PhD Forum

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PhD Forum

Editorial history

23/08/12: CSG, created page

Purpose of this page

This page is entry point into the MarineLives online Project Manual, and is a resource for the members of our newly launched PhD Forum, as well as existing project members

Suggested links

Project Goals
Colin's Page

Online Training Activities
Introduction to the High Court of Admiralty

MarineLives Transcription & Editorial Policy: Draft Five
Semantic markup policy: Version One

Terms and Dictionaries

-Geographical and Place Terms
-Marine Terms

C17th Arctic whaling
Virginia tobacco trade in the 1650s

ERC Exeter paper research

Inns, Taverns, and Victualling Houses
Worth more than hee oweth

Useful articles and secondary materials

Creating a wiki Page
Searching the Wiki
Editing a Wiki Page
Inserting and Editing Text
Cropping and Inserting images

Full wiki index

The Shipping News
MarineLives website

PhD Forum members and convenors

Richard Blakemore (University of Exeter)


Research subject: Social history of early modern seafarers, particularly during the seventeenth century. Also interested in questions of vocational identity and authority, popular religion and popular politics in the early modern period, the development of maritime trade, and the history of navigation.

Recently submitted Ph.D. dissertation is a study of London seafarers, maritime tradesmen, and their families during the British civil wars, exploring how, and to what extent, their actions in and experiences of the 1640s were shaped by a shared occupational identity, based upon the cultural stereotype of the ‘seaman’, and what impact the civil wars had upon them as a community

Dr Janet Few (PhD, University of Exeter)

Research subject: C17th and marine history

John Gallagher (University of Cambridge)


Research subject: Interested in histories of language and communication, and in asking how members of different linguistic communities made themselves understood amid the linguistic ferment of the early modern period. My work is interdisciplinary, bringing approaches from linguistics and from the social sciences to bear on historical sources.

PhD dissertation (in progress) provisionally titled 'The linguistic encounters of English speakers in the early modern world, c. 1483-1730'

Jamie LeAnne Hager Goodall (Ohio State University)


Research subject: Piracy in the C16th and C17th

Dr Liam Haydon (University of Manchester)

Research subject: Links between commercial and literary production; Milton

Philip Hnatkovich (Pennsylvania State University)


Research subject: Social history of maritime communities in early modern England and France, with particular interests in maritime industry, production of scientific and technical marine knowledge, and alien communities.

Ph.D. dissertation (in progress) on the multinational system of maritime trade, religious activism, and migration among English and French Channel ports during the Tudor-Stuart era, and its impact on early English colonial projects in the Americas.

Elin Jones (Queen Marys, University of London)


Research subject: Masculinities and Material Culture in the Royal Navy, 1758-1815

Sue Jones (Birkbeck College, University of London)

Research subject: Research into early modern literature about pirates, looking in particular at utopian ideas, space and mobility

Jennifer Oliver (University of Oxford)


Research subject: Ships of state and authorship: exploring national and authorial identity in sixteenth-century France

Katherine Parker (University of Pittsburgh)


Research subject: Creation of geographic knowledge about the Pacific in the eighteenth century, centred on the Royal Navy exploratory expeditions

Dr Cathryn Pearce (Greenwich Maritime Institute)


Research subject: Wrecking and plundering shipwrecks; maritime crime including piracy

Margaret Schotte (University of Princeton)


Research subject: Comparative study of navigational instruction between the late C16th and end of the C18th

Steven Schrum (University of Washington, Saint Louis)


Research subject: Regulation and the Economic Development of England and the Dutch Republic in the 1690s

Laura Seymour (Birkbeck College, University of London)

Research subject: Research deals with the way in which material spaces can contain and convey information, focussing in particular on gesture. See Hungry Work, an article on the Marine Live's project blog - The Shipping News.

Royline Williams-Fontenelle (University of Oklahoma, Norman)


Research subject: Studying how to address the history of West Indian slavery and Technology as co-evolved institutions on the island of Antigua

PhD Forum schedule of activities

W/C 12/11/12

Thursday, November 15th

  • Welcome email to new PhD Forum members

  • Assigned Username and Passwords to new PhD Forum members

  • Creation of Mediawiki accounts for new PhD Forum members, enabling full access to marineLives-Transcript/SCRIPTO

  • Access granted to MarineLives Page Log and Planner for new PhD Forum members

Friday, November 16th

  • Creation of an Occupational analysis worksheet, which is behind the Page Log in the online Google Doc Page Log and Planner. PhD Forum members and associates have access to both documents - any problems, please get in touch with The worksheet is a first cut of an occupational and status analysis, and contains occupational, age, and location data for a subset of HCA 13/71 witnesses. Comments, analytical suggestions, and comparative data are welcomed

Wednesday, November 21st

  • Welcome to Dr Cathryn Pearce, who is joining the PhD Forum. Cathryn is affiliated to the Greenwich Maritime Institute, where she is an honorary research fellow, and will be teaching a course next year on Maritime crime. Her research and teaching interests include piracy and privateering, with a special interest in wrecking and plundering. She has volunteered to pull together transcribed material from HCA 13/71 relating to piracy and privateering, and is interested in making contact with other members of the Forum exploring similar topics. Cathryn is also a MarineLives associate.

Sunday, November 25th

Tuesday, December 4th

Draft briefing notes for online sessions

PhD Forum briefing note: Material culture and language

PhD Forum briefing note: Material culture and language

PhD Forum briefing note: Geography and trade; Commerce and law

PhD Forum briefing note: Geography and trade; Commerce and law

Remarkable resilience of a crew on voyage from Virginia to London

The resilience, courage and luck of some crews plying the Atlantic routes is well illustrated by the following excerpt from the testimony of a twenty-two year old mariner and ship's carpenter from Shadwell. The carpenter, William Welch, had returned to London from Virginia on the King of Poland through terrible winter storms in February 1655(56). The transcription is by Jill Wilcox.[1]

"1. to the 3: 4th 5th and 6th article of the sayd allegation hee saith that
2. the sayd shipp having soe taken in her sayd ladeing of Tobaccoe
3. at Bermudas and Virginia the arlate ffrederick Johnson and company
4. Mariners of the sayd shipp whereof this deponent was one sett sayle
5. with the sayd shipp and her sayd ladeing of Tobaccoe from James
6. River in Virginia ˹from or about the 27th day of˺ the moneth of January 1655 English
7. style bounds for London and saith that upon or about the first
8. day of ffebruary last in the morning the sayd shipp being with her
9. sayd Lading in her course for London and about the latitude of
10. thirty seaven degrees and a halfe and about ninety leagues to the
11. Eastwards of Virginia was surprized with an exceeding great
12. tempest the winds Blowing at west North west or thereabouts
13. with great furie and the sayd tempest continueing for fower or
14. fives dayes togeather the violence thereof drove in great seas into
15. the sayd shipp which raked her both fore and afte and split
16. and staved her longe boate all to peeces and breake the head of
17. her Rudder short off and soe brake the Iron works thereof that the
18. Rudder hung loose and was in continuall danger to bee wholly
19. torne off and carried away from the sayd shipp and the violence of
20. the sayd storme alsoe broke downe of the the waste of the
21. sayd shipp on both sides and brake some of her timbers and the
22. sea ran violently into the sayd shipps hold and ˹other˺ parts of
23. her and amongst her goods and ladeing of her to the great
24. perill of the lives of the sayd shipps company and eminent
25. danger of the losse of the sayd shipp and goods not withstanding
26. the sayd shipps company did use all possible meanes to
27. preserve them selves their sayd shipp and ladeing and did
28. presently after the sayd Rudder heads and Iron worke was broken
29. hange out men in roapes over the sayd shipps sides side (SIC)
30. to worke and fasten the sayd Rudder againe thereby to bring
31. the sayd shipp to her steerage who with great hazards of
32. their lives did fasten the same but the tempest continueing
33. with great furie presently brake the same and soe that
34. untill about fower dayes after the first beginning of the
35. sayd storme the sayd shipps Rudder could not bee fastened
36. soe as to make it continue fast And the Master and company
37. during the sayd storme were forced to pumpe ˹and did pumped˺ by turnes
38. day and night continually at the chayne pumpe of the sayd
39. shipp and use all other meanes possible to preserve the sayd
40. shipp and ladeing and by Gods blessing upon such their
41. labours did with great difficulty preseve her and her ladeing
42. from sinkeing in the sea by meanes of the sayd storme..."

"1. hee the better knoweth being carpenter of the sayd shipp and one
2. of these that hang out in roapes and workes in great perill about
3. fashioning the sayd Rudder and alsoe helped to work at the pumps
4. and sawe the Master ˹and˺ others of the sayd shipps company worke at the
5. sayd pumps And further to these articles hee cannot depose
6. To the 7th article the sayd allegation hee saith that the sayd first
7. storme being under the sayd shipp in her passage from Virginia
8. to London did about the 9th of the sayd moneth of ffebruary meete
9. with an other very violent storme which continued with great furies
10. till about the 12 th of the same moneth and with some abatement
11. of the violence thereof from the sayd 12th till about the 16th of the
12. sayd moneth, by meanes whereof the sayd shipp being very dammified
13. by the former storme the for shee againe receaved much water into
14. her hold other parts of her and amongst her goods, her decks being
15. unavoidably seldom cleere of water not withstanding the master
16. and company of her afore all possible endeavour to prevent all damage
17. that might happen to her and her lading And but the waste and timbers
18. of the sayd shipp were soe broken with the first stormes and the tyme soe
19. short betweene the sayd two stormes that what was mended after
20. the first storme was broken and spoiled againe by violence of
21. the second storme this hee deposeth for the reasons aforesayd..."

- HCA 13/71 f.250r Case: A Busines of Examination of wittnesses on the behalfe of Thomas Allen Anthony Peniston and Company Owners of the shipp the King of Poland whereof ffrederick Johnson is Master) against John Wright Jasper White Perient Trott Thomas Tomlinson John Butts Richard Chandler and George Watermann ("Examined upon an allegation given in and admitted the Eleaventh day of June 1656 on behalfe of the sayd Thomas Allen Anthony Peniston and Company"): Deposition: William Welch of Shadwell in the parish of Stepney and County of Middlesex Mariner Shipwright aged twenty two yeares; Date: ?Between 14 & 17/06/1656

Nascent articles

PhD Forum members are invited to look at the MarineLives project exploration of C17th Arctic whaling, taking Batson and others con Gosling and others (1656 and 1657) as the starting point.

An article is being developed by several team members looking at the social structure of one of the whaling ships mentioned in this case, and the network of commercial and financial contacts supporting it. The project team is at the early stage of exploring the potential for something similar on the Virginia tobacco trade in the 1650s.

PhD Forum members are encouraged to contribute to either of these topics, and to explore the growing corpus of HCA 13/71 transcriptions for themes which might be suitable for further articles. All contributions will be acknowledged.

C17th Arctic whaling
Virginia tobacco trade in the 1650s


The following topics are currently being explored by the MarineLives project team in parallel with transcription work.

Each link will take you to a page which will introduce a topic and list a set of potential references in HCA 13/71, giving the title of the case and deposition, as well as a reference number. Electronic links are being added which will take you directly to the relevant transcription and manuscript image in MarineLives-Transcript/Scripto.

You are invited to explore these themes and to add your own comments and references as you browse HCA 13/71 online. You are also welcome to add your suggestions as to other relevant primary and secondary material, with the focus being on the 1650s.

Bound for Barbary
Brest men of war
Commercial law
Currants and raisins trade
Customs and excise
Dunkirk men of war
English coastal trading
Dutch merchants in London and elsewhere
Female involvement in marine activities
Flemish merchants
French merchants
High Court of Admiralty process
Injury and death
Inns, Taverns, and Victualling Houses
Bad behaviour & Invective
Jewish merchants
London taverns
Market conditions
Maritime incompetence
Materials handling
Merchants accounts
Metals trade
Oranges and lemons trade
Ostend men of war
Privateering and piracy
Portuguese merchants in London
Port trades
Prominent individuals
Salt trade
Seamens' wages
Ship economics
Slave trade
Slavery without redemption
Spanish merchants in London
Swedish and Norwegian merchants
Textile trade
Thames docks and wharves
Thames estuary
Thames lighters
Thames shipyards in 1650s
The Exchange in the City of London
Timber trade
Wine trade


2012-11-16 07:07:31 nbsp Welcome to John Gallagher, University of Cambridge, who is joining the MarineLives PhD Forum. John is a PhD student at Emmanuel College Cambridge, with research interests in language and communication in the Early Modern world --Users/ColinGreenstreet

2012-11-16 10:45:05 nbsp Check out some rough cut occupational and status analysis for the first 65 folios of HCA 13/71. In ff.1r-63v twice as many mariners as merchants deposed as witnesses. See Occupational and social status analysis of witnesses in HCA 13/71

You can look also look at the age data and occupation data for the different occupation and status groups

A full analysis to follow within the next couple of days --Users/ColinGreenstreet

2012-11-16 16:39:35 nbsp There is now an Occupational analysis worksheet, which is behind the Page Log in the online Google Doc Page Log and Planner you all have access to.

You might want to check out the latest version of this occupational analysis sheet. Data are in for f.1r to f.154v (so about 22% of total). There is double counting, which I will strip out by consolidiating individuals and allowing multiple columns to code for status, occupation, and job title. Nevertheless, I am surprised at how old some of the mariners are, and not just the captains, masters and commanders of ships.

The literacy analysis is very incomplete, since I have only currently captured signature vs marke for a relatively small number of the depositions, and someone will have to go back to all the images/transcriptions at the appropriate folio (we know where each deposition finishes, so it is not all 674 folios, and capture all the data onto the Page Log sheet.

Nevethless there is a high degree of basic literacy amongst mariners. Only a relatively small proportion of English mariners (often provincially based), and perhaps a higher portion of marine tradesmen and suppliers (shipwrights, coopers, butchers, watermen, labourers, and quite a high proportion of non-English mariners really having to leave their mark in the sample analysed to date.

You can explore the raw data yourself in the online Page Log. Use the Column J filter in the Page Log to look at signatures and markes, and the Columns K to M filters to look at occupation.

You can explore the sample of analysed data by using column filters for surname (Colimn B), age (Column C), literacy (Column D), occupation and/or status description (Column E), and five levels of location (street and building level, if available: Column G; parish level, if available: Column H; village, town or city: Column I; county or province: Column J; country: Column K). The raw data from which this is coded is reproduced in Column L). The underlying images for any case can be accessed through the URLs for the appropriate deposition in the Page Log.

Does anyone know of comparative data that exist for C16th, C17th and C18th by occupational group with a marine flavour, inclduing port trades? We will later be able to look at basic literacy rates for captains/masters/commanders vs other officers vs non-officers --Users/ColinGreenstreet

2012-11-17 13:55:26 nbsp Verbal and physical violence are a feature of a fair number of depositions. But it is rare for a ship to be lost as a result. But this was the allegation made by the gunner of the Fortune, who observed:

"the sayd Braining the Master without any provocation given him fell in furious manner upon the Boatswayn of the sayd shipp and with a stick or Cudgell knockt him on the head and wounded him very sore, to the endangereing of his life so as he became unable to give any assistance when the shipp was in danger"

See the new theme Violence and add your own contributions and comments. --Users/ColinGreenstreet

2012-11-19 14:34:55 nbsp I don't know if this is the best place to post this - it links to occupational and social status, I couldn't find a comment option there (showing the extent of my computer expertise...) but I can offer some comparative comments from my own research.

Vincent Patarino, in an article on 'religious shipboard culture', published in Fury, ed., The social history of English seamen (2012) ( has some figures across the seventeenth century, sampled from five files (HCA 1/9, 1/101, 13/64, 13/97 and 12/142), showing 37% of sailors and 63% of officers signing in 1603-30s, 93.6% of officers and 76.2% of sailors in 1650s-70s. In my own research, I have figures from the 1640s (HCA 13/56-61), pertaining only to London seafarers. 62-79% of these mariners, 87-94% of commanding officers, and 64-76% of other officers were signing their names (these represent the range of percentages from individual volumes). Literacy in London was probably higher than average, given the figures in David Cressy, Literacy and the social order (1980).

On age, I too was surprised to see how old a number of seafarers were, but I suspect this reflects the tendency for older and more experienced seafarers and officers to appear as deponents. From the same volumes, for London seafarers, only 40 per cent of deponents were under thirty; but over half of the sample were officers of some kind. This compares with a survey of London seafarers from 1629 in the state papers (SP 16/135, fos 111r-27v), in which only one third were officers and 56 per cent of all in the survey were under thirty. Unsurprisingly, the HCA are not a perfect census, although it does seem they are not actually that far out.

I think this raises two interesting points - firstly, how useful the HCA papers are for recovering details about early modern seafarers; and secondly, how careful we have to be about legal sources and whether they are truly representative. --Users/richardblakemore
  1. HCA 13/71 f.249v; HCA 13/71 f.250r