Centre for Metropolitan History



G. G. Harris (editor)

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'Glossary', Trinity House of Deptford Transactions, 1609-35: London Record Society 19 (1983), pp. 160-161. URL: Date accessed: 21 November 2014.


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AverageApportionment between shipowners and freighters of loss caused by intentional damage to a ship or her cargo in order to save the ship (e.g. cutting away masts or jettisoning cargo).
bendThe transverse section of a ship; or the outermost timbers of a ship's side.
cannon-perierMedium shotted, short range gun of up to 8 inches calibre, and firing about a 24 pound shot.
ceilingInside planking of a ship laid across the floor and carried up the sides of the hold to the level of the beams.
chase-portsGunports at the bow or stern of a ship.
culverinLight shotted, long range gun, of around 5 inches calibre, and firing about a 17 pound shot.
demi-cannonLarge calibre (6 inches) gun of medium range and length, firing a shot of over 30 pounds.
demi-culverinLight shotted, long range gun, of about 4 inches calibre, and firing about a 9 pound shot.
dollDolium, or ton.
drakeNever very accurately described when it was in general use, but it seems to have been a term used to describe both guns lighter and shorter than those standard to their calibre, and those which were taper bored.
entryAttestation of a ship's papers before customs.
inningReclaiming marsh or flooded land.
kneeA timber of naturally angular shape used to strengthen and support a ship's timbers at points of intersection.
lastA last of herrings was 12 barrels; of red fish and pilchards, 10,000–12,000 fish.
lastage and ballastageBoth words can mean the material used for ballast (i.e. sand, gravel, etc.), and the toll levied to supply it.
minionLight shotted, long range gun, of about 3 inches calibre, and firing up to about a 5 pound shot.
murdererBreech, loading anti-personnel gun.
Newfoundland fishCod.
orlopStrictly speaking, the lowest deck, but the term was used to describe all except the weather deck.
pipe-staveBoard used for making casks.
port-pieceShort range gun, firing a shot of up to 10 to 12 pounds.
roundA beam which rounds well having a sufficient curve to give a proper camber to the deck.
sakerLight shotted, long range gun, of about 3 inches calibre, and firing about a 5 pound shot.
scarf/scarfingThe joint by which two pieces of timber are joined into a continuous piece.
sharpA term used to describe a ship having a narrow or wedge shaped bottom.
tons and tonnageTons gave the cargo capacity of a ship expressed in tuns of wine which could be carried in the hold; the addition of one third for tonnage gave the rough equivalent of modern gross tonnage (i.e. total cubic capacity).