Sir Martin Beckman (d. 1702)
With de Gomme, the principal military Engineer in in England. Originally a Swedish artillery officer, he became a captain in the royalist navy. As Engineer-General at Tangier from 1662, he supervised (with de Gomme) the construction of its fortification, and in 1682-4 had sole charge of the demolition of the place. He also designed the fortification of Portsmouth in 1678, and as a hydrographer carried out, with Thomas Phillips, a survey of the English Channel. He was knighted in 1685, when he became Chief Engineer and Master-Gumnner of England. Pepys kept in his library two examples of his work in another though related genre -- his designs fore fireworks displays. (L&M Companion)
Martin Beckman was not a Captain in the Royalist navy, but arrived in England in 1660, trying to obtain his half-brother's place (Diderick Beckman who fortified Oxford and less successfully Malmesbury and Hillsdon House, Bucks.) Martin Beckman was appointed as Engineer for Tangier and designed the initial layout of outlying fortlets as well as a major scheme for the whole city. He was dismissed in 1662 with a promissary note on two Dutch merchants issued by the Earl of Teviot. Teviot, (possibly with together with Sir Bernard de Gomme) had fraudulently claimed costs for re-fortifying Dunkirk, of which he had been governor. Martin Beckman left vowing revenge and went to Spain, offering to betray Tangier in exchange for a Regiment of Foot and a lot of money. His conscience got the better of him and he went home to London to confess all. The two Dutch merchants, keen to stir up trouble, denounced him and was flung into the Tower. He wrote for help to the King of Sweden and by 1663 was placed in charge of the Swedish artillery at Stade (the port for Bremen). He returned to England after the Great Fire and the plague, keen to fight the Dutch - for obvious reasons!
Sir Martin Beckman was a prisoner in Tower in 1663-4. His name occurs twice Bayley's list; once, however, as Bokman. Tower of London no. 624. 4to. 1821.
In the Calendar of State Papers by Mrs. Green, Car II. 1663-4, Dom. Ser. p.170 there is this record: -
Petition of Martin Bokman to the King and Council for a trial. Has been half a year close prisoner in the Tower, through the malice of one person, for discovering the designs of the Spaniards and others against his Majesty, though dismissed from his service; has had his goods and clothes pillaged; often pleaded for justice but might as well have petitioned the stone walls, being an afflicted stranger in a strange country.
BECKMAN, Sir MARTIN (d. 1702), colonel, chief engineer and master gunner of England; Swedish captain of artillery; entered service of Charles II as engineer, 1660; accompanied Lord Sandwich's expedition to Algiers and Tangiers, 1661-2; third engineer of Great Britain, 1670, second engineer, 1681, and chief engineer, 1685; accompanied Prince Rupert to Holland, 1673; on commission for strengthening fortifications of Portsmouth, 1678; major; served with Lord Dartmouth at Tangiers, 1683; knighted, 1685; head of royal laboratory at Woolwich, 1688; served under Major-general Thomas Tollemache in Ireland and France, 1691-4, and was colonel commanding ordnance train for sea expedition, 1692; commanded ordnance trains in expeditions against Gibraltar and France, 1695-6.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.