Transactions - vol. 1: 1614-5

Pages 16-21

Trinity House of Deptford Transactions, 1609-35. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 1983.

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44. [f.20v] 10 Feb. 1614. Trinity House to the same

Request that the attached petition [45] be granted.

William Ivie, master; Robert Kitchen, Michael Geare, Richard Chester, wardens; Hugh Merrit, assistant; Robert Bradshawe, Matthew Woodcott, Robert Rickman, Rowland Coytmore.

45. [Before 10 Feb. 1614] Mary Temple, widow of Limehouse, to Trinity House [See 44.]

John Temple, her late husband, was captured by pirates on several occasions during the last 3 years. In 1611, he lost goods worth £85 in the Goodwill of London on a voyage to Ireland and Calais. In 1612, Captain Easton and his consorts captured him in the Marye and John of Sandwich on a voyage to Faro, whereby he lost goods worth '50 and [MS. cropped] pounds'. Then in May 1613, when master of a small ship, the Peter of London, he was captured off the coast of Barbary by 3 ships of war manned by Turks and Moors, and 4 christians. He was taken to Sallee in Barbary and so misused that he died within 8 days. One of the crew was murdered, the rest tortured, and the boy forced to be circumcised and turn Turk. Temple lost £120 in the Peter and his widow and 4 small children are in great poverty.

William Monsones, Richard March, John Busfeild, Ralph Bradshawe, Edward Stevens, Michael Miryvall, Brian Tashe, Lewis Taites, James Benet, Jo. Graves, William Beck, Richard Harris, Robert Bence, Michael Johns [MS. cropped], at the request of their neighbour, certify the truth of this which is known to most of the addressees who are asked to petition the lord chancellor for letters patent for a collection in the parish churches of London, Middlesex, Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Westminster, Canterbury and Chichester.

46. [f.21. Before 12 March 1614] Parishioners of St Mary Matfellon alias Whitechapel to Trinity House [See 47.]

At the request of their neighbour, John Whithall of Wapping, formerly an owner of several ships, they certify that he has lived among them in good repute for 20 years. The Blandina, of which he was half-owner and John Keepus was master, was wrecked in a storm coming from Norway, whereby he lost his share in the ship and goods amounting in value to £600. Then the John of London, of which he was also half-owner and John Stephens was master, by a similar misfortune was cast away with all the crew on the coast of Barbary, whereby he lost £400. His creditors have committed him to the Fleet Gaol and he is unable to provide for his family. Trinity House are asked to request the lord chancellor for letters patent authorising a collection for him in the city of London, Middlesex, and elsewhere [blank] so that he can live as an honest man again.

Richard Wood, constable; Rowland Coytmor, churchwarden; James March (his mark), Gregory Philpot, Timothy Pinder, William Mott, John Bourne, Edward Jopkins, John Trotter, Robert Bornny, Ralph Suretis, Robert Merrit.

47. 12 March 1614. Trinity House to the lord chancellor

Commendation of the attached certificate [46].

William Ivye, master; Robert Kitchen, Thomas Norris, Robert Bradshaw, Hugh Meritt, John Kinge, Robert Rickman, Michael Geare, Rowland Coytmor, Thomas Malbie, John Osborne, Roger Gunston.

48. [f.21v] 9 Apr. 1614. A certificate by Trinity House for Scarborough

The owners and masters of ships trading to Newcastle and other northern parts have certified to Trinity House that the piers at Scarborough in Yorkshire have been damaged by storms, especially in a recent great storm, which was also known to some of the present writers. It has been said that if and old foundation formerly laid for an 'outermore' pier were to be built up and heightened, and certain rocks between it and the outermost pier removed, shipping would benefit greatly. At the request of the bearers, William Thomson and John Lacye, burgesses of Scarborough, Trinity House endorse that opinion. To meet the cost, a levy on ships trading to Newcastle and other northern parts of England at the rate of 4d on those under, and 8d on those over, 50 tons would be reasonable. All shipowners and masters trading to the north are willing to pay, as shown by a petition to Trinity House signed by over 400 of them. Sealed in the presence of William Ivie, master, Robert Kitchen, Robert Bradshaw, Michael Geare, Richard Chester, William Bigatt, Matthew Woodcott, Robert Rickman, John Osborne, Rowland Coytmore.

49. [f.22] 13 May 1614. Award by Trinity House

John Powle of Ratcliff, master of the Hopewell of London, and William Thorne of London, part owner, have entered bonds of £30 each to accept the award of Trinity House in their dispute over the accounts of a voyage from 'Vyana' [? Viana do Castelo]. The findings are that Powell sold 'Akall' [a kind of cable] at Dartmouth for £11 10s which was not entered in his account; charged 27s more than was right for victualling the crew at his house before the ship's departure; and made no allowance to Thorne for the wages of a youth who went on the voyage. The award is that Powell add £11 10s to his account for cash received for the cable; that the account be adjusted in view of the 27s overcharged; and that Powell credit Thorne 40s for his youth's wages. When the freight is paid, each is to discharge his part of the account and receive his due share of the freight. Both are to relinquish all claims upon each other in respect of the voyage.

William Ivye, master; Robert Kytchen, Michael Geare, deputy; Robert Bradshawe, Richard Chester, deputy; Hugh Merrett, Matthew Woodcot, Robert Ryckman, Rowland Coytmore.

50. [f.22v. Before 22 June 1615] John Martyn, Richard Wasse, Marjorie Daynes, widow, and John Chaplyn to lord Ellesmere, lord chancellor [See 51.]

The petitioners have brought an action in chancery against Cuthbert Graye, hostman, concerning the loading of ships by part-owners with only their goods. If the practice continues, trade in coal and other goods between Newcastle and London will be disrupted, as will trade and navigation throughout the realm. For if a part-owner like the def. who has the smaller share in the ship can load her in proportion to that share, he will deprive the other owners of the greater part of the profit. In the attached certificate shipowners and mariners have affirmed that nobody will then be prepared to build ships. Graye is a coal hostman at Newcastle and is part-owner of the ship in which Martyn trades to Newcastle for coal. When Martyn refused to accept Graye's coal because of its poor quality, Graye had him arrested 12 times in frivolous actions in the court at Newcastle and at common law here. Graye intends to press the actions at the next assizes. Because of continuous employment at sea, the petitioners cannot attend the hearing. They ask the lord chancellor to refer the case to Trinity House and to stay proceedings at common law and in the court at Newcastle until Trinity House or chancery have decided the issue.

51. [f.23] 22 June 1615. York House [London]. T. [lord] Ellesmere, lord chancellor, [to Trinity House]

Reference to them of the attached petition [50].

52. 5 Aug. 1615. Newcastle. Cuthbert Gray to Trinity House

In their letter of 15 July they stated that on receipt of instructions from the lord chancellor, they intended to hear the cause pending against him in chancery brought by John Martyn and they directed him to appear at Trinity House in Ratcliff by 31 Aug. Since he is a merchant living at Newcastle, over 200 miles away, and his trade such that he cannot attend, he hopes that the lord chancellor will be informed of the equity of his cause now pending and the untrue surmises in the petition of Martyn. Since it is not a maritime cause, chancery is the proper place for it. Had he been sent a copy of Martyn's petition, he would have shown its idle surmises to be untrue so that they would not have meddled any further.

53. 27 Sept. 1615. Ratcliff. Trinity House to lord Ellesmere, lord chancellor

Both parties were summoned to appear within 45 days; Martin came but Graye did not for the reasons stated in the attached letter [52]. They await further instructions.

Richard Chester, master; Michael Geere, Andrew Shillinge, Roger Gunston, Rowland Coytmore, Thomas Best, Robert Kitchen, Thomas Mylton.

54. [f.23v] 14 Oct. 1615. Award by Trinity House

Thomas Litchfield petitioned the lord chancellor against Humphrey Merrett, his co-executor, concerning the will of Job Palmer, deceased. In his letter of 25 Sept. last the lord chancellor referred the case to Trinity House, and both parties agreed to accept an award, provided that it was made by 14 Oct. The award is that Merrett shall pay £113 to Lytchfeild at the usual meeting place of Trinity House in Ratcliff by 18 Oct. 1615 of which £60 is for Litchfeild in settlement of his demands as co-executor upon the estate of Palmer and for his expenses; the remaining £53 is to pay the following bequests: £20 to Anne Palmer, mother of the testator; £10 to Esther Lytchfeild, wife of Thomas Litchfeild; £10 to Susan, wife of Robert Litchfield; £10 to Sara Tylley, wife of John Tilley: £2 to the poor of Claybrook in Leicester; £1 to 'the son [? of] Thomas Litchfeild'. Both parties are to give sureties to each other concerning the execution of the will.

Richard Chester, master; Andrew Shillinge, Roger Gunston, Ro. Coytmore, Robert Kitchen, Matthew Woodcott, John Moore, Michael Geere, Thomas Best, Nicholas Diggins, William Bygatt, Robert Ryckman. [f.24 is lacking.]

55. [f. 25–25v] 17 Oct. 1614. Order of the privy council concerning herring exports from Yarmouth [Printed in APC 1613–14, 594–5.]

56. [After 17 Oct. 1614. Sir] H. Montagu and [Sir] Randolph Crewe [sergeants at law] to the privy council [Cf APC 1613–14, 594–5.]

On perusal of the statutes, they find that no strangers ought by law to ship herrings but in English ships owned by the king's subjects.

57. [Before 5 Nov. 1615] Trinity House to the privy council [Cf APC 1615–16, 317–18.]

Upon the suit of Trinity House and the merchants of London last year, the privy council obtained counsel's opinion [56] and thereupon ordered that no herrings be transported in foreign bottoms, with a dispensation to the inhabitants of Yarmouth on that occasion because they had alleged that foreign ships with whom contracts had been made had already arrived at Yarmouth. Now 6 Dutch ships [cf 59] have arrived at Yarmouth contrary to the order. Action to protect the navigation of the realm is requested.

58. [f.26–26v] 19 Nov. 1615. Order of the privy council concerning herring exports from Yarmouth [Printed in APC 1615–16, 327–9. See 60.]

59. [f.27. Before 5 Nov. 1615] Shipowners and poor mariners of Yarmouth to the privy council [Cf APC 1615–16, 317–18.]

They used to transport herrings to Harwich, Tilbury Hope, Gravesend, and other places in their barks for loading aboard English ships of greater burden bound for the Straits. They are now much decayed because of the use of strangers' bottoms. Six great Flemish ships [see 57] have recently arrived to take all the herrings of the town. The petitioners will be undone, and shipping engaged in the transport of herrings to English ports and to the Straits will be unemployed, to enrich a few Dutch merchants, contrary to law. The prohibition of strangers' ships in the trade is requested.

60. [6 × 17 Nov. 1615] (fn. 1) The town of Yarmouth to the privy council

On 5 Nov., the privy council appointed 'committees' [sic] to settle the dispute between Trinity House and the town. The privy council is asked to set a date for the hearing. Despite the fact that they live far away, they will then attend and accept whatever order is thought fit. Meanwhile, they ask that a licence be granted again this year for the export of 600 lasts* of herrings in strangers' ships. The herrings are already packed in Ligorne casks and are salted and prepared in a manner fit for those parts, and not England.

61. [f.27v. ? 12 Oct. × 19 Nov. 1615] (fn. 2) Statement by Trinity House

The reasons against the inhabitants of Yarmouth transporting herrings in strangers' bottoms are as follows: (a) It is against the law, as appears in the report of Sir Henry Montague and Sir Randolph Crewe [56]. (b) Two recent proclamations confirm and command the execution of the law. (c) The archbishop of Canterbury and the lord chancellor have declared in the council that the law should be enforced and navigation advanced by all good means. (d) The export of herrings in strangers' bottoms coming to Yarmouth has resulted in the unemployment of great and small ships. Formerly small vessels transported the herrings to Orwell, Harwich, Queenborough and Tilbury Hope whither greater ships went for better security. Many hundreds of poor seamen were employed and now they are impoverished as is evident from their late petition [59]. (e) The Yarmouth men have said that prices would fall, that all the herrings would not be sold, that their trade would be hindered and that fishermen would be discouraged. But stranger merchants pay more than native merchants and can then undersell them because freight rates in strangers' ships are lower. Native merchants have been squeezed out of the trade and the king loses £6,000 or £8,000 in customs which he would have got on the proceeds of the sale of the herrings on the return of the ships. If exports in strangers' ships were to be banned, strangers would then have to pay the same freight rates as English merchants who would be encouraged to re-enter the trade. The number of buyers will thereby be increased, thus raising prices. (f) A merchant 'of good sort' has provided information that the merchants who export herrings in strangers' ships are free denizens, and their names are Jaques Debest, Mr Curteene and Mr Dehoame of London.


  • 1. The report of the committee, dated 17 Nov., was considered by the privy council on 19 Nov. 1615 (APC 1615–16, 327–9; 58).
  • 2. See 57–60. The proclamations mentioned in (b) were probably those of 17 Apr. and 12 Oct. 1615 (Proc., i.137–8). If 61 were later than 19 Nov. 1615, the privy council ban on exports (APC 1615–16, 327–9; 58) would presumably have been mentioned.