Transactions - vol. 1: Miscellaneous, 1599-1639

Pages 72-78

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

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Miscellaneous, 1599–1639

252. [f.89v] 3 Oct. 1622. Hampton Court. G. [marquis of] Buckingham [lord high admiral] to Trinity House [Cf APC 1621–3, 110.]

Upon complaints to the lords [? of the privy council] about the inconveniences which ensue from the supply of cast iron ordnance for the defence of ships bought overseas, their lordships asked him to consider and give guidance on the issue by Trinity House of certificates for ordnance. They may issue certificates as hitherto for ships which have been built in England or any other of the king's dominions, using care to avoid abuses because some masters and owners alienate their ordnance soon after having given bond not to do so. No certificate is to be granted to anyone who is not the king's subject and dwelling in the king's dominions or to anyone who is suspected of alienating ordnance. If they find plain dealing, certificates are to be issued without delay, neither hindered nor furthered by private respect. Trinity House must not be deceived by the owners or the alleged owners of ships built by strangers overseas. Owners' applications are to be supported by an affidavit made in the admiralty court (a certificate from the mayor of the port in which the ship lies will not suffice) and the affidavit must be mentioned in the certificate of Trinity House. Certificates should not only say that the ordnance is bought for the defence of the ship, but rather that Trinity House regard the request as reasonable. Many buy more than enough ordnance in order to be able to dispose of the surplus. Since other affairs prevent Buckingham from examining the certificates as closely as he would like, their care must be the greater, informing him of deceits and abuses.

253. [f.90. 1599 × 1603] Masters and owners of ships of London, Ipswich, Aldeburgh, Yarmouth, Lynn, Sandwich and other coast towns to Trinity House

English merchants, who are the main employers of English ships and seamen, transport most of their goods to and from France, Middelburg, Danzig, 'Quinssborough' and Melvin in strangers' ships, despite English ships being instantly to be had in those places and which lie idle in consequence, thereby forcing mariners to serve foreign princes. Examination of the ships and seamen of the coast towns fit to serve the queen now, and in 1588, shows the lamentable decay. Trinity House were petitioned previously and are now asked to approach lord Buckhurst, lord treasurer [1599–1603], for remedy or they will have to appeal to the queen, whom the premises most nearly touch.

For the port of Hull: Richard Pinperton, John Byrkhead. For the port of Newcastle: Thomas Nicholson. For the port of Melcombe Regis and Weymouth: (fn. 1) Henry Peet, John Platt, William Nuton, Griffen Floud, Henry Pasckowe, Robert Safan, Thomas Stevens, John Olyvers, John Holland, William Williams, Nicholas Carnabye, Richard Harris, Thomas Johnson, William Raddell, Jeffery [blank], Seryes Manderstian, Richard Stevens, Abraham Bonner, Thomas Carnabye the younger, John Tye, John Bynder, Barnabas Lowe, John Daniell, John Chaser, William Bardnell, Robert Kitchen, John Harris, Abraham Rawlins, Francis Olyver, Roger Hankyn, John Chiston, Richard Lawson, John Darns, Bartholomew Heggell, George Ireland, junior, John Lambard, Matthew Cuvell, Nicholas Hodson, Peter Olyver, T. Beste, Nicholas Isacke, John Bedome, Richard Done, Henry Maillim, John Badyley, James Lyell, Matthew Angell, Roger Gunston, John Johnson, Ninian Bowyer, Richard [blank], Thomas Whitt, Jonas Bonne, Robert Salmon, Michael Merrell, Thomas Carnabye, Peter Matham, Thomas Redwood, Francis Forman, William Dawson, John Cobbe, John Dofyld, Timothy Layerd, Robert Bence, Luke Barfoote, John Jacob, George Ireland, George Arell, Thomas Bailie, William Harvye, Richard Meller, Henry Rawlin, William Sayden, Benjamin Gonston, William Criske, Robert Coussens, Nicholas Richardson, Richard Chester, Edward Brian, Robert Freeman, Ralph Labon, William Bowe, Richard Danyell, Hugh Robynson, John Osborne, Robert Wheatlie, William Casse, George Hope, John Clarke, John Bedham, Robert Earlle, Thomas Marychurch, Richard Jenyns, John Gold, Henry Tonne, John Bowden, John Drake, William Rickes, Cobham Doves, Henry Churche, John Gollsound, Samuel Doves, Richard Ireland, John Franelton, John Swanton, Patrick Roche, Abraham Lambe, John Stead.

254. [f.90v. As in 57]

255. [? 20 Oct. 1616 × 14 Feb. 1617] Trinity House to the privy council [Cf APC 1616–17, 141–2.]

Almost all shipowners and masters trading to Newcastle for coal and other owners, masters and fishermen trading on the north coast requested Trinity House in writing to build lighthouses near Winterton in Norfolk for better security on that dangerous coast on dark and foul nights and have offered a voluntary allowance. The privy council are asked to permit the project and collections for it at the customs houses in all ports.

256. [f.91] 5 Jan. 1607. Whitehall. [Privy council] to the customs and other officers at Newcastle, Yarmouth, Hull, Boston and Lynn

Suit has been made on behalf of seamen who trade to Newcastle and other northern parts of the realm for the placing of buoys and beacons between Lowestoft and Winterton Ness, because of the dangerous passage, where many have lately lost their lives and goods. Very many have signed an offer to pay 12d upon every 100 tons of ships, hoys and barks which pass that way, for every voyage. No doubt those who did not sign are also ready to pay, since the project is for their benefit and safety. A contribution cannot be collected except at the ports to which ships especially trade. The addressees are to collect the allowance from masters or owners and are to account for the money to Trinity House who have orders to use it for the said purpose. The names of any who refuse to pay are to be reported to the privy council.

[Archbishop of] Canterbury, [lords] Worcester, Ellesmere, lord chancellor, Northampton, Zouch, Dorset, Salisbury, Knollys, Nottingham, Mar, Wotton, Suffolk, Bruce.

257. [f.91v] 31 May 1607. [Privy council] to the same

Further to 256, Trinity House have provided the seamarks between Lowestoft and Winterton Ness. The levy of 12d per 100 tons was a voluntary offer but some seamen and others obstinately refuse to pay. Customs and other officers are to collect the imposition and pay it to Trinity House, who are to use it to pay for the continual and daily repair of the marks. Cockets of any who refuse to pay are to be withheld until they do so.

P.S. They are informed of a need for beacons and buoys in the harbours of the Tees, beyond Flamborough Head. A similar collection is to be made on ships of that harbour.

Lord treasurer, duke of Lennox, lord admiral, earls of Worcester, Northampton and Salisbury, lords Wootton, Stanhope.

258. [f.92] 31 May 1609. Whitehall. [Privy council] to the customs and other officers of ports between London and Newcastle

They are credibly informed that a dangerous passage has grown at Stamport, not far from Lowestoft to the southward on the coast of Suffolk. Many have lost their lives and goods owing to want of marks, buoys, beacons and lighthouses. To meet the cost, the chief masters and shipowners trading to the north and the masters of Trinity House have agreed to pay 4d a ship, hoy, or bark for every voyage to or from Newcastle and the same amount for ships sailing from Hull, Boston and other northern parts, either from port to port or overseas, for they also benefit. It is reasonable that the contribution should be collected at the Customs House in London, and at other customs houses, on the arrival of each ship. The levy is additional to the 12d per 100 tons for buoys and beacons at Caister. The money must be paid to Trinity House (who are to provide the marks) or their assignees before the cocket or other discharge is given.

Lord chancellor, lord treasurer, lord privy seal, lord admiral, lord chamberlain, earl of Worcester, lords Zouch, Knollys, and Wootten, Mr Secretary Herbert, Sir Julius Casar, chancellor of the exchequer.

259. [f.92v] 14 Jan. 1623. Order of the privy council concerning collections for the Algiers expedition [Printed in APC 1621–3, 392–3. APC states that ships trading into the Straits east of Cape Gata are to pay 8d per ton, while those trading to the west and certain other places are to pay 18d. These amounts are transposed in the Trinity House text, which is probably correct in view of APC 1619–21, 240–1; also 111.]

260. [f.93] 20 March 1626. [Trinity House] to collectors of dues

The privy council letter of 1 April 1613 authorised [Trinity House] to collect 12d per 100 tons and 4d a ship on ships trading to the north coast towards maintaining lighthouses and buoys at Caister and Stamport. It is now pretended that ships and barks of Hull trading for Holland and from thence home to their own ports derive no benefit from these seamarks. From henceforth dues on such ships should no longer be levied unless it is known that they benefit. Collections are to continue on all other ships, including those of fishermen and others of Hull who trade to Zeeland because they benefit.

Thomas Best, Robert Bell, Walter Coke, Robert Salmon, John Davis, John Totton.

[Marginal note] Sommersfeild, Hull.

261. [f.93v] 20 March 1626. [? Trinity House to the privy council]

According to the reference of 16 March, they have ascertained the number of English captives in Sallee, having interviewed 3 men lately come from there and having seen several letters written from there to some of the petitioners. Previously they had examined divers men come from Sallee who had sought help in paying their charges in travelling home. It is evident that there are some 1,200 or 1,400 English captives, all or mostly taken in the Channel, within 20 or 30 miles of Dartmouth, Plymouth and Falmouth. When the ships are full of the king's subjects, the pirates return to Sallee, sell the captives in the common market, and then return for more. They winter in Flushing and in Holland, and all their needs are furnished there. The coast is unguarded by ships, and friends are not restrained from helping the infidels.

Messrs Best, Davis, Cooke, Salmon, Bell, Bennett.

262. [f.94] 15 Oct. 1626. Trinity House to Mr John Wyldes

In reply to his letter of '2th present', they thank him for his care in purchasing the house. He is asked to be advised on whether the surrender can be taken in the name of the corporation, viz. the master, wardens and assistants of Trinity House, without risk of forfeiture to the lord. Otherwise it should be taken in the names of Thomas Best, Walter Coke, Samuel Doves and William Goodladd and their assigns for ever. They appoint him assignee and deputy of Trinity House to take up the surrender. There is some error over £20 which he desires Trinity House to pay to Mr Batten, because the £8 due to him at midsummer was paid in accordance with his letter of 5 June to Mr William Burgesse, ironmonger, and they have his receipt; they have paid Batten £12, and they have his receipt.

[Marginal note] Mr Wyldes to take up the surrender of the house for Caister lights.

263. [f.94v] 18 Nov. 1626. Trinity House [to the privy council. Cf APC 1626, 168–9.]

According to the order of 22 Sept. they have perused the orders of the board, viz. those of 21 Dec. 1617 and 8 Aug. 1626, and the entries* of goods by English merchants in strangers' ships, as presented to Trinity House by masters of ships trading to France. Since 20 Apr., about 800 tons of goods have been shipped in 12 strangers' ships, and only one English ship has been employed. But last summer was extraordinary because for most of the time 'we had a stay here of our shipping, and in France'. For fear of the Dunkirkers and because of the stay in France, merchants were constrained to employ strangers' ships, and to consign their goods to Frenchmen under the name of Frenchmen's goods, and 'all to blind the time'. Merchants are found to be resolved not to freight strangers' ships, once an agreement is made with France. Given the times, the hindrance to English ships and men is not great. But for the future, the board is asked to order that merchants trading with France, Flushing, Middelburg, Holland, etc. should freight native ships.

264. [f.95. 13 Feb. × 22 March 1621] Trinity House to the house of commons [Cf CD ii. 74; v. 64.]

They are grieved at the aspersion that they had allowed by certificate or otherwise the carrying away of 100 carriages [of ordnance] to Spain. They are not guilty and would stake their lives thereon. If a member of their corporation has allowed it, he should receive condign punishment.

265. [Before 25 Dec. 1632] Certificate by Trinity House

Certificate about William Kempster as 269 [with variations, but omitting the 1618 incident].

266. [f. 95v] 24 Sept. 1631. Certificate [by Trinity House] They have been asked to certify concerning the condition of Capt. William Hockerage, a slave in Algiers, taken by 12 Turkish men-of-war. He has commanded several ships in the service of the East Indies company and otherwise. His ransom of £250 cannot be paid without charitable help. He lost £2,000 when the ship, of which he was sole owner, and her goods were captured.

Samuel Doves, master; Robert Salmon, T. Best, etc.

267. June 1632. Certificate by Trinity House [see268.]

At the request of the bearer, Many Croft, they certify the knowledge of some of them that her husband John, mariner of Ratcliff, is honest and maintained his wife and family by his industry. He was master of the Flying Drake of 'Lyme in . . . Devon' [? recte Lyme Regis, Dorset] on a voyage to Viana do Castelo in Portugal. On the voyage homewards, the ship was surprised by Turkish pirates of Algiers. He and his crew lost all that they had on the voyage and were sold as slaves at Algiers. They have been cruelly misused to make them forsake Christ and serve Mahomet. They cannot be released without the payment of ransoms which they and their poor wives cannot procure. Together with their wives and children, they will perish without charitable relief.

Robert Bell, John Bennett, Gervais Hockett, John Totton, Thomas Best, Ro. Salmon, William Bushell, William Case, Anthony Tutchin, William Rainborrowe, William Stephens.

[Marginal note] Those taken with John Croft were John Croft [sic], John Robins, Thomas Batten, George Craford, Francis Webb, Henry [Nicholas erased] Browne, Nicholas [George erased] Darby, Thomas Archer, Richard [Edward erased] Hayward, Edward Holloway.

268. [f.96] 18 Apr. 1632. Certificate by Roger Corbett, George Griffith and Elizabeth Littleton

Certificate about John Croft [similar to 267], some of those certifying being adventurers in the ship.

269. [f.96v] 10 May 1633. Certificate by Trinity House [See 265, 270.]

On information from the bailiffs of Aldeburgh, they certify that William Kempster, mariner of Aldeburgh in Suffolk, was master of the Paule of London (about 140 tons) bound for High Monten [? Ayamonte] in Spain, when on about 26 Dec. 1631 the ship was captured by Turks of Algiers. He and his crew of 15 were carried to Algiers where they live in miserable slavery. Kempster lost £200. Furthermore, in 1618, bound for 'Lynn in Norwood' [? Lynn in Norfolk] in the Rose (about 200 tons) he lost a quarter part amounting to £100; in 1627, he lost about £240 [£120 in 265] when a Dunkirker took and sank his bark coming from 'Island' [? Iceland]: in 1628, a French man-of-war pillaged him when he was homeward bound from London, whereby he lost £100 in cloth, victuals and money. His total losses amount to about £640. He and his crew are unable to pay their ransom, and they are condemned to ruin without charitable relief.

Robert Bell, master; William Case, Gervais Hockett, John Benett, Christopher Browne, George Hatch.

270. [f.97] 19 March 1633. Statement of the losses of William Kempster of Aldeburgh in Suffolk, taken prisoner in 1630 and still a captive [As in 269 with the following differences: the bark lost in 1627 was the Speedwell, valued with her cargo of fish at £1,000; as quarter-owner, he lost £240; the ship in 1628 had also been on an 'Island' voyage; the Frenchmen ran her ashore, and Kempster's loss was in goods; the incident of 26 Dec. 1631 in 269 is said to have occurred in 1630, and the ship's tonnage to have been 100 tons; he was a quarter-owner of the ship. See also 265.]

271. [An erased note]

'Whereas Mr William Isaack, an ancient seaman, is through the hand of God disabled. …' [?Beginning of a certificate to row on the Thames (cf. THD, 250–2).]

272. [f.97v] 6 May 1639. London. Depositions in the admiralty court [? relating to an application for ordnance]

On 4 May 1639, Timothy Thornehill, merchant of St Magnus, Thames St. London, aged about 22, was sworn before William Sames, doctor of law and surrogate of Sir Henry Martin, the admiralty court judge. He deposed that about 4 or 5 months ago he was resident in Dunkirk when he received a letter from Mr Thomas Thornehill, merchant of London, asking him to buy a ship of 300 or 400 tons. On 8 Feb. last, he accordingly bought in Dunkirk a Flemish built ship of about 380 tons called the Fortune, a prize which had been taken from the Hollanders and which had been put up for public sale by authority of the admiralty of Dunkirk. He bought her for Thomas Thornhill, an Englishman resident in London. Afterwards he hired a crew to bring her to England, and she is now in the Thomes and named the Mary and Barbara of London, belonging to Thomas Thornehill, Edward Thornehill and himself, all of whom are natural Englishmen and subjects of the king. No stranger has any interest in her. They are fitting her out for a voyage to the West Indies under his command.

On the same day, William Rensham, mariner of Ratcliff, aged about 30, deposed that the ship was bought in April [sic] in the circumstances described above. He and others were hired by Thornehill to view the ship before purchase, and he was one of those who brought her to London. Since her arrival he has had her measured, and she is 100 ft long by the keel, 21 ft broad by the beam, and 9½ ft above the mainmast [f.98] deep in the hold and 10½ ft abaft the mainmast. He is to go as master's mate on the voyage to the West Indies. Thomas Thornhill is reputed to be owner, but he has heard him say that his brother, Edward Thornhill, is quarterowner. He has also heard Timothy Thornehill say that he is to be a part-owner. Thomas, Edward, and Timothy Thornehill are all natural Englishmen, and he has not heard that any stranger has an interest in her. Thomas Wyan, register. [f.98v is blank.]


  • 1. Clearly applying to only a few of the names which follow.