Transactions - vol. 1: 1619

Pages 36-42

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

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137. 1 Feb. 1619. Ratcliff. Letter from Trinity House [to an unidentified addressee. See 159, 165.]

In reply to his letter, they have considered whether the wines of Malaga are the growth of Spain or of the Levant, and have concluded that they are of the growth of Spain for the following reasons: (a) Malmsey, muscadel and other sweet wines mentioned in the statute or letters patent [see 21], whence the question arises, used to be brought to this kingdom in shipping of Ragusa and Venice, and came from Candy and from nowhere else. The Isle of Candy and the many islands thereabouts are said to be in the Levant (that is, in the east) because this is the furthermost part of the Mediterranean. (b) Ships of Ragusa and Venice were never known to bring wines of Malaga or of Spain to this land. (c) Spanish wines were never understood to be of the Levant but of the Ponent, which is of the west comparatively.

[Signed] T. Best, Michael Geere, Roger Gunston, Walter Whiting, Thomas Love, R. C. [? Richard Chester], Robert Rickman, Hugh Meret, Robert Bradsho, Matthew Woodcott, William Ivey, John Moore.

[Note] Mr Munsey had a copy of this certificate on 8 July 1628, with the seal of the House affixed. [Marginal note] Sr [? Signor] Fogrivell.

138. [f.53v] 24 March 1619. [? Trinity House] to Sir Henry Marten, admiralty court judge

According to his direction they have inspected the wharf recently built by Mr Coytmore and find that it is no way prejudicial to the river or to the trade of Rogers, the anvil maker. Nor will it be prejudicial to the Thames if Rogers is licensed to build out his wharf only so far as the wharf of Coytmore, provided that he 'carry out his wharf only 50 ft adjoining to the wharf of Coytmore and then to fall off by a right line 15 ft and then again to go right out keeping equal distance from the wharf of Coytmore'. Thus finished, the wharf of Rogers will leave a way of 7 ft on it for the ferry place and for people to have free recourse to the waterside. The 'falling of' of 15 ft is to leave space for a ferry and boats to land, as hitherto.

139. [f. 54. ? Late 1618] Report (fn. 1) by Trinity House

Reasons for maintaining the cook's rooms amidships in the king's ships: (a) Ordnance and men will not be hindered, which is of prime importance. (b) It is freer from enemy shot than in the forecastle. (c) Foul air created by the great number of men, stinking water, beer, beef and the closeness, lies between the 2 lower orlops* and in the hold. When the lower hatches are opened, it ascends and settles between the 2 orlops, endangering health and lives. The cook's fire, always burning at sea, purifies the air. (d) In their present place the cooks do not trouble others, nor are they troubled. (e) They have their provisions (beef, fish, fresh or salt water) close at hand. (f) If the cook's rooms were in the forecastle, the operation of 2 or 4 of the most serviceable pieces [of ordnance] would be hindered. The cook's provisions (trays, platters, kettles, pots, buckets, tallow, tubs, etc.) would inconvenience the men working in the forecastle where there are many ropes, namely fore-halyards [tackle to operate the lower yards], tacks, jeers, bowlines [rope to keep taut the weather edge of the sail] and other ropes belonging to the foremast and bowsprit. (g) The siting of the cook's rooms in the forecastle would spoil one of the best parts of the ship, for it would become noisome and offensive to the crew and gentlemen who come to see the ship. (h) In the forecastle, the cooks would be remote from their provisions.

Nevertheless, it would be convenient to raise the cook's rooms amidships as high and as near the orlops as possible, for that will 'advantage the hold and consequently the stowage'. Lastly, by adding weight amidships and in the floors of the ships, cambering will be prevented and the ships better preserved.

[Signed] T. Best, Hugh Merit, Michael Geere, Thomas Love, Walter Whiting, Henry Rawlyn, Robert Bradsho, Thomas Malby, John Vassall, Roger Gunston, Matthew Woodcott, Nicholas Diggins, Ro. Salmon, T.M.[? Thomas Milton], R.C.[? Richard Chester].

140. [f. 54v. ? Jan. 1619. Trinity House] to the privy council [Cf SP 14/105/47; CSPD 1619–23, 5.]

The rates detailed below, which should be collected at the entry* of the ships at the Customs House, either on departure or return, whichever seems best to the privy council, would yield £2,000 a year:

Destination Rate per
East Indies: 4s 200
Within the Straits from Cape Gata eastwards: 2s 400
Within the Straits from Cape Gata westwards, the Straits mouth southwards (vizt. Barbary, Guinea, Benin, the Canaries, Madeira, and the Azores); the Straits mouth northwards to Cape Finisterre: 1s 500
Biscay, France, Flanders, Holland, Friesland, Hamburg, Danzig, Melvin, Norway, Russia, Greenland, and other northerly parts: 6d 700
Ships trading to Newcastle discharging at London will be rated at 1s per 20 chaldrons of coal: 250

These estimates are based on trade in 1616.

141. [f.55] 14 Apr. 1619. Certificate by Trinity House

At the request of Matthew Angell of Wapping and his neighbours, they certify that he was always reputed honest and of good estate. He was part-owner of a number of ships but within 7 or 8 years he has lost over £1,300 owing to losses caused by foul weather and the depredations of pirates and sea rovers. He is now aged, sick and impotent in his limbs, and unable to support himself or repay his debts without charitable relief.

Thomas Best, Thomas Love, Michael Geere, Roger Gunston, Walter Whiting, Richard Chester, Thomas Milton, William Hare, Robert Bradsho, Matthew Woodcot, John Moore.

142. [? Before 1624] (fn. 2) Report

Reasons against the office for the survey of cordage: (a) If the cordage is made overseas, the surveyor will be able to judge only by outward appearances, but the quality of rope can no more be judged by the appearance of the cordage ends than cloth can be by the muster [i.e. by a specimen]. (b) Men of judgement can tell by sight the quality of workmanship but they cannot asses the kind of hemp. Consequently the seal will only delude and abuse, and will not profit, much less better, the commodity. (c) If the cordage is made here at home, every man can have whatever quality he likes and avoid abuse, provided he acts as his own surveyor. (d) Shipowners and masters who buy cordage have most concern to prevent abuse because their credit, their goods, and indeed their lives and those of their crews will depend upon it. Each must be his own surveyor, not relying on the judgement of others, and freed from unnecessary charge for the seal. (e) That shipowners and masters and the workmen whom they employ are the best judges cannot be denied. (f) If an owner or master is deceived once, he gains advantage because he will be armed against similar abuses; according to a sea proverb, 'no man knows that sand so well as he that hath lost his ship upon it'.

These reasons satisfied the council, and it was their decree [untraced] and not the death of Mr Knowles which in those days ended the ridiculous suit. [f.55v] If these reasons are not accepted, the writers will prove their case on being shown the arguments used in the petition. The same reasons can be used against similar offices for apparel, meat and drink.

143. [? Early 1619] A report on 'the greater ship of 6 or 700 tons' (fn. 3)

Mr Burrell is to build 2 new ships for the king, one being 103 ft long and 34 ft broad within planks; the other being 93 ft long and 31 ft broad within planks. In the case of the greater ship, those whose names are underwritten [not entered] consider that the middle orlop should be laid 5 ft from the lower orlop; that the distance from plank to plank between the second and third orlop should be 7 ft and that the sills of the lower ports should be 5 ft above water when the ship is laden. In the case of the lesser ship with 3 orlops, the distance between the 2 lower orlops should be 4½ ft from plank to plank; the upper orlop should be 6½ ft from the middle orlop; and the sills of the lower ports should be 4½ ft above water when the ship is laden.

144. [f.56. 15 × 22 May 1619] (fn. 4) Sir John Killigrewe to the king

A light at the Lizard in Cornwall has often been sought because it is the most dangerous point for ships in the kingdom, and shipwrecks occur there 'upon the least distemper of weather'. His dwelling and estate are near the Lizard, and he could conveniently erect and maintain a light there which he is most willing to do, not so much from hope of gain, but because he has daily experience of the dangers to men there. He seeks letters patent for a term of 30 years, with powers to erect and maintain a tower to give direction and light, at his own expense. He will not ask any 'passenger' to contribute more than he is willing to pay, provided that there is a ban on other lights and seamarks nearby during the term of the patent and he will pay an annual rent of 20 nobles to the exchequer.

145. 22 May 1619. Court at Greenwich. 'Char' [? Sir Christopher] Parkins to Trinity House

Request for an opinion on the petition [144] by 3 or more of them. They are to certify the area within which other seamarks should be banned during the term of 21 or 31 years.

146. [After 22 May 1619] Trinity House to the king

In answer to 144–5, the sea there is about 100 miles wide from coast to coast. The channel is fair, the depth good, and the coast bold. From this it is concluded that no light is necessary. Indeed it would be dangerous because it would pilot pirates and foreign enemies to safe landing places.

147. [f.56v. ? After 11 March 1619] (fn. 5) Owners and masters of ships trading to Newcastle for coal, and all other ships trading to the north, to Trinity House

For long they have employed Mr Dalton and Mr Cocke with others to find a remedy for the imposition of 1d a ton for the lights at Winterton Ness. They hoped to persuade either the privy council to make the patent void, or the patentees to end it in return for paying the imposition only for about a year or 2. Otherwise they must be forced to cease trading. Dalton and Cocke have concluded nothing with the privy council or the patentees. In view of the concern of Trinity House for navigation, the petitioners ask them to settle the business, either by composition with the patentees or otherwise. Any agreement will be accepted, and payments agreed or charges incurred by Trinity House will be met by continuing the levy of 1d a ton on every voyage at Customs House, either at Newcastle or London, until the money is raised. Thereafter they are willing to pay to Trinity House 6d per 20 chaldrons of coal, and on other ships trading to the north according to the first agreement, for so long as the lights are maintained.

148. [f.56 bis] 23 June 1619. Ratcliff. Trinity House [to ? the admiralty court]

According to an order of 7 May last they have considered the suit pending between William Appleby and Jeremy Swanley, late master of the Elsabeth Consort of London. They have interviewed men who served in the ship, and all affirm that Appleby left the ship at Algiers voluntarily, without being given cause to do so by Swanley. Thomas Symons, merchant, who travelled from England to Algiers in the ship deposed likewise and that (a) at the request of Swanley, first he tried to persuade Appleby to rejoin and then, with James Frissell, merchant, he induced the king's janissary to search the town for Appleby in order to bring him back by force, but Appleby 'kept himself private' and could not be found; (b) if Appleby had not intended to serve with Turkish pirates, as afterwards he did, but to return to England, he could have done so in the Josua of London, Joshua Downing master, which arrived at Algiers 2 days after Swanley's departure; (c) Symons remained at Algiers for 4 months after Swanley's departure, saw Appleby, and knew that he went to sea with Turkish pirates against christians. Thomas Nash, who also went on the voyage, has sworn that Appleby induced him to desert the ship, and that the janissary whom Swanley hired to search for him and others forced him to return; that otherwise Nash would have stayed like Appleby; and that he, Appleby, and 3 others who left the ship did so wilfully without being given cause to do so. Thus it appears that Appleby forsook the ship without cause, and that he deserves no wages, but rather punishment for it is a custom of the sea that he who 'wilfully runneth from a ship in the time of his voyage runneth also from his wages'. Thomas Best, Thomas Love, Walter Whiting, Roger Gunston, Nicholas Diggens.

149. [f.56v bis] 8 July 1619. From aboard the Bull in the Downs. Robert Adams [to an unidentified addressee]

Since his departure from London, he fears that some ill office has been done to him at Trinity House: first because he did not take his leave but his business was more important than leave taking; and secondly because it is said that he revealed the business of the House to his son and daughter and to the scrivener who prepared his letter of attorney to Capt. Moore, which he denies. All this comes from Mr Kayles' procurement because he had left Kayles' bond with the addressee. The addressee is entreated to be his friend in this business. He sent from Gravesend 22s to the master of Trinity House so that the company could together drink a cup of wine to his farewell, but the money was refused. He prays the addressee to speak to Mr Samon [? Robert Salmon] for he is as innocent as an unborn child.

150.12 Jan. 1620. Certificate by Trinity House

Commendation of certificates [151–2] for Edward Crosse, mariner of Ratcliff in the parish of Stepney.

151. [f.57] 7 Dec. 1619. Certificate by Robert Bornne and others

On or about 6 Jan. 1617, Edward Crosse, mariner of Stepney, lost at sea a hoy of about 50 tons, and on 22 Nov. last, one of about 55 tons with her cargo of timber. They are also informed that he lost £250 because of robberies at home. He can no longer support his wife and children.

Robert Bornne, John Greaves, Peter Pett, Andrew Small, John Dearsly, Edward Stevens, William Cob, Thomas Cob, John Lambert, Peter Marsh, Richard West, Edward Chandler.

152. [Before 12 Jan. 1620] Certificate by the inhabitants of the parish of St James in the Isle of Grain, Kent [See 150.]

On 6 Jan. 1617, in a great storm with the wind at northeast, a hoy of Crosse, mariner of Wapping, was cast away at the Isle of Grain. Part of the hoy can still be seen.

James Thurston, Matthew Sparke, Thomas Godfrey, Thomas Haines, Henry Paine, John Yeomans, Robert Alyne, Edward Godfrey.

153. [f.57v] 16 Dec. 1619. Certificate by William Monson, Thomas Howard, and James Chester

Capt. Reynold Whitfield, gentleman, now a prisoner in the hole of the Poultry Counter, has asked them to certify his services in the wars of the late queen and also the misery into which he has fallen owing to losses at sea since 'his majesty's happy reign' so that he is unable to bear himself as a gentleman and satisfy his creditors. In 1589, he served in the queen's Victory, and in 1591, in the queen's Garland under the command of the earl of Cumberland. On the Garland's voyage, being sent home in a prize taken from the enemy, he was surprised by a fleet of galleys and taken to Spain where he remained prisoner for 2 years. In 1595, he served with Sir Francis Drake in the West Indies, and in 1596, was in the action of Cadiz. He served in the queen's Lyon in 1597, and was engaged in other actions. In 1598, after some casual losses, his ship the Milkenap (200 tons), valued with her freight at £1,200, was stolen by one Norice of Wapping and others and never recovered, although Norice and others were apprehended and some were executed. By which loss he was unable to satisfy his creditors, especially John Man and others, at whose suit he is held prisoner for a debt of £500 incurred for the stolen ship.


  • 1. Probably concerning a proposal of the navy commissioners in about Sept. 1618 (Oppenheim, 206).
  • 2. In 1594 Henry Bellingham had been granted an office for the survey of cordage for 15 years (CSPD 1591–4, 557). 142 probably relates to an attempt to revive the office, prior to the statute of 1624 against monopolies.
  • 3. Burrell built 10 ships between 1619 and 1623. Probably this relates to the first 2—the Happy Entrance and Constant Reformation. The dimensions are not those given in Anderson (p. 18), but the measurements of ships as given in official documents at this period vary.
  • 4. In draft on 15 May 1619 (SP 14/109/42); earlier than 145.
  • 5. On 11 March 1619 'the 2 coastmen, Edward Dalton and William Cock' were given 10 days to conclude a composition for the coastmen (BL, Lansdowne MS 162, f.247).