John Anderson, a seventeen year old ship’s boy from Elsenore (the palace town of the King of Denmark), had something to report in court. He was deposed on Monday 17th April, 1656, as a witness to a misdemeanour, while his ship remained moored in the River Thames.
Anderson’s witness statement survives in a leather bound volume of the London High Court of Admiralty (HCA 13/71) for the period 1656-1657. Written by a clerk, and deposed by a proctor before the right worshipfull Doctor John Godolphin, Anderson’s statement records “the misdemeanour of some of the company of the shipp the dutches of Courland, aboard the said shipp”.
The previous day, a Sunday, had been a bad day for him and the other boy left in charge of their ship, while the rest of the ship’s company were ashore.
TNA, HCA 13/71 f. 153r
1. The 17th of Aprill 1656.
2.Touching the misdemeanour of)
3. some of the company of the shipp the dutches)
4. of Courland, aboard the said shipp)
5. John Anderson of Elsenore one of the boyes of and
6. belonging to the shipp the dutches of po Cureland.
7. (John Brand Master) aged seaventeene yeares or thereabouts
8. sworne in Court saith as followeth.
10. That yesterday (the 16th of this instant Aprill) about five of the
11. clock in the afternoone certaine of the said shipps compány, namely
12. Peter Christianson the boatswaine, and his brother who was Steward of
13. the said Shipp, Sivert the Cooke of the shipp, Christofer the boatswaines
14. mate, and Cornelius the Carpenters mate, accompanied with Richard
15. Cowey a Brewer at the bird in hand at Poplar, William Every an
16. Ale house keeper at the White Lyon and Crowne in Poplar, George
17. huggers a Waterman and another whose name hee hath not learned,
18. came aboard the said shipp (lying at Blackwall) in the said huggers his
19. wherry, and this deponent being aboard, demanded what they came
20. for, and what they would have, and they asking him what was that
21. to him, went downe into hold, and fell to breaking open the beef
22. barrells, and brake open two of them, and tooke out and carried away
23. two or three peeces of beef, and rummaged the vessell up and downe
24. and tooke away alsoe some pease and beanes, and some biscuites, and
25. brought foure fish out of the hold and carried one of them alsoe
26. away; and this deponent (who with another of the boyes named George
27. Winger being all of the company that were aboard) endeavouring to
28. prevent them and hinder them from carrying the said provisions away,
29. the said boatswaine catcht hold of him and threatened to throwe him
30. overboard, and said severall of them said that they had order from the
31. Judge of the Court and from the Master soe to doe; which this deponent
32. not beleeving leapt into the boate to them as they were going off,
33. and there againe the boatswaine laid hold on him, and said hee should
34. not goe ashore with them, and that unlesse hee returned aboard, the
35. said boatswaine would heave him overboard; howbeit this deponent
36. continued in the boate and would and did goe ashore with them to
37. see what they did with the said plundred provisions; and followed them
38. said Cooke and Carpenters mate to the house aforesaid of the said Corey
39. being a victualling house, and shortly the rest of them came thither
40. alsoe, and thither they carried the said provisions soe taken away of this
41. deponents sight and knowledge.
42. IA MARK, RH SIDE, UNDER MAIN TEXT The marke of John Anderson
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