Tyger's Head Books

Posts Tagged ‘pirates’

News from Exeter and Plymouth

In Devon on May 15 at 6:52 pm

15 May 1643 (Mon) || From Excester and Plymouth in Devonshire they write, that the Earle of Stamford is marched out of their County into Cornwall, with 8. or 9000 foote and 1500. horse, and that he intendeth to divide his army into two bodies, whereof the one part is to besiege the Towne of Launceston in Cornwall, which the Cavaliers had fortified for their shelter, and with the other part to pursue Sir Ralph Hopton and his Cavaliers, either totally to suppresse and apprehend them, or else to drive them out of Cornwall, if they can tell whither to fly to escape his hands.

And from Plymouth more particularly they write, that a ship of theirs hath taken a Dunkerke Frigot, which was going to Ireland, and is laden with Armes, Carbines, Pistols, Gunpowder, Wines, Crucifixes, and such like trash, and some Ordnance, whereof one peece was 400. weight, which Frigot the seizer hath brought safe into Plimouth. || William Ingler – Certaine Informations (P)

Earl of Warwick sends ships to guard the North East and Cornwall

In Cornwall, North East on April 12 at 6:30 pm

12 Apr 1643 (Wed) || The Earle of Warwick, in his care and vigilancy for the good and welfare of this kingdome, hath sent foure lusty ships to the Northwards to guard Tinmouth-Haven and the Easterne coastes, against the Importation of forraigne forces and supplies, and they are gone thither in good time, for it is credibly written from Dunkerke in Flaunders, that there is gone from thence the last weeke, a Frigot laden with many hundred of armes and other hostile provisions for Newcastle.

And the said Earle hath also sent five great ships to guard Falmouth Haven, and not without needed, fot the Pyrats there have lately taken a westcountry ship comming from Bilbo in Biscay, either to Dartmouth or Plymouth, and carried her into Falmouth to make prize of her, because she had not the Kings warrant of compliance for her Protection, to safeguard her selfe, men, and goods. || William Ingler – Certaine Informations (P)

Parliament reportedly gives merchant ships a blanket licence to privateer

In London on March 19 at 12:06 pm

Sunday 19 Mar 1642/3 || This day it was advertised by Letters from London, that there is an Ordinance set out for inabling all Merchants Ships to goe forth to Sea, and seize on all provisions from what Ports soever, which are either going to the reliefe of the Rebels in Ireland, or for support of the Kings Army in England; whereof as being lawfull prizes, the Owner of each Ship is to have one third part, the Marriners another, and the third to be accompted for to the two Houses of Parliament. Which Ordinance having been long since made in the House of Commons, had hitherto beene stopped by the Upper House; and had not passed there now, but that an opportunity was taken when some Lords were absent, who before opposed it; and being passed now, if it proceed to execution, will fill the Seas so full of Pirates, that under pretence of intercepting such provisions as are intended for those uses, they will in conclusion destroy all trade. And it was certified withall that they were put upon this course, because the Kings Navy (which was first designed for this imployment) is not like to be made ready in convenient time, as well for want of money to set out the same, as that the Marriners thereunto belonging are very backward in this service; and that such other Water-men as they used before, doe either conceale themselves when they are inquired for, or absolutely refuse to goe, though pressed unto it. || John Berkenhead/Peter Heylyn – Mercurius Aulicus (R)

Naval news from Newcastle and Exeter

In Devon, North East on December 27 at 8:17 pm

27 Dec 1642 (Tue) || From Newcastle it is certified, that a 1000 men are come thither out of Holland, and that they intend to add more Forces to them, and make another Army, and that they are rigging of Merchants ships there, to make a Fleet to put forth to sea against the Parliaments Shps, but here are now foure great ships made ready to lie before Tinmouth Haven to stop their designe, and to keep all forreigne supplies from accesse to that malignant inlet. ||

Captaine Nutt heretofore a Pyrat, with 20 men seized upon an Excester ship lying in that River, that had ten peeces of Ordnance, and 20. Barrels of Gunpowder in her; when they came aboard, the Master and his Saylors being about 9. or 10. in number, were gone on shore, and had left onely two boyes to keepe her; but they¹ perceiving what was done, made with speed to their ship, and, in a submisse way, told them that they were come to fetch their Apparrell, and desired they might take them and then they would resigne the Ship to them; which (being granted) the Mariners went under the Deck, making shew as if they were searching for their clothes; but getting their Armes in their hand they boldly came up to them, apprehended them, and threw them all overboard, onely they saved the Captaines life, and brought him to Excester where he is now in safe custody to undergoe the punishment of his roving. || Stephen Bowtell – England’s Memorable Accidents

¹ i.e. the absent crew

Pirates repelled off the English east coast

In Military News, Norfolk on November 20 at 6:05 pm

Sunday 20 Nov 1642 || The Dunkirke Frigotes thinking to surprize divers of the Hollanders Herring busses comming from [Great] Yarmouth, were by their convoy of men of war, shrewdly beaten, so that they will hardly come abroad any more this Winter into these seas. From Yarmouth it is certified that the Mary Rose, a good stout Ship of theirs at Sea, bound from France homeward, was set upon by two Pyrats men of War, with whom after a long and desperate cruel fight, Mary Rose sunke one of them and layd the other aboard, which was found to be when they had taken her an ArgierVessell¹ laden with Ammunition, most of her men being Irish, and bound for Berehaven.² ||

Out of Norfolke Letters testifie, that the Yarmouth men have had a fight at Sea with some Dunkirk Frigotes that would not come in to them, nor strike their tops, they had a conflict for very neere two houres, and at last, two of them being very nimble vessels, tack’d about, and got away before the wind, the other being shot thorow and thorow, they boarded and tooke, and found in her much ammunition bound for Ireland to assist the Rebels about Wexford. || reports collated by John Johnson – The English Intelligencer

¹ “Argier” was Algiers. Like Dunkirk, it was at that time a centre of piracy.
Berehaven harbour, on the west coast of Ireland, in Co. Cork.

Delayed naval news

In Foreign News, Military News on November 11 at 4:49 pm

11 Nov 1642 (Fri – late news held from 10 Nov) || It was for certained informed by Letters that there are many shippes made ready at Flushin, with Ammunicion, men, and other provisions for warre, intended as is supposed to bee sent to his Majesty to assist him in this unnaturall warre against the Parliament. || A Continuation of Certain Speciall and Remarkable Passages

We spied a Fleet of Dunkerks coming from the Southward, suspecting Colonel Goring and others to be therein, but the swiftnesse of their small vessels out-sailed our Fleet. || The Daily Proceedings of His Majesties Fleet on the Narrow Seas

A report from the Parliament-controlled fleet

In Foreign News, Military News on November 6 at 7:30 pm

Sunday 6 Nov 1642 || We weighed anchor out of Plymouth Sound, and came neare the Isle of Silly, and on the same day we came into the Sound again, where we found one of the King of France his Dragons, being such a ship as one of His Majesties Whelps, having with her two small Barks, the one he had relieved out of the hands of the Dunkerks;¹ the captaine of the ship went aboard our Admirall, but stayed not long, but was discharged, he told our Vice-Admirall that 12. saile of Dutch, and 14. sail of French which lay about our coast, waiting for purchase. || The Daily Proceedings of His Majesties Fleet on the Narrow Seas²

¹ Pirates; many were based in the port of Dunkirk and harrassed shipping in the North Sea and English Channel (the “Narrow Seas”).
² At this very early stage in the war there was no question of removing the King or the monarchy, thus the fleet was still considered “His Majesties”, despite most of it being controlled by the Parliament in the King’s absence. Current thinking was that the King was, in the main, being misled by a coterie of disruptive counsellors, and was widely supported by “malignants” working to destroy church and state; it was not until much later that the King himself was seriously called into question, and eventually executed. Confusingly, “King and Parliament” was a frequent Parliamentarian refrain, broadly reflecting the idea that the  two worked in tandem, and must continue to do so, despite “malignants” attempting to disrupt the partnership.