The following sections of this guide provide more detailed help on how to locate document references. No formal service records for individual mariners were created in the medieval period so any information you find on individual maritime personnel will usually be very limited in detail. The majority of records in which maritime personnel are mentioned only name the master of the ship and record the number but not the names of other crew members. To find evidence of naval service to the Crown you may have to consult a large number of different record series. Use the advice in the table below to search the record series most likely to contain information about individuals.
A Sailor's Dictionary
Calendars of Patent Rolls — Litter arum Patentium in Turri Londonensi asservati , — Consult The Cely papers: selections from the correspondence and memoranda of the Cely family, merchants of the staple, A. Records of ships from this period include records of the requisition of vessels over a certain tonnage in ports across England; orders to impress or release certain named vessels; evidence of shipping capacity in ports; inventories of equipment on royal ships; the accounts of royal officials handling payment of wages and expenses and other records.
The record series below cannot be searched by keyword in our catalogue so follow the search advice in the table to locate documents:. These are primarily seals for the municipal and royal officials of port towns as well as seals for the office of admiralty. The National Archives holds a rich collection of seals and advice on searching for them is in our guide on seals.
Orders may also have been sent to local officials in maritime counties and ports to assist in the seizure of ships or to gather supplies for shipment. Find information in the rolls from these years onwards by following these steps:. Step 2 : From the calendar entry referenced by the index, note the year and the membrane.
Where there is more than one roll covering a single year, the documents will be divided into parts and so where applicable the correct part in which the entry falls needs to be noted from the calendars. Step 3 : Use the C 54 series search or the C 66 series search to search by year or year range and if applicable by part. Dates will need converting from regnal years to calendar years. C R Cheney and Michael Jones available in the second floor reading room or online converter tools. Step 4 : From the search results, using the appropriate C 54 or C 66 references, request the roll referred to in the calendar.
Other record series contain material on maritime activity in specific areas of English control, such as:.
William IV (1765-1837)
Records of expenditure relating to maritime operations, logistics and service for royal expeditions, towns or garrisons may include information on:. The following series of Pipe Rolls, chronologically arranged, are not keyword searchable in the catalogue so follow the search advice in the table to locate documents. Accounting for a wide range of expenditure, they include details of royal expenditure on the construction, supply, maintenance and raising of ships. Many local county archives, particularly those in counties with a strong tradition of shipping and seafaring, hold records of:.
The British Library holds illuminated manuscripts with imagery of ships, sailors and naval warfare as well as a small proportion of administrative records such as some wardrobe accounts. You can also find letters, manuscripts and original research notes on archival sources amongst their collections.
You may therefore find our Latin and palaeography tutorials useful.
Michael Oppenheim. Below is a glossary of nautical terms for items of ship equipment and apparatus found in medieval records held at The National Archives.
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Bowsprit — a spar jutting from the front of a vessel used for ropes to secure the mast and sail to the front of the vessel. Pavis — shield or board fixed along the sides and sometimes the forecastle and poop deck of a vessel. Sounding line — A weighted line with distances marked off at regular intervals, used to measure the depth of water under a boat. Stroppes — Portions of rope spliced in a circle and put rough a block used for fitting tackle to a rope or amongst the mast and rigging.
For quick pointers Tuesday to Saturday to Discovery is a catalogue of archival records across the UK and beyond, from which you can search 32 million records. Patented textile pattern by Christopher Dresser.
An Important Life Lesson we can Learn from Sailors
All content is available under the Open Government Licence v3. Skip to Main Content. Search our website Search our records. How to look for records of Medieval maritime personnel and ships How can I view the records covered in this guide? View online How many are online? None Some All. Order copies We can either copy our records onto paper or deliver them to you digitally. Visit us in Kew Visit us in Kew to see original documents or view online records for free.
Pay for research Consider paying for research. Contents 1. Why use this guide? The navy in the medieval period 3. What kinds of records does The National Archives hold? Online records 5. How to search for and view original records 6. Maritime personnel 7. Records of vessels in English ports and in Crown ownership 8. The first of these read,. The attorney General then continued to outline the case.. He described the events at Ascot and mentioned that witnesses would be called to give verification. His initial address to the court was lengthy and in the course of which he mentioned,.
All law and justice was administered in his name. There was clear intention on the part of the prisoner to do serious harm to His Majesty— If his hat had not cushioned the blow to some extent it might have been fatal. It would be clearly shown that Collins intended to harm the Monarch. Various witnesses were next called who gave evidence about the events as they witnessed them on the day at Ascot Racecourse. One witness deposed that he was in the Royal Box and saw the stone fly past and hit the King on the forehead. He said he saw the arm come up in the crowd and throw yet another stone into the royal box which did not hit anybody.
He then produced this stone and showed it to the court. The one that struck the King was a smooth flint stone about the size of a potato.
The distance was about twenty yards. When the King finally arose, he had a mark on his forehead. A third stone was found upon the defendant. Another witness, one of those who had apprehended and subdued Collins, gave evidence that he heard him remark that he did not care if he was hung or shot, also that he had gotten a shilling while begging the day before and had spent it on beer on the day in question.
A statement made by Collins when first taken before the magistrates, and described as a confession in the court, was read out. In this, he had clearly admitted to the act of throwing the stone which struck the King and that he had gathered the three stones from an area behind the Royal Box.
The attorney General asked that the law take its full course. The defence counsels did not question any of the witnesses nor did they call any witnesses to give evidence on behalf of Dennis Collins, however, Mr. Swadey made a lengthy address to the Jury in which he stressed repeatedly the wretchedness of the condition of his client. The facts of him being homeless, hungry and penniless had clearly left him in a temporarily deranged state.
He did not call upon the jury to come to the conclusion that his unfortunate client was mad, rather, he did call upon them to arrive at this conclusion; that the prisoner, at the time he committed this act, laboured under an aberration of mind so as not to be capable of controlling his own actions. When Mr. Carrington arose to make an address to the jury, the prosecution objected on the grounds that it was not customary for a second counsel to make an address in circumstances where no witnesses had been called for the defence.
The defending counsels cited precedence in various cases in the past and Mr. Carrington was then given leave to proceed. His address covered much the same points as that of his colleague, Mr. He also stressed the point that he had consumed a shillingsworth of drink and had had no food for some time.
Who but a deranged person would commit such an act in full view of the public, knowing that there would be no possibility of escape and the certainty of apprehension with all of the possible consequences? Dennis was told by one of the Judges that he might address the Jury. He nevertheless decided to proceed with an address. The Times report stated—. The incoherency of his remarks and the unexampled rapidity with which they were delivered, prevent our giving more than an outline of their import.
He had gone to the Admiralty and to the Royal Palace in his efforts to have his pension restored, to no avail.
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He concluded by stating that he was sorry for what he had done and hoped that His Majesty would have mercy on him. The Attorney General once again rose to address the court. He rebutted several aspects of the argument made by the defence counsels, notably the plea of diminished responsibility. He said that there was no proof that this was the case and to merely plead insanity having taken an amount of drink and having endured whatever hardships was not a valid defence in law.
If it were so, it would allow every criminal or disaffected person who committed serious crimes to avoid the consequences of their actions. During his summing up, Judge Bosanquet remarked that the act alone did not constitute this crime; Merely the intention to commit it would be sufficient. No evidence had been called to show that Collins was deranged. The jury must decide if he knew what he was doing.
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