Annotations and comments

Jon has posted 22 annotations/comments since 31 May 2017.

The most recent first…


Second Reading

About Friday 16 June 1665

Jon  •  Link

Excerpt this day from the Journals of Sir Thomas Allin edited by R C Anderson

Allin is aboard his new command, the "Old James", at Chatham awaiting repair.

"We had a council of war aboard the Earl of Sandwich touching nobody to give leave to go to London nor suffer any women to come aboard for fear of bringing the plague."

The possibility of contagion aboard a ship of the fleet was a very serious concern, although the new rules did not seem to apply to the admirals and worthies.

About Thursday 8 June 1665

Jon  •  Link

I am surprised that Coventry is with the fleet. As secretary to the admiralty I would have thought his skills were better used ashore overseeing the logistics of victuals and ordnance. It does suggest that his role was more akin to that of the Duke of York's private secretary.
It also suggests that there was considerable confidence in Pepys and his team to oversee the logistics.

About Sunday 30 April 1665

Jon  •  Link

Journal of the Earl of Sandwich. Edited by R C Anderson
Excerpt from the entry for Sunday 30th April 1665

Council of War aboard the Standard. It does not say exactly who were there other than the Duke, but that Prince Rupert and Sir George Ayscue were not present.

" The Duke did propose to consideration what attempt could be made upon the Dutch fleet as they rode at the Texel, which thing had been hinted from Sir George Downing (the envoy in Holland) and by Prince Rupert and myself, but both the enterprise and the circumstance of the Duke's person commanding the fleet make it of very great weight to determine, and therefore was left with us to ruminate further upon."

About Wednesday 1 February 1664/65

Jon  •  Link

I have come to the conclusion that the Bay of Bulls is what we now know as the greater Bay of Cadiz.
Reading the journals of Sir Thomas Allin, he indicates that while at anchor in the Bay of Bulls they had seen 8 ships sail by at night into Cadiz (20th Dec 1664).
He also says that they came to anchor in the Bay of Bulls and prepared to go into Cadiz (also 20th Dec 1664)
(Information taken from the Journals of Sir Thomas Allin edited by RC Anderson).

Allin does writes of the Bay of Cadiz but I think he is referring to the secondary bay that forms Cadiz Harbour itself.
The greater Bay of Cadiz is the only geographical feature on the South East coast of Spain that I would truly describe as a bay.

About Saturday 14 January 1664/65

Jon  •  Link

To add a bit more detail to Pedro's post:
Allin's fleet was sailing on a continually rainy night of very poor visibility, under the mis-apprehension they where much further South. At least one of the fleet had seen a light, close to Gibraltar, and mistaken it for the light on the flagship and sailed towards it. A NE wind blew up and at first light the fleet discovered themselves on a lee shore. It was a sandy bay on the eastern side of Gibraltar.
Allin comments "Of so many ancient masters and officers never was such an oversight committed."
The Nonsuch and Phoenix were sunk but the Portsmouth and Bonaventure were saved although not without damage to the Bonaventure. Their predicament was helped by a change in wind direction to a westerly which helped Allin and the rest of the fleet get off shore.
After describing some huge effort to save the ships, Allin says of his men "Never had men used more diligence to bring our designs to good effect, but what more can we say? The will of the Almighty must be submitted to. My heart is much afflicted, but still trust in the Lord for a blessing after this chastising."
Allin then comments in his journal that he will likely have to foreshorten his duty in the straights due to the extra men taken onboard and the loss of provisions on the two sunken ships. He makes no mention of any loss of life.
A summary taken from 2nd Dec 1664, The Journal of Sir Thomas Allin edited by R C Anderson

About Saturday 31 December 1664

Jon  •  Link

"My father and mother marryed at Newington, in Surry, Oct, 15, 1626"
? A slip for Newington Green, Mdx. (L&M note)

Newington in Surrey, now absorbed into South London, was about 1 mile from London Bridge on the South side of the Thames. It is remembered as an area now known as Newington Butts.

It was closer (than Newington Green in North London) to Fleet Street so I see no reason to doubt that Samuel's parents married there.

About Sunday 4 December 1664

Jon  •  Link

"... This day I hear the Duke of York is come to town, though expected last night, as I observed, but by what hindrance stopped I can not tell."

Journal of the Earl of Sandwich edited by R.C. Anderson.
December. 4th. Sunday. "The Duke and Prince went for London."
Like SDS, I believe that this is a two day journey given winter daylight hours, horse welfare and food stops. The use of the past tense by the Earl of Sandwich does allow for the possibility that they left the day before but even so, the earliest they could make London would be Sunday evening.

About Sunday 27 November 1664

Jon  •  Link

Meanwhile, at the fleet in the Solent......
My summary of the Journal of the Earl of Sandwich

Nov 11th HRH goes aboard the fleet. At night divided the fleet into squadrons.
Nov 25th HRH removed into the Royal Charles.
Nov 27th The whole fleet set sail with the wind N.E., a hard gale. The fleet consisted of 41 ships, men of war.

They sail toward Cape Hague and Alderney. There is no stated reason for this excursion so its probably to keep the fleet alert and practised and for HRH to see first hand the readiness of his fleet.

About Monday 24 October 1664

Jon  •  Link

The fleet currently lie at Spithead, in the Solent, but within easy reach (rowing) of Portsmouth. The Dutch fleet would have to approach from the South East, and given good visibility, could be seen from about six miles away. If a suitable look-out was placed the fleet could have an even earlier warning. I think the English fleet would have time to scatter or form into a battle formation.

The River Medina at Cowes soon narrows and would be difficult to attack but because of a tide that runs at up to 4kts across the mouth of the river, the ships would not be able to get out at all states of the tide. Also, getting crew and officers to or from the mainland entails at least a 4 mile row or sail across potentially strong tides. By laying up the fleet on the River Medina at Cowes, the Prince would be effectively mothballing the fleet for the winter and probably saving on manpower costs.

About Sunday 23 October 1664

Jon  •  Link

Samuel records no comment about Cooper's relationship with Sandwich. Since Cooper was removed as master at Holmes' instigation, Sam must have an interest in how Cooper and Sandwich are getting along.
Sandwich's journal gives no clues as it merely records how Cooper and Sandwich exchange astronomical observations. Cooper may have kept his "fuddling" to the confines of his cabin and Sandwich may have restricted his gambling with the officers to low stakes only.
They have been aboard the London for about three months now. Time enough to observe the other's frailties I think.

About Tuesday 18 October 1664

Jon  •  Link

Pollarded trees were inferior to naturally grown timbers and mostly rejected for navy boat building purposes. In 1698 the "Act for the increase and preservation of timber in the New Forest" was introduced to prevent the pollarding of Oak and Beech trees in the New Forest and so improve the available supply of suitable timber for the navy.
Sir W Batten as Surveyor to the Navy would be well aware of this problem as is now the Duke by way of Lord Barkely.
For "except" I think you could substitute the word "exclude".
So, it sounds as though the Duke is testing Pepys's knowledge and/or Sir W Warren's intentions.

About Monday 17 October 1664

Jon  •  Link

SDS says "I suspect Charles II, James, Duke of York and the Privy Council will meet with them to discuss what to do now the Dutch are having fun unopposed off the Guinea coast. The weather is about to turn nasty, so they just may wait until next Spring, guarding all the new ships and training their new impressed seamen."

J D Davies in "Pepys's Navy: Ships, Men and Warfare 1649-89" says "The three-deck First and Second rates were intended for summer operations alone, and for relatively short cruises in home waters." ".....they were not designed or intended to withstand winter weather,....."
This must have restricted the options available to Charles and James, so I can imagine that sitting tight and making preparations for the Spring was a reasonable choice for them at this point.

About Thursday 13 October 1664

Jon  •  Link

The Navy White Book has an entry for yesterday 12th Oct 1664, where Samuel is communicating with Sir W Warren about a price dispute. It's likely this is when Sir W Warren helps him to the use of a very fine mare for today's journey.

About Monday 10 October 1664

Jon  •  Link

Journal of the Earl of Sandwich

10th October. Spithead

"Monday. At 7 o'clock at night Sir John Lawson in the Resolution and Capt. Berkeley in the Bristol came to an anchor with us and came aboard. ........"

Sir John Lawson returns from Tangier via Cadiz bringing important information about the movement of de Ruyter's fleet towards Guinea.
Sandwich makes no mention of this in his journal. Did Sir John Lawson not share the information with him? This information undermines the very reason for Sandwich's fleet to be there; in order to blockade the channel against a Dutch fleet sailing to Guinea.
There seems to be no recognition at this point that the Dutch have out-manoeuvred them and are about to re-take control of some Guinea locations.

About Tuesday 27 September 1664

Jon  •  Link

Journal of Sir Thomas Allin
27th Sept - Cadiz

".....we sat to consult our departure and considering by all circumstances that de Ruyter's fleet was gone to Guinea we desired Sir John Lawson to write the same to his Royal Highness and send it by express to my Lord Fanshaw for him to send it forward, writing the same to him, that de Ruyter had taken 300 butts of wine and beverage, great quantity of oil, bread and flesh, and pretended that he was gone to make peace at Salee."

So they guessed what de Ruyter was up to but felt unwilling or unable to react without further instructions from HRH.

About Thursday 6 October 1664

Jon  •  Link

"Prince Rupert has fallen into Lee Road"

I think "fallen in" is the military expression meaning "to take your place in the ranks".
Translation: Prince Rupert has taken his place amongst the fleet at Leigh Roads.

About Thursday 6 October 1664

Jon  •  Link

"Prince Rupert has fallen into Lee Road."

Just West of Southend-on-Sea is Leigh-on-Sea. The areas close to the Leigh Channel leading into Leigh and Benfleet Creek are described on Admiralty charts as suitable for "small ship anchorage" and would be a good place for sheltering a ship or fleet with quick access to the Thames estuary; about 30nm to clear Margate and North Foreland. The ship would be anchored close enough to Leigh (about 2nm) for regular communication with London.
I have no information about the Prince's movements prior to this day so this location is only a suggestion.

About Wednesday 24 August 1664

Jon  •  Link

Sandwich's salty talk.
Sandwich is sailing East up the channel between Fairlight (near Hastings) and Dungeness, a low lying headland. About noon the tide turns against him (East to West) so his ship can make no further progress and is likely to be swept back to the West so they drop anchor and wait for the tide to turn.
As he is thwart Dungeness he takes the opportunity to go ashore. It's a desolate spot so it was unlikely to be a social visit other than perhaps to talk to the lighthouse keeper. After 6 o'clock the tide would start to turn in their favour so they could continue their Eastwards progress. It seems Sandwich will talk to anyone who might have further intelligence.

About Saturday 20 August 1664

Jon  •  Link

My reading of Sandwich's Diary
Sandwich is currently about 9 mile SE of Beachy Head, the prominent headland by Eastbourne. So, he is making his way West along the Channel and is about 45-50 miles West of the Calais-Dover axis.
This would suggest that the packet delivered to him is intended for him specifically and contains some information about Dutch movements or intentions.
He then meets up with Vice Admiral Allen, to exchange information. Following the meeting he sends a packet to London, possibly forwarding the information about the Dutch and probably indicating his own and Allen's intentions in light of the new information. By this time Sandwich is now only 6 miles off Beachy Head which indicates very slow progress.