Transactions - vol. 2


Centre for Metropolitan History



G. G. Harris (editor)

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'Transactions - vol. 2: 1626-7', Trinity House of Deptford Transactions, 1609-35: London Record Society 19 (1983), pp. 78-90. URL: Date accessed: 17 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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273. [f.1] 10 March 1627. Memorandum

Today Capt. Weddall left at Trinity House a box of writings concerning himself and Mr Tracey. It is not to be given to either without the consent of the other. The box is put in the trunk.

[Signed] T. Best, Robert Bell, Walter Coke, John Bennett.

274. 10 Apr. 1630. Memorandum

Today Mr Walter Coke left at Trinity House a box of writings concerning himself and Esther Lunne, widow of Ratcliff. It is not to be given to either without the consent of the other.

[Signed] William Case, Christopher Browne, William Ewen, John Bennett. [ is blank, apart from a rough calculation.]

275. [f.2. 25 May 1626] William Gunter, John Westhorrle, S. Wells, H. Lydiard and Edward Stevens [? to Sir John Coke, secretary of state] (fn. 1)

According to the warrant sent to them on 4 May they have measured divers colliers in the river. Those most in use have large bilges, long floors, and 'shoal decks' for the sake of ease and of profit, which makes them more inconvenient for service [of the king] when the need arises. They chose the Adventure of Ipswich, which is specified in the warrant and is one of the greatest 'bilged' ships amongst them, as a model upon which to base their calculations. A ship can be measured according to the old way as used by the king's shipwrights or the new one recently practised. The old way is nearer the truth but since the basis is unknown to them, the writers have discarded it. They reject the new way because it is based on the dead weight of coal 'which lades a ship fitter to sink than to swim in the sea'. They have therefore devised a middle way. The tons and tonnage* of a ship can be regarded in 3 ways: in casks, 2 butts or 4 hogsheads making a ton; in ft, 40 ft of timber making a ton; or in weight, making 20 cwt. a ton. The 'feet' way is the most convenient for measuring an empty ship; the 'weight' way is the most uncertain because the hold can be filled with 'dead lading of differing weights'; the 'cask' way is best because it both allows a convenient burden to the ship and ordnance for defence. Elsewhere, a ship's burden is based upon her capacity to carry casks. They define the hold as 'the cavity of the vessel contained between the lines of her greatest breadth and depth within board, not regarding the ill laying of their orlops*, which "streightneth" the hold, but supposing the lower edge of the beam to be pitched at the breadth, to the end that the ship being fitted in warlike manner and deep laden with her victuals and other necessaries, she may notwithstanding make use of her ordnance'. They next considered how many casks could be carried in the hold, first by drawing the bends* and the form of casks in each bend. This way being subject to error, they used an arithmetical approach, allowing 4½ ft as the length of a butt, 2 ft 8 inches for the depth of the first tier, and 2 ft 4 inches for that of other tiers. They calculated it in ft and divided the whole by 60 because they found that a ton of casks stowed to the best advantage took up 60 solid ft of space. On that basis, the capacity of the hold of the Adventure was 207 tons. From that an easy rule can be deduced for the use of measurers, which is understandable by shipowners. The depth of the ship at her greatest breadth to the ceiling* should be taken; at half the depth, the breadth within board should be measured; this mean breadth should be multiplied by the depth, the product by the length of the keel, and the total divided by 65 to obtain the content of the ship in tons. So the mean breadth of the Adventure within board is 22 ft, her depth from the ceiling 9 ft 8 inches, and her length 63 ft 6 inches. These multiplied together, make 13,504, which divided by 65 is 207¾. [f.2v] If 69¼ is added to allow the third part for tonnage, the ship is 277 in tons and tonnage. A comparison was made with her coal carrying capacity. The [coal] meters office showed that she unloaded 187 and 181 chaldrons on 9 Aug. and 6 Sept. 1624, a 'medium' of 184. Allowing 1½ tons per chaldron (although others think 1⅓ tons), that is equivalent to 276 tons. With this cargo, 'her upper wale and breadth' are under water. According to measurements which they have taken, her midships port would be within a foot of the water, and she would be then unfit for service. Measurements of the Amity of Woodbridge show that her coal carrying capacity is 298 tons, and her burden in tons and tonnage is 295. The figures for the Hermitt of Woodbridge are 289 and 286.

276. [f.3. 2 June 1626] Trinity House [to the special commissioners of the navy. Cf SP 16/29/7; CSPD 1625–6, 346.]

According to the order they have considered the ways of measuring ships as presented in 275. As to the first or 'cask' method, Gunter and Wells have made the utmost use of art to ascertain the cavity of the hold by ft but to find the content by art is impossible. Besides, no account was taken of the fact that ships carrying casks require ballast, which is called 'kentledge', without which ships will not 'sail-fast' or be fit for the sea in any way and for which seamen allow 12 or 13 tons per 100 in stowing casks. So from the first rule, the Adventure is 232 in tons and tonnage*. The second way is rejected because a ship's burden cannot be accurately measured by taking the measurements within board. The thickness of plank and timber varies, which makes a ship greater or smaller. It is also contrary to experience because when a ship's side is furred 6 or 8 inches, she will carry 10 or 12 tons more, and if 15 or 18 inches, 25 or 30 tons; yet in each case the measurements within board would be the same, which would be absurd. This also applies when measurements are taken of the depth, which should be taken not from the ceiling*, but from the outside of the plank next to the keel. Accordingly, the Adventure is 229 in tons and 305 in tons and tonnage, based on a length 63½ ft, a breadth of 26½ [26 ft 8 inches], a floor of 21½ 1/12; [21 ft 7 inches], and a depth of 11¼ ft. The third or 'old' way, which Gunter and Wells think is more accurate, is not so in the case of ships lately built such as colliers which have great floors. It does hold good for old ships which have small floors. On the old rule, the Adventure, with a length of 63½ ft, a breadth of 26½ 1/6[26ft 8 inches] and a half breadth of 13⅓, would be 225 tons, to which must be added 75, making a total of 300 in tons and tonnage. Contrary to the view of Gunter and Wells, the dead weight method at 20 cwt. to the ton is a certain one if truly applied, 'for their reason that this way is uncertain, it is no reason; for let the severals of dead weight be of what nature it will, still the quantity, viz. 20 cwt. to a ton holds'. If a ship is laden until she is settled in the water to her breadth, which is the lading mark, then the weight in her is the certain burden in tons, at 20 cwt. a ton, to which must be added tonnage. This method is based on reason, experience, antiquity and art. (fn. 2)

[Marginal note] Trinity House's answer to Mr Gunter's rule for measuring ships.

277. [f.3v] 3 Feb. 1627. Inhabitants of Colchester and Wapping to Trinity House

John Wells of Colchester, the bearer, lost by shipwreck a hoy, the Hopewell, of which he was master and part-owner [owner in 279], whereby he lost £110. Later [on 24 Aug. 1621, in 279] he lost another hoy, the Susan, which was laden with fuller's earth and of which he was master and owner, whereby he lost £127. He is now in great poverty.

Philip Ewers (his mark), William Mace, John Kinge, Ralph Lellie, Robert Coborne, John Beale, Daniel Russell.

278. 3 Feb. 1627. Merchants of the city of London to Trinity House

John Wells of Colchester, the poor bearer, was master of a hoy, the John, outward bound from London to Amsterdam laden with goods worth £1,300, when [on 14 Oct. last, in 279] she was cast away in foul weather. His loss was £85, and because of this and other losses, he is in great poverty.

Christopher Elan, Nathaniel Wright, George Rookes.

[Endorsement] The loss of the John is certified by inhabitants of Wapping: Thomas Cobb, constable; John Dearsly, churchwarden; John Brady, William Greene, Edward Bartly, William Tristram, John Davies, John Houghton, John Caseby, James Ireland, George Humble, Francis Blizard, Peter Marshe, an overseer of the poor.

279. [f.4] 21 Feb. 1627. Trinity House to the lord keeper

[Certificate on behalf of John Wells specifying the losses mentioned in 277–8.] He lost a further £230 owing to bankruptcies and other bad debts. His total losses, following suddenly on each other, amount to about £552. He is utterly impoverished and, having fallen into debt as a result of his losses, cannot satisfy his creditors or maintain his wife and small children. T. Best, W. Cooke, Ro. Bell, Jo. Totten, Ja. Mowyer, Ro. Salmon, Jo. Bennet, William Case, Samuel Doves, Jo. Weddall.

280. [f.4v. 27 Feb. 1627] Master shipwrights and Trinity House 'to the high commissioners' [Cf SP 16/55/36; CSPD 1627–8, 70.]

A rule to find the burden of ships was requested. They have held a meeting of mariners and shipwrights, and their view is that the best method is that of dead weight in the interest both of the king and of subjects. This is how much 'massie' commodities will settle a ship in the water to her breadth, reckoning 20 cwt. to the ton. The rule is to take the length of the keel from the pitch of the forefoot [the foremost part of the keel] to aft of the post or posts; the breadth at the broadest point, measuring outside the planks; and the depth from the diameter of the breadth to the bottom of the keel. These figures multiplied together according to the rule will produce the burden in tons according to dead weight. When that is put to the trial, there should be 3 or 4 to represent the king and the same number to represent subjects to avoid complaint.

T. Best, [Walter] Cooke, W. Case, John Totten, James Mowyer, W.

Ewins, Edward Maplesden, M. Geere, Ro. Salmon, John Bennet, Ro.

Bell, S. Doves, John Weddall.

Master shipwrights: John Graves, John Dearsly, Edward Steevens, John Taylor, William Burch. (fn. 3)

281. [f.5.27 Feb. 1627] Trinity House [to the lords commissioners of the navy. Cf SP 16/55/34; CSPD 1627–8, 70.]

According to the order of 20 Feb. they have considered the number and burden of the ships required to intercept Lubeckers' ships in passage for Spain, for what time, and at what places. Two second rank ships of the king and 2 merchant ships of 300 tons should ride at the bar of Lubeck, which is a safe road for them. If the bar is thought to be unfit in view of the king of Denmark, they should ride at 'Lapsand' [? Lappegrund], which is 4 or 5 miles on this side of Elsinore. The great ships of Lubeck which come by Elsinore pass by that way. Smaller ships bound for Spain may come by the Belt, but 2 or 3 merchant ships riding in the Belt within the Skaw between the 'Holmes' [? Hjelm] and the Anholt would intercept these. In the Belt there are one or 2 places from which small ships can come and go to Spain, but the 2 or 3 ships stationed in the Belt shall command these. The time must be the whole summer from 15 March until 30 Sept., since ships come from all parts of the Sound to sea during this period. (fn. 4)

282. [f.5v. c. 1626–7] (fn. 5) Report by John Goodwin and others

'Having diligently sought out the proportion of corn and cask, we find near 60 foot cubic to be contained in a ton square of cask with the vacuities and of corn but 46 without any vacuities, and having made a medium between these 2 we find 53 square feet to be in a ton, too much in corn, too little in cask. And yet a ton contained in 2 butts allowed to be cylinders at the bigness they are at the bouge [belly] contain but 50 feet.' So the 53 feet seems indifferent. Mr Wells found the cubic content of the Adventure to be 12,420 solid feet, which divided by 53 produces 234 tons, and 312 in tons and tonnage*, which agrees with 'our' way because the depth of the Adventure at the waterline is 13 feet, her breadth without board 262/3 feet, and her length 63½ feet. Multiplied all together, the product is 22,013, which divided by 94 is 234 tons, and 312 in tons and tonnage as before.

283. [f.6] 2 May 1627. Trinity House of Deptford to the Trinity House of Dover (fn. 6)

For many years, the pilots of the Cinque Ports, especially those of Deal, have wronged the corporation. Despite the benefit which these pilots obtain from buoys and beacons, and the agreement between the 2 Trinity Houses, they refuse to contribute for beaconage and buoyage. Only 1s in the pound is sought, which is what members of Trinity House Deptford have to pay, as compared with 2s which others pay. Only 1s is demanded because of the 1s which they pay to their own fellowship [of the Cinque Ports]. Trinity House Deptford have often conferred with some of these pilots, namely the Ranns, but they say that the 2s [sic] demanded is paid to 'your corporation'. There should not be 2 payments for the same thing but if there are, the Dover corporation is in debt to Trinity House Deptford. If no payments have been made, it is hoped that no ill will be taken if these refractory fellows who abuse both corporations are brought to account by imprisonment or some other course. To prevent further abuses, the addressees, especially Mr John Pringle, and the master and wardens are asked to accept this delegation for the collection of dues from pilots who take ships within their liberties or fellowship into or out of the Thames. Such good offices would be reciprocated.

284. [f.6v] 9 June 1627. Ratcliff. Trinity House to Sir John Sackvill

In reply to 285, they have conferred with, and think that they have satisfied, Capt. Dupper about the waftage* of colliers and the defence of the north coast. Three of the ships which are to serve as men-of-war should be made ready with all expedition to attend the next fleet, and the other 3 should be ready shortly afterwards so that the colliers can have notice to meet their escorts. For frugality, the commanders should be able seamen with long experience of the trade and the coast. The 6 ships will accompany the fleet to and from the Shields with as much coal as they can carry (about 60 chaldrons) without prejudice to the operation of ordnance and function as men-of-war. They will discharge their coal at London with the rest, load ballast, and be ready to sail back again with the first colliers. Each should have a crew of 60, of whom one-third should be watermen and landsmen who can fire muskets, divided into 2 or 3 squadrons at the discretion of the commanders. This will be sufficient for the London trade. With able seamen as commanders, the profit from the coal sales will cover the cost of the freight of these ships. They should keep together so as to make the more voyages and profit from the 60 chaldrons. Each ship should make a profit of £50 a voyage, making a total of £2,100 in 9 months, leaving aside the 6d a chaldron payable by all coast ships which will maintain 2 other men-of-war. They should always be at sea to defend the north coast and will not go into harbour as the other 6 will do. Every ship of 150 tons and over should carry 4 pieces of ordnance, and those with more should retain them. The wafters will be at sea from 1 Feb. until 31 Oct., and in that time 7 voyages should be made, provided that the city [of London] undertakes to discharge the fleet expeditiously at reasonable rates for each voyage. [f.7] One half of the colliers will not benefit from waftage because they must stay at London to sell their coal or else sell at a loss. The king's council should order the owners of coal at Newcastle not to raise prices or to abate measures.

285. 5 June 1627. Westminster. Sir John Sackvile [to Trinity House. See 284; 372–3.]

In view of the losses imposed upon merchants and inhabitants of the northern parts by Dunkirkers, the king and the lord admiral have instructed him to arrange for the raising and maintenance of 6 men-of-war to waft* colliers to and fro, and to defend the north coast. Capt. James Duppa has been appointed commander of the fleet. No doubt they will wish well such a worthy work, and they are asked to meet Duppa to discuss the proposals which he will propound.

286. [f.7v] 29 June 1627. [Sir] Henry Martyn [admiralty court judge] to Trinity House

'A', the half-owner of a ship 'B' with her apparel and tackle, freighted his share to 'C', the other half-owner, for £12 a month, as per charter party.

'C' took out letters of marque and fitted the ship with shot, munitions and ordnance. The ship returned with a prize. They should examine the charter party and consider whether 'A', as half-owner, is entitled to half the third part of the prize.

[Marginal note] About Mr Slany and Mr King.

287. 4 July 1627. Ratcliff. Trinity House [to Sir Henry Martyn, admiralty court judge]

In reply to 286, 'A' as owner is entitled to a share in the third part, but not a full half because 'C' furnished ordnance, powder and shot, whereby he had the greater adventure. They have received from Mr Kinge a charter party between him and Mr Slany, but it says nothing about prizes and relates only to a merchant voyage.

Messrs Cooke, Salmon, Bennett, Case, Raineborow, Ewins, Swann, Totten.

288. [f.8] 13 July 1627. [Sir] Henry Marten [admiralty court judge to Trinity House]

He referred to them a case and a charter party between Humphrey Slaines, merchant of London, and Thomas King, mariner [286]. Their opinion [287] is not so plain as he would like. They should reconsider the matter and the charter party and report speedily whether Kinge should have a part of the prize and how much, not consulting anyone who is not of their company.

289. 26 July 1627. Ratcliff. Trinity House [to Sir Henry Marten, admiralty court judge]

In reply to 288, they had considered that 287 was a full answer to the general question, and it was compiled without consulting anyone not of their corporation. Now that the reference is made particular to the case of Slany and Kinge according to the charter party, their view is that Kinge is entitled to such a part of the third share as is proportionate to his adventure in the ship.

Mr Cooke, deputy master; Sir H. Manneringe, Messrs Downinge, Kitchen, Rainsborow, Bennett, Case, Totten, Mowyer, Trenchfeild, Swanly, Swann.

290. [ff.8v–9] 13 July 1627. Order of the privy council concerning payment for the league with Algiers from money collected for the Algiers expedition [Printed in APC 1627, 415–16.]

291. 18 July 1627. Order of the privy council concerning money collected by Trinity House for the Algiers expedition [Printed in APC 1627, 423–4.]

292. 21 July 1627. Receipt by John Cordall, treasurer of the Levant company

Received £550 from Trinity House, by virtue of the privy council order of 13 July 1627 [290], being part of the money remaining in their hands as a result of the levy on shipping for the Algiers expedition. The privy council ordered that this money be paid to the Turkey company.

293. [f.9v] 24 and 28 July 1627. Award by Trinity House

A statement of the differences between the owners and victuallers of the William and John of London, which both sides referred on 24 July to the captains and masters of Trinity House, and the award of Trinity House dated 28 July 1627. Questions put to Trinity House:

(a) Should the owners pay for the muskets as well as the ordnance? Award: Yes.

(b) Should the owners provide all unexpendable munitions and instruments such as pikes, bandoliers, swords, pistols, latten cases, rammer heads [for cannon charges], sponge heads, ladles, wooden and latten budge barrels [i.e. small barrels of gunpowder], sheepskins, dark and light lanterns, and other small provisions for the gunner's store? Award: Yes.

(c) Since the cost of the victuals amount to more than half the value of the ship, what allowance should be made for setting her out as a man-of-war with 19 pieces of ordnance and a crew of 80 or 90 victualled for 6 or 8 months? What powder, shot and other munitions are requisite for the gunner's store? Award: 25 barrels of powder and 25 shot for each gun. The cost to be borne equally between both.

(d) Ought the fire works, namely 6 fire pikes, 6 trunks, 12 fire-balls and grenades and 3 or 4 dozen fire-pots be provided by the owners? Award: Equally borne.

(e) The shallop [a heavy sailing boat] is built for the benefit of the whole voyage. Should the owners provide 2 murderers*, sails, oars and a grapnel, or should the victuallers share the cost? Award: Equally borne.

(f) Should the owners provide 2 grapnels for the ship, foreign colours, and the carpenter's store? Award: The owners, the grapnels and the carpenter's store; the victuallers, the foreign colours.

(g) Should the surgeon's chest be provided by the victuallers or partly by the owners or, if purchase [prize] is taken, by the company? Award: The victuallers.

(h) What shares belong to the captain and officers, and what pillage to the company, and what 'duties' [perquisites] belong to officers, prizes being taken? [294 was probably attached to answer this question.]

(i) Should the captain pay for the 2 letters of marque, or should the owners or victuallers pay part? Award: Equally borne between 'both'.

Messrs Cooke, Bennett, Ewins, Case, Tutchen, Hockett, Totton, Swanly, Swanne.

294. [f.10] 1 Aug. 1627. Statement by Trinity House [This entry is crossed out.]

The ancient custom in queen Elizabeth's time concerning shares and other 'duties' belonging to the officers of men-of-war was as follows: the captain has the best piece of ordnance; the master, the best anchor and cable; the gunner, the second piece of ordnance; the boatswain, the main-topsail; the boatswain's mate, the fore-topsail; the master's mates, the bonnets [canvas tied to the bottom of a sail to catch the wind] and spritsail; the quartermasters, the mizen [? sail]; the coxswain, the topgallantsail; the surgeon, the surgeon's chest and all 'chirurgery'; the carpenter, all carpenter's tools; the trumpeter, the trumpets, if any. The mariners' furniture, apparel, chests, etc. is pillage for sharing among the whole company as follows: captain, 9; master, 8; master's mates, 6; midshipmen, 5; gunner, boatswain, quartermasters, carpenter, cook, surgeon, trumpeter, 4 each; boatswain's mate, carpenter's mate, steward, coxswain, cooper and all under officers, 3 each. The master's mates, midshipmen, quartermasters, boatswain and gunner are always the sharemakers. After they have laid out each man's share, the master or captain usually 'meddle' to remedy defects. The sharemakers are to lay out such dead men's shares as seem meet to them. The captain and the master are to consider what single and deserving men on the voyage should have these. If an officer or a man is slain or dies when or after the prize is taken, he is to have the share appropriate to his place. Anyone chosen to replace dead men is to be paid from the dead shares.

Sir Michael Geer, Messrs Cooke, Salmon, Bennett, Rainborowe, Totton, Case, Doves, Tutchen, Hockett, Swann, Swanly, Tompson, Mowyer, Trenchfeild.

295. [f.10v] 14 Sept. 1627. Doctors' Commons [London. Sir] Henry Martyn [admiralty court judge to Trinity House]

Mr Wilson, the bearer, said that they had furnished him with a clause from an ancient record of their House concerning shares under letters of marque [294], but without date or names. They should add the date and some of their names to certify its authenticity to enable him to settle a case concerning pillage.

296. 15 Sept. 1627. Ratcliff. Trinity House [to Sir Henry Martyn, admiralty court judge]

In reply to 295, they found 294 among some of their old papers, without date. It concurs with the experience of the ancients of the company who 'used these affairs' in the time of queen Elizabeth. A copy is attached.

Ro. Salmon, M. Geere, William Case, Ro. Bell, W. Coke, William Rainborow, John Bennett, John Totten.

297. [f. 11] 19 Sept. 1627. Trinity House of Deptford to the Trinity House of Dover

Their last letter [? 283] was taken by Mr Samuel Doves, a brother of Trinity House Deptford, who on his return reported that Rannd had certified the Dover corporation before Sir John Hepsley that he had paid or given satisfaction for pilotage to some of the Deptford corporation. But they cannot find any record of his having paid since their agreement with lord Zouche, although payment was often demanded. About 4 or 5 years ago, Rannd offered £14 or £15 on condition that he was indemnified against the claims of the Dover corporation but they had refused his offer and had told him to pay what was due to both corporations since when they have heard of no payment made by him. They understand that he 'gives braving terms', but they hope that Sir John Hepsley and the Dover brethren will take some order with him.

298. [f.11v] 6 Oct. 1627. Trinity House of Dover to the Trinity House of Deptford

They have been unable to reply previously to 283. They summoned those of Deal who were sworn to their fellowship to appear at a court held on 29 Sept. before Sir John Hisperley, lieutenant of Dover castle, and themselves, the master, commissioners and wardens of the fellowship. 283 was read, but the Deal men affirmed that they had paid to the Deptford corporation 1s in the pound for every voyage, either in person or through their appointed brokers. The wrongs committed by the Deal men against the Dover fellowship are so heavy that satisfaction for them cannot be given. Seeing no remedy without much trouble, all past offences have been remitted on their promise to offend no more, but wrongs against the Deptford corporation are left to that corporation's discretion. For the future they have decreed that the Deal men are to be accountable to the fellowship for the 1s in the pound due to the Deptford corporation and a man has been appointed and sworn to keep a book of pilotage purchases and turns, (fn. 7) and to receive the payments due to the Deptford corporation. He will pay the money to the Dover fellowship every quarter day, and state what each man has paid, by which means all duties belonging to the Deptford corporation will come safely to hand.

Thomas Tiddeman, master; John Pringle, Edmond Woodgreene, John Varlye, John Chaser.

299. [f.12] 11 Oct. 1627. [Sir] Sackville Crowe [treasurer of the navy] and [Sir] William Russell [to Trinity House. See 300.]

Victuals are to be sent to the king's army on the Ile de R´, and each ship must carry seacoal instead of ballast in addition to victuals. Advice is sought on the appropriate quantities.

[Marginal note] Letter about the transport of coal to St Martins.

300. 11 Oct. 1627. Trinity House [to Sir Sackville Crowe, treasurer of the navy, and Sir William Russell]

In reply to 299, they called together their company. Ships that have broad and long floors and are not over pressed with much ordnance could carry 10 chaldrons of seacoal for every 100 tons burden in place of ballast. Those which have sharp* and narrow floors, which carry much ordnance and have 3 decks whereby the ordnance is carried high should not have coal in place of kentledge as ballast because coal is very bulky and is not solid enough. Their experience is that to carry coal in a ship which is laden with victuals risks 'spoiling of the whole bulk'.

Mr Cooke, master; Messrs Doves, Bell, Hocket, Mowyer, Trenchfeild, Rainborow, Bennet, Totten, Swanly, Thompson.

301. [f.12v] 14 Nov. 1627. Report by Trinity House

Sir John Cooke, secretary of state, ordered them to provide a pilot to take the king's ship, the Adventure, to Goeree on the coast of Holland. They can only find Peter Hilles, who has been there once or twice but who dares not undertake the task, so they are unable to recommend him or anyone else. Flushing, being a safe and near port, may be fitter if the king is employing his ship on that coast; the master would then be as sufficient a pilot as any they know.

Messrs Coke, Case, Doves, Swann, Tompson.

302. [f.13] 28 Nov. 1627. [Sir] John Wostenholme, William Burrell [navy commissioners] and [Sir] William Russell [to Trinity House. See 303.]

They enclose a letter from Mr Kitchen of Bristol stating that the roads of the port of Bristol are unsafe for any of the king's ships of charge, namely the St Andrewe and the Antelopp. The writers are required to give the lord admiral their opinion about ships riding there, and the suitability of the Antelopp for guarding the Irish coast. The advice of the addressees is sought, since opposition may be met. When the ships were at Bristol before they last went to sea, Mr Burrell had to order 'the "heelding" of their ports under water', and dared not careen the ships. Mr Burrell considers that since the Antelop is a ship without a floor, (fn. 8) and cannot be quickly examined and graved if she springs a leak, she is unfit for the Irish coast. A reply is requested today.

303. 28 Nov. 1627. [Trinity House to Sir John Wostenholme, William Burrell, navy commissioners, and Sir William Russell]

In reply to 302 about the safe riding of the St Andrewe and the Antelopp in the river of Bristol or adjoining ports during the winter, their view is that the river [Avon], Hung Road and King Road would not be safe. Because of the narrowness of the river and the swiftness of the tide, their keels would lie in the deepest water and there is no suitable place for careening or graving. Since the Antelopp is a very sharp* ship, it would be dangerous. The great draught and small floor of the Antelop makes her less fit than other ships of the king for service on the Irish coast. Ships with less draught and better floors would be safer for going in and coming out, and could be easily graved and cleansed.

Messrs Cooke, Chester, Totton, Best, Case, Bennet, Hockett.

304. [f.13v] 26 Nov. 1627. [Sir] William Russell, William Burrell, Edmund Sawyer and 'Den' Flemminge [to Trinity House. See 305.]

Enclosed are 2 references from James I and Charles I concerning a patent which Mistress Euphemia Murrey seeks for herself and her assignees for an office for 31 years to survey and seal all sackcloth, poldavis [i.e. coarse canvas] and hemp cloth made in England and Wales. The addressees should state whether the erection of such an office will enable the production of sufficient for the shipping of the realm, whether it will be made better and more lasting, and whether any benefit will accrue to the poor by keeping them in employment.

[Marginal note] The commissioners' letter about poldavis.

305. [f.14. After 26 Nov. 1627.] Trinity House [to Sir William Russell, William Burrell, Edmund Sawyer and 'Den' Flemminge]

In reply to 304, the creation of an office as requested by Mistress Murrey will not result in greater production of mildernix [i.e. canvas] and poldavis than now, which is far from sufficient for the shipping of the realm. As much is made now as in former times. The creation of the office would not result in a more lasting and serviceable product. The true remedy is the execution of the statute made in 1 James I [c. 24] against the deceitful manufacture of mildernix and poldavis from which sail cloth for the ships of the navy and others is made. Those who are prepared to pay for good material can have it. Every man buys for the use which he has for it, obtaining both good and bad according to his need at various prices. The office would not benefit the poor by providing them with work.

Thomas Best, Robert Salmon, Samuel Doves, Gervais Hockett, Richard Swann, William Ewins, Walter Coke, William Case, Robert Bell, John Bennet, John Totton, John Tompson.

306. [f.14v] 29 Dec.[1627] Trinity House to the king [Cf SP 16/87/59; CSPD 1627–8, 481.]

According to his command they assembled in the presence of Sir John Wostenholme and Mr Burrell all owners and masters of ships trading to Newcastle who live here near the city and have their shipping in the Thames. The king's question about the prices which they would want per chaldron of coal if the king provided them with a convoy was put. They requested and were given a respite and on their return sought freedom in their trading, asking that no price be set. If it was fixed, they would be discouraged in their trade and from building ships because the profit must be small while the loss was uncertain and could be greater. If the gain was small when the adventure is great, they would never build ships to replace those lately lost. They prefer to take their fortune in the market. They were then asked what, if the king granted their request, they would be prepared to contribute per chaldron of coal in return for safe convoy. They answered that they now provided their own convoys and had at great expense furnished their ships with ordnance, small ones with 4 pieces, some with 6, the better sort with 8 or 9. They carry 3 or 4 men more in each ship than formerly, and they go in fleets of 40, 50, or 60 ships. Despite the wishes of the owners and masters to run their own convoys, Trinity House consider that the king should make provision for the sake of his honour and safety of his subjects.

[Marginal note] This answer was delivered to the king on 29 Dec. at the council by the master, Capt. Best, Mr Doves and Mr Totton.

[f. 15. Note] Owners and masters trading to Newcastle who gave the above answers here in the House: William Case, Robert Bell, John Totton, Samuel Doves, William Ewins, Edward Dalton, Peter Leonard, William Cocke, Mr Pulman, Thomas Davis, William Joanes, Thomas Martyn, James Peterson, Mr Hudson, Robert Toackly, Jonas James, George Clarkson, Mr Holt, John Elmnor, John Hall, John Cordett, John Curtise, Mr Greene.

307. [f.15–15v] 20 Dec. 1627. Trinity House and shipowners to the commissioners of the navy about the payment of freight for ships employed by the king [Cf SP 16/87/30(1); CSPD 1627–8, 476–7. SP states that the document emanated from the shipowners but a marginal note in the Trinity House text says that it was presented by the master of Trinity House. Both texts have the following names appended (not listed in CSPD): Richard Chester, William Case, Robert Bell, John Totton, Samuel Doves, William Ewins, Anthony Tutchin, Edm. Morgan, Miles White, John Lowe, Robert Toackly, John Hide, William Goodladd, John Bundocke, Edward Dalton, John Thompson, Robert Salmon, senior, Jonas James, Thomas Davis, William Joanes, Richard Beomounte, Emmanuel Finch, Thomas Hackwell, Henry Houlton, Robert Salmon, junior, John Pountis. The Trinity House text has the following additional names: Anthony Havelland, William Traddall, Peter Leonard, John Morris, William Pulman, Edward Crosse, William Cock. The SP text has the following additional names: John Heaman, Gervais Hockett, Brian Harrison, John Gibbon, John Briand, John Curtis, William Grene, John Webber, Thomas (? Peach), William (? Coppard), William (? Pulman).]


1 Cf SP 16/27/67; CSPD 1625–6, 341. Gunter has been identified as Edmund Gunter the mathematician, and Lydiard as Hugh Lydiard, clerk of the check at Woolwich (Pett, xci, 226, 229). But Gunter's christian name is clearly William in the Trinity House and SP texts, and CSPD states that Lydiard is an incorrect copy of Hillyard (but cf Oppenheim, 267). Wells's christian name is given as 'John' in SP.
2 Postscript in SP text: Unless owners are paid for the full burden, they will be discouraged from building ships, and in any case the rates paid by the king are only half those paid by merchants.
3 Postscript in SP text: The rule is to multiply the length, breadth and depth together, and divide the product by 94 to obtain the tonnage.
4 Signatures in SP text: Michael Geere, William Case, Robert Salmon, Samuel Doves, William Ewen, John Teemsome [? Tomson], James Moyer, T. Best, Robert Bell, Edward Maplesden, John Bennet, Jo. Weddell, Richard Chester.
5 See 275–6, 280. Perhaps after 3 Apr. 1627, when John Wells and John Goodwin had reported on the subject (SP 16/59/26).
6 The Dover fellowship of lodemanage was never incorporated as a Trinity House.
7 Pilots were arranged in a rota and undertook pilotage in turn.
8 ? The underside of the bottom was so narrow that she could not remain upright when grounded.