The Royal Navy, a History from the Earliest Times to the Present/Volume 1/Chapter 7
CIVIL HISTORY OF THE NAVY, 1154–1399.
The truth probably is that the country was weary of civil war; for, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the sufferings of the land had been unexampled. Describing the attitude of the nobles to Stephen, the chronicler says: "When the traitors perceived that he was a mild man, and soft and good, and did no justice, then did they all wonder ... Every powerful man made his castles and held them against him. They cruelly oppressed the wretched men of the land with castle works. When the castles were made, they filled them with devils and evil men. Then they took those men that they thought had any property, both by night and by day, peasant men and women, and put them in prison for their gold and silver, and tortured them with unutterable tortures.... Many thousands they killed with hunger. I cannot and may not tell all the wounds or all the tortures which they inflicted on wretched men in this land, and that lasted the nineteen years while Stephen was king; and ever it was worse and worse. They laid imposts on the towns continually, and when the wretched men had no more to give, they robbed and burned all the towns, so that thou mightest go well all a day's journey, and thou shouldst never find a man sitting in a town or the land tilled ... Never yet had more wretchedness been in the land, nor did heathen men ever do worse than they did ... The bishops and the clergy constantly cursed them, but nothing came of it, for they were all accursed, and forsworn, and forlorn. However a man tilled, the earth bare no corn, for the land was all fordone by such deeds, and they said openly that Christ and his saints slept."
Although, therefore, William, son of Stephen, had his partizans, he could not command their active intervention. Henry, young, powerful, and popular, and not William, seemed to be the right man to bring order out of chaos. Already Lord of Normandy and Anjou, he had acquired by his marriage in 1152 with Eleanor of Aquitaine, a large territory in the south of France. He quickly restored peace, justice, and good government.
At that time the two great commercial ports of the kingdom were London and Bristol. Of the former William of Malmesbury says, "The noble city of London, rich in the wealth of its citizens, is filled with the goods of merchants from every land, and especially from Germany, whence it happens that when there is a dearth in England on account of bad harvests, provisions can be bought there cheaper than elsewhere, and foreign merchandise is brought to the city by the famous River Thames." This German trade is again mentioned in a letter sent by Henry to the Emperor Frederick in 1157, and containing the phrase, "Let there be between ourselves and our subjects an indivisible unity of friendship and peace, and safe trade of merchandise." Of Bristol William of Malmesbury tells us that "its haven was a receptacle for ships coming from Ireland and Norway, and other foreign lands, lest a region so blessed with native riches should be deprived of the benefits of foreign commerce." Henry encouraged the growing trade, and in one of his ordinances of 1181 there is a passage which reads almost like an early Angevin premonition of certain provisions of the navigation laws. It directs the itinerant justices to declare in each county that no one under the heaviest penalties should buy or sell any ship to be taken out of England, nor induce any seaman to remove thence.
Of the size to which Henry's ships attained, some indication is afforded by the statement that in March, 1170, the foundering of a single vessel cost the lives of four hundred persons. Neither Charnock nor Southey expresses incredulity upon the point, nor does there seem to be any valid reason for refusing to accept the assertion; but Nicolas is of opinion that it is "one of the usual exaggerations of chroniclers whenever they mention numbers; or the ships of the twelfth century were at least four times larger than they are supposed to have been." The truth certainly is that twelfth-century vessels were often very much larger than Nicolas imagined them to be. Still, it is not likely that any vessels of that age were designed to carry so large a complement as four hundred. The particular vessel in question was at the time engaged upon transport duty, and may well have been crowded to the extent of double her normal crew, or even more. No British man-of-war of the eighteenth century had a proper complement of more than about 850 officers and men; yet many instances are on record of eighteenth-century ships having been at sea for considerable periods with 1200, 1500, or even 2000 souls in them. To assume that twelfth-century ships were sometimes crowded for short voyages in corresponding proportion is not unreasonable, and that assumption would reduce the normal complement of the ship of Henry II. that was lost to about 270, or even to 170.
The ship in which the king himself was accustomed to make his passage to and from the continent, in the twelth century, was of the type known as "esnecca," or snake. She seems to have been a long swift vessel; but little more is known concerning her. The post of captain or "nauclerus," of the esnecca, was an office of importance, and was held under Henry I., at one time by one Roger, "the son-in-law of Albert"; and under Henry II. by William and Nicholas, sons of the said Roger, conjointly. The pay appears to have been 12d. per diem. The king's esnecca was the first royal yacht; and, like the royal yachts of later days, was used not only for the conveyance of the sovereign, but also for that of other great and princely personages. Geoffrey of Brittany, son of Henry II., is recorded to have been a passenger in her in 1166, "the king's daughter" in 1176, and the Duke of Saxony, with the queen, in 1184.
The reign of Richard I., who succeeded his father Henry II. in 1189, saw the opening of a new period in English naval history. For the first time the fleet undertook a distant expedition of conquest; for the first time a regular code of naval law was established, and for the first time England headed a great naval combination of the powers, and publicly took her place in the front rank of the maritime states.
The English vessels of the period were galleys, or, as they were subsequently called, galliasses, gallions, busses, dromons, vissers or ursers, barges and snakes. The distinctions separating all these classes have not been very accurately ascertained.
The galley was a reproduction, possibly with slight modifications, of the well-known Mediterranean craft of the name; the gallion was a galley with but one bank of oars; the buss was a heavy and slower vessel, of great strength and capacity; the dromon, certainly a large ship of war, seems to have been sometimes a galley of heavy burden and sometimes a vessel with sail-power only; the visser was a shallow flat-bottomed transport for horses; the barge was not unlike the modern coasting-barge or hoy, and the snake (esnecca) was the equivalent of the modern yacht or dispatch boat. There is nothing to show that any vessel of the time had more than one mast; but two and even three sails seem to have been occasionally carried, though in what position is doubtful.
The galleys rarely had more than two banks of oars, and they were long, low craft, provided with an above-water beak or ram. Above the rowers, at least in the larger craft, there seems to have been a platform on which stood the fighting men, whose shields, as in earlier days, were arranged round the bulwarks. As for the fittings of the ships, Richard of Devizes notes that the chief vessels of the fleet sent from England to the Levant in 1189 had each three spare rudders, or steering paddles, thirteen anchors (probably inclusive of grapnels), thirty oars, two sails, three sets of all kinds of ropes, and duplicates of all gear except mast and boat. Besides the captain and fifteen seamen, every large ship carried forty knights (or cavalrymen), with their horses, forty footmen, fourteen servants, and twelve months' provision for all. These large vessels are described as busses. A few of them are said to have carried double the complements mentioned, so that they had 210 men, besides horses, on board.
The weapons in use in English ships of war of the twelfth century were bows and arrows, pikes or lances, axes, swords, and engines for flinging stones or other heavy missiles; and to them was added, in or before the reign of Richard III., the famous invention known as Greek Fire. This material had apparently been first prepared by Callinicus of Heliopolis about the year 665. Of its composition nothing certain is known, but it probably included among its ingredients sulphur, saltpetre, naptha and pitch. It was liquid: it ignited upon exposure to the air: it was not extinguished by water but only by vinegar, or by sand or earth thrown upon it; and it produced suffocating fumes. It seems to have been employed in several ways. Sometimes it was forced through brazen tubes, much as water is now pumped from a fire engine; sometimes tow was impregnated with it and fastened to arrow-heads; and sometimes bottles or jars of it were used as hand-grenades, or as projectiles for ballistæ, and flung into fortresses or upon the decks of vessels. According to entries in the Pipe Rolls, some of this terrible material was sent, about the year 1194, from London to Nottingham, with other warlike stores, to be employed on the business of the king, by Urric, an engineer. Allied to Greek Fire were missiles called "serpents," which appear to have been a species of rocket charged with, and impelled by the slow explosion of, the mixture.
Few notices have been handed down to us concerning the individual ships, or the officers and seamen of Richard's day. In or about 1197 a sum of £12 15s. 2½d. was paid by the king for the repair of the Bishop of Durham's "great ship"; £10 was the expense of sending her to London from the north (apparently from Stockton-on-Tees), and 13s. 4d. was the recompense of her master, Robert de Stockton. We know also that Richard's favourite galley was named Trench-the-Mer, or "Cleave the Sea," and that her captain, who brought Richard back to England in 1194 after his crusade and captivity, was Alan Trenchemer. Whether Alan took his name from the galley or the galley took her name from her captain cannot be determined; but other Trenchemers are mentioned as having lived and sailed then and thereafter. Nicolas suggests that the people of the ship may have been known as Trenchemer's, just as in later times the crew of the Victory were known as Victory's, and the crew of the Duke of Wellington as Duke's; but there is little direct evidence that the fashion of calling people after their ships, though usual in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, is of very ancient date.
There is small doubt that the flag of St. George was first introduced by Richard as the regular national ensign; and there is no doubt at all that Richard first adopted the national coat-of-arms: Gules, three lions passant gardant Or.
The leaders of the fleet organised by Richard in 1189 for his expedition to Palestine are called indifferently ductores et gubernatores totius navigii regis; justiciarii navigii regis; and ductores et constabularii navigii regis. Under the king, they were the admirals of the armada; and their names were Gerard, Archbishop of Aix, Bernard, Bishop of Bayonne, Robert de Sabloil, Richard de Camville, and William de Fortz, of Oleron. Camville was the founder of Combe Abbey in Warwickshire. Another distinguished yet subsidiary leader was Sir Stephen de Turnham, who in the previous reign had been Seneschal of Anjou, and who commanded the vessel in which Richard's sister, Joan, Queen Dowager of Sicily, and his affianced wife, Berengaria of Navarre, sailed from Messina to the Holy Land.
Richard's co-operation with Philip Augustus, King of France, in the Crusade was secured by a sworn undertaking to the following effect: either of them would defend and maintain the honour of the other, and bear true fidelity unto him, as regarded life, members, and worldly honour; neither would fail the other in the common business; the King of France would aid the King of England in defending his land and dominions, as he would himself defend his own city of Paris if it were besieged; and the King of England would aid the King of France in defending his land and dominions as he would defend his own city of Rouen if it were besieged. There was further provision for the swearing of the nobles of both kingdoms to keep the peace during the absence of their sovereigns; for an undertaking by the archbishops and bishops to excomunicate any who should break their oaths; and for the continued co-operation of the English and French forces in the event of either monarch dying ere the desired results remained unattained. Yet, in spite of the treaty, the two kings were on bad terms almost from the outset of the expedition, the great display made by Richard's fleet having excited the jealousy of Philip Augustus. Indeed, as a rule, no naval alliances in English history have satisfactorily carried out the objects originally intended by their promoters; and this, the first of many, was no exception.
While on his way through France, with the intention of joining his fleet at Marseilles, Richard, at Chinon on the Vienne, issued certain ordinances which may be regarded as the earliest articles of war for the government of the English navy. According to Hoveden, Matthew Paris and others, they were to this effect:
Anyone who should kill another on board ship should be tied to the dead body and thrown into the sea.
Anyone who should kill another on land should be tied to the dead body and buried with it in the earth.Anyone lawfully convicted of drawing a knife or other weapon with intent to strike another, or of striking another so as to draw blood, should lose his hand.
Anyone striking another with the hand, no blood being shed, should be dipped thrice in the sea.
Anyone uttering opprobrious or contumelious words to the insulting or cursing of another should, on each occasion, pay one ounce of silver to the injured person.Anyone lawfully convicted of theft should have his head shaved and boiling pitch poured upon it, and feathers or down should then be strewn upon it for the distinguishing of the offender; and upon the first occasion he should be put on shore.
Another ordinance enjoined all concerned to be obedient to the commanders or justices of the fleet.
A joint agreement was also come to by the two monarchs as to the internal discipline of the allied forces. This stipulated that if anyone died during the expedition, he might dispose at his pleasure of all his arms and goods (so far, apparently, as those at home were concerned), and of the moiety of the effects he had with him, provided that nothing was sent back to his own country. The other moiety was to be given to the Archbishop of Rouen, the Bishop of Langres, the Master of the Templars, the Master of the Hospitallers, Hugh, Duke of Burgundy, and others for the purposes of the recovery of the Holy Land from the infidels.
No one in the armies was to play at any kind of game for gain, except the knights and clerks, and they were not permitted to lose more than twenty shillings in any one day and night on penalty of a fine of one hundred shillings. The two kings might, however, play as they thought fit. The royal servants and the servants of the higher nobles might play to the amount of twenty shillings. If servants, mariners, or others were found gambling, the servants were to be flogged naked through the army on three days, and the mariners were to be dipped every morning from the ship into the sea, "after the manner of seamen," for three days, unless they could redeem themselves by paying a fine. If a pilgrim or crusader borrowed anything after he had begun his journey he was to repay it, but he was not to be held responsible for what he might have received previously. If a hired mariner or serving-man or anyone soever, except clerks and knights, quitted his lord during the expedition, no one else might receive him, unless with the consent of the lord, and anyone receiving him otherwise was to be punished. If anyone transgressed the regulations he might be excommunicated. All offences not specifically mentioned were to be dealt with by the Archbishop of Rouen and the other dignitaries already alluded to.
Other naval laws of Richard, not especially connected to the Eastern Expedition, deserve notice here. One, made early in the reign at Grimsby, enacted that if the admiral, by the king's command, arrested any ships for the king's service, and if he or his lieutenant certified the arrest, or returned into Chancery a list of the ships arrested, neither the master nor the owner of the vessels should plead against the return that the admiral and his lieutenant were of record. And if any vessel broke the arrest, and the master or owner were indicted, and convicted by a jury, the ship should be confiscated to the king
In the course of the expedition, Richard granted two charters of some importance to the maritime future of his country. One, dated at Messina, altered the law of wreck, and, after declaring that the king relinquished all claim to wreck throughout his dominions, enacted that shipwrecked persons who should come alive to land should retain all their goods, and that the property of one dying on board ship should pass to his heirs, the king having his chattels only in the event of there being no other heirs. The other, also dated at Messina, on March 27th, 1191, granted new privileges to the inhabitants of Rye and Winchelsea, in return for the full service of two ships, to make up the number of twenty ships due from the port of Hastings. This charter had the effect of putting the two "ancient towns" on very nearly the same footing of privilege as the Cinque Ports proper, Hastings, Romney, Hythe, Dover, and Sandwich.
But after all, as Nicolas says, the most memorable of Richard's maritime laws was the code known to jurists as the Laws of Oleron. Most of it had been already enacted by his mother, Queen Eleanor, under the name of the "Roll of Oleron." The Laws, which include forty-seven articles, were not expressly intended to apply to the English Navy, but rather to vessels of the king's continental dominions, and to merchant ships. They are, however, so curious, and so nearly connected with the subject in hand, that Nicolas's summary of their main provisions is appended.
By the first article, if a vessel arrived at Bordeaux, Rouen, or any other similar place, and was there freighted for Scotland, or any other foreign country, and was in want of stores or provisions, the master was not permitted to sell the vessel, but he might, with the advice of his crew, rise money by pledging any part of her tackle or furniture. If a vessel were wind or weather bound, the master, when a change occurred, was to consult his crew, saying to them: "Gentlemen, what think you of this wind?" and to be guided by the majority whether he should put to sea. If he did not do this, and any misfortune happened, he was to make good the damage. If a seaman sustained any hurt through drunkenness or quarrelling, the master was not bound to provide for his cure, but might turn him out of his ship. If, however, the injury occurred in the service of his ship, he was to be cured at the cost of the said ship. A sick sailor was to be sent on shore, and lodging, candles, and one of the ship's boys, or a nurse, provided for him, with the same allowance of provisions as he would have received on board.
In case of danger in a storm, the master might, with the consent of the merchants on board, lighten the ship by throwing part of the cargo overboard; and if they did not consent, or objected to his doing so, he was not to risk the vessel, but to act as he thought proper. On their arrival in port, he and the third part of the crew were to make oath that it was done for the preservation of the vessel; and the loss was to be borne equally by the merchants. A similar proceeding was to be adopted before the mast or cables were cut away.Before goods were shipped, the master was to satisfy the merchants of the strength of his ropes and slings; but if he did not do so, or they requested him to repair them, and a cask was stove, the master was to make it good. In cases of difference between a master and one of his crew, the man was to be denied his mess allowance thrice before he was turned out of the ship or discharged; and if the man offered reasonable satisfaction in the presence of the crew, and the master persisted in discharging him, the sailor might follow the ship to her place of destination, and demand the same wages as if he had not been sent ashore.
In case of collision by a ship under sail running on board on at anchor, owing to bad steering, if the former were damaged, the cost was to be equally divided; the master and crew of the latter making oath that the collision was accidental. The reason for this law was, it is said, "that an old decayed vessel might not purposely be put in the way of a better." It was specially provided that all anchors ought to be indicated by buoys or anchor-marks, and buoys were to bear upon them the name of their ship and her port.
Mariners of Brittany were entitled only to one meal a day, because they had beverage going and coming; but those of Normandy were to have two meals, because they had only water as the ship's allowance. As soon as the ship arrived in a wine country, the master was, however, to procure them wine.
Several regulations occur respecting the seamen's wages, which show that they were sometimes paid by a share of the freight. On arriving at Bordeaux, or any other place, two of the crew might go on shore, and take with them one meal of such victuals as were on board, and a proportion of bread, but no drink; and they were to return in sufficient time to prevent their master losing the tide.
If a pilot, from ignorance or otherwise, failed to conduct a ship in safety, and the merchants sustained any damage, he was to make full satisfaction if he had the means; if not he was to lose his head. And if the master, or any one of his mariners, cut off his head, they were not bound to answer for it; but before they had recourse to so strong a measure "they must be sure he had not wherewith to make satisfaction."
The articles of the code prove that from "an accursed custom" in some places, by which the third or fourth part of ships that were lost belonged to the lord of the place, the pilots, to ingratiate themselves with these nobles, "like faithless and treacherous villains," purposely ran the vessels on the rocks. It was therefore enacted that the said lords, and all others assisting in plundering the wreck, should be accursed and excommunicated, and punished as robbers and thieves: and that "all false and treacherous pilots should suffer the most rigorous and merciless death," and be suspended to high gibbets near the spot, which gibbets were to remain as an example in succeeding ages. The barbarous lords were to be tied to a post in the middle of their own houses, and, these being set on fire at the four corners, all were to be burnt together; the walls demolished; the site converted into a market-place for the sale only of hogs and swine; and all the lords' goods to he confiscated to the use of the aggrieved parties. Such of the cargoes as floated ashore were to be taken care of for a year or more; and, if not then claimed, they were to be sold by the lord, and the proceeds distributed among the poor, in marriage portions to poor maids, and other charitable uses. If, as often happened, "people more barbarous, cruel, and inhuman than mad dogs" murdered shipwrecked persons, they were to be plunged into the sea till they were half dead, and then drawn out and stoned to death.
So little has been handed down to us concerning the methods of naval warfare in the time of Richard, that it will be pertinent here to give Geoffrey de Vinesauf's account of two actions which took place in the Mediterranean immediately before the king's arrival. It is probable that English ships were not engaged in either; it is certain, however, that the tactics and means employed did not differ materially from those employed by the English seamen of the day. The first action was fought off Acre, about Easter, 1190, and is thus described:-
"Another, meanwhile, was boarded by the enemy, who had gained the upper deck, having driven off its defenders; and those to whom the lower station had been assigned strove to escape by the aid of the rowers. It was truly a wonderful and piteous struggle: for, the oars being thrust in different directions by the rush of the Turks, the galley was driven hither and thither. Our men, however, prevailed; and the foes rowing above were thrust off by the Christians and yielded. In this naval conflict the adverse side lost both a galley and a galliass with the crews; and our men, unhurt and rejoicing, achieved a glorious and solemn triumph. Drawing the hostile galley with them to the shore, the victors exposed it to be destroyed by our people of both sexes who met it on land. Then our women seized and dragged the Turks by the hair, beheading them, treating them with every indignity, and savagely stabbing them; and, the weaker their hands, so much the more protracted were the pains of death to the vanquished, for they cut off their heads, not with swords but with knives. No similar sea fight as fatal had ever been seen; no victory gained with so much peril and loss."
The other action was one of galleys with forts :—
During Richard's long absences from his country, England was governed by four successive Justicars, who were practically independent sovereigns, burdened, however, by the very heavy tribute exacted by the king for the purposes of his foreign adventures. Richard was killed in 1199 at the siege of the Castle of Châlus, and was succeeded by his youngest brother John.
The new reign was a disastrous one for England; but, from the naval point of view, is particularly interesting, seeing that, from the beginning of the thirteenth century, materials for naval history become for the first time comparatively plentiful.
The types of vessels used seem to have been, upon the whole, the same as those used under Richard and Henry II., but in documents dealing with the reign of John, we read also of "longships" (longæ naves), "cogs," (goggæ, coquæ, etc.), and schuyts (scutæ).
The longship, probably a species of galley, may have been used for other purposes as well; but it was certainly employed for revenue cruising purposes. In 1204, the keepers of the longships, and of the seaports of England, were commanded to allow a merchant's vessel to pass and to trade wheresoever it pleased; and in 1205 "our longships," meaning the longships of the king, were mentioned. The phrase indicates the existence of some approach to a standing navy, especially as similar language was constantly used with respect to galley-men and other sailors.
What cogs were is doubtful. Nicolas thinks that "they were short and of great breadth, like a cockle-shell, whence they are said to have derived their name"; and he says that they were used for passenger traffic and for coasting, and that they were probably much smaller than busses or ships. But there is no doubt that, if not in the thirteenth century, at least later, the term "cog" was frequently applied even to the biggest and most powerful man-of-war. We may perhaps take it, therefore, that the expression was sometimes, if not invariably, used in an indefinite manner, almost as we now use the word ship. But that the word, like ship, possessed also some special technical meaning, would appear from a record to the effect that in 1210 there were hired for the king's service five ships "without a cog."
The name schuyt signified a small merchant ship.
There is nothing to show that any English vessel of the period had more than one mast and one sail; nor are there many exact indications of size. Craft, however, capable of carrying fifteen horses were spoken of as little ships (naviculæ), whence it may be inferred that very much larger vessels existed; and from the tenor of inquiries made in 1214 of the reeves of Bristol concerning vessels of that port capable of holding eighty tons of wine or more, it may be reasonably supposed that such craft were common.
These reeves or bailiffs of the ports were important personages in the economy of the maritime force of the country of that day. It was their duty to ascertain by jury the number and size of vessels belonging to their port, and to attend to the manning of the ships, and to their proper equipment when they were needed for the king's service. They also, in time of crisis, laid embargo upon ships in port; and they were personally held responsible for the due and punctual appearance of ships, after they had been summoned, at the time and place specified in the king's writ. By these methods, by the service rendered by the ships of the Cinque Ports, and by the vessels of the sovereign himself, squadrons were formed, and the peace of the seas was kept.
When still further force was required to meet great emergencies, it was customary to send the king's ships and those of the Cinque Ports into the Channel to pick up and bring into harbour all craft there fallen in with. Indeed, John kept a very jealous control over all the shipping of his realm. In war time, no ship could quit a harbour without a special licence from the king; and even then she was sometimes licensed only for a specified destination. Nor might vessels carry corn and provisions from port to port in England without licence, or sail at all, on such business, without first giving security that they would not proceed beyond the seas. And it is recorded that no less potent a noble than the Earl of Chester could not come from nor return to his county by water without the royal licence. Neutral ships permitted to sail were not allowed to touch anywhere before their arrival in their own country, and were obliged to give security that they would not go to an enemy's port; and when, upon occasion, a vessel was permitted to go to an enemy's port, her owners had to give security that she would not carry anything prejudicial to the king's interests. The king's service was paramount; and if vessels, no matter whose, happened to be on a voyage when they were wanted for it, very peremptory orders were sent after them to hasten their return. If, after receiving those orders, anyone, whatsoever might be his nationality, should delay, he would be deemed to be the king's enemy. The service was paid for, but it was strictly obligatory; and both men and ships were liable to it.
It was this theory of the service due from ships to the monarch that rendered it necessary for Englishmen, ere they sold ships to foreigners, to obtain the royal licence for the purpose. In 1215 Simon Grim of Hythe was granted a licence to sell his ship, the Grim, to Guiomar of Lyon; yet even then, in all probability, the delivery could not have been made had not the licence been accompanied by letters to bailiffs and others, stating the fact, and enjoining them to allow the Grim to pass freely.
It is difficult to discover what force was normally maintained in a condition for sea service; but the Close Rolls inform us of the force ready in 1205, and give particulars of its distribution and of the names of its commanders. In the catalogue (see following page) we have what may be regarded as our earliest Navy List. But it is most certainly incomplete; for at that time the Cinque Ports had to furnish fifty-two galleys; and, apparently, they are nearly all omitted. Nor can it be decided whether the vessels mentioned were impressed ships, or ships of the king.
But the king was not always impressing ships. Occasionally he lent his own to particular seaports, probably to meet special local needs. In April, 1205, for example, the inhabitants of Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Beccles, and Orford were informed that the king, having released his galleys stationed on the coast of England, had sent them two galleys to remain in his service until Michaelmas Day. They were directed to find two masters to navigate, and two other men to command the vessels, and for the competency and fidelity of the officers they were to give security. They were also to find 140 good seamen to man the ships, and were to send to London the necessary people to receive the galleys. To these a sum of one hundred marks would be paid for the crews. By way of additional reward, the men would have a moiety of all prizes which they might capture from the enemy. Another galley was sent to Ipswich, and three galleys were sent to Dunwich.
|Station||No. of Galleys.||Commanders.|
|London||5||Reginald de Cornhill.|
|Romney||4||William de Wrotham,|
Archdeacon of Taunton.
|Bristol||3||William de Marisco|
John de la Ware.
Close Rolls, p. 33.
Ships were impressed or hired on the king's behalf, not only for war service, but also for the carriage of goods and passengers. The rate of payment was generally very moderate, so far as it can be judged without knowledge of the dimensions of the vessels hired. An order to provide freightage was usually sent down to the reeve at the intended port of embarkation, the wording being somewhat as follows:-
"The King to the Bailiff of Barfleur. Find a passage for John Palmer, with our three chargers and his horse, in the first ship sailing for England, and it shall be computed to you at the Exchequer"; or
"To the Bailiff of Shoreham. Find a good and secure ship, without regard to price, for William de Aune, our knight, and twenty bowmen, to carry them over in our service, and compute thereof at our Exchequer."
The management of John's navy was largely in the hands of priests, and of these William de Wrotham, Archdeacon of Taunton, and Keeper of the King's Ships, seems to have been the chief. No commission is known to have been issued to him, so that his functions cannot be exactly defined; but they appear to have been largely administrative. Associated with him, probably in an executive and somewhat subordinate capacity, were Reginald and William de Cornhill, who were also priests, the latter becoming Archdeacon of Huntingdon, and Geoffrey de Lucy, Henry FitzCount, Enjuger de Bohun, and Geoffrey de Lutterel. De Lucy more than once commanded a fleet or squadron. William de Longespee, Earl of Salisbury, and natural brother of the king, was made commander of the fleet in 1213; and of his exploits at Damme something will be said in the next chapter. In 1208 the steersmen or masters appointed to the command of the king's galleys were Alan (junior) de Shoreham, supposed to have been the son of Alan Trenchemer, Vincent of Hastings, Walter Scott, and Wymund of Winchelsea. In 1210, Richard of London was master of the king's great galley, and three of the masters of the galleys of the Cinque Ports were Thomas of Dover, William FitzSuanild, and John Clerk of Hythe. Few ships of the time are mentioned by name. One, the Grim, has been already alluded to. The Earl of Dover had a vessel called the Falcon. Two ships of the Crusaders were called Pilgrim and Paradise. A ship captured at Barfleur in 1212 was the Countess. But a very common course seems to have been for a ship to take the name either of her owner or of the port to which she belonged. The practice, usual a little later, of naming vessels after saints, had not yet established itself in England.
Much mention is made of ships' gear and stores; and anchors, cables, ropes, pitch, yards, tallow, oars, canvas, nails, etc., are often specified as having been bought. There is also mention of "heyras" and "laurum," evidently stores or gear of some sort. These things were purchased for the service after appraisement by experts. Anchors ordered for the king's galleys in 1213 are described as having been seven feet long. The king's "great ship" is said to have had five cables. Vessels intended to serve permanently or temporarily as horse-transports were furnished with "clayes," hurdles formed of branches of oak, with brushwood, probably for the purpose of making stalls for the animals, and they were also provided with brows (pontes) for landing them.
We read of ships having been strengthened and repaired; but the process is not explained. The usual method may still have been to haul them up on the beach, and to deal with them there. Yet already there seem to have been docks (exclusa) at Portsmouth, for, in May, 1212, the Sheriff of Southampton was directed to cause the exclusa at Portsmouth to be enclosed with a strong wall, in the manner which the Archdeacon of Taunton would indicate, for the preservation of the king's ships and galleys; and the sheriff was also to have penthouses set up for their stores and tackle; and this was to be done at once, lest the galleys or their stores should be injured during the ensuing winter.
"Prize-money," as Nicolas observes, "seems to have been as ancient as the English Navy itself." This is, no doubt, due to the fact that the Navy, in its origins, was piratical, and that English fighting seamen, in the earliest times, were accustomed to look for booty in return for their exertions, and would not, indeed, put heart and muscle into the work unless they were promised something more substantial than scars and honours as their reward. When the strongest pirates in the land became first chiefs and then kings, they speedily realised the impossibility of maintaining their position for long at the head of subjects nurtured on robbery and turbulence, unless they compromised many things. By compromising disputes arising out of their forcible seizure of political power, they created, in the course of centuries, the British constitution; and by compromising disputes arising out of their forcible seizure of naval and military power they created, among other things, the system of prize-money—a system whereby piracy is happily hidden under a cloak of legality, and in virtue of which, even to this day, the descendant of pirates, if only he will subject himself to certain forms and rules, may be something of a pirate still, without suffering the disadvantage of being dubbed by so opprobrious a name. But in the days of John, the forms and rules had not been completely systematised. Ships and goods captured from the enemy became the property of the king, and the amount paid to the captors, though already often considerable, depended entirely upon the sovereign's bounty. To certain galley-men, brought into his service by Thomas of Galway in 1205, the king granted moiety of their takings, besides other recompenses. A few years afterwards, a sum of £100 was advanced to mariners and galley-men, on account of the sale of the goods of a ship from Norway, captured in Wales. And the promise to the crews of the galleys lent to Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Beccles, and Orford has been already cited. There was, however, no accepted principle of division, and occasionally the king seems to have taken everything. This was only what was to be expected from a monarch who more than once nearly lost his crown in consequence of his stubborn objection to compromise more important privileges, which he assumed to belong to him, but which were disputed by sections of his subjects.
Seamen were enlisted as well as impressed. In May, 1206, the king ordered Geoffrey de Lucy, and Hascuil de Suleny, and his other subjects in the Norman islands, to send him one knight and one clerk, qualified to induce steersmen and mariners to enter his service. But when seamen were impressed, the penalty for failure to obey a summons to serve was severe. In 1208, certain sailors on the coast of Wales were forbidden to make a voyage to Ireland, or elsewhere, for their own purposes, but ordered to repair to Ilfracombe by the middle of Lent, to convey men to Ireland; and it was added: "Know for certain that if you act contrary to this, we will cause you and the masters of your vessels to be hanged, and all your goods to be seized for our use."
The crews of vessels consisted of "rectors," or masters, who seem to have been also called domini; "sturmanni," steersmen or pilots; "galiotæ," galley-men; "marinelli," mariners; and "nautæ," sailors. There was, in the case of some large ships, a "head-master" above the rector. Hardy, in his preface to the Close Rolls, says that steersmen received 7d. a day, but does not cite his authority. A galley-man was paid 6d. a day in 1205; a mariner was paid 3d. In 1206, a sum of £138 was issued to pay 275 mariners for forty days. Knights received 2s. a day, and cross-bowmen (the famous Genoese cross-bowmen were introduced to the English service by John) from 3d. to 6d. Before sailing, the men were given eight days' wages, and wages for eight days more were delivered at the same time to the persons appointed to pay them. The officers also were granted prests or payments in advance. In June, 1205, Thomas of Dover, William FitzSuanild, and John Clerk of Hythe, three masters of the king's galleys of the Cinque Ports, received £15 in prest upon their wages; Thomas of Gloucester was paid £5 in prest for the galley of Bristol; and two others received the same sum for the galley of Ipswich. The wages were apparently in addition to food and rations, including wine; and we have notices of payments for herrings, bacon, etc., sent as supplies to the king's ships.
There were even pensions for the wounded, for, in 1202, Alan le Waleis, who had lost his hand on service, was granted a penny a day, and, until it should be paid, was to be lodged in an abbey. But officers and men alike seem, as a rule, to have found their own clothing, though there is a record of the king having, in 1205, given six robes to certain galley-men of Bayonne.
Selden, Prynne, and others quote a document, said to date from the year 1200, and purporting to be an ordinance made by John at Hastings, enjoining every ship meeting the English fleet at sea to lower her sails at the command of the king's lieutenant or admiral; but the document contains internal evidence against its genuineness, and is probably of a date considerably later than that ascribed to it. Indeed, in the 'Black Book of the Admiralty,' to which Prynne refers, there is no writing of a date earlier than the reign of Henry VI., and most of the earlier ordinances copied into the volume may be suspected of corruption, while some of them are almost certainly forgeries and fictions. It is not until a later period that we encounter any good evidence of a formal assumption by the kings of England of a claim to the sovereignty of the Narrow Seas.
King John died on October 19th, 1216, and was succeeded by his son (by Isabella of Angoulême) Henry III., who was a child of nine.
In the course of Henry's long reign mention is made, not only of "great ships," "galleys," and "longships," etc., but also "sornecks" (probably vessels different from the "snake" or esnecca of an earlier age), "nascellas," "passerettes," and "barges." The sorneck was a trading vessel; the nascella, like the navicula, was a small craft; the passerette was a passenger ship, also small. Passenger vessels ran between Dover and Whitsand (Wissant); and in 1225 the Bailiffs of Dover were ordered to allow two of the Archbishop of Canterbury's clerks to cross over in the usual manner, in navibus passarettis. Barges were probably much what they are at present.
Several ships of the period are mentioned by name, and "the king's fleet" is often spoken of. The king's great ship was the Queen; another large vessel, apparently captured from the Portuguese for a breach of blockade, was the Cardinal; other vessels were the Galopine, Percevet, Alarde, and Paterik.
When the ships were not required for the purposes of war they were frequently let out to hire to the merchants. For example, in 1232 John Blancboilly had the custody of the king's great ship the Queen for life, with her anchors, cables and other tackle, to trade wherever he pleased, he paying an annual rental of fifty marks. He was bound, at his own expense, to keep the ship in complete repair against all accidents except perils of the sea, so that at his decease she might be restored to the king in as good state as when he received her; and all his lands in England were charged with the fulfilment of the contract.
There are many notices relative to the purchase of stores. In 1226 the Constable of Dorchester was ordered to supply Friar Thomas with three boatloads of firewood, two for the king's great ship, and one for the king's two galleys; and twenty-two and a half marks were given to him to buy canvas for the sails, and to make "celtas" for the king's great ship, carts being directed carry the "celtas" and "heyras" to her at Portsmouth. In 1225 the Bailiffs of Southampton were commanded to buy cordage under the inspection of Stephen Crabbe, an eminent mariner, for the king's great ship at Portsmouth; but if a sufficient quantity were not ready they were to cause it to be made in all haste, as well by day as by night, and to send it to Portsmouth. They were further directed to cause three good cables to be made for that ship, together with four dozen "theldorum," and to procure two hundred yards of cloth to repair her sail. In September, 1242, a messenger from the Cinque Ports was ordered to receive six hundred yards of canvas which was at Portsmouth, and which had been taken from the enemy, to make sails for the three galleys which the king had ordered to be built; and if there were not that quantity at Portsmouth, whatever was there was to be delivered, and the king was to be informed of the deficit. A sum of £4 was paid for building a boat for the great ship, and a sum of 8s. 7d. was repaid to the Sheriff of York for a boat and an iron chain belonging to her. In 1229 £40 was paid to the king's clerk for the repairs of the king's galleys and great ship at Portsmouth.
In July, 1242, one hundred marks was paid to Bertram de Criol for making four swift barges for the king's service, and he was ordered to place them in the Cinque Ports when he deemed it expedient. At the same time the Bailiffs of Bristol were ordered to send to Winchelsea, to be delivered to De Criol, the larger of the king's two galleys in their charge.
Nicolas is of opinion that in this reign occurs the first notice of cabins in English ships. In June, 1228, a vessel was ordered to be sent to Gascony with the king's effects, and a sum of 4s. 6d. was paid "for the making of some sort of chamber in the said ship to put our said effects in." In 1242, when the king, accompanied by the queen, went to Gascony, "decent chambers" were ordered to be built in the vessel in which their majesties were to embark, and these were to be panelled. There may be no earlier mention of cabins in English ships, but it is certain that foreign vessels had them long before, and it is probable, owing to the fact that English ships of the time were very little different from foreign ones in other respects, that English ships had them also.
The ordinary rate of pay under Henry III. was sixpence a day to
a master, and threepence a day to a seaman; but some ships had more than one master. One, indeed, of the king's great ships is said incidentally to have had seven, namely, Stephen de Vel, German de la Ria, John Fitz-Sampson, Colin de Warham, Robert Galliard, and Simon Wistlegrei. That particular ship appears to have carried sixty seamen or mariners, thirty of whom were furnished by Southampton and Portsmouth, and thirty by Rye; but it need not be concluded from the figures that they represented the whole number of fighting men on board when the ship was on a war footing. They probably represented only the navigating detachment, and there may have been as many more soldiers, besides officers of the vessel and knights.
The usual rates of freight can be roughly estimated from the following facts:—The cost of sending the king's great ship from La Rochelle to Bordeaux with merchandise was £33 10s. Three ships sent to Poitou in the king's service were paid for, one £6 12s. for thirty-eight days, another £1 11s. 9d. for nine days, and the third £1 5s. for five days; the rate thus varying from 3s. 6d. to 7s. a day, probably in proportion to the size of the ships. A person contracted to bring wine from Bordeaux to Southampton for 8s., and to Sandwich for 9s., a tun; but both charges appear to have included the cost of the wine. In May, 1227, Salekin of Dover, and John, his nephew, were paid sixty marks for the freight of their ship from Gascony to England, in the service of Richard, Count of Poitou, the king's brother; and two others were paid £60 for another ship making the same voyage.
The existence of a dockyard at Portsmouth has already been touched upon. In the reign of Henry III., if not before, there were other yards for the king's galleys at Rye, Shoreham, and Winchelsea, where, when the vessels were not required, they were laid up under sheds. On November 29th, 1243, the sheriff of Sussex was ordered to enlarge the house at Rye in which the king's galleys were kept, so that it might contain seven galleys; and, when this should be done, the galleys, with all their stores, were to be placed therein; and in 1238 the keepers of some of the king's galleys were directed to cause those vessels to be "breamed" (deprived by fire of the accumulated growth on their bottoms), and a house to be built at Winchelsea for their safe custody.
In the matter of prizes, things remained much as in John's reign. But the crown in practice admitted the captor's right to a share. In 1242 the Constable of Dover was ordered to pay to the barons of Winchelsea, towards their assistance against enemies, £100 out of the money found in possession of some captured French merchants; and the said constable, with another, was appointed to receive the king's proportion of all the perquisites of the sea during the war between England and France; from which it would appear that Henry III. did not expect more than part. Sometimes prizes were allowed to be ransomed. In 1227 an order was issued that, after payment of the largest possible fine, the merchants of a French ship taken at Hartlepool should be suffered to depart with their vessel. Nor, as was the case in some previous reigns, were ships that had been captured under doubtful legality unjustly retained. About August, 1242, several mandates were issued for the restoration of all merchandise captured since the beginning of the war, except such as belonged to subjects of the King of France. The Sheriff of Norfolk and others, for instance, were ordered to take evidence concerning the ownership of captured goods alleged to belong to Flemish merchants, and, if the allegation were established, to restore them; and a captured ship belonging to St. Malo was given up because the king had "granted his peace" to the people of that town.
Impressment, or arrest of ships and men for the royal service, was frequently had recourse to, as under John. And the process was conducted with as high a hand as ever. At the time of the general arrest of vessels to convey troops to Poitou in 1225, a ship belonging to the Master of the Knights Templars of Spain was seized, and the owner was paid two hundred marks as compensation for her loss. Goods, too, were seized for the king's business. In January, 1226, orders were issued for the arrest at Sandwich of two vessels from Bayonne, laden with spices and other precious merchandise, as soon as they should enter port; and it was directed that no part of their cargoes should be sold until the king should have taken for his use as much as he might think proper. And all sea traffic was rigorously supervised in time of war. In 1226 the Bailiffs of Dover were ordered to pay to the Chancellor of London the twelve marks which they had received from a certain ship that had passed Portsmouth without the king's licence.
Yet, although there was clearly a strict police of the seas around England, piracies were not uncommon; and even the people of the Cinque Ports were frequently guilty of such offences. In 1227 a mariner named Dennis was committed to Newgate for having been present when a Spanish ship had been plundered and her crew slain at Sandwich. In the same year the people of some towns in Norfolk were accused of robbing a Norwegian ship; and in 1264 a sea fight occurred between the men of Lynn and the men of Dartmouth. Sometimes, at least, the crown held itself responsible for the illegal deeds of its servants, for in 1225 nine marks were given to Alexander, a goldsmith, and his seven companions, and to a woman named Margaret, coming from Norway, who were alleged to have been robbed by people of the Cinque Ports.
The king had ships in Ireland as well as in England, and he hired them out, like his English ships, to the merchants, when he had no immediate use for them. Ireland also had to furnish ships and men at the king's demand; but it would appear from a document dated in 1217 that at that time, if not always, citizens of Dublin, or some of them, were exempted from impressment a sea for service in the king's galleys.
Besides the Cinque Ports, the island of Oleron furnished vessels to the king; and in June, 1242, the Mayor of Oleron was directed to build the barges which the island owed to the sovereign in virtue of its tenure.
The provisions and stores of ships seem to have been the same in character as those in the reign of John. When Henry was preparing for his journey to Poitou in 1242, he directed the vessels which were to convey him and his suite to be supplied with bacon and other salted meats, flour, eggs, fowls and salt, besides other necessaries, which were to be obtained from the officers of the bishopric of Winchester, who were to forward a thousand quarters of wheat, the same quantity of barley, and a thousand pigs for the purpose, as well as corn and wine from other sources.
Lighthouses of some sort existed from an early period at Winchelsea, Yarmouth, and other places, and some of them may have been established as early as the time of the Romans. They were generally maintained by port dues. On January 30th, 1261, Henry issued a precept commanding that every ship laden with merchandise that went to Winchelsea during the two following years should pay twopence for the maintenance of the light there set up for the safety of sailors entering by night, unless it should be shown that the barons had been accustomed to maintain at their own cost the light in question. This toll was called "fire-pence"; for in an ordinance of a few years later for the settlement of disputes between the Cinque Ports and the inhabitants of Norfolk, arising out of the herring fishery, it was declared that the bailiffs of the barons of the ports should receive the twopence, usually called "fire-pence," for sustaining the fires at the accustomed places so that they did sustain them; but that if they failed to do so, the Provost of Yarmouth might receive the pence and keep up the fires. These fires were probably burnt in cressets. At St. Agnes lighthouse, in Scilly, a cresset or beacon fire was burnt as late as 1680, and possibly for several years afterwards.
No alteration was made in the banners borne by English ships until the reign of Edward III. The St. George's ensign, and the flag with the three lions were still used. The commander-in-chief of a fleet carried the former at his masthead, and at night hoisted a light in the same position. When, in June 1253, the king was going to Gascony, the sheriffs of London were ordered to cause a great and well-made lantern, which could be suspended in the king's ship, to be forwarded without delay to Portsmouth.
"The conduct of all privateers," wrote Nelson, "is, as far as I have seen, so near piracy, that I only wonder any civilised nation can allow them." In the thirteenth century all sea warfare, whether regular or irregular, was conducted by people who were little better than "a horde of sanctioned robbers"; and one is not surprised, therefore, to discover, as one often does when studying the early history of England, that in war time ships were fitted out by individuals as well as by governments to prey upon the enemies of the country. But it does not appear that private adventurers of this sort were ever formally recognised, or that specific terms were made with them, until the reign of Henry III.
The first two known English "letters of marque"—for that is what they essentially were—were granted by Henry against France in February, 1243, one being to Geoffrey Pyper, master of Le Heyte, and the other jointly to Adam Robernolt and William le Sauvage. The form was in each case the same, and was as follows:-
"Relative to annoying the king's enemies. The king to all, etc., greeting. Know ye that we have granted and given licence to ... and ... and their companions whom they take with them, to annoy our enemies by sea or by land wheresoever they are able, so that they share with us the half of all their gain; and therefore we command you neither to do, nor suffer to be done, any let, damage, or injury to them or their barge, or other ship or galley which they may have; and they are to render to the king, in his wardrobe, the half of their gains."
Although there is no direct proof of the correctness of the theory, it is probable that the earliest privateers were recruited from the large class of maritime adventurers who, in the Middle Ages, and in all seas, turned their hands against everyone who did not deem it worth while to buy their assistance, or who did not at least offer them some advantages. There were plenty of these gentlemen of the sea at the very period in question off the shores of England; for it was the complaint of the barons of the Cinque Ports in the same year that the pirates who guarded the high sea would not allow even the pilgrims to return home, and that all the navy of England could not resist them. Henry, in his hour of need, may have thought it more than justifiable, by the offer of protection and countenance, to secure some of these rovers as his friends and as France's enemies. "While," as Nicolas says, "these hordes of daring robbers are justly execrated for their deeds of cruelty and violence, it should not be forgotten that their skill, hardihood, and adventurous spirit have descended to the British seamen of modern times; and much of the heroism and contempt of danger for which our navy has been so long distinguished may have been derived from the piratical and buccaneering proceedings of former ages."
The modification made in the law of wreck by Henry II. has been already made mention of. A further alteration was effected by a charter dated at Merewell, on May 26th, 1236. By this the king granted that, if any ship were in danger in his dominions, and any man escaped from it and reached the land alive, all the goods and chattels in such ship should continue to be the property of the original owners, instead of passing as wreck to the king. And if from a ship so endangered no man escaped alive, but any other beast (bastia alia) chanced to escape alive, or to be found alive on board, then the goods and chattels in such ship should be delivered by the king's bailiff to four men, in whose custody they should remain for three months, during which time, if owners proved their right, they should be restored to them; but if no one claimed the goods within that term, they should be forfeited as wreck. If, however, neither man nor other beast escaped from the ship, the cargo was then to be considered as wreck, and to become the property of the king, or of the lord having the right to it.
Connected with this subject, there are three episodes of the reign which deserve note. In 1225, some masts from a wreck belonging to the Crown were washed ashore in Cornwall; and the sheriff of the county was instructed to proceed to the spot, and, if any of the masts had been sold, to arrest both buyer and seller. In 1227 a ship of Toulouse was wrecked at Shoreham, and her cargo plundered, whereupon the Sheriff of Sussex was ordered to the spot, with directions to impanel a jury, discover who were present at the robbery, and who carried away the cargo and stores, and arrest the guilty parties. These incidents show that although Henry could make liberal concessions, he would forego none of his legal rights against lawlessness. The other noteworthy point is that in the treaty concluded in 1269 between Henry and Magnus of Norway, a clause is to be found providing that, in case of a shipwreck on the coast of either country, the goods on board should be protected by the authorities, who were to give all the assistance in their power to the crews, while persons plundering were to be severely punished.
The knowledge and utilisation of the directive powers of the magnet, and of the magnetised needle, were probably not new in Asia even so early as the beginning of the Christian era: but they were new in western Europe in the first half of the thirteenth century. It is therefore of interest to print two contemporary references to such primitive form of mariner's compass as then existed. Both were translated for Nicolas by Mr. Thomas Wright, the first from 'La Bible Guiot de Provins,' and the second from the preface to Michel's 'Lais Inedits'; and the originals of both are in verse.
"They make a contrivance which cannot lie by the virtue of the magnet: an ugly and brownish stone, to which iron spontaneously joins itself, they have; and they observe the right point. After they have caused a needle to touch it, and placed it in a rush, they put it in the water without anything more, and the rush keeps it on the surface. Then it turns its point towards the star with such certainty that no man will ever have any doubt of it, nor will it ever for anything go false. When the sea is dark and hazy that they can neither see star nor moon, therefore they place a light by the needle, and then they have no fear of going wrong. Towards the star goes the point, whereby the mariners have the skill to keep the right way. It is an art which cannot fail."
The second, more obscure, runs:-
"For a north wind nor for anything else does (without doubt) cease doing service the pole star clear and pure; the sailors by its light it throws often out of mishap, and assures them of their road; and when the night is too dark, still is it of such a nature that it makes iron draw to the loadstone, so that by force and by reason, and by a rule which lasts ever, they know the place where it is. They know its position on the way, when it is perfectly dark, all those who practise this art, who push a needle of iron till it almost disappears in a bit of cork, and touch it to the brown loadstone. Then it is placed in a vessel full of water, so that no one push it out; as soon as the water settles, to whatever place the point aims, the polar star is there without doubt."
The correspondence, consequent upon the promise of Edward, in 1276, to send a squadron from Bayonne, to assist his brother-in-law, the King of Castille, against the infidels, throws much light upon the condition of the navy at that period. Edward sent to Bayonne one William de Montegauger, a priest, to make the arrangements necessary for equipping, arming, and manning of twelve ships and twenty-four galleys; and, the priest having consulted with the local authorities, the latter summoned the steersmen, masters, mariners, smiths, carpenters and workmen of the port in order to form an estimate of how best to go to work.
The results of their inquiries and deliberations were embodied in a letter written to the king on May 1st. This letter reported that every ship of 180 tons and upwards would need sixty men, and involve for hire or charter an expenditure of £100 sterling a year; that a galley of 120 oars would cost £240, money of Morlaas, and each oar £46, money of Morlaas, when ready for sea; and would require twenty-five men; and that a galley of one hundred oars would require twenty men, and one of eighty oars fifteen men, besides the rowers and six or eight "comitres" (superintendents of rowers). The pay to each of the "magni" (probably officers doing lieutenant's duties), each of the "comitres," and each chief, would be fifteen esterlings a day; that to each crossbow-man, nine esterlings; and that to each sailor and rower, six esterlings, according to the rate established under Henry III.; but all these persons would find themselves in arms, victuals, and all other necessaries. On the other hand, they would expect a moiety of all gains, save cities, castles, towns, or lands taken; and such provisions or eatables as they might seize should be their own. It was not possible to make an agreement by the month or half-year, but by the year only. Plenty of the needful people could be found in Bayonne and Gascony; but, in order to induce a superior class of men to serve, it would be well if the indulgence of the Cross could be obtained for them from the Pope or his legate.
William de Montegauger transmitted this letter, together with his own report. He estimated the total annual expenditure for the projected squadron at 56,000 marks, or £37,330 16s. 8d. a year, and pointed out that he had not funds in hand to justify him in launching upon so considerable an outlay. Workmen would not work a moment after the cessation of their pay. One William Arnold, of Saubagnac, had offered to provide half the desired squadron for 20,000 marks a year, but Montegauger did not like his conditions. The indulgence was absolutely necessary if good men were to be obtained.
Details of the squadron sent against Anglesey, during the Welsh War in 1277, are also of interest. The squadron consisted of eighteen ships, all of which were furnished by the Cinque Ports, together with one dromon of Southampton, and four other vessels, one of which was the Rose. It was commanded by two "captains over the fleet of eighteen ships of the Ports"; each large ship had two officers styled rectors, one of whom commanded; each smaller ship had one rector, and one constable; the crews varied from twenty to twenty-eight men; and the total number of mariners in the squadron was 419. Of the ships not belonging to the Cinque Ports, the dromon carried but nineteen mariners. The pay, as at a later period, was: each captain (admiral), 12d.; each rector, constable, and the master of the dromon, 6d.; and each sailor, 3d. a day.
The craft purchased in 1282 for the Welsh expedition were small, their price varying from £4 to £13, at a time when anchors and cables for one of the king's large ships cost twice as much as the larger sum, and when a new barge built and fitted out at Winchelsea cost £80 9s. 11d. Of the vessels of the Cinque Ports employed on that occasion, one was La Vache, and another, the Holy Cross. The crews of all were paid by the crown, the total expense being £1404 9s. 10½d.
Among the stores purchased by Sir Matthew de Columbers in 1290 for the ship which was to go to Norway to bring thence the Lady Margaret, who, had she not died prematurely, would have married Prince Edward, were: wine, ale, corn, beef, pork, bacon, stock-fish, sturgeons, herrings, lampreys, almonds, rice, beans, peas, onions, leeks, cheese, nuts, salt, vinegar, mustard, pepper, cummin-seed, ginger, cinnamon, figs, raisins, saffron, ginger-bread, wax torches, tallow candles, cressets, lanterns, napkins, wood, biscuit, a banner of the king's arms, and a silken streamer. The total charge was but £29 2s. 11d. The pay was as before, and boys to take care of the stores were given twopence a day. At the time of the armament of 1294, twenty shillings' worth of wine was advanced to each of the masters of ships, the cost being charged against their pay.
At the time of the war in Scotland in 1299 and 1300, the chief part of the fleet employed belonged to the Cinque Ports, which, however, sent only thirty ships, instead of their full service of fifty-seven. When the fifteen days of their due service had expired, the wages of officers and men were paid by the king. Gervase Alard, the admiral, received 2s.; the four captains of the ports, 1s.; the chaplain, Robert of Sandwich, and the masters and constables, each 6d.; and the sailors, each 3d. a day; the masters also received 20s. each for pilotage (lodmannagium) for the whole coasts of Scotland and Ireland. It appears to have been not unusual for officers and seamen of the period, after a campaign, to be given passage money to carry them home from their ports; for before returning to England the king gave Alard twenty shillings for this purpose; to each of three of the captains of the ports one mark; and to sailors, amounts varying from five shillings to one mark. There are also notices of other out-of-pocket expenses, incurred on service, having been repaid.
The services rendered by the Cinque Ports in the Welsh expedition of 1278 gained them a new charter, dated the 17th of June of that year. This charter confirmed all their former liberties and grants, and set forth their privileges; which included exemptions from tolls and wreck; the right of buying, selling and rebuying, throughout the king's dominions; "den" (right of drying and mending nets on certain marsh lands at Great Yarmouth); "strond" (right of landing freely with their fish at the same place); "findais," or findings, on sea and land; and their honours in the king's courts. It was forbidden to disturb them in their mercantile operations, on penalty of ten pounds. In return, they were to render yearly their full service of fifty-seven ships, at their own cost, for fifteen days, when summoned by the king. The chief additional concessions were: "utfangtheff" (right of punishing a thief, no matter the domicile, or the scene of the offence, if taken within the fee); that they should not be put on any assize, juries, or recognitions, against their will; that of their own wines for which they traded they should be quit of the king's duty or "prise," to the extent of one tun of wine before the mast, and of another abaft the mast; and that they should be exempted from the Crown's right of wardships and marriages in respect of land within the ports.
Edward I. granted two other charters to the Cinque Ports, both dated April 28th, 1298. One exempted the hulls and rigging of their ships from taxes of all kinds, provided that no man, without their consent, should be a partner or sharer in any goods which they might buy in Ireland; and allowed all persons born in the ports to marry as they pleased, even though they might hold lands elsewhere by such service as would, if minors were in question, have subjected the marriages to the will of the Crown.
The other charter, after reciting that the king had in mind "that his shipping of the Cinque Ports could not be maintained without great cost and expenses," and was desirous "that shipping should not fail in future," declared, with an agreeable cynicism, that his majesty granted that all the inhabitants of those ports, and others calling themselves of their liberty and willing to enjoy the same, should contribute, each according to his means, to perform the service with the ships when required.
When the whole number of fifty-seven ships was not needed, as many as were thought necessary were called for by the Crown, which could order the men belonging to the remaining vessels to he put on board the ships summoned to serve. This course was followed in 1302 when twenty-five ships, and the full tale of men were provided. A port failing to furnish its proper contingent was obliged to give a satisfactory excuse, or to suffer indictment and fine; and others besides the Cinque Ports were subject to this rule; for, about the year 1301, the towns of Poole, Warham, and Lyme, having agreed to furnish each a ship for the Scots war, and having failed to do so, were ordered to be punished at the discretion of certain commissioners.
It has been already shown that, under the Laws of Oleron, the master of a ship, in case of danger in a storm, might, with the consent of the merchants on board, lighten the vessel by throwing, or "ejecting," part of the cargo overboard; and that if they did not consent, he might act as he thought proper. That was the rule in Oleron, and elsewhere, but not, at least in the early years of Edward I., in England; for there the merchants had a lien upon the property of the master and crew for goods so ejected. The injustice was remedied by an ordinance of May, 1285, copies of which were sent to every port, and which, translated, ran as follows:—
A very important document of the reign of Edward I., which still exists in the original Norman French, and which has been cited with respect by Prynne and Coke, as well as by Selden, is given, in translation, in 'Mare Clausum.' The exact nature of the document is not apparent, for, though it purports to be a petition to certain auditors or commissioners appointed to decide between England and France, there is no record of such a petition having been presented, nor is the instrument itself dated, signed or sealed. It is probably the draught of an instrument which may or may not have been executed; and internal evidence indicates that it was drawn up in or soon after the summer of 1304 and before the death of Edward. Petition or not, it is certainly a document of the early fourteenth century, and, its contents being what they are, it is, therefore, of very exceptional interest as illustrating the antiquity of the claim of the kings of England to the dominion of the neighbouring seas. It is too long to print here entire; but the following are the passages which are particularly significant:—
Granting that the claim, as set forth above, was made, there is still no evidence that it was then admitted; but many years were not to elapse without a very similar claim being both made and admitted.
In the navy of Edward I. the flags used seem to have been the same as those flown under his immediate predecessors, viz., the Royal banner, and the banner of St. George. The former was not confined to vessels actually having the sovereign or a prince of his house on board. Streamers, known otherwise as pencils, and later as whips and pennants, had come into use; but there is nothing to show that they were in anyway confined to king's ships or that they were always worn by king's ships in commission. In Edward's army, on the other hand, in addition to the banners used in the navy, the banner of St. Edmund—blue, with three gold crowns—and the banner of Edward the Confessor—blue, with a gold cross between five martlets—were employed.
Edward II., fourth but eldest surviving son of Edward I., who had received the title of Prince of Wales in 1301, and who, at the time of his accession, was twenty-three years of age, succeeded his father in 1307. He was a weak, despicable, and altogether unworthy monarch—the slave of his parasites, and the shuttlecock of his powerful nobles; and although his stormy reign was in several respects important from a naval point of view, it can hardly be contended that he personally ever did anything for the honour and greatness of England.
There is no doubt that in the twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth centuries piracy was always very prevalent in the Narrow Seas; yet strong kings invariably kept it in some sort of check, and managed to curb, if not to repress, the freebooting tendencies of the most formidable of the English sea robbers, who had their headquarters in those strongholds of privilege and disorder, the Cinque Ports. But under a weak sovereign there was little or no effectual restraint upon the outrages of these rovers, nor upon those of the piratical inhabitants of the opposite coasts. In the reign, therefore, of Edward II. a recrudescence of piracy is distinctly noticeable. Looking to the proportions which it reached it is almost surprising that it was possible to maintain even the semblance of peace between England and her neighbours; nor would such a thing have been practicable at all had not there been a custom of permitting and encouraging aggrieved parties, on both sides of the Channel, to settle for themselves disputes which would, in later days, have been treated as international questions.
In March, 1308, there was a complaint by three merchants of Great Yarmouth that a ship laden by them at Rouen with cloth, woollens, canvas, cables, and gold and silver to the value of £40 had been attacked at night by French pirates and carried off. Soon afterwards there was a complaint by merchants of Winchester that a ship of theirs had been plundered off Gravelines by Flamands. About 1314 William de Huntingdon's ship was carried out of the port of Dublin by pirates headed by John le Lung of Bristol, and subsequently burnt. In the same year the Paternoster, of Yarmouth, chartered by William de Forbernard, a Gascon merchant, was plundered off the Foreland by Gervase Alard of Winchelsea, Peter Bert of Sandwich, and Robert Cleves of Greenwich, who were all in the king's service; and as Alard was either the very individual, or nearly related to the individual, who a few years earlier had been admiral of the fleet of the Cinque Ports, this was a particularly gross case; yet the sufferer obtained no redress. In 1322 a vessel laden by two merchants of Sherborne was plundered off Portsmouth by Robert de Battayle, and others of the Cinque Ports, and, at about the same time, the Cruxenburg, belonging to Albrith le Breme, a German merchant, was attacked in the port of Orwell by two vessels, one of Winchelsea and one of Greenwich, and carried off after some of the crew had been killed and wounded. In 1323 or 1324 the ship Annot, of Ditton, was boarded between Lynn and Orford by John Russell and other pirates of Spalding, who, although the craft was laden with fish for the king's use, killed her crew and took her to Seaford, where they sold her.
Indeed, there was almost no limit to the iniquitous audacity of the coast populations, and especially of the people of the Cinque Ports. In 1314, when the Blessed Mary, of Fuenterrabia, had been wrecked on the coast of Angoumois, and then plundered by seamen of Winchelsea, Rye and Romney, the inhabitants of those towns forcibly prevented an investigation from being made into the outrage.
The reign seems to have produced few improvements in ships and their gear. The pay of officers and men remained as before. The instructions issued to John Deverye, the priest who inspected the preparation of the squadron destined for Guienne in 1324, show the proportion borne by complements to tonnage to have been as follows, though, as we cannot be sure how the tonnage was measured, or how many fighting men were embarked in addition to the mariners, the information conveyed is not perfect:—To a ship of 240 tons there were 60 mariners; to one of 200 tons, 50; to one of from 160 to 180 tons, 40; to one of 140 tons, 35; to one of 120 tons, 28; to one of 100 tons, 26; to one of 80 tons, 24; and to one of 60 tons, 21. The numbers were inclusive of officers, the vessels of 180 tons and upwards having each one master and two constables, and those of 160 tons and less having one master and one constable only. The seamen received twenty days' pay in advance. Says Nicolas, "it may be inferred from this document that there were few English ships of more than 240 tons burden, or which carried more than sixty men, except galleys, the number of whose crews was proportionate to their oars."
Contemporary pictures of foreign vessels, though obviously very inaccurate for the most part, indicate that early in the fourteenth century the "clavus" or steering paddle, almost exactly similar to that used in the viking ship, was still generally employed, but that in a few large vessels the rudder, shipped very much as at present, had already been adopted. In English ships, however, there appears to have been as yet no rudder. On the other hand, two masts had become not uncommon. Each carried a single lug sail, and each generally had a fighting top, formed apparently of a large barrel. The two masts were, in fact, similar save that, while the main mast was perpendicular, the foremast often raked considerably forward. Both were single poles. There is no sign of a bowsprit supporting a fore-and-aft sail, nor any mention of a pump.
Fireships, however, had come into use, if not in the English navy, at least abroad; for in the great battle fought between the French and the Flamands in August, 1304, off Zierikzee, the Flamands employed two small vessels filled with pitch, oil, grease, and other combustibles, which they towed to windward of four ships that were aground and, having fired them, set them adrift. Unfortunately, owing to a shift of wind, they did more damage to friends than to foes. In that, as in many other early naval battles, no quarter, except to personages of great distinction, appears to have been granted.
Notices of payments made for naval services during the reign are numerous; but in the majority of cases sufficient details, as to numbers of men hired, and nature of work done, in return for specific sums, are not given to enable us to form conclusions concerning the proportions of results to costs. There are some exceptions. In 1316, the Constable of Dover was paid £54 13s. 4d. for fourteen large ships and six boats, employed in conveying the king's ambassadors from Dover to Whitsand (Wissant); and in the year following a sum of £128 was paid for the wages of the five masters, five constables, and 323 armed sailors, belonging to five ships in the service of the king in Scotland, for one month, each master and constable receiving as before 6d., and each sailor 3d. a day. In June, 1324, the "Keepers of the passage of the Port of Dover" were paid £1 3s. 4d. for the hire of the ship that brought to England Hugh, Seigneur de Boyville, chamberlain to the King of France; and £16 6s. 8d. for the hire of six ships, one barge, and one boat, to carry the Earl of Kent, brother of the king, from Dover to Wissant. When, in the same year, John de Shoreditch went over on a mission to France, there were paid, for the ship that conveyed him and his four horses, 40s., and for customs, portage, and pontage at Dover and Wissant, and for the hire of a ship and boat for his return, £4 12s. 6d. the customs, portage, and pontage amounting to 8s. 6d.
There were continual difficulties in the way of obtaining the required number of ships for the king's service. His Majesty had few of his own, the squadron furnished by the Cinque Ports was often insufficient for the business in hand, and the other seaports upon which requisitions were made, frequently pleaded that they were too poor to obey the king's commands. In cases such as the last mentioned, neighbouring towns were sometimes ordered to assist the poor place. In this manner Totness, Brixham, Portlemouth, and Kingsbridge were directed to aid Dartmouth to maintain a ship and crew in 1310; and Plympton, Modbury, Newton Ferrars, and Yarmouth to aid Sutton; while Topsham, Kenton, Powderham, and other places near, helped Exeter. Occasionally, the Crown itself supplied deficiencies, and occasionally it made slight concessions, as, for example, when the execution of the service threatened to interfere with the fishing.
Beacons were, in this reign, if not before, erected along the coasts, so that the alarm might be quickly given upon the approach of an enemy; and the inhabitants were enjoined to light up the fires whenever the safety of their districts required it.
The right of the Crown to "great" or royal fish was jealously preserved, save that Henry granted to the Bishop of London and the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's the fish found in their domains, except the tongues, which he reserved for himself. In 1326, when a whale was taken in the chapter's manor of Walton, the prize was iniquitously carried off by thirty-two "malefactors," who were named, and against whom proceedings were taken. But those who captured royal fish for the king were rewarded. In 1315, three sailors, who took a whale near London Bridge, were paid 20s. for their pains.
A circumstance which happened in 1310, when England was at peace with France but at war with Scotland, with which, however, there was a truce, deserves notice, not only because of its intrinsic interest, but also because it concerns Ravensrode. A French vessel had been to Scotland to trade there, when, on her return, she was forced into Ravensrode by stress of weather, and there seized as coming from Scotland. Philip of France requested the release of ship, crew, and goods, and Edward complied, begging, however, his brother of France to prevent his subjects from having intercourse with the enemies of England. Ravensrode, the scene of the seizure, was an important seaport, but had not long been so. After a brief career, it was swept away by the enroachments of the sea. It was a peninsula beyond Holderness, joined to the mainland by a low beach of sand and stones; and although Henry IV. landed there in 1399, and Edward IV. in 1471, there was no trace of it visible in the middle of the sixteenth century. It was also known as Ravenspur and Ravenser, and was in the parish of, though at a distance of four miles from, Easington. Sunthorpe, hard by, has also been submerged.
The king confirmed the privileges of the Cinque Ports in 1313, and added, that although liberties or freedoms granted in the previous charters might not have been used, yet they might, nevertheless, be fully enjoyed by the barons, their heirs and successors, without any impediment from the king and his heirs.
Something has already been said about the lawlessness which prevailed in the Narrow Seas during this reign. One example, which might have been cited with the instances given on an earlier page, has been reserved for notice here, because it led to what is the first plain and undoubted admission by foreigners of the claim of the kings of England to the sovereignty of their seas.
For some time the seamen of England and those of Flanders had been attacking and plundering each other, though the countries were at peace; and at length, when some particularly flagrant acts of piracy had been committed by Englishmen "sur la mere d'Engleterre devers les parties de Craudon," the king and the Count of Flanders agreed to adopt decisive measures. Commissioners were appointed on both sides, and after several years of intermittent negotiations, a treaty was concluded in 1320. The Flamands begged the king to cause justice to be done, and the king undertook to see it done. The Flamand prayer was, "that the king, of his lordship and royal power, would see law and punishment dealt out in connection with the said deed, forasmuch as he is lord of the sea, and the said robbery was committed on the sea, within his power, as is set forth above." The treaty is in French. When, on December 13th, 1320, Sir Bartholomew de Badlesmere, Warden of the Cinque Ports, and others, were ordered to institute the inquiry which had been promised by the king, the statement of the circumstances included exactly the same expressions, but in Latin; so that two independent records exist of the admission which, as it was entirely spontaneous, was the more significant.
"Craudon," off which the outrage which led to this admission is reported to have taken place, may probably he identified with Crodon or Crozon, a little place on the Bay of Douarnenez, in the arrondissement of Châteaulin and the department of Finistère. It contains, to-day, between eight and nine thousand inhabitants, and has some considerable trade in sardines and salt. If, then, "la mere d'Engleterre" extended, as in the opinion of the Flamands it did, even farther south than Ushant, the English Dominion of the Sea in the fourteenth century may have been already as wide as it was formally conceded by the Dutch to be in the seventeenth.
The title of admiral has been once or twice ascribed in this history to the chief officer of an English fleet. In the latter part of the reign of Edward II., the rank was ordinarily given, by commission, to one holding that position, and therefore it may be pertinent to say something concerning its origin in this country. No English officer seems to have been formally and officially styled admiral until 1297. Previously, leaders of fleets had been called "justices," "leaders and governors," "leaders and constables," "keepers of the sea-coast," "captains of the king's sailors and mariners of the Cinque Ports," but on March 8th, 1297, in the convention made at Bruges between Guy, Count of Flanders, and the envoys of Edward I., William de Leybourne, who had a commission as "Captain of the king's sailors and mariners," was styled "Admiral of the Sea of the King of England." It has been supposed that the first known English commission to the rank of admiral is dated February 4th, 1303, and is in favour of Gervase Alard. Even this, however, is thought by some to be no commission, but merely a proclamation setting forth an accomplished fact. Other instruments, which may have been commissions, but which also may have been proclamations, are dated June 5th, 1306, and are in favour of Gervase Alard aforesaid, and Edward Charles; but several undoubted commissions to the rank of admiral survive from the reign of Edward II.; and, in order that the terms of these may be compared with the commissions now issued to admirals, the commission, dated March 15th, 1315, to John, Lord de Botetort, is here given, translated from the Latin, as printed in the Scots Rolls, i., 139:—
"The king to all and singular his sheriffs, bailiffs, ministers, and faithful subjects to whom the present letters shall come, greeting. Know that we have appointed our beloved and faithful John Botetourt admiral and captain of our sailors and mariners of all the ports and places to which ships or boats resort from the mouth of the Thames, on the eastward side, as far as Berwick-on-Tweed, and also of our soldiers and other faithful subjects who, at our command, are about to proceed with the said John in the fleet of the said sailors and mariners by the maritime parts and the sea-coasts against our Scots foes and rebels. So that the said admiral and captain, by himself, and by others whom, by his letters patent, sealed with his seal, he shall assign, depute and determine, shall have power to take and carry with him suitable men potent for arms, ships, barges and boats, victuals, and other things which may be necessary for the furthering of the same; and also shall have power to seize equipments, at the discretion of the said admiral and captain, from those from whom the said admiral and captain shall see fit to seize them; provided, nevertheless, as regards such victuals and other necessaries as shall be thus taken for the support of the same admiral and captain, the sailors and the mariners, that they shall satisfy those from whom they take them according to the reasonable price of the same, and so as regards the equipments, or they shall find sufficient security for the restoration of the same equipments. And therefore we command you all and singular, and, strictly enjoining you in the duty wherewith you are bound to us, do order that to the said John, as admiral and captain of the said sailors, mariners, soldiers and others aforesaid, and to others whom the said John, by his letters patent, shall assign and determine as aforesaid, you be attentive, answerable, helpful and obedient in all and singular the premises, according as he shall make known to you on our behalf. In testimony whereof, etc., to last during our pleasure."Witness the King at Westminster the 15th day of March."
The other naval officers of the period were captains, who sometimes at least commanded several vessels; masters, rectors, and constables, who were commanding officers of ships, though often, as to-day is the case with captains and commanders in a large ship, two of them served simultaneously in one craft; and comitres or comites, who were supervisors of galley rowers. The constable is rarely found in command of anything but a small craft, and it may be suspected that to him we should look as the professional ancestor of the lieutenant. The rank, or more properly the title, of rector began at the end of the thirteenth century to die out. Chaplains were not borne in private ships, but were appointed to do duty throughout whole fleets.
It has been mentioned that the wage of the seamen was threepence a day. It is interesting to note that the pay of the foot
GALLEY OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY.
(After a picture by Pietro Laurati in the Uffizi Gallery.)
soldier of the period was only twopence. The artisans who on shore received threepence were plasterers and miners.
Edward II. was deposed by his queen and Roger Mortimer, and compelled to abdicate; and his son, Edward III., succeeded him on February 1st, 1327, being then in his fifteenth year. During his minority the country was ruled, and very ill ruled, by Mortimer and the abandoned Isabella, Henry of Lancaster being, however, nominal chief of a council of regency; but in 1330 the young king vigorously and effectively asserted his position, and thenceforward governed for himself.
In the reign of Edward III., in addition to the classes of ships already described, many new types appear to have been used, or at least many new names were applied to vessels. We read of "ballingers," which were probably large barges, though some "barges" of this period were of considerable size, carrying a hundred men or more; "carracks," properly vessels of Genoese or Spanish origin, but in a more general sense, ships of large dimensions: "cogs," or as we might say, first-rates of the time; "crayers," or small merchantmen; "doggers," chiefly used for fishing; "lode-ships," perhaps pilot vessels, also employed for fishing; "fluves," or "flutes," moderately large craft, but of shallow draught; "galliots," strictly small galleys; "hoc-boats," identified by some with the modern hookers; "hulks," "keels," "seg-boats," "lighters," "liques," "lynes," "pessoners," or fishing craft; "pickards," "pinnaces," apparently a contemporary equivalent for sloops-of-war; "shutes," or large flat-bottomed boats, and "tarics," or "tarettes," large ships of burden, sometimes employed as transports. But the exact nature of most of these cannot be decided with any degree of certainty. Some were undoubtedly of very respectable size. The cog Thomas, which is conjectured to have gone down in the battle of "L'Espagnols sur Mer," carried a master, two constables, two carpenters, one hundred and twenty-four sailors, and eight boys, and may have carried archers and soldiers as well to the number of sixty or more, as the usual proportion of fighting landsmen to mariners in warships of the time was about twenty-five archers and twenty-five soldiers to each one hundred seamen.
In the accounts of the expenses of building the galley La Phelipe at Lynn, in 1336, we meet with many terms which are strangely familiar. Among them are "hawsers," "pulleys," "stays," "back-stays," "painters," "sheets," "bolt-ropes," "seizings," "hatches," "cables," "leeches," "tow-ropes," "sounding-lines," etc.; but there are many more the signification of which is unknown, or can only be guessed at. The vessel had one mast which cost £10, one yard which cost £3, and one bowsprit which cost £2 3s. 4d. She had one large anchor of Spanish iron, weighing 1100½ pounds, and five smaller anchors, costing altogether £23 10s. 3d. Her sail, which was dyed red, contained 640 ells, and to it were attached "wyne-wews," which were dyed black, and contained 220 ells. The sail had eight "reef-ropes" and "ribondes." There were eighty oars, and a cloth awning, called a "panell," dyed red and containing 576 ells. There was no pump, but water was ejected by means of a "winding-balies," into which the water was put by two "spojours." The sides were greased, and the bottom was paid with a mixture of pitch, tar, oil, and resin. The caulking was done with "mosso." Timber for the rudder, which was evidently fixed to the stern, cost 2s., and 200 pounds of Spanish iron were bought "to make two chains for her rudder."
That rudders very much resembling those of the modern type, and, like them, hung by means of pintles and gudgeons, were in use in the English navy at about this time, is clear from the details shown in good copies of the gold noble which
GOLD NOBLE OF EDWARD III., 1344. was struck by Edward III., soon after the battle of Sluis, in 1340. There, although the tiller is not visible, the rudder itself is plainly very similar to that which, in the ordinary course, would be fitted today to a fishing-smack or collier-brig. After the middle of the fourteenth century, the clavus disappeared from all save very small craft in England. From the wording of the account, there is little doubt that the rudder of La Phelipe was of the modern type. The daily pay of the builders of this galley was as follows: master carpenter, 6d.; other carpenters, 5d.; clinkerers, 4d.; holderers, 3d., and servants or labourers, 2½d.
From other accounts, we learn that ships had capstans and "helms," or tillers; that bowsprits were very small, probably not yet supporting any sail; that one mast was still usual even in vessels of some size, although two masts were carried by a few craft; and that "triefs" or sails were furnished with "bonnets," or additional parts made to fasten at the foot with latchings, so as to increase the sail area in moderate winds. Some masts carried two sails, a course and a topsail, but fore-and-aft sails seem not to have been employed.
The fore and stern castles were not necessarily structural portions of the vessel fitted with them, and they were built by special artificers called castlewrights, and by them added to merchant vessels that were called out for war service. Thus, in 1335, the Trinity, of two hundred tons, was furnished with an "aftcastle, topcastle, and forecastle," or as we might say, with a poop, a fighting top, and a forecastle. Chaucer calls the forecastle the "forestage." In ships carrying royalties the minstrels seem to have played on or in the forecastle. As to the size of masts, some little indication is furnished by a record that in 1338 sixty masts, each fifty feet long at the least, were purchased. Blocks, almost exactly similar to the simplest forms still in use, existed, and were called "polyves" (pulleys). In a notice of a hulk called the Christopher of the Tower, a "david" is mentioned, but a davit does not seem to have been meant.
The receipts of the clerk of the George in 1345 show among the payments: To a mariner called a lodsman (pilot), for conducting the ship from Bursledon near Southampton to the Solent, 2s.; for piloting her from the Downs to Sandwich, 6s. 8d.; for twelve glass horologes (? hour-glasses), bought at Sluis in Flanders, 9s.; for three lanterns for the ship, 4d.; for brooms for washing the ship, 3d.; for oars, 8d. each; for four large and long oars called "skulls," 4s. 8d. Five years later the George was apparently one of the vessels to be engaged in the battle of Sluis, and another ship of the same name was taken from the French in that action.
As in earlier times ships, seamen, soldiers, and stores were obtained by impressment, with payment. The right to impress was incidental to the office of admiral, but it was also occasionally given to particular captains. In 1337, an attorney was ordered by Admiral Sir John Roos to fit himself out as a man-at-arms. The lawyer petitioned the king that to obey the order would be to injure his clients and to ruin himself, and Sir John was directed not to insist upon compliance.
The officers of the navy remained as in the previous reign, with the addition of clerks and carpenters. The masters or commanders began to be called captains towards the end of the reign, but it must not be therefore supposed that the rank of "master and commander" then had its origin, or was then conceded the courtesy style of "captain." "Master and commander," as a distinct rank, was an invention of the latter part of the seventeenth century. The clerk represented the purser, or the more modern paymaster. The carpenter was regarded as an important officer, seeing that his pay of 6d. a day was the same as that of the master, the constable, and the clerk. The nearest equivalent to the modern gunner was the armourer, who, however, was not an officer; and there was no boatswain. Large ships carried two carpenters. In 1370 an additional penny a day was granted to seamen, making their pay 4d.
Notices of the magnet are not numerous. The clerk of the George, whose accounts have been already alluded to, spent 6s. for "twelve stones called adamants, called sail-stones," and these no doubt went to form rough compasses of some sort; but the term compass, in the sense of the mariner's compass, does not seem to be anywhere used, though "sailing-needles and dial" are mentioned.
Concerning the cost of freight, we find that in 1370 a sum of £30 6s. was paid for a ship and a crew of thirty-eight men to carry twenty soldiers and sixteen archers from Southampton to Normandy, and that in 1368, when the Duke of Clarence, with 457 men-at-arms and 1280 horses, went from Dover to Calais in thirty-nine ships and thirteen small craft, the expense of transport was £173 6s. 8d.
The ships of Edward III. flew a variety of colours. There was the banner of St. George, sometimes with a "leopard" (the lion of England) in chief. There was the banner of the royal arms, which after 1340 consisted of the three lions of England quartered with the arms of France—Azure semée of fleurs de lys Or. But ships bore also pennoncels or streamers, charged with the arms of St. George, and other streamers, some of which, if the ship happened to be called after a saint or by a Christian name, bore the image of the patron. The streamers of the Edward bore the king's arms, with an E. These streamers were from fourteen to thirty-two ells long, according to the size of the ship, and from three to five cloths in breadth. The admiral of a fleet hoisted his own banner, and when any eminent person was on board, his banner also was flown. In 1337, when Sir John Roos, admiral of the northern seas, convoyed the Bishop of Lincoln and the Earls of Salisbury and Huntingdon from the continent, his ship, the Christopher, was furnished with small banners accordingly. These were one ell and three quarters long, and two cloths wide. Besides the banners, there were targets and pavises placed around the sides of the ship, bearing sometimes the arms of St. George, and sometimes the royal arms within a garter. Ships bearing Christian names seem to have had on board an image of their patron.
In consequence of the deterioration of the navy, the sheriffs of many counties were ordered in October, 1340, to proclaim that no owner of a ship, or other person, should sell or give a ship to any foreigner, upon pain of forfeiting the vessel and his other property. In 1336, and again in 1341 and 1343, the exportation of timber fit for shipbuilding, and of wood and boards, was stringently prohibited.
It was in the reign of Edward III. that the navy first experienced the influence of the invention of gunpowder, and of its application as a propellent to the purposes of warfare. The question of the discovery of gunpowder needs not to be discussed here. It will suffice to say that it appears to have been first used in land warfare in
PRIMITIVE WIRE-WOUND GUN.
Europe about the year 1325 or 1326, when the Florentine Republic certainly possessed cannon; and that in June, 1338, three iron cannon with chambers, and hand-gun, figured among the stores of the Christopher of the Tower; that the barge Mary of the Tower had an iron cannon with two chambers, and brass cannon with one chamber; that the Bernard of the Tower had two iron cannon; and that other cannon existed on board ships of the king. It is probable, though by no means certain, that these weapons were then quite new. Guns, however, were not common in the navy until several years later, and not before about 1373 do entries concerning guns, powder and shot become frequent in naval documents. In the account of John de Sleaford, Clerk of the Privy Wardrobe, of armour, shot, gunpowder, etc., 1372-1374, mention is made of workmen being employed at the Tower in making powder, and "pelottes" of lead for guns; of willow faggots to make, and coal to dry, the powder; of brazen pots and dishes wherein to dry the powder; of leather bags to hold the powder; of iron spoons to make leaden bullets; of moulds for the bullets; of the purchase of pounds of saltpetre; of boatage, portage, and carriage of lead and guns; of "two great guns of iron" bought at 40s. each; and of the purchase of live sulphur. Mention is also made of firing-irons.
The guns with chambers, which were among the earliest guns used on board ship, were, in effect, breechloaders. They were, for the most part, small. In them the after portion of the upper half of the gun was cut away in such a manner that the loaded "chamber" could be dropped into the bore. How it was kept in place does not appear, save that it was supported to some extent by the rear wall of the aperture in which it lay; and, judging from early specimens of these ancient breechloaders that have been preserved, the chambers fitted very loosely, and there must have been great danger to the gunners when they were fired. Yet guns with chambers continued in general, though not exclusive, use for about two centuries, if not for longer, as will be seen later.
Edward's navy was entirely managed by the king and his council; and, as Nicolas points out, it is remarkable that the earliest minutes now extant of the proceedings of the King's Council relate to the navy. The first minute of all contains directions to Sir John Roos, Admiral, and dates from 1337. Matters of detail were left to the admirals, who held Courts of Admiralty within their jurisdictions, administered the ancient marine law, and punished offenders "according to the custom of mariners." Captains of ships, unless they had received explicit authority to do so, were not permitted to punish seamen; but it would appear that the authority was often granted.
The 'Black Book of the Admiralty' contains in Norman French an important treatise on the office and duties of admirals, probably compiled, as Nicolas thinks, prior to 1351, though copied, of course, later, into the collection of documents. It is far too long to be printed here in extenso, but Nicolas's summary of it, made from the MS. Black Book once belonging to Mr. J. W. Croker, may, with some abbreviation, be cited.
An admiral, after receiving his commission, was immediately to appoint his lieutenants, deputies, and other officers, and was to ascertain from them the number of vessels in the ports and the names of their owners, and how many fencible seamen were in the realm. The admiral was to be paid, if a knight, 4s., if a baron, 6s. 8d., and if an earl, 8s 4d., a day. For each knight in his retinue he was allowed 2s., for each armed esquire 1s., for thirty men-at-arms £66 13s. 4d. a quarter, and for each archer 6d. a day. He was to administer justice "according to the law and ancient custom of the sea." Having collected his fleet, the admiral was to choose the best ship for the king, if present, and the next best ship, if necessary, as indicated by the steward of the household, for the king's hall, for the wardrobe, for the larder, and for the kitchen. Good ships were also to be provided for princes who were present. Before choosing a vessel for himself, the admiral was to provide accommodation for the persons and stores of lords and captains about to be embarked. Masters and constables were to be paid 6d., and mariners 3½d. a day, the latter with 6d. a week additional as "reward"; and boys were to receive 2½d. a day. Out of these wages the admiral was entitled to 4d. in every pound and in return he was to carry two lanterns at night at his masthead when at sea, and, if necessary, to sue for the men's pay, and generally to attend to their interests. If the king were in the fleet, the admiral was to approach him every evening to take his orders, and afterwards the ships were to assemble round the admiral that the instructions might be repeated. The royal ship carried by night three large lanterns, arranged triangularly; the admiral carried two, and the vice-admiral one, except on special occasions. But a vice-admiral commanding a station might, while upon it, carry two lanterns. The signal for calling captains and masters on board was the hoisting of a "banner of council" "high in the middle of the mast of his ship."
Prizes taken from the enemy were to be thus divided: one-fourth to the king, one-fourth to the owners of the capturing ships, and, as regards the remaining moiety, two mariner's shares to the admiral if he were present at the capture, and one share if he were not. The passage about prizes leaves off with an "&c." which suggests that some already existing and well-known rule had already been partially cited, and that there was no need to quote it at length. Prizes taken by persons not in the king's pay went, except the admiral's shares, wholly to the captors.
The document goes on to recite "the ordinance how the admiral himself should rule and govern by sea and land in the country of the enemy, if he come there." The ordinance is, in effect, the articles of war of those days.
No man was to touch the holy sacrament upon pain of being drawn and hanged, nor to commit sacrilege or rape upon pain of death. No master was to cross his sail aloft until the admiral had done so, nor was any vessel to anchor before the admiral; and, when at sea, all vessels were to keep as close as possible to the admiral unless otherwise ordered. When a ship discovered an enemy at sea she was to hoist a banner; and if any ship, having been detached, met a strange vessel at sea or in an enemy's port, she was to examine her cargo and inspect her papers; and, should anything suspicious appear, the said vessel and her master were to be taken to the admiral, who was to release her if a friend, and to keep her if an enemy, according to the custom of the sea. Any vessel resisting was to be treated as an enemy, and brought to the admiral, but without being pillaged or damaged. The captors of an enemy's vessel were entitled to the goods and armour on the hatches and upper deck, except the tackle and other things belonging to her equipment, and except also what was exempted by the ancient customs and usages of the sea. No seaman was to be beaten or ill-used, but offenders were to be brought by the captain or master to the admiral, to be dealt with according to the law of the sea.
On arriving in an enemy's port, the admiral was to appoint sufficient force to protect people sent ashore for water and other necessaries. Soldiers and mariners were not to be landed unless they were accompanied by responsible officers, lest they might commit outrages. Search was to be made in ports for thieves who stole ships' gear. He who was convicted by a jury of twelve persons of having stolen an anchor or a boat worth 21d. was to be hanged; a thief who had stolen a buoy-rope fastened to an anchor was to be hanged, no matter the value. For cutting the cable of a ship the penalty was death if loss of life resulted; if no one were killed the offender was to make good damages, and to pay a fine to the king. If unable to do so, and if the owners prosecuted, the culprit was to be hanged. If a sailor were condemned to death for stealing the goods of aliens, the aliens, if not enemies, might have the goods restored upon condition of not insisting upon the execution of the felon. Stealing an oar, or other small thing, was punishable, after conviction by jury, with imprisonment for forty days, and a second offence with imprisonment for half a year; but for the third offence hanging was prescribed. No lieutenant of an admiral could, without special warrant, try matters affecting life and death. If a man, being the beginner of a quarrel, injured another, he was not only to make other amends, but also to pay a fine of £5 to the king, or lose the hand with which he had struck the blow, unless he obtained the grace of the king or of the "High Admiral." Offenders were to be imprisoned by masters or captains, pending the acquaintance of the admiral or his lieutenant with the circumstances. To this end masters were to be assisted by their crews; and anyone refusing aid rendered himself liable to the same punishment as the original offender.
If a ship which had been impressed for the king's service broke the arrest, she was, upon proof being made, to be forfeited. A seaman refusing to serve might be imprisoned for a year, and, upon a second refusal, for two years. Forestalling and regrating were prevented by a provision that merchants, going on board a vessel entering a port to purchase the whole cargo and afterwards selling it at a higher price than the original owners would have demanded, might be punished with imprisonment for half a year, and a fine equal to the value of the goods so purchased. A similar penalty awaited the purchaser-in-gross of corn, fish, and other provisions, within the flood-mark. Goods found at sea, as "flotsam," or at the bottom of the sea, as anchors, were not to be concealed from the admiral, upon penalty of fine to the amount of the value of the goods. Deodands, as valuables found on a man killed or drowned at sea, belonged to the admiral, who was to employ one-half for the benefit of the soul of the deceased, and one-half for the benefit of his immediate relatives, if he had any.
The law regulating the disposal of prizes seems to have been regarded as, in some respects, unsatisfactory; and an inquisition of mariners, held at Queenborough in 1375, for settling doubtful points of marine law, held, with regard to prizes and prisoners captured at sea in time of war, in the absence of the admiral, that, after the admiral had taken his share, the remainder ought to be divided into two parts, one to go to the owners, and one to the captors, but that, "as the master has greater charge, and is of higher rank than any other in the ship," he should have twice as much as any mariner. An ordinance to this effect was apparently issued.
The oath of a juryman of the Court of Admiralty ran:—
A juryman was expected to be discreet; for it was ordered that:—
A long list of matters, into which it was the duty of a juryman of the Court of Admiralty to inquire, renders it impossible to doubt that all causes in that court were invariably tried by jury, and that Blackstone was mistaken in supposing that, anterior to the time of Henry VIII., "man might be there deprived of his life by the opinion of a single judge."
At this period there were usually two admirals at a time in commission, one commanding the fleet of the ports northward and eastward of the Thames (Admiral of the North), and the other, that of the ports northward and westward of the Thames (Admiral of the West). Each had under him a vice-admiral. But thrice, during the reign of Edward III., command of all the fleets was centred in a single person, who thus became in fact, though not by official style, high admiral. These high admirals were Sir John Beauchamp, K.G., appointed July 18th, 1360; Sir Robert Herle, appointed January 26th, 1361; and Sir Ralph Spigurnell, appointed July 7th, 1364. Similar appointments were four times made under Richard II., as follows: Richard, Earl of Arundel, December 10th, 1386; Sir John Roche, May 31st, 1389; Edward, Earl of Rutland, November 29th, 1391; and John, Marquis of Dorset, May 9th, 1398.
An enactment of 1330 directed that, for the passage between Dover and France, no larger sum should be required than the ancient charge of 2s. for every horseman, and 6d. for every one on foot. In connection with this regulation, it should be mentioned that, according to a document communicated to Nicolas by the Rev. Lambert Larkings, a "Fare Ship Company" had, from the time of Edward II., and probably before it, existed at Dover, and that its vessels made passages in regular rotation.
Several centuries later, the raising of money for the support of the navy led to a terrible constitutional crisis, and the downfall of a dynasty. It is interesting, therefore, to note that as early as the reign of Edward III., there was a mild constitutional conflict of a somewhat similar kind. In 1347, the King's Council imposed a tax of 2s. on every sack of wool passing the sea, of 2s. upon every tun of wine, and of 6d. in the pound upon all goods imported, in order that the expense of protecting the realm might be met. This was done without the consent of the Commons, who prayed that the tax might be discontinued. Another petition of the same year, representing that ships had been impressed for the service and lost in it, without compensation being made to their owners, and begging for relief, was not granted. Again, before Edward III. left England for France, in 1359, the dangers with which the trade of the country was threatened induced the Council, with the consent of the English and foreign merchants who were summoned before it, but without the assent of Parliament, to impose a tax of 6d. in the pound on all merchandise imported or exported until the following Michaelmas, so as to maintain a fleet at sea. Indeed, Edward frequently showed himself intolerant of Parliamentary control or interference in naval affairs.
The king granted to the Cinque Ports four ratifications of their ancient privileges. The first, a charter of February 25th, 1327, interpreted the clause in the charter of Edward I. to the effect that every baron should contribute "according to his faculties." The other charters were dated July 1st, 1364, July 18th, 1364, and October 20th, 1366. Some of the
SEAL OF LYME REGIS, XIVTH CENTURY.
(From Nicolas.) seals of the maritime ports, dating from this period, have been held by certain writers to be of value as showing what the ships of the time were like, most of the seals in question bearing representations of vessels; but it seems impossible to attach much serious importance to them. The representations are clearly, for the most part, of an entirely conventional character. A few of them are, however, reproduced.
By the terms of a commercial convention concluded on October 20th, 1353, between England and Portugal for fifty years, it was agreed that if Portuguese ships or
goods were found in any port or place in France that might fall into English hands, they were to be protected and restored to their owners, provided the ships and men were not armed nor aiding the enemy. In that case the goods were to be forfeited, and the people imprisoned. In the event of Portuguese property being in any ship captured from an enemy, it was to be carried to England until the owner should prove his right to it; and English property found by the Portuquese in ships belonging to their enemies was to be correspondingly dealt with. Meanwhile, the fishing-boats of Portagal might enter all the ports of England and Brittany upon paying the usual duties and customs.
Edward III. died on June 21st, 1377, and was succeeded by his
SEAL OF THE BARONS OF DOVER, XIVTH CENTURY.
grandson, Richard II., son, by Joan of Kent, of Edward the Black Prince. The civil history of the navy, during the reign of Richard, is very uneventful; but the period has been illustrated by Chaucer, and is important for the purpose in hand, if only because it has bequeathed to us Chucer's fine picture of the Shipman of the time:—
"A shipman was ther woned fer by west;
For ought I wote he was of Dertmouth;
He rode upon a rouncie as he couthe,
All in a goune of falding to the knee.
A dagger hanging by a las hadde he
About his nekke under his arm adoun;
The hote sommer hadde made his hewe al broun;
And certainly he was a good felaw;
Ful many a draught of win he hadde draw
From Burdeux ward while that the chapmen slepe;
Of nice conscience toke he no kepe.
If that he faught and hadde the higher hand,
By water he sent hem home to every land.
But of his craft, to reken wel his tides,
His stremes, and his strandes, him besides,
His herberwe, his mone, and his lodemanage,
Ther was non swiche from Hull unto Cartage.
Hardy he was, and wise, I undertake;
With many a tempest hedde his herd be shake:
He knew wel alle the havens as they were
From Gotland to the Cape de Finistere,
And every creke in Bretagne and in Saine:
His barge yeleped was the Magdelaine."
At various times during the earlier half of the present century there were recovered from the sand on the western side of the Isle of Walney, at the mouth of Morcambe Bay, a number of old and other naval relics. These have been attributed to the time of Richard II. It may be doubted whether they date back to so remote a period as the end of the fourteenth century; but they are certainly among the most ancient naval relics in existence; and a brief account of them, together with a print of some of them, reproduced from the Nautical Magazine of November, 1844, may fitly find a place here.
No. 2 is a small piece, 2 feet in length, and 2 inches in calibre. It is of wrought iron, formed of bars welded together and hooped, and has two strong rings whereby it may be handled, but neither trunnions nor cascable. Found with it was a cast-iron ball suited to its calibre.Nos. 3 and 4 are pieces of wrought iron without hoops. They are supposed to be "chambers," or movable breech-pieces; which, however, were probably capable, upon occasion, of being fired independently.
One of three other "chambers" discovered, contained a charge of gunpowder, wadded with oakum. Of numerous balls discovered, some were of granite of from 3½ to 6 inches in diameter; one was
ANCIENT GUNS AND SHOT, RECOVERED AT WALNEY.
(Supposed temp. Richard II.)
(Now in the Hydrographic Department, Admiralty.)
of grey sandstone 6 inches in diameter; one was clay ironstone of the same size; one was of hammered iron 5½ inches in diameter; one was of cast iron, 2 inches in diameter;
ANCIENT DIVIDERS OR COMPASSES, PROBABLY DATING FROM THE TIME OF RICHARD II.
(Now preserved in the Hydrographic Office of the Admiralty.)
(The points are not shown.) and two were lead shot, one having a flint pebble, and the other a square piece of hammered iron as the kernel.
With the Walney Island relics which are above described, and which, as has been said, have been attributed to the last years of the fourteenth century, a curious pair of brass dividers or "compasses" was discovered. This instrument, the upper part of which is shown in the annexed sketch, is so contrived as to open when pressure is applied to the bowed parts of the legs, and to close when pressure is applied to the straight parts. The relic is preserved in the Hydrographic Office of the Admiralty. It is interesting as showing the antiquity of a most ingenious and useful device, thanks to which dividers can be opened or closed by a person who has but one hand free for their manipulation.
The abdication of Richard II., in 1399, put an end to the dynasty of the Angevin kings in England.
- 'De Gest. Pont. Ang.' ii. 133.
- Radevicus, i. c. 17 (Hakluyt).
- 'De Gest. Pont. Ang.,' iv. 161.
- Benedict of Peterboro, i. 365-368 (Hearne).
- Bromton, 1060.
- 'Marine Architecture,' i. 328.
- Southey, i. 144.
- Nicolas, i. 104.
- 'Archæologia,' vi. 116, etc.
- Dialogue of the Exchequer, i. c. vi.
- Pipe Rolls, 12 Hen. II., roll 8b.
- Pipe Rolls, 22 Hen. II., roll 13b.
- Ib., 31 Hen. II., roll 14b.
- Bussa, burcia, bucca, bucea.
- Roger of Wendover, ii. 37.
- Vinesauf's account.
- Rich. of Dev., 17.
- Pipe Rolls, 6 Rich. I.
- Peter of Langtoft, i. 270 (Hearne).
- Nicolas, i. 86.
- Hoveden, 373.
- The actual title of admiral was not used thus early in England.
- Dugdale's 'Baronage,' i. 662.
- Matt. Paris gives the Latin text.
- See also Bened. of Peterboro, i, 589.; Bromton, 1174.
- Bromton, 1182; Bened. of Peterboro, ii. 609; Hoveden, 384B.
- Prynne's 'Animadversions,' 108, quoting the 'Black Book of the Admiralty.'
- Bened. of Peterboro, ii. 622; Hoveden, 386B.
- Rymer's 'Fœdera,' i. 53.
- Nicolas, i. 93.
- Printed at length in 'A Genuine Treatise on the Dominion of the Sea,' 4to., and elsewhere.
- In 'Itinerarium Regis Anglorum Richardi et Aliorum in Terram Hierosolymorum' (Gale).
- Ships of Assise (naves de assisâ) are mentioned in the Close Rolls, p. 210. The signification is unknown, but probably the vessels were merely registered or licensed for some special purpose. In one case they are mentioned as being available for those going to the lands of the king's enemies.
- Patent Rolls, pp. 44, 52.
- Ib., p. 52.
- Nicolas, i. 128.
- Issue Rolls, 154.
- Close Rolls, 197.
- Ib., 177.
- Patent Rolls, 7 John, 85, 270.
- Close Rolls, 133.
- Patent Rolls, 9 John, 80, 110, 117.
- Close Rolls, 133.
- Ib., 141.
- Close Rolls, 106.
- Patent Rolls, 62.
- Close Rolls, 210, 270.
- Ib., 238.
- Close Rolls, 197, 203.
- Patent Rolls, 143.
- Close Rolls, 33.
- Patent Rolls, 52.
- Close Rolls, 6 John, 28.
- Norman Rolls, i. 24.
- Rotuli de Liberate, etc., 82 (ed. 1844).
- Mr. M. Oppenheim says: "This office, possibly in its original form of very much earlier date, and only constituted or enlarged in function by John, and now represented in descent by the Secretaryship of the Admiralty, is the oldest administrative employment in connection with the Navy. At first called 'Keeper and Governor' of the King's Ships, later 'Clerk of the King's Ships,' this official held, sometimes really and sometimes nominally, the control of naval organisation until the formation of the Navy Board in 1546. His duties included all those now performed by a multitude of highly placed Admiralty officials. If a man of energy, experience, and capacity, his name stands foremost in the maintenance of the royal fleets during peace and their preparation for war; if as frequently happened, a merchant or subordinate official with no especial knowledge, he might become a mere messenger riding from port to port, seeking runaway sailors, or bargaining for small parcels of naval stores. Occasionally, under such circumstances, his authority was further lessened by the appointment of other persons, usually such as held minor personal offices near the king, as keepers of particular ships. This was a method of giving a small pecuniary reward to such a one, together with the perquisites he might be able to procure from the supply of stores and provisions necessary for the vessel and her crew. In the course of centuries the title changed its form. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the officer is called 'Clerk of Marine Causes,' and 'Clerk of the Navy,' in the seventeenth century, 'Clerk of the Acts.' Pepys was not the last Clerk of the Acts, the functions associated with the office, which were the remains of the larger powers once belonging to the Keeper and Governor, were carried up by him to the higher post of Secretary of the Admiralty." 'History of the Administration of the Royal Navy,' I., 3, 4. The names of William de Wrotham's immediate successors do not appear; but from the beginning of the fifteenth century until the reorganisation in 1546, the following held the office:—William Catton; William Soper (from 1420); Richard Clyvedon (from 1442); and, after an interval, Piers Bowman; Thomas Rogers (appointed 1480, died 1488); William Comersall; Robert Brygandine (from 1495 to 1523); Thomas Jermyn (?); William Gonson (from 1524); Leonard Thoreton (?); Sir Thomas Spert (?); Edmund Water and John Wynter (?). Those officers whose names are queried, either were not appointed in the usual way under letters patent, or may, perhaps, have been only local keepers. The names of the officers appointed to the Navy Board in 1546 will be found in Chapter XIII.
- Lutterel died in 1218.
- Lucy was also at one time Governor of the Channel Islands.
- Close Rolls, 110.
- Rotuli de Præstito, 230.
- Patent Rolls, 5 John, 31.
- Mentioned by Villehardouin, 106.
- Close Rolls, 117.
- Ib., 39, 42, 156, 234, etc.
- Ib., 156.
- Ib., 17 John, 250.
- Rotuli de Præstito, 175; Close Rolls, 103.
- Basins, however, and not docks, may have been meant; and certainly the were no docks in the modern sense of the word.
- Close Rolls, 117.
- Nicolas, i. 140.
- Patent Rolls, 5 John, 51.
- Rotuli de Præstito, 12 John, 227.
- Close Rolls 70E.
- Ib., 106.
- Preface, p. xlv.
- Close Rolls, 39.
- Ib., 69.
- Preface to the Close Rolls, xix.
- Close Rolls, 229.
- Rotuli de Præstito, R. 271.
- Close Rolls, 71, and 15 John, 158.
- Rotuli de Liberate, 3 John, 32.
- Close Rolls, 48.
- Mare Clausum, 401.
- 'Animadversions,' 104.
- Patent Rolls, 16 Henry III., m. 8.
- Among the names of vessels that went to the king at Bordeaux in 1242, are La Hog, Belechere, Plenty, Harriet, Garland, Charity, Pinnock, St. Mary, La Planete, La Esperier, La Blyth, and Demoiselle of Dunwich. Probably these were not king's ships. Garland, or Guardland (it exists in both forms), later became a favourite name in the Royal Navy.
- Patent Rolls, 16 Hen. III., m. 8.
- Close Rolls, 16 Hen. III., m. 16, 17, 25.
- Close Rolls, 10 Hen. III., ii. 50.
- Ib., 26 Hen. III., m. 5.
- Rotuli de Liberate, 11 Hen. III., 2.
- Ib., 12 Hen. III., m. 6.
- Ib., 12 Hen. III., m. 4.
- Rotuli de Liberate, 26 Hen. III., m. 5.
- Nicolas, i. 223.
- Rotuli de Liberate.
- Close Rolls, 26 Hen. III., 1.
- The Roccafortis, the largest of a number of ships furnished to the King of France in 1268 by the Republic of Venice, was 110 feet long over all; 70 feet in length of keel; and 40 feet in width at prow and poop. Her complement of mariners was 110, and her value was 1400 marks. The dimensions are those of a vessel between four and five hundred tons, as measured by the old system—the dimensions, that is, of a 20 or 24-gun ship of the eighteenth century, though the beam of the eighteenth-century ship was less in proportion to her length. The Roccafortis had two covered decks, the orlop being 11½ feet, and what we should call the main deck 6½ feet high. At each end was a "bellatorium" (fore or stern castle), and there were several cabins. The particulars, taken from the original contract, will be found in Jal's 'Archéologie Navale,' ii. 355. There is really no evidence that contemporary English ships were not of nearly equal size.
- Close Rolls, 10 Hen. III., ii. 112.
- Ib., m. 16.
- Rotuli de Liberate, 10 Hen. III., m. 3.
- Ib., 11 Hen. III.
- Rotuli de Liberate, 24 Hen. III., m. 6.
- Ib., 28 Hen. III., m. 19.
- Close Rolls, 22 Hen. III., m. 2.
- Patent Rolls, 26 Hen. III., 2 m. 2.
- Close Rolls, ii. 163.
- Close Rolls, 10 Hen. III., m. 9.
- Ib., 96.
- Ib., ii., 122.
- Ib., ii. 203B.
- Patent Rolls, 48 Hen. III.
- Close Rolls, ii. 65.
- Ib., i. 335.
- Close Rolls, 26 Hen. III., 1 m. 7.
- Patent Rolls, 45 Hen. VIII.
- 'Charters of the Cinque Ports' (Jeakes), 14.
- Rotuli de Liberate, 37 Hen. III., m. 2.
- 'Despatches,' vi. 79. See also 145.
- Admiral Vernon, writing to Secretary Corbett on August 12th, 1745, said:
"Privateers doubtless distress the enemy's trade, and bring an addition of wealth into the kingdom; but, on the other side, they debauch the morals of our seamen in general, by being under no discipline, and encouraging all sorts of licentiousness, by which they grow indifferent to the service of their country, and ready to serve any other with a view of prey to feed their licentiousness, and the flower of our seamen are drawn from the defence of the kingdom and protection of our commerce, when they may stand most in need of it."—MS. in Auth.'s Coll.
- Patent Rolls, 27 Hen. III., m. 16.
- Nicolas, i. 239.
- 'Fœdera,' i. 227.
- Close Rolls, ii. 12.
- Close Rolls, ii. 192B.
- 'Fœdera,' i. 480.
- Said by Nicolas to be in the Tower (in 1847).
- Morlaas, anciently Bencharnum, in Aquitaine. It was worth three-and-a-quarter times the money of Tours, and was current throughout Gascony.
- The esterling was equal to four deniers Tournois, or to the fifty-fifth part of a mark.
- It is doubtless owing to its ancient connection with the rank of a constable that the family of Constable, of Wassand, bears as its crest "a ship with tackle, guns and apparel all Or."
- Roll of the Wages, etc. (10 Edw. I.), in the Carlton Ride Repository.
- Roll of the Purchases, etc. (18 Edw. I.), in the Carlton Ride Repository.
- Wardrobe Accounts, 18 Edw. I.
Fleet of the Cinque Ports Employed in 1299-1300. Name. Master. Constables. Mariners. Hastings Contingent— La Blyth, ship, of Hastings John Moket 1 19 La Bret, of Hastings Gilbert Scot 1 19 Nicholas, of Pevensey John le Mouner 2 39 Snake, of Rye John Kittey 2 39 Godyere, of Rye Robert Michell 2 39 Rose, of Rye Reginald Baudethon 2 39 St. Edward, cog, of Winchelsea Harry at Carte 2 39 St. Mary, cog, of Winchelsea Henry Aubyn 2 39 St. Thomas, cog, of Winchelsea. Thomas de Standamore 2 39 St. Thomas, snake, of Winchelsea John Manekyn 2 39 St. Giles, cog, of Winchelsea Hamond Roberd 2 39 Romenhale (Romney) contingent— Riche, of Romenhale Stephen Unwyne 2 39 Godelyne, of Romenhale William Eadwy 2 39 Hythe contingent— Holy Cross, ship, of Hythe John le Wyse 2 39 La Blyth, of Hythe Thomas le Ridere 1 19 Nicholas, of Hythe William Brunyng 1 19 Waynepayne, of Hythe William de Forindon 1 19 Dover contingent— Cog, of Dover John Lomb 2 39 Godyn, of Dover William Godyn 2 34 St. Edward, ship, of Dover Peter Hanekyn 2 34 Christina, of Dover John le Solton 2 35 Rose, of Dover John Wenstan 2 32 Chivaler, of Dover William Shepeye 2 34 Mabely, of Dover Nicholas Sandrekyn 2 34 Malyne, of Dover Thomas le Ken 2 34 Nicholas of Faversham Roger Willey 2 37 Folkestone, cog, of Folkestone Simon Adam 1 23 Sandwich and Lydd contingent— Sauveye, of Sandwich William Gundy 2 39 Holy Ghost, ship, of Sandwich John Lamberd 2 39 St. Thomas, cog, of Sandwich Gervase de Wardon 2 39
The four "Captains of the Sailors of the said Ports" were: William Pate, Justin Alard, William Charles of Sandwich, and John Aula of Dover.—Wardrobe Accounts, 28 Edw. I.
- Wardrobe Accounts.
- 'Fœdera,' i. 55.
- 'Charters of the Cinque Ports ' (Jeakes), 39-41.
- 'Fœdora,' i. 945.
- Patent Rolls, 30 Edw. I.
- 'Fœdera,' i. 654.
- Coke, Fourth Institute, 143.
- 'Mare Clausum,' ii. 28.
- Dated at Paris, May 20th, 1303. The text is in Rymer's 'Fœdera.'
- Grimaldi, Prince of Monaco, the celebrated seaman who died in 1314.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 40.
- Parl. Rolls, i. 277.
- lb., i. 327.
- Parl. Rolls, i. 406.
- Ib., i. 413.
- Ib., i. 397.
- Ib., i. 239.
- Patent Rolls, 17 Edw. II., in 'Archæologia,' vi. 211.
- Chron. de Guillaume Guiart, viii. (Buchon).
- Issue Roll, Michaelmas, 9 Edw. II.
- Wardrobe Accounts.
- Issue Roll, Easter, 17 Edw. II.
- Scots Rolls.
- Parl. Rolls, i. 414.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 636.
- Ib., 619.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 448.
- 'Charters of the Cinque Ports,' 42.
- The French text runs: "... de siccome il est seigneur de la mer, et la dite roberie fut fait sur la mer dans son poer." The Latin text is: "... et quod ipse est dominus dicti maris, et depradatio prædicta facta fuit supra dictum mare infra potestatum suam."—Patent Rolls, 14 Edw. II; 'Mare Clausum,' ii. 29; and Rymer's 'Fœdera,' ii. 434.
- Patent Rolls, 14 Edw. II., pt. 2, m. 26.
- Spelt both ways in seventeenth and eighteenth-century maps and charts.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 861.
- Patent Rolls, 31 Edw. I., m. 39.
- Ib., 34 Edw. I., m. 21.
- In 1338 the largest "cog" was of 240 tons, while the largest "ship" was of only 180 tons.
- Roll "T. G. 674," at Carlton Ride.
- Chiefly Rolls at Carlton Ride, cited by Nicolas.
- A sail might have two or even three bonnets. The term is used by Chaucer in The Merchant's Second Tale,' i. 868-871:—
Stere onys into the costis as well as thou can;
When our shippis be ycom, that we now pass in fere,
Lace on a bonnet or tweyn, that we may mowe saile nere."
- 'Merchant's Second Tale,' 2199.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 323, 1017.
- Scots Rolls, i. 383, 465, 483.
- Parl. Rolls, ii. 96.
- Issue Rolls, 44 Edw. III., 272-274, 277 (Devon).
- Ib., 183 (Devon).
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 845.
- Roll 'F. L. H. 639,' at Carlton Ride.
- Roll 'E. B. 526,' at Carlton Ride.
- Issue Rolls, 50 Edw. III., 201 (Devon).
- At this period, the addition "of the Tower" to a ship's name seems to have always signified that the vessel belonged to the sovereign.
- Roll 'T. G. 11,096,' at Carlton Ride, printed by Nicolas.
- Roll 'F. L. H. 532,' printed by Nicolas.
- Some are still the property of the Lords of the Admiralty.
- Nicolas, ii. 193, etc.
- The wages of sailors and boys appear to be here overstated by ½d., which may have gone to the admiral, or have been expended in raising the men.—Nicolas.
- Cited by Prynne, from the 'Black Book of the Admiralty.'
- 'Commentaries,' iv. 268.
- Act 4, Edw. III., c. 8.
- Nicolas, ii. 210, note.
- Parl. Rolls, ii. 166.
- Parl. Rolls, ii. 172, 189.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 459.
- 'Charters of the Cinque Ports,' 43-51 (Jeakes).
- 'Canterbury Tales,' Prologue.