Trinity House of Deptford Transactions, 1609-35 London Record Society 19. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 1983.
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The bearer, Terrick Reinerson, master of the Fortune of Stavoren, has demanded average* from William Felgate, merchant, for saving divers goods in the ship, of which he will give details in person. They are asked to resolve the difference if they can, or to certify the facts and their opinion.
In reply to his letter of 1 Jan. , they have been unable to resolve the dispute. The merchant is not prepared to accept their arbitration because he considers that the insurers will not allow their award. Their opinion is as follows:
He has a lease, with many years yet to run, under a great rent for a ballast wharf and land at Greenhithe in Kent. From there he has served ballast to the king's ships and other ships since time out of mind (his wharf being conveniently sited near to Chatham). He has always been subject to urgent warrants from the king's commissioners, and provides suitable ballast for the king's ships at low rates. But now the masters of Trinity House, usurping powers, have issued strange warrants in the king's name commanding that none shall buy his ballast, which oppresses the petitioner, is contrary to the laws and liberties of the kingdom, and hinders the supply of ballast to the navy. He has also been arrested and troubled with law suits which are not pursued, but which prevent him from carrying on his business and benefiting from his lease, which provides 30 men with work. He has been prevented from following his own suit in the star chamber against Edward and John Berry and others, who of late shot him with 2 poisoned bullets, from which he has languished for 4 months. His suit is that no new powers be granted to Trinity House until his grievance has been examined by those whom the king appoints, and that meantime he may proceed in his ballasting.
Trinity House pretend that because of their patent, nobody can sell gravel or ballast without their permission. Croxton has leased from Thomas Swime, esquire, a wharf and ground at Greenhithe in Kent, from where the best ballast in the kingdom comes. He pays £90 annual rent to Swaine [sic], and spends about 20 marks a week on servants, horses, etc., besides other charges. Time out of mind, the owners and possessors of the ground have had full liberty to use it as they wished until in recent years they have been hindered by Trinity House. John Harden, owner in fee simple, was so wronged that he was forced to sell the freehold, and is now aged 92 and lives on parish charity. After him, Samuel Harden had to pay the great rent of £20 a year to Trinity House, and finally had to leave. John Harden and his son Samuel lost about £400. Croxton then took a lease from the landlord, but Trinity House made him take one from them for £20 a year. He is at great charge in keeping 15 horses and 30 poor people at work ballasting ships. The corporation do not bear a penny in charges. Croxton has sustained other crosses and damages because Trinity House have forewarned by warrant many masters and mariners from coming to his wharf. His ballast is much desired by seamen for long voyages and by those trading to Newcastle, Ipswich, Harwich and other places, being firm and dry gravel able to sustain the rage and roughness of the sea. Many ships which would otherwise have been lost have thereby been saved. Woolwich ballast is sandy, causing the loss of ships. Owing to hindrances upon him, Croxton's rent is in arrears, and he has been forced into debt to pay his expenses. He has been damaged by the corporation to the value of about £100 in the past half year. [f.27] He has paid part of his rent to Trinity House but cannot find the great amount which they demand. They want him to take a new grant 'at yearly rent'. When he refused, they again warned ships by warrant in the king's name not to come to his wharf. They had him arrested in the sheriff's court of London, put him to great charge, and then nonsuited themselves. Later they had him arrested by a writ from the king's bench, and again put him to great charge, but they would not come to trial. The arrests are 'upon great actions', and he has been so disabled that his creditors have impleaded him to his utter undoing. The arrests happened shortly after he had been shot by pistols, and had 2 bullets in his body which caused him to bring a suit in the star chamber against Edward Bery and others. When he prosecuted his suit at the Old Bailey, London, he was arrested by presentment of Trinity House and their clerk. Seamen cannot buy the ballast which they want, and have to pay 12d a ton when they could get better for 5d or 6d. Many of the seamen petitioners have been arrested or 'threatened daily to be laid by the heels'. Since Trinity House are strong and rich, and Croxton is weak, he is likely to be undone unless parliament extend their favour. Owners and farmers of all chalk, coal and lead mines and stone quarries do not have to pay collateral rent as he is made to do for a ballast mine. Since he cannot keep a wharf and pay servants to ballast only the king's ships, parliament is asked to allow seamen to obtain ballast freely from him or others.
[Memorandum] Croxton desires Trinity House to accept the king's bills for the rent in arrears which they say is £28, and to accept £10 yearly in ballast in future, and to send ships as formerly to receive it. On Tuesday last, 10 March [1629 (see 324)], 2 ships which came to receive ballast were arrested.
Ponnyett shall keep the buoy laid at the east end of the Gunfleet for the guidance of ships entering or leaving at Goldmer Gat. If the buoy is displaced by a storm or a ship, he will restore it to its place. If the buoy and the chain are lost, he will provide and lay a replacement, and his account will receive favourable consideration. His annual salary is £15, payable quarterly, beginning at midsummer.
[Signed] T. Best, Robert Bell, Thomas Trenchfeild, James Moyer, W. Bushill, R. Swan, Robert Salmon, William Case, John Totton, William Ewen, Anthony Tutchen, Gervais Hockett, John Thomson, Walter Coke. Witnesses: Anthony Downes, etc.
The channel of the Spitts is grown very dangerous, with not above 7 or 8 ft at low water. Trinity House are asked to lay a buoy at the east end of the Gunfleet so that ships can go in and out at Goldmer Gat, which is a fair channel with 4 or 5 fathoms at low water. Since the provision and maintenance of the buoy will be a great charge, the petitioners will pay 10d per 100 tons on ships, or 10d per 50 chaldrons of coal (Newcastle measure).
London: Jonas James, John Coborne, Edward Sheppard, Ellis Henderson, William Ewins, Robert Bell, Roger Harman, Christopher Newgate, John Ebbson, William Truddull, Anselm Humphry, John Totton, Anthony Tuchen, George Wattkins, John Eldred, Thomas Nelmes, Edmond Bostocke, John Sayer, William Hacker, Wolston Goslin, William Williams, John Atkins, Rowland Langram, Robert Swyer, Robert Salmon, junior, Thomas Tompson, Daniel Gattes, Thomas Mayde, Edmond Grove, Thomas Hall, John Cordall, Richard Williams, Samuel Doves, William Goodladd, Richard Swann, William Swanly, Thomas Doggett, John Gunner, Richard Dale, Peter Mayden, Daniel Russell, William Rivers, Anthony Coale, John Elmum, Thomas Martin, John Moore, John Corrall, Henry Rivers, George Clarke, Roger Cooper, Richard Fayre, William Wills, William Tompson, George Claxon, John Hudson, James Stonehouse, William Cooper, James Ricrast, Josias Joye, William Anderson, Thomas Baddyley, William Smith, John Morris, Timothy Bugbie, John Tompson, William Bushell, John Hyde.
Ipswich and Harwich: Zachary Bromwell, Roger Yaxly, Robert Hudson, James Talbott, James Peacock, William Hazlewood, John Whale, Anthony Paine, Peter Carfild, Ambrose Masters, William Baker, Thomas Peach, John Treadgould, William Peach, William Battle, Thomas Clarke, Richard Gilderser, Robert Ree, Giles Hubbert, William Lee, Edward Hanckin, Edward Clarke, Thomas Shrive, Thomas Coppin, John Barnes, Thomas Bayly, John Lowe, Edmond Morgan, John Sweetman, Edward Paine, Daniel Wilkinson, Robert Lowe, Saphony Parker, John Moulton, John Fassaker, John Kinge, Samuel Tye, John Martyn, Richard Davie, Edward Peach, Edward Lavericke, Adam Browne, Thomas Barly, John Emmerson, Stephen Dunton, Thomas Silvester, Robert Jinkinge, John Dagnam, John Grimble, Richard Hanckin, Edmond Greene, William James, William Earnett, John Tillot, Humphrey Witah, John Masse, Robert Castone.
335. [f.29v. 15 × 24 Dec. 1628] (fn. 1) Trinity House to the privy council
Owners and masters of ships trading to Newcastle for coal, and to Russia, Greenland, Norway, the Eastland and Hamburg have petitioned the corporation to set out a new channel to replace the Spitts which has grown dangerous. Trinity House have surveyed and buoyed a new channel called Goldmer Gat. The cost of buoys, chains, millstones and maintenance will be a great charge, and the masters and owners have offered to contribute 6d per 100 tons on shipping. It will be paid by the masters and owners on ships coming from the north to the Thames and Medway on every voyage inwards, and will not fall upon merchants or their goods. The privy council are asked to authorise Trinity House and their assignees to collect the dues at the Customs Houses of London, Rochester and elsewhere.
They inform him of 334 and their petition thereon to the privy council who all applauded save one; he said that the corporations of Ipswich, Yarmouth and Newcastle should be consulted. Instructions were issued for letters to be sent to those corporations, telling them to consult the owners and masters of ships trading for coal. The original petition contained 150 names, including some from his town, and a list of these is enclosed [see 334]. He can answer any objections to the proposed charge from this letter. Coal brought from Newcastle and those parts to the Thames amounts not to 85,000 chaldrons a year (London measure), or 43,000 (Newcastle measure), according to the lord mayor's register kept for that purpose. The charge will yield only £35 a year less the cost of the collection (10%), but above £60 has already been spent, and Mr Ponnyett is paid £20 a year to look to the buoy, so that if but one buoy a year is lost, the collection would be insufficient. They do not wish to gain by it. If the petition to the privy council is approved, the buoy may be maintained; if not it will cease and they must bear the costs incurred.
He received 336 late this night, and since the bearer wishes to depart early in the morning, he cannot write as he desires. Nobody at Yarmouth, Ipswich, or Newcastle can speak against, much less oppose, such a worthy project. He will inform shipowners and masters as soon as is convenient, but no difficulties need be feared here. He wishes to be remembered to his friends, Messrs Best, Salmon, Cooke and Bennett, and to the rest of the worthy company.
They thank him for 337, dated 19th of this month. Some shipowners and masters trading to the north have petitioned the council that 10d per 100 tons is too much, asking the council to persuade Trinity House to accept 6d and they, not seeking gain, agree. A privy council letter is enclosed [349.] He is asked for a certificate for delivery to the council together with those of other corporations. The messenger will await his convenience.
He received 339 by messenger. He has informed his neighbours and friends of the privy council's letter to the town's bailiffs. The need for the buoy is agreed, but some say that the charge seems great. He will report further when the letter has arrived and the meeting has been held.
343. [f.32v. ? 29 Dec. 1628. Trinity House of Deptford to the Trinity House of Hull. Similar in content to 338. Mr Crome is said to have delivered the letter of 15 Dec. (342). For reply to 343, see 356.]
They have approached the mayor 2 or 3 times about the answer to 349 which they had delivered to him. All he said was that Mr Warmoth of the town had taken the answer of the mayor and aldermen to the privy council [on 24 Jan 1629 (cf CSPD 1628–9, 457)]. They have certified to the mayor that those of Newcastle Trinity House who own ships approve the Gunfleet buoy and the charge of 10d [? recte 6d] per 50 chaldrons. Their certificate to this effect  can be shown to the privy council if necessary.
Summarises the petition , outlines the later request to reduce the charge to 6d per 100 tons [see 338], and requests a certificate. The messenger will call at Harwich when coming back from Yarmouth and Ipswich.
Upon their former petition , the privy council wrote requiring the lord mayor of London, the bailiffs of Ipswich and Yarmouth, and the mayors of Harwich, Hull and Newcastle to consult the shipowners and the masters concerned. All have returned certificates accepting the need for the new channel and agreeing to pay 6d per 100 tons or 50 chaldrons on ships trading to the north. Letters to the officers of the customs houses to enable collections to be made at London and elsewhere, as sent formerly, are requested.
According to the order of the court of 22 Jan. they have considered the privy council letter  about the Trinity House petition , consulted shipowners and masters of the city of London, and seen the certificates from Hull and other outports. Those concerned agree to pay the proposed charge of 6d per 100 tons, provided that the channel is well buoyed and maintained so that they no longer have to use the dangerous channel of the Spitts.
He received their letter of 29 Dec.  on 1 Jan., and delivered the enclosed letter from the council  to the bailiffs. Since then 'we' owners and masters have been consulted and have agreed. A copy of the report of the bailiffs to the privy council  is enclosed, as requested.
Trinity House have long held by patent of queen Elizabeth the office of ballastage and lastage* of ships in the Thames, usually giving annually 2 butts of wine or £50 to the lord high admiral from the office. During the lifetime of the duke of Buckingham, the rent was given to Capt. Thomas Porter in consideration of sea service to the late king. The office of admiralty is now in commission, and in view of Porter's services to James I and Charles I, the £50 is granted to him during pleasure, together with arrears since the death of Buckingham.
John Hacker. (fn. 2)
Under a privy seal of 12 May 1629 , the king granted to Capt. Thomas Porter £50 a year which Trinity House usually paid to the late lord high admiral from the ballastage office instead of 2 butts of wine. Trinity House covenant to pay annually the £50 to Porter in 2 equal parts.
He thanks them for their decisions on several questions lately referred to them and seeks another ruling upon which many will depend: what shares in prizes are due to those who went out on his voyage in meaner places, and afterwards were removed to better? What is his own entitlement to shares, being commander-in-chief and authorised to constitute such officers and to take such ships as consorts as he saw fit?
In reply to 361, those who were advanced are entitled to the shares of the new places from the date of their advancement and prior thereto according to their entitlement in their former posts. The entitlement of a commander-in-chief on a warfaring voyage with several vessels under his command is unusual, but there is one precedent. Sir James Lancaster, having 2 ships under his command, took 'great purchase', and was allotted the shares of 2 captains and as acknowledgement of his merit was presented with £1,000 by the adventurers from their part of the goods. Sir Henry Mainwairinge, Messrs Ewins, Salmon, Hockett, Browne, Totton, Swanly, Cooke, Best, Case, Bennett, Bushell.
The office of lastage* and ballastage of ships in the Thames has been under the great seal of England time out of mind. Trinity House now enjoy the office so important for navigation and preserving the Thames. The office has never been questioned but now Miles Croxton, late a tenant of the corporation who was dismissed for his abuse and dishonest dealing, seeks to overthrow the office and within these few days has had some of Trinity House arrested by the court of king's bench. He labours to dissuade men from conforming to the office. To suppress his insolence and prevent the inconveniences which are ready to ensue, the king is asked to refer the hearing of the cause to one or 2 of the privy council, which he may be pleased to do because Croxton lately petitioned the king to the same purpose. But after the king granted a hearing by the privy council and Trinity House had attended for some time, Croxton declined 'your majesty's grace to him in that reference'.
365. [f.39] 28 Oct. 1629. Whitehall. Order of the privy council Present: Lord keeper, lord privy seal, earl marshal, lord steward, earls of Dorset, Bridgewater and Carlisle, viscount Dorchester, lords Savile and Newburgh, Mr vice chamberlain, master of the rolls.
This day the board was informed on behalf of owners and masters of small barks and vessels trading to Calais, Rouen, and Dieppe that since the peace with France, they have been deprived of employment because French barks carry all merchants' goods to and from those places. Since it concerns the maintenance of shipping and seamen, and the petitioners and their families who are in great want, the board refer the matter to the officers and farmers of the customs, together with Trinity House.
It has been complained that Miles Croxton, tenant of Trinity House, has not paid his rent of 20 marks a year for ballastage as ordered by them on 13 Jan. 1630 . Croxton has been called but no good reason has been found for non-payment. He is to pay the arrears amounting to £30 at Christmas at the rate of £5 a quarter and in future must pay his rent as it becomes due.