Transactions - vol. 2: 1628

Pages 90-97

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

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308. [f.16] 4 Jan. 1628. A proposal [Cf SP 16/54/27 and CSPD 1627–8 58, incorrectly dated 16 Feb. 1627.]

Ships of 3 decks are of greatest force and most useful as men-of-war if built as follows. The lower orlop* should be laid 2 ft under the water [line]. The bread room and all other store rooms, coiled cables, the crew's chests and other luggage, and boarded cabins for officers should be on this orlop, as would be the lodging for most of the crew. The second orlop should be 6 ft or at least 5½ ft higher, and the sides made 'musket free' [immune to musket fire] fore and aft. A ship as long and as broad as the Lyon should have 9 ports a side, besides the 4 chase-ports*, fore and aft. These should be at least 2 ft 9 inches square, and above 2 ft from the deck to the sill of the port. Between every 2 ports, there should be hanging cabins [hammocks] to fold up to the decks, as lodging for the men. Loopholes should be cut for the firing of small shot in close fight. There should be 22 culverins* on this orlop. The third deck should be 6½ ft higher, between plank and plank 'but it shall not be whole through for her waist shall be only a grating' where there will be no ordnance, only 2 or 3 great murderers* or fowlers a side; this area will be used for stowing boats. There will be 8 demi-culverins* abaft the mast and 4 in the forecastle. There should be a little 'rising' [? screen] out of her forecastle and abaft her steerage, with loopholes for small shot and murderers placed there to clear the decks if the ship is boarded. There should be a 'snug round house' aft for the master, his mates, the lieutenant and the preacher. The bulkhead should be made musket free. Loopholes should be cut and murderers placed to clear the decks as aforesaid; abaft, a scuttle should be cut to enable retreat into the great cabin if they are beaten from [the round house]. On the upper deck, there should be stanchions in the waist upon which to hang chains to keep up the waist cloths [coloured cloths used to conceal men in action, or as an adornment]. No galleries should be built on her sides but only a cobbler's shop aft. The great cabin should be divided by a bulkhead: the aft part should be a lodging and a closet for the captain, and the fore part a dining room and a placing for 2 pieces of ordnance. Such a ship could hardly be captured, sunk, or set on fire, and she would be much better than those now in service. The hold will be kept sweet and the victuals preserved. She could not be surprised being always ready for fight, the cables, chests and other luggage which now hinder the use of ordnance being on the lower deck. There will be more lodging for the crew which is [f.16v] a principal thing for the conservation of their health, and the lodging would be snugger than now. Although less ordnance would be carried, the ship would be of greater force because she could be employed in all weathers, and the crew would be immune to small shot. If 500 men were to board her, they could be beaten off because of her ability for close fighting which none of the king's ships now built can do because they are 'all open and have no close fights'.

309. [4 × 16 Jan. 1628. Duke of] Buckingham [lord high admiral] to the commissioners of the navy [See 308, 310.]

They are to consult Mr Burrell, Trinity House, Capt. Pett and others of the king's shipwrights, and others as necessary about 308, 'and particularly to consider whether it will not be best for service that the lower tier of ordnance lie not above five ft above the water'. A speedy reply is requested.

310. 16 Jan. 1628. Trinity House [? to the commissioners of the navy. See 309.]

They have considered 308. The design is for the master shipwrights but it is not new as is pretended, but has been used for all good merchant ships. As to the proposition that 3-deck ships are of greatest force and use as men-of-war, the most important characteristic of the king's ships is that they should be 'good sailers'. Experience has shown that 3-deck ships require more timber, planks and iron, adding more weight and strength 'so is it in nature of a clog and much hinders her sailing'. Nothing is more prejudicial to a man-of-war. Ships of the Lyon's rank with 2½ decks, a fair forecastle, 2 tiers of ordnance fore and aft (the lower being 5 ft above water), having 4 months' victuals, are best for the king's service, both offensive and defensive, and are best for the crew. A third deck lying 2 or 3 ft under water is alleged to provide the crew with more commodious lodging and to be better for their [f.17] health. But it would be a dungeon and the air would not be so sweet and clean as on the second orlop*. The placing of storerooms on the third orlop is not worth answering because raising them from the hold will diminish the ship's stoutness and stiffness. A fair depth between decks is about 6 ft, 'one inch or 2 more or less breaks no square'. As for the sides of the ship being musket free, that is already so in all the king's ships; more timber plank would be prejudicial. The proposals about the number and sizes of ports are good instructions for carpenters who have never seen ports or built ships. 'And for galleries we allow not, neither those great cabins which is cause of the displacing of 4 pieces of ordnance, and of the weakening of the force of the ship's quarters.' A neat cabin for the captain with a little dining room 'that so all room be disposed for ordnance' and the contriving proposed for greater defence against being surprised, sunk or fired add no security. How a ship can carry less ordnance, yet be of greater force, is beyond their understanding. As for boarding a king's ship, the only case is that of the Revenge in the time of queen [Elizabeth]; the enemy lost then many 100 men and at last gained her, only 'by composition'. Seamen in merchant ships fear not boarding, even though the crew number only 40 or 50. The king's ships with 200 and 250 men and well furnished have much less cause for fear; 'neither want they close fights', having half decks, forecastles and ports to scour with ordnance fore and aft. Nothing can be bettered for close fights.

Walter Coke, Sir Michael Geere, Capt. Best, Messrs Case, Totton, Hockett, Tompson, Salmon, Bennett, Bushell, Tuchen, Swan, Bell.

311. [f.17v] 27 Jan. 1628. [Sir] Ro. Heath [attorney general] to Trinity House [See 312.]

He has been directed to ask whether they make a charge of 7d a ton on all strangers' ships entering the Thames, and 8d for every foot of water they draw, and if so, by what authority.

312. [After 27 Jan. 1628] Trinity House [to Sir Robert Heath, attorney general]

In reply to 311 they assign pilots to take all strangers' ships out of the Thames clear of the sands for which they demand 7d a ton according to ancient custom, but not 6d a ton is received. Likewise at coming in they demand 8d for every foot of water drawn which is in the nature of 'loadmony' [cf 430] or poundage. Their authority is their charter which empowers them to appoint pilots for all strangers' ships at such a reasonable rate as they think fit, according to the size of the ship. Strangers are not wronged because charges for ships of the king and merchants are no less. Pilotage charges abroad are much greater. Apart from a small charge of 2s 6d, 4s or 5s, as their duty to the corporation, fees are not levied on small pinks and hoys which draw little water and come over the sands at high water regardless of channels. The greatest part of the money is spent on the strangers' poor shipwrecked men who come daily for relief.

313. [f.18] 31 Jan. 1628. Whitehall. [Privy council to Trinity House. Cf APC 1627–8, 254.]

Because of continual advertisement of preparations by foreign enemies, the king has ordered the writers to instruct the addressees to cause all shipowners to make ready their ships, in case they are required for the defence of the realm. Owners of ships taken up will receive such pay as will content them.

[Lords] Mandevill, (fn. 1) Pembroke, [Burly (fn. 2) erased], 'Bi Dearham' [? bishop of Durham], bishop of Bath and Wells, [Sir] T. Edmundes, [Sir] John Coke, [Sir] Richard Wiston, 'Francis' [? recte Sir Humphrey] May.

314. [ff.18v–19] 5 Feb. 1628. Survey by Trinity House [Cf SP 16/92/45; CSPD 1627–8, 546.]

Ships now in the Thames which could be made fit for the king's service are as follows:

[(a) tons; (b) 'ordnance capable'; (c) ordnance aboard] Ships appertaining to the East India company:

Greate James (a) 900, (b) 40, (c) nil, and Charles (a) 700, (b) 36, (c) nil, in Blackwall dock; Jonas (a) 700, (b) 36, (c) 36, and Expedition, (a) 200, (b) 10, (c) 10, prepared for sea; London (a) 800, (b) 38, (c) nil, and Reformation (a) 300, (b) 24, (c) nil, riding at Erith; Greate Neptune (a) 600, (b) 34, (c) 34, earl of Warwick.

Merchant ships:

London (a) 500, (b) 30, (c) 10, and Unicorne (a) 450, (b) 24, (c) nil, new ships; Dragon (a) 450, (b) 30, (c) 30; Hector (a) 350, (b) 28, (c) 28; Assurance (a) 300, (b) 22, (c) 22; George (a) 300, (b) 24, (c) 24, Peter and Andrew (a) 260, (b) 26, (c) 26, Seahorse (a) 260, (b) 18, (c) 18, Paragon, (a) 250, (b) 24, (c) 24, and Merchant Bonaventure (a) 220, (b) 20, (c) 20, newly come home from the king's service; Neptune, (a) 200, (b) 19, (c) 19, Lyones (a) 200, (b) 16, (c) 16, and Merchant Bonaventure, (a) 160, (b) 16, (c) 16, newly come from Cornwall with tin; Ann (a) 160, (b) 14, (c) 14; Plaine John (a) 180, (b) 14, (c) 14; Speedwell (a) 140, (b) 12, (c) nil, a prize ship; Increase (a) 160, (b) 12, (c) 6; Pilgrim (a) 160, (b) 14, (c) 6; John and Francis (a) 120, (b) 12, (c) 12; Litle Neptune (a) 140, (b) 12, (c) 9; Hopewell (a) 200, (b) 16, (c) 16, newly come from Hamburg; Neptune of Chester (a) 140, (b) 12, (c) nil.

Ships ready and bound to sea:

Abigall (a) 300, (b) 26, (c) 26, Faith (a) 250, (b) 20, (c) 20, Endeavor (a) 180, (b) 16, (c) 16, Blessinge, (a) 200, (b) 16, (c) 16, Elizabeth and Maudlyn (a) 160, (b) 10, (c) 10, and Charity (a) 200, (b) 20, (c) 18, ships ready; Exchange (a) 200, (b) 18, (c) 16, Lemmon (a) 140, (b) 11, (c) 11, Jonas (a) 250, (b) 20, (c) 18, Blew Dove (a) 150, (b) 14, (c) 12, Susan (a) 180, (b) 16, (c) 16, and St Peter (a) 240, (b) 12, (c) 12, newly come from sea.

Newcastle ships:

Desire of Ipswich (a) 250, (b) 16, (c) 16, Elizabeth (a) 200, (b) 14, (c) 6, Ann (a) 250, (b) 18, (c) 18, Susan and Ellyn (a) 250, (b) 16, (c) 16, Hopewell (a) 150, (b) 10, (c) 10, Ann Speedwell (a) 240, (b) 14, (c) 5, Mathew (a) 240, (b) 14, (c) 14, Recoverie (a) 240, (b) 12, (c) 6, Mary (a) 240, (b) 14, (c) 7, Resolution (a) 240 (b) [14 in SP], (c) [nil in SP], Josias (a) 200, (b) [12 in SP], (c) [5 in SP], Seaflower (a) 240, (b) 12, (c) 9, Constant Mary (a) 240, (b) 14, (c) 6, William (a) 240, (b) 16, (c) 10, Patient Adventure (a) 240 [210 in SP], (b) 16, (c) 16, William and Thomasin (a) 240 (b) 14, (c) 5, Camelion (a) 250, (b) 16, (c) 16, Abraham (a) 240, (b) 16, (c) 10, Francis (a) 200, (b) 12, (c) 3, and Convert (a) 240, (b), 16, (c), 11, newly come home from the king's service; Sara of Newcastle (a) 150, (b) 10, (c) 4; Hope, a flyboat, (a) 200, (b) 10, (c) 6, come home from the king's service.

To further the service, they have given a warrant to each master or owner in accordance with 313.

315. [f.19v] 13 Feb. 1628. Report by Trinity House

Their opinion has been asked on whether the loss of the Samuell of London (John Gibbins master and part-owner), burnt during the 'briminge' (fn. 3) or drying of the breadroom, should be borne by the owners or by the hirers. They know of many such casualties but never that the hirers had to compensate the owners for the ship, because the master and not the hirers has charge of her. The master is trusted by the owners and the hirers, for his skill and diligence, to have the care of the ship, her furniture and goods. If casualty happens owing to fire, ill mooring, or a sailing error, 'the master will be found short in point of good discretion, of care, or of skill, but the indiscretion of the master hath ever passed for good discretion … because it was the master his best discretion'. The owners must bear the loss of their ship; the hirers the loss of their goods. Messrs Best, Totton, Ewins, Bell, Goodlad, Coke, Salmon, Bennett, Swann, Doves, Hockett, Tutchin, Thompson.

316. [f.20] 23 Apr. 1628. Memorandum [by Trinity House]

John Goodladd has sundry times spoken very scandalously and to the detriment of the corporation, as appears by sworn testimony of Messrs Doves, Tompson, Hart [317] and Steevens. Goodladd was called before the company, and it was agreed to commit him to the Marshalsea until he gave better satisfaction. A warrant dated 16 Apr. was sent to Solomon Smith and the keeper of the prison. On 18 Apr. he went to the Marshalsea and stayed there for 5 or 6 days. He was then sent for again by the House, confessed his fault, and asked forgiveness, promising not to offend again. [Marginal note] John Goodlades was released from the Marshalsea upon his submission.

317. 2 Apr. 1628. Concerning the abusive speech of John Goodladd, master of the Talbott of London

On Shrove Tuesday 1626 [sic], they were on Tower Hill with inhabitants of that place. Goodladd told divers disorderly seamen there that they were a company of fools and that if they would be ruled by him, and did not get their wages that day, he would counsel them (some 400 or 500 of them) to come down to the Trinity House and pull it down unless those [of Trinity House] took action to secure wages for them. To prevent danger, Mr Bernard Mootam took him to the Rose tavern, and there Goodladd disparaged the corporation and particular members.

Samuel Doves, John Tompson, Timothy Hart.

[Note] Doves and Hart testified on oath to the truth of the above; Tompson swore that Goodladd came to him afterwards and told him that he had spoken thus on the Hill.

318. [f.20v. As in 294.]

319. [f.21] 27 June 1628. Trinity House to Mr Walter Cooke and Mr William Ewins, members of the company

According to an order of 25 June they are to repair to Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Caister and Winterton; inspect the keeping of the lights and buoys; sound the channels; consider whether the lighthouses and buoys are well placed as leading marks and repair any defects. They are to direct the erection of a new lighthouse as an upper light in Lowestoft (the other being in daily danger of being swept away by the sea). Mr Wylde and whoever they think fit should be asked to oversee the completion of the work once they have arranged the supply of material and workmen, who should be paid either on a daily basis or by great [i.e. by the piece]. They are empowered to act on behalf of the corporation, and whatever is spent will be repaid on submission on their accounts or those of their contractors, or by assignment.

320. [f.21v] 2 Aug. 1628. Agreement between Trinity House and John Eaglefeild of Stratford Bow and John Howland of London, gentlemen and customary tenants of Stepney

Eaglefeild and Howland on behalf of themselves and of many other customary tenants of the manors of Stepney and Hackney obtained an exemplification under the great seal of a statute of 21 James I for the confirmation of the copyhold estate and customs of divers copyholders of those manors, according to an agreement and decree in chancery concerning the lord of the manors and the copyholders. At a court held at Trinity House on 2 Aug., the exemplification was delivered to Trinity House for safe keeping so that it can be produced and used for the benefit of the tenants as necessary. Trinity House acknowledge receipt and agree to produce it for any tenants, on reasonable request. They also promise not to let it leave their possession unless the borrower deposits at least £5 so that [f.22] a new exemplification can be obtained if it is not returned within 2 months.

321. [f.22v] 1 Aug. 1628. Thomas Wyan, deputy register [of the admiralty court] to Trinity House

The William and John of London (250 tons), with a crew of 80, and the Willinge Minde of Topsham (140 tons), with a crew of 92, took a French ship, the Renee, laden with merchandise, which was sold for £1,898 7s 6d. The sentence of the admiralty court is that this sum should be divided between the 2 captors, ton for ton, and man for man, according to the custom of the sea. Sir Henry Martyn, the judge, seeks the advice of Trinity House on how the money should be divided.

322. 9 Aug. 1628. [Trinity House to Sir Henry Martyn, admiralty court judge]

In reply to 321, £994 5s 6d should be awarded to the William and John, and £904 1s 9d to the Willinge Minde.

William Case, Robert Salmon, Walter Cooke, John Totton, Joshua Downinge, William Bushell. [Marginal note]

£ s d £ s d
Great ship 405 12 8 Small ship 227 3 1
Her 80 men 294 6 5 Her 92 men 338 9 4
Their victuals 294 6 5 Their victuals 338 9 4
994 6 5 [sic] 904 1 9

[Note] The figures in the margin were not delivered to the judge.

323. [f.23] 13 Aug. 1628. Order of the privy council about the convoy of Newcastle colliers [Printed in APC 1628–9, 101.]

324. [f.23v] 18 Oct. 1628. [Trinity House] to Sir Ro. Mansfeld

They have informed the company of Trinity House of his wishes in respect of Croxson. All of them regret Croxson is such an unworthy creature, but such is their respect for Mansfeld that they accept Croxson as their tenant for 3 years from last Michaelmas at an annual rent of £10, payable quarterly. If he fails to pay his rent, he will be dismissed. His arrears at Michaelmas last were £28 6s 8d, which he must pay before 1 Nov. Thereupon they will withdraw from the suit against him but otherwise will continue it and dismiss him from the office of ballastage. They will agree on the charges he must pay when he brings his rent. [Signed] William Case, T. Best, Walter Coke, Gervais Hockett, Ro. Salmon, John Bennett, William Stevins, Robert Bell.

325. [f.24] 20 Oct. 1628. Yarmouth. Benjamin Couper [to Trinity House. See 326.]

They asked him to nominate a man as keeper of Caister lighthouse and accepted his choice. However, the keeper has neglected the work himself, and employed a poor woman who has failed to maintain the lights properly. No doubt they have heard how prejudicial this has been. Since the keeper has not performed the work himself, but found other employment within Yarmouth, and has appointed an unfitting deputy, Couper suggests the appointment in his stead of the bearer, Robert Hill, an honest fisherman of Yarmouth, who knows the importance of keeping the lights, and is willing to perform the service himself, and to reside there.

326. [f.24v] 8 Nov. 1628. Trinity House to Benjamin Cooper, esquire, at Yarmouth

They thank him for 325 and his care. Hill has been accepted on the same condition as his predecessor, namely £37 a year payable quarterly, beginning on Christmas day. Meantime Hill is to move his dwelling from Yarmouth to Caister, where he will reside as keeper. He is to burn 3 candles in 'either lighthouse . . . of 3 to the pound and not under', to be lit at sunset and maintained until it is fair day again. He will perform the business himself, and not employ a deputy. Cooper is asked to see that Hill moves to Caister, and to inform Alborow. Hill will take from Alborow any candles which he has left at the price that he paid for them. Mr Case, Sir Michael Geer, Capt. Best, Messrs Salmon, Coke, Benit, Benit [sic], Totten, Tutchen.

If Alborow fails to maintain the lights until Christmas, he should be dismissed forthwith and replaced by Hill, to avoid just complaint.

327. [f.25] 12 Nov. 1628. Report by Trinity House

Several shipowners of Bristol and other western parts have asked whether the vails due to captains, masters and officers of men-of-war when a prize is taken [see 294] are due out of each prize if several are taken on the same voyage. Trinity House answer that each officer is to have his due from each prize and that this has been anciently allowed to all men-of-war in queen Elizabeth's time and that the king allows it to his captains and masters.


  • 1. ? Earl of Manchester; his son, who bore the courtesy title, was not then a privy councillor.
  • 2. ? William Cecil, lord Burghley, but 2nd earl of Exeter since 1623.
  • 3. Perhaps brimstone (sulphur) was used. It was later used for fumigation.