William Castell

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William Castell
Person William Castell
First name William
Middle name(s)
Last name Castell
Spouse of
Widow of
Occupation Shipwright
Secondary shorebased occupation
Mariner occupation
Associated with ship(s)
Training Not apprentice
Is apprentice of
Was apprentice of
Had apprentice(s)
Citizen Unknown
Literacy Signature
Has opening text William Castle
Has signoff text Wm. Castell
Signoff image (Invalid transcription image)
Language skills English language
Has interpreter
Birth street
Birth parish
Birth town
Birth county
Birth province
Birth country
Res street Redriffe Wall
Res parish Saint Mary Magdalen
Res town Bermondsey
Res county Surrey
Res province
Res country England
Birth year 1629
Marriage year
Death year 1681
Probate date April 29, 1696
First deposition age 31
Primary sources
Act book start page(s)
Personal answer start page(s)
Allegation start page(s)
Interrogatories page(s)
Deposition start page(s) HCA 13/73 f.671r Annotate
Chancery start page(s)
Letter start page(s)
Miscellaneous start page(s)
Act book date(s)
Personal answer date(s)
Allegation date(s)
Interrogatories date(s)
Deposition date(s) Dec 19 1660
How complete is this biography?
Has infobox completed No
Has synthesis completed No
Has HCA evidence completed No
Has source comment completed No
Ship classification
Type of ship Shore based trade
Silver Ship litigation in 1650s
Role in Silver Ship litigation None

Biographical synthesis

William Castell (alt. Wm. Castell; William Castel; William Castle; ?William Castall) (b. ca. 1629; m. (1) ?, ? (2) 1663, Martha Batten; d. July 1681).

Shipwright of Redriffe Wall in the parish of Saint Mary Magdalen Bermondsey, Surrey.

A widower by the age of 34, he married, presumably as a second marriage, Martha Batten, daughter of Surveyor of the Navy, William Batten, and his first wife, Margaret Browne, in 1663.[1]

Reportedly the brother of Robert Castell, also a shipwright.

There appears to have been an older William Castle (alt. Castell; Castel) (b. ?; m. Margarett [d. 1635]; d. 1649), also a shipwright of Redriff, who may have been the father (or uncle) of the younger William and William's putative brother Robert Castell.[2] The date of William Castell senior's death is recorded in antiquarian records from the mid-C19th as 1649, with the surname spelled with a double "l". This source states it draws on Stow, since in 1841 the memorial stones were already near unreadable. In the electronic edition of Strype (1720), however, the surname is spelled with a single "l".[3] There is a marriage recorded in the parish records of Saint Mary Magdalene Bermondsey for a "William Castell and Elizabeth Smith" on July 12th 1636, which could conceivable be a second marriage of William Castell senior.[4] It could also conceivably be the first marriage of William Castell (b. ca. 1629), though this is less likely.

A further William Castell is recorded as buried in linen in the parish of Saint Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, on April 22nd 1696.[5] This burial date matches a probate record dated April 29th, 1696, for a William Castell, shipwright of Saint Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey.[6] The will of this William Castell, written in March 1694/95, but proven in 1696, identifies his wife as Susanna Castell, to whom he bequeathes his one eighth share in the "Lights at Harwich". It identifies William's uncle as Mr Robert Castell, his mother as Mrs Elizabeth Clapp, his brother-in-law as Mr John Helling, and his brother as John Castell, who was appointed sole executor of the will.

Evidence from High Court of Admiralty


A High Court of Admiralty case concerning the shipment of 500 loads of timber from Norfolk for delivery to "Mr William Castle of Redriffe a shipwright dwelling there".[7]

Also in 1655, specifically on August 1st 1655, John Wyer, a shipwright of Saint Mary Magdalen Bermondsey, deposed "on the behalfe of William Castle". He stated that "upon Wednesday the 18th day of July last past about tenn of the clock in the fore noone of the same day this deponent and John Groome, Henry Berry and Joseph Graves Shipwrights were put aboard and in quiet and peaceable possession of the shipp the Greyhound (lying against Redriff Staires) by Mr William Castle and by him ordered to keepe the possession thereof to his use".[8]


Thirty-one year old William Castell was deposed in the High Court of Admiralty on December 19th, 1660. He gave evidence in the case of the Anne and Margaret.[9]

The case concerned the shipp the Anne and Margaret, which had been built in 1655 by William Castell at the commission of Charles Sanders, the ship's subsequent master. From contractual agreement between Sanders and Castell in February 1655 to the ship's launch in July of the same year, the ship took approximately five months to complete. Castle charged Sanders £1220 for the ship's hull and masts. Sanders had the ship rigged, fitted and furnished by other suppliers, at a cost, Castell believed, of a further £1200.[10]

We know from the earlier deposition on October 28th, 1658, of Richard Pigg, former cooper of the ship, that the ship was "of the burthen of 160 tonns or thereabouts, and carried 18 gunns, and 29 men" at the time of her capture by the warship the Gelderland in 1657.[11]

Comment on sources


ADM 106/333/332 Navy Board: Records. IN-LETTERS. Miscellaneous. Abraham Greaves, Jonas Shish, Captain Richard Potter, Deptford. Captain Castle and one of the other merchant Shipwrights say they were told they would receive an additional allowance but this is not true. 21 June 1678

ADM 106/333/304 Navy Board: Records. IN-LETTERS. Miscellaneous. Francis Barham, John Greaves, Abraham Greaves, Richard Boys, John Longe, Mark Croney, Company of Shipwrights. Report of 3rd Rates being built at Henry Johnson's and Robert Castell's shipyards at Blackwall and Deptford. 26 June 1678

ADM 106/333/308 Francis Barham, John Greaves, Richard Boys, John Longe, Mark Croney, John Yarwood, Jonas Shish junior, Company of Shipwrights, Shipwrights Hall. Report of 3rd Rates being built at Henry Johnson's and Robert Castell's [this could be the same as Captain Castle?] shipyards. 1678 Sept 20

ADM 106/336/437 Thomas Lewsley, Purveyor. Asks for a warrant for Deptford to receive goods from Captain Castle, Robert Castle, Abraham Graves, Richard Wood and George Body for the 30 new ships. 1678 Jan 23"


PROB 11/431/171 Will of William Castell, Shipwright of Saint Mary Magdalene Bermondsey, Surrey 29 April 1696


PROB 11/447/176 Will of Robert Castell, Shipwright of Deptford, Kent 20 August 1698


'Castles Shipbuilding: Castles History Project', web resource[12]
  1. Joseph Lemuel Chester, (ed.), Allegations for Marriage Licences Issued from the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury at London, 1543 to 1869, vol. 2 (London, 1886), p.71, accessed 06/01/2018; 'William Batten', Wikipedia entry, accessed 06/01/2018; 'Castles Shipbuilding: Castles History Project', web resource, accessed 06/01/2018
  2. G.W. Phillips, The History and Antiquities of the Parish of Bermondsey (London, 1841), p.73]
  3. Strype, Survey of London (1720), [online (hriOnline, Sheffield): 'Bridge Ward without, Bermondsey Benefactions. The Parish Church of St. MARY MAGDALEN Bermondsey. These are the MONUMENTS in this Church; there being no Remainders of old ones. South Isle. p.26], accessed 06/01/2018
  4. Ancestry.com, Online facsimile records of Parish records of Saint Mary Magdalene Bermondsey, 1603-1642, p.224, accessed 06/01/2018
  5. Parish records of Saint Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, 1678-1725, facsimile, Ancestry online, accessed 06/01/2018
  6. PROB 11/431/171 Will of William Castell, Shipwright of Saint Mary Magdalene Bermondsey, Surrey 29 April 1696, available from Ancestry online, accessed 06/01/2018
  7. HCA 13/127 f.47r
  8. HCA 13/70 f.351r
  9. HCA 13/73 f.671r
  10. HCA 13/73 f.671v
  11. HCA 13/72 f.640r; HCA 13/72 f.641r
  12. 'Castles Shipbuilding: Castles History Project', web resource, accessed 06/01/2018