140 dolls*) of which he was master and part-owner, was cast away near Wells in Norfolk, whereby he lost over £100.]