Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Bastiaen Centen

Frank Fox says that rumour said that Bastiaen Centen (or Senten) was an expatriat Scot. In any case, he served with distinction from the First Anglo-Dutch War until he was killed at the Battle of Lowestoft. Apparently, his ship in the First Anglo-Dutch War was the Haes. Possibly, this was the Haes in 't Veld (30 guns), which had been commanded by Leendert den Haen at the Battle of Plymouth.

Bastiaen Centen was present at the Battle of Dungeness, and after the battle, captured the English hired ship, the Hercules (34 guns), which had been sailing independently.

At the Battle of Lowestoft, Bastiaen Centen commanded the East Indiaman, Oranje (76 guns). Thanks to Artitec, the Dutch model makers, we know the Oranje's dimensions:

Length: 170 feet
Width (beam):  38 feet
Hold ("hol en koebrug,
overloop en verdek"): 14 feet
I suspect the depth of hold would be 18 feet, measured from the keel to the underside of the main deck.

At the Battle of Lowestoft, Bastiaen Centen fought gallantly to support his fleet commander against the Duke of York, whose flagship was the Royal Charles (78 guns). There is a Van de Velde drawing, on page 118 and 119 of Frank Fox's book that shows the bow of the Oranje, engaging an unidentified English ship.

After the Dutch flagship, Eendracht (73 guns), blew up, Bastiaen Centen attacked the Royal Charles. Eventually, the great East Indiaman was overcome and captured. The Oranje was so badly damaged, the English burnt the ship, after taking off the survivors, including a badly wounded Captain Centen. The Duke of York was saddened when the gallant Centen died a half hour after being captured. He had hoped that such a brave man would survive.

  1. J. C. Mollema, "Honor Roll"
  2. Frank Fox, A Distant Storm: the Four Days Battle of 1666
  3. website:
  4. J.E. Elias, Schetsen uit de Geschiedenis van Ons Zeewezen
  5. various volumes of The First Dutch War (Navy Records Society)

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