Thursday, September 30, 2004

Hendrick van Tol

There is really not very much information available to me about Hendrick Tol, except in Brandt's biography of De Ruyter published in 1687. Hendrick van Tol served in the Second and Third Anglo-Dutch Wars, and perhaps, in the War of the English Succession. There was at least SOME Hendrick Tol who commanded a ship at that time. This is an outline of Hendrick Tol's commands:

  • Duivenvoorde, date 8/1665, 52 guns, crew: 176 sailors+38marines and 27 soldiers, Amsterdam Admiralty, built in 1655, dimensions: 140ft x 32ft x 13.5ft
  • Huis te Cruijningen, date 1671, 60guns, crew 240 sailors+50 soldiers, Amsterdam Admiralty, built 1653, dimensions: 140ft x 34ft x 13.5ft
  • Komeetstar, date 5/1672, 70guns crew 270 sailors+70 soldiers, Amsterdam Admiralty, built 1665, dimensions: 152.5ft x 38.5ft x 15ft

  • Komeetstar, date 7/1672, 70 guns, crew 288 sailors+18 soldiers, Amsterdam Admiralty, built 1665, dimensions: 152.5ft x 38.5ft x 15ft
  • Beemster, date 1688, 50 guns, crew 200 men, Amsterdam Admiralty, built 1686, dimensions: 138ft x 36ft x 14.5ft
  • Captain Tol in the First Anglo-Dutch War

    There is really not very much information available to me about Hendrick Tol, who served in the First Anglo-Dutch War. Here is on piece of what I have:

    Captain Tol
    On November 10, 1653, Captain Tol's ship, the Moerian, was listed as having been lost in the
    storm on October 29, 30, and 31, 1653. There is a notation that half the men
    were saved. [1DW6, p.175]

  • Ship: Moorin
  • date 1653
  • 28 guns
  • Amsterdam Directors
  • dimensions: 125ft x 29ft x 12.75ft
  • guns: 10-12pdr, 8-8pdr, 8-6pdr, and 2-3pdr

    I am now convinced that this cannot be Hendrick Tol, as he served too late into the 17th Century for him to be the same man.

  • Tuesday, September 28, 2004

    Witte de With's flagship of 1636 must have been gone before 1652

    Rotterdam built Witte de With a strong, new flagship in 1636: the Maecht van Dordrecht. Her dimensions in Maas feet were 130ft x 32ft x 13.5ft. This translates to 142ft x 35ft x 14ft-8in in Amsterdam feet. Her armament in 1642 was 46 guns. I believe that the lower tier had 10-24pdr and 14-18pdr. The upper tier had 16-12pdr, so the waist must not have been armed. The quarterdeck was probably 6-6pdr. Vreugdenhil had assumed that she had survived until 1665, but she was not even around in 1652. We can be pretty certain of that.

    Goodies from the March 1653 list of Dutch ships

    I want to make an effort to see if we can find a list that corresponds to the March 1653 list in Geschiedenis van het Nederlandsche Zeewezen. There is no guarantee that it survived past the mid-19th Century, sadly. There are some valuable nuggets to be found there: Rotterdam ships:
    • Brederode, 54 guns crew 200 sailors and 50 soldiers
    • Gelderland, 40 guns crew 110 sailors and 30 soldiers
    • Prinses Louise, 36 guns crew 124 sailors and 46 soldiers
    • Gulden Dolphijn, 32 guns crew 95 sailors and 30 soldiers
    • Gorkum, 30 guns crew 95 sailors and 30 soldiers
    • Rotterdam, 30 guns crew 80 sailors and 20 soldiers
    • Gelderland, 24 guns crew 80 sailors and 20 soldiers
    • Overijssel, 22 guns crew 80 sailors and 20 soldiers
    • Utrecht, 22 guns crew 80 sailors and 20 soldiers

    Amsterdam ships:

    • yacht Brak, 18 guns crew 70 sailors and 15 soldiers
    • yacht Windhond, 18 guns crew 70 sailors and 15 soldiers

    Zeeland ships:

    • Hollandia, 36 guns crew 116 men
    • Gekroonde Liefde, 24 guns crew 85 men
    • yacht Dordrecht, 70 guns
    • yacht Gloeyenden Oven, 14 guns crew 40 sailors

    Monday, September 27, 2004

    I wonder if the Overijssel's armament in 1666 is anything like she carried in 1652?

    The Overijssel was a fairly new ship in 1652, having been completed in 1650. Her dimensions were 114ft x 28ft x 11ft. I would guess that she measured at about 170 lasts. In 1666, she carried 6-12pdr and 12-8pdr on the lower tier, 12-6pdr on the upper tier (presumably with an unarmed waist), and 4-2pdr "voor de hut". Her crew in 1666 was intended to be 120 sailors and 20 soldiers, although she only had 110 sailors at the Four Days Battle.
    In 1652-1653, the Overijssel carried 28 guns and had a crew of 100 men. The dimensions listed by Dr. Weber differ from those in Vreugdenhil's list, which were 112ft x 28ft x 11ft. I suspect that the guns listed in 1666 differ wildly from those carried in 1652, but it is hard to know. The only place where we might have seen what was carried, the "Staet van Orlogh te Water" for the year 1654 doesn't list an armament.

    Saturday, September 25, 2004

    The smallest ships from the Dutch First Anglo-Dutch War building program

    I don't understand the rationale for this, but both the Noorderkwartier and Amsterdam built smaller ships for part of their contribution to the two-30-ship building programs. Examples built by the Noorderkwartier were 130ft x 32ft x 12ft. Two of these were the Caleb (built in 1654 at Hoorn) and the Jupiter (built in 1653). An example of a small Amsterdam ship was the Dom van Utrecht (built at Amsterdam in 1654). Her dimensions were 130ft x 32ft x 13ft. The Zeeland ships built to the 130ft charter tended to be larger: 130ft x 34ft x 13-1/2ft. The Zeeland Dordrecht and Kampveere were built to these dimensions.

    Thursday, September 23, 2004

    Dutch Captain Pieter Salomonszoon

    Pieter Salomonszoon commanded a ship belonging to the Amsterdam Chamber of the VOC at the Battle of Plymouth. Here are some of the notes that I took about him during the First Anglo-Dutch War:

  • Pieter Salomonsen was a late arrival from the Texel, to join De Ruyter's fleet, probably in July, 1652 [1DW6], p.157
  • Listed as being part of De Ruyter's fleet, the ship de Vrede, with 40 guns and 200 men, noted as being fitted out by the Amsterdam Chamber for the VOC [1DW2], p.147
  • On November 2, 1653, Admiral Wassenaer reported that Pieter Salomonszoon's ship, belonging to the Amsterdam Admiralty, was lying off the Texel with other ships (after the big storm). [1DW6, p.160]

    This is my translation and editing of what is in Mollema's "Honor Roll":

    Pieter Salomonszoon He lived until 12 June 1666. He served the Admiralty of the Amsterdam. As captain of the VOC, he was brought into the navy in 1652. He was made a captain in 1654. In 1665, he became a temporary Schout-bij-Nacht (Rear-Admiral).

  • In 1652, he commanded the "Vrede" (40 guns) under De Ruyter at Plymouth.
  • He fought at the Battle of the Kentish Knock and Dungeness.
  • In 1653, he fought at the Battle of Portland and Scheveningen.
  • In 1657/58, he served under De Ruyter in the Mediterranean Sea and on the Portuguese coast, in the "Fazant" (28 guns).
  • In 1659, he was engaged in convoying near the Sound and served there under De Ruyter.
  • In 1665, he commanded the "Campen" (54 guns) at Lowstoft.
  • In 1666, he commanded the "Liefde" (66 guns) at the Four Days Battle, where he was killed.

  • Wednesday, September 22, 2004

    Estimating the Dutch dimensions for the English fireship Fortune

    The English used a captured Dutch ship, the Fortune, as a fireship at the Four Days Battle in 1666. Her English dimensions were: 94ft x 28ft x 12ft-6in. Using my system, we would estimate the Dutch dimensions:
    • Length: English 94ft x 1.33 = 125ft Dutch
    • Beam: English 28ft x 1.13 = 31-1/2ft Dutch
    • Depth (Dutch Hold): English 12ft-6in x 1.07 = 13-1/2ft Dutch

    Those are the dimensions of a typical First Anglo-Dutch War hired ship such as those used by the Dutch as a 28 or 30 gun warship.

    It is surprising that I don't have a document from April 1653 that shows the St. Matheeus that was captured

    I have documents that show most Amsterdam Directors' ships that were in use in 1652 and 1653. The only ship that seems to be missing is the Sint Matheeus that was captured by the English at the Battle of the Gabbard. I do have a number of documents that show the "other" Sint Matheeus, the one that was not captured. She was a somewhat smaller vessel.

    The captured ship was called the Matthias in English service. The only reason we know some of her dimensions is because Dr. Weber published them in his book about the Four Days Battle. They were: 144ft x 36ft, with an unknown depth in hold (in Amsterdam feet). Her dimensions as measured by the English are well known. They were: 108ft x 32ft x 15ft. The length is that on the keel and the beam is that outside the planking. The Dutch dimensions are the length from stem to sternpost and the beam is that inside the planking. The English and Dutch depths also differ. The English depth is from the keel to the underside of the deck planking on the main deck, at the center. The Dutch "hold" is measured to where the deck meets the side, from the keel.

    My "system" for converting between Dutch and English dimensions only "sort of works". I use factors derived from example ships where we know both the English and Dutch dimensions. You need to be perpared to round liberally, as well.


    • Converting English LK to Dutch L: 1.33
    • Converting English B to Dutch B: 1.13

    Depths are a problem, because unlike the other dimensions, there seems to be no consistency. Even with length and beam, we can find examples that fail this system. Still, it is a way to estimate Dutch dimensions where we only have English dimensions preserved.

    In some cases, English D to Dutch D (Hold) works with 0.92 as a factor. Sadly, there are other cases where 1.07 works. In the case of the Clovetree (ex-Nagelboom), the depth conversion factor is something like 1.18. In other cases, a figure in between these works. The problem seems to be with the English measurements. The Dutch dimensions are generally "well known". In the case of Dr. Weber's book, however, there are so many typographical errors that one needs to be cautious. For example, the Dutch beam for the Ruiter van Gelder (VOC) is shown to be 29ft while the English beam is 35ft. If you multiply the English beam by the factor 1.12, you get a Dutch beam of 39ft, which is reasonable. That would mean that the 29ft is a typo, and should be 39ft.

    The effect of political leadership on navies is easily ignored

    The Restoration navy benefitted greatly from having Charles II and the Duke of York (eventually James II) as the national leadership. After 1688, the English suffered from having William III as King, as he was focused on military matters, as had the French leadership during the entire time from 1660 on. The French were admittedly of two minds. A tremendous investment was made in their navy, but it was always secondary to the military. The French had many of the great generals of the day: Prince Conde, Turenne, and Vauban. Louis XIV also took an interest in generalship, under the tutelage of Vauban.

    Contrast that with the Duke of York's service as an admiral (originally under the guidance of William Penn), and you see the difference between the two countries. At times, the French could outbuild the English, but when it came down to a choice between the military and the French navy, the military won.

    The embrace of commerce raiding over fleet actions at the end of the 17th Century and the beginning of the 18th left the French unable to contend for mastery at sea. The ships had been built and armed where the mastery could have been achieved. They had a taste of what could be done at Beachy Head, but then backed off. The French downfall at Barfleur and La Hogue was politically driven, from the highest level. They also had a technically adroit admiral in Tourville, but had someone without the judgment and tactical flair that might have won the day. The man who could have won was dead. In any case, he had been a Huguenot, and the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 would have meant that he would not have been allowed to help, in any case.

    In Britain, under William III and Mary II and then during Queen Anne's reign, the navy came under the grip of unimaginative bureaucrats who could enforce rules, and liked order, but didn't understand naval affairs. The establishments effectively shut down innovation in warship design, and the navy was not reinvigorated until Anson, Hawke, and others came along. New ship types were created, such as the 74 and frigates. The links to the mid-17th Century ships were gradually severed, so that the three-decked 80 could be discarded, with more progressive designs.

    Tuesday, September 21, 2004

    The Providence and Expedition: precursors to frigates

    The Providence and Expedition were built about the same time as the Sovereign of the Seas. They completed circa 1637, and had frigate proportions, although they were not originally classed as such. Their dimensions were:
    • 90ft x 27ft-4in x 11ft (this was after girdling from the original 26ft beam)

    I have seen lists that gave slightly different dimensions for each ship., at least as originally built.

    The armament for the Providence at the Four Days Battle known. Apparently, she had a mixed armament on the lower tier: 6-culverins (18pdr) and 14-demi-culverins (9pdr). There was not a complete upper tier, as the waist was not armed. She had a uniform armament of 14-sakers (5-1/4pdr) divided between the forecastle and quarterdeck. The Van de Velde drawing of the Expedition has too few ports for this armament. There seem to be 18 guns on the lower tier and 4 forward and 8 aft on the upper tier. There were also two guns on the poop, for a total of 32 guns.

    Monday, September 20, 2004

    I keep hoping to find the dimensions for the Rotterdam frigate Vrede

    I keep wondering if the Rotterdam ship Vrede built circa 1654, was a small frigate or a member of the class of ships built to the 130ft charter. At the Battle of Lowestoft, the Vrede was commanded by Laurens van Heemskerck. She carried 40 guns but only a crew of 156, not the 200-some crew carried by a 130ft ship. She was not present for the Four Days Battle in 1666, but was at the St. James's Day Battle, where she only carried 34 guns and had a crew of 118 men. She was commanded by Juriaan Juriaanszoon Poel. At the famous raid on Chatham in 1667, she was commanded by the heroic Jan van Brakel. In the raid, she carried 40 guns and had a crew consisting of 110 sailors and 25 soldiers. I wondered if this Vrede was the ship reduced to a fireship and which burnt the Royal James (100 guns) at the Battle of Solebay.

    Saturday, September 18, 2004

    The Amsterdam ship Hollandia at the Four Days Battle

    Apparently, the Hollandia (built in 1665), which served as Cornelis Tromp's flagship at the Four Days Battle, was armed as if it were a three-decker. The waist was unarmed, however, so she didn't have three full tiers. her real dimensions seem to have been 165ft x 41-3/4ft x 15-1/4ft. Her crew was intended to be 400 sailors and 50 soldiers. She was armed as follows:
    • Lower tier: 10-brass 24pdr, 18-iron 18pdr
    • Middle tier: 28-brass 12pdr
    • Upper tier: 20-brass 6pdr (under the quarterdeck and forecastle)
    • Quarterdeck: 4-brass 6pdr

    Friday, September 17, 2004

    A 170 last ship

    A ship measured at 170 lasts is probably something with dimensions similar to 116ft x 27ft x 11ft. If we use a factor of about 200, then lasts = length x beam x depth computes to 170 lasts = 116ft x 27ft x 11ft / 202.7. In reality, 200 is a good factor, and we just need to round generously.
    The Dutch seemed to like certain ship lengths, such as 112ft, 116ft, 118ft, 120ft, 125ft, 128ft, 130ft, 132ft, and so on.
    For example, the Zeeland ship West Cappelle (which we know was 112ft long) was measured at 150 lasts. That would mean dimensions something like 112ft x 26ft x 10.5ft, if we still round generously.
    This is my system for estimating ship dimensions, where we only know lasts, or lasts and a length.

    The Rotterdam ship Dolphijn in 1629

    This is another Rotterdam ship listed in the "Staet van Oorlogh te Water" for the year 1629. The Dolphijn, built in 1623, was commanded by Wilboort Leendertszoon, of Den Briel. The ship was 170 lasts in size, and had a crew of 85 sailors. Her armament was:
    • 2-brass half-cartouwen, 24pdr
    • 2-brass chambered 24pdr
    • 2-brass 12pdr ("veltstucken")
    • 8-iron 8pdr
    • 4-iron 6pdr
    • 2-iron 5pdr
    • 2-iron 4pdr
    • 5-steenstukken with 10 chambers

    This is the sort of ship that took part in the attack on the Spanish silver fleet with Piet Hein, in 1629.

    Anglo-Dutch Wars blog is at 151 pages of text and pictures

    I have been collecting the text and pictures for Anglo-Dutch Wars blog, since its inception in November 2003, and have a Word document that is now 151 pages long. I will be doing the same for my other blogs and websites. I'm not sure if these might see publication in some edited form, but given the volume of work, that is a possibility.

    Wednesday, September 15, 2004

    Tromp's proposed building program

    In late 1652, Lt-Admiral Tromp proposed building 30 large ships to better match the English navy. The smallest of the ships would have been comparable to the Vrijheid, built by Amstedam in 1651, and then the rest were to be larger. The three charters would have been:
    • 150ft x 38ft x 15ft (8ft between decks)
    • 140ft x 36ft x 14-1/2ft
    • 134ft x 34ft x 14ft

    This is Tromp's proposal by admiralty:

    • Rotterdam: 1-150ft, 2-140ft, 2-134ft
    • Amsterdam: 2-150ft, 4-140ft, 4-134ft
    • Zeeland: 1-150ft, 2-140ft, 2-134ft
    • Noorderkwartier: 1-150ft, 2-140ft, 2-134ft
    • Friesland: 1-150ft, 2-140ft, 2-134ft

    Totals: 6-150ft, 12-140ft, and 12-134ft

    The definitive plan finally agreed to included the following ships:


    • 150ft x 38ft x 15ft (8ft between decks)
    • 136ft x 34ft x 14ft (7-1/2ft between decks)
    • 130ft x 32ft x 13-1/2ft (7ft between decks)

    This is the plan by admiralty:

    • Rotterdam: 1-150ft, 4-130ft
    • Amsterdam: 4-136ft, 6-130ft
    • Zeeland: 2-136ft, 3-130ft
    • Noorderkwartier: 2-136ft, 3-130ft
    • Friesland: 2-136ft, 3-130ft

    Total: 1-150ft, 10-136ft, 19-130ft

    This plan was ultimately modified, with the effect of increasing the ship slightly.

    As the war continued to go badly, another 30 ships were to be built, giving a 60-ship building program. I will cover the details later.

    Tuesday, September 14, 2004

    Good stuff, although not 17th Century

    R.C. Anderson published a list of the Royal Navy in 1590-1591 in the 1957 Mariner's Mirror. The really interesting thing about this list is that it gives data about ships build in the mid-16th Century.
    One thing he does is suggest that the Bull, rebuilt in 1570, retained her proportions from when she was originally built as one of Henry VIII's "galleasses". Her dimensions were given as: 80ft LK x 22ft x 11ft. Her rake forward was 28ft and the rake aft was 4ft-2in, so her length from stem to sternpost was about 112ft-2in. That gives a length to beam ratio of about 5:1.
    I'm not prepared to reproduce the entire list here, right now, but there are things like the original dimensions for the Triumph, White Bear, and Elizabeth Jonas, as built and as they served in the Armada campaign.

    Monday, September 13, 2004

    Dutch guns

    By 1654, the emerging standard for Dutch guns was to use 36pdr, 24pdr, 18pdr, 12pdr, 8pdr, 6pdr, 4-pdr, and 3pdr. In the 1630's it was not unusual to see other calibers: 15pdr, 10pdr, and 5pdr guns. Dr. Elias published inventories (numbers only) of Amsterdam guns in use in 1615/16, 1629, 1635, and 1654. They only showed a few 10pdr in use from 1635 to 1654, whiile brass 5pdr were limited to 1635. There large numbers of iron 5pdrs in use up through 1635 (and later, just not in 1654).
    In 1666, however, Rotterdam still used some brass 15pdrs. The Gorcum or Gorinchem carried 2-brass 15pdr (which I believe were chambered). The Hof van Zeeland (Zeeland) carried some iron and brass 5pdrs, still. The Tholen (Zeeland) carried 2-brass 14pdr, the Kampveere (Zeeland) had some brass 5-pdr, and the frigate Zeelandia (Zeeland) also had some brass 5pdr.

    Sunday, September 12, 2004

    How big was a 500 last ship in 1630?

    At least one Dutch ship in service in 1630 or 1631 was 500 lasts. I would almost guess that it was of East Indiaman proportions, perhaps 160ft long. that would be something like 160ft x 36ft x 18ft. If you generously rounded the figure, and slightly adjusted the factor, that would be "500 lasts".

    Saturday, September 11, 2004

    Two smaller Noorderkwartier ships

    The Noorderkwartier was also building ships to a smaller charter having a 116ft length. Two of them were the Enkhuizen, built in 1645, and the Wapen van Alkmaar, built in 1640. They had identical dimensions: 116ft x 26-1/2ft x 10ft. Unlike the larger ships, these two had identical armaments: 2-brass 6pdr, 2-brass 4pdr, 4-iron 12pdr, 14-iron 8pdr, 4-iron 6pdr, and 2-iron 4pdr. The Enkhuizen was commanded by Dirk Gerritszoon Pomp, in 1654. The Wapen van Alkmaar was commanded by Arent Dirckszoon. I estimate that these two ships were 150 lasts. The larger 116ft ships, like the Gorcum (or Gorinchem) were 116ft x 27ft x 11ft, and I estimate that these were 170 lasts. I have radically changed my idea of what a valid factor was, so that I am using 200 as my factor, and then generously rounding. That way, if the Noorderkwartier ship Eenhoorn was 125ft x 29ft x 11.5ft, then the burden comes out to be 200 lasts, which is what it is supposed to be.

    Friday, September 10, 2004

    Sizes in lasts

    I am listing my estimates of size in lasts for various ships:

    • The old Amsterdam ship Achilles, built about 1630, with dimensions 131ft x 29ft x 13ft, I am guessing that the size is 250 lasts.
    • The ship Amsterdam ship Overijssel had dimensions 112ft x 28ft x 11ft and had a size of 170 lasts.
    • The Amsterdam ship Zeelandia, built in 1644, with dimensions 120ft x 29-1/2ft x 11ft, had a size of 200 lasts.
    • The Noorderkwartier ship Enkhuizen built in 1645, with dimensions: 116ft x 26-1/2ft x 10ft, with a size of 150 lasts.
    • The Noorderkwartier ship Eenhoorn built in 1625, with dimensions of 125ft x 29ft x 11-1/2ft, with a size of 200 lasts

    Thursday, September 09, 2004

    You can help fund further research at the Nationaal Archief

    We appreciate our readership on our various blogs and websites. By visiting our advertisers, you can help fund further research at the Dutch National Archief in the Hague. We have a some leads that need to be investigate, and they wait for sufficient funding to enable us to let the staff at the Nationaal Archief to proceed.

    Robert Holme's brother, John Holmes

    • John Holmes command the Dutch prize the St. Paul at the Four Days Battle, where his ship was burnt, as it was too heavily damaged to save.
    • John Holmes commanded the Bristol (50 guns) at the St. James Day Battle.
    • He commanded that Gloucester 3rd Rate (62 guns) at the Battle of the Smyrna Convoy in 1672. He only joined in the night following the first day. He took the Dutch Klein Hollandia, which sunk, as it was heavily damaged.
    • At the Battle of Solebay, he commanded the Rupert (66 guns) in the Earl of Sandwich's division in the Blue Squadron.
    • I don't have good lists for the Third Anglo-Dutch War, but John Holmes participated in all the battles, particularly distinguishing himself at the First Schooneveld battle, as Prince Rupert mentioned him in dispatches.
    • Frank Fox says that John Holmes eventually became an Admiral of the Fleet, senior admiral in the English navy.

    Abraham Crijnssen

    At the Battle of Nevis, there was the small Zeeland contingent commanded by Abraham Crijnssen and two squadrons of ships from Flotte de la Compagnie Royale des Indes Occidentales (Royal West Indian Company). Some of the French behaved badly and fled, and the all eventually left the English in control of the area. Abraham Crijnssen headed for Virginia, where they took and burned the English 4th Rate Elizabeth. My translation from Mollema's "Honor Roll": Abraham Crijnssen died in 1669. He served the Admiralty of Zeeland. In 1666 he distinguished himself in the Zeelandia (34 guns) in the Four Days Battle and the St. James Day Battle. In 1666-1667, he commanded the expedition to the West Indies, captured Suriname, distinguished himself in the Battle of Nevis (allied with the French), took great booty in the James River (Virginia), and and was awarded with the gold chain. In 1668, left for the West, again for Suriname, and died while there.

    Wednesday, September 08, 2004

    The Friesland ship Groenwold

    I still can't figure out what the Friesland ship Groenwold was doing during the First Anglo-Dutch War. The ship was allegedly purchased in 1652. It is suspicious that the captain had the same last name as the ship, so perhaps, he had been the owner. In the handwritten document, of which I have a copy, the name is spelt "Groenwolt". As was so often the case, a trailing "D" became "T". The captain's name, in July 1654, was Theunis Groenwolt. It was noted that the ship had been purchased in 1652, as I said. The dimensions were: 132ft x 31ft x 13ft. The armament was 44 guns, including 14-18pdr, 12-12pdr, 10-8pdr, and 8-6pdr. The Prinses Albertina, built new in 1653, carried the same armament in 1654 (44 guns of the same sizes).

    Charters from the 1653 Dutch building program

    I continue to pore over Dr. Elias' book, De Vlootbouw in Nederland. There is a wealth of good information there, as well as good references to pursue. I find the charters that he describe especially useful. I am always looking for more than just Length x Beam x Depth (Hold). There are even round costs listed:
    • 15oft ship: 50,000 guilders
    • 140ft ship: 36,000 guilders
    • 136ft ship: 35,ooo guilders
    • 135ft ship: 32,000 guilders
    • 130ft ship: 28,000 guilders

    Charters (proposed and actually built):

    • 136ft x 34ft x 14ft, with 7-1/4ft between decks
    • 140ft x 33ft x 14ft, with 7-1/2ft between decks
    • 130ft x 32ft x 13-1/2ft, with 7ft between decks
    • 150ft x 39ft x 15ft, with 7-1/2ft between decks
    • 140ft x 37ft x 14ft, with 7-1/2ft between decks
    • 130ft x 34ft, with a keel length of 108ft
    • 136ft x 35ft with a keel length of 113ft
    • 130ft x 32ft x 13ft
    • 120ft x 19ft x 12ft with 7ft between decks

    Tuesday, September 07, 2004

    The Amsterdam ship Frederick Hendrick (1628)

    I have been researching the Amsterdam ship Frederick Hendrick built in 1628 and lost in 1632. All that I have about the ship is that the captain was Willem van Brederode in 1629, the ship was 250 lsts, and was built in 1628. The crew was 95 men in 1629 and 1631. I would estimate that this ship, the earlier of the two Frederick Hendrick's, was similar in size to the ship built in 1636. Both were 250 lasts, so they were similar to the 128ft charter: 128ft x 31.5ft x 12ft, although the earlier ship may have been narrower and deeper.

    Monday, September 06, 2004

    A list of Dutch ships and captains from 1636

    Dr. Elias' book De Vlootbouw in Nederland, in Appendix III, there is a reference to Vol.II, page 348 in "Aitzema". The passage is titled "Repairs of 22 ships, 5 yachts, and 5 frigates". I can't understand everything about it, but this is my attempt at translating: Gelderland
    • the ship Frederick Hendrick, Vice-Admiral Berchem
    • yacht Engel Gabriel, Captain Veen


    • the ship Aemelia, Lt. Admiral Tromp
    • the ship Gelderland, Captain Colster
    • the ship Dordrecht, Vice-Admiral Liefhebber
    • the ship Zee-kalf, Captain Vygh
    • the ship Prins Hendrick, Captain van Dieman
    • the ship Zutphen, Captain Catz
    • the ship Deventer, Captain Brouwer
    • the ship Utrecht, Captain Brederode
    • the ship Walcheren, Captain Vloo
    • the ship Haarlem, Captain Dionys Tourquoy
    • the ship Nassauw, Captain Lieve de Zeeu
    • the ship the David, Captain Claes Ham
    • the ship Eendracht, Captain Bleecker
    • the ship Hollandsche Tuin, Captain Halfhoorn
    • the ship Eenhoorn, Captain Keert de Koe
    • the yacht Bommel, Captain Dorrevelt


    • the ship Vlissingen, Commandeur Jan Evertsen
    • the ship Middelburg, Captain Banckert
    • the yacht Hasewind, Captain Hollaert


    • the ship Meerminne, Captain Vlieger
    • the yacht Zierikzee, Captain Regermorter


    • the ship the Bul, Captain van Galen
    • a ship, an unnamed captain
    • a new yacht, Captain Jan Sluys
    • the yacht the Dolphijn, Captain Resegeyn
    • still a new yacht, Captain Bouchorst


    • the ship Gouda, Captain Forant

    Stad en Lande

    • the ship Zeeridder, Captain Jan Franssen
    • a yacht, Captain Gloeyenden Oven


    • a half yacht

    Sunday, September 05, 2004

    We are experimenting with a new template that looks similar to

    I just tried substituting a new template, to see how it worked. After seeing that there were issues, I rolled back to what we have been using (if anyone saw it during the time it was up). The new look is white on blue, with some gif's for the title and things like spacers.

    In 1654, Dutch ships had very mixed armaments

    Since last night, I have been examining my notes from the "Staet van Oorlogh te water" from July 1654. A striking freature is how many calibers of guns that ships carried. Older ships, in particular, seem to have been pretty much armed with whatever guns were available. Even the newer ships generally had multiple caliber guns on each deck. For example, the Noorderkwartier ship Wapen van Enkhuizen carried 34 guns: 2-brass 18pdr, 6-brass 6pdr, 10-iron 12pdr, 9-iron 8pdr, 5-iron 6pdr, and 2-iron 3pdr guns. The ship was built in 1645, and had dimensions 120ft x 29ft x 11-3/4ft. The new Noorderkwartier ship Alkmaar carried 32 guns: 2-brass 12pdr, 4-brass 6-pdr, 18-iron 12pdr, 4-iron 8pdr, and 4-iron 4pdr. The dimensions were 130ft x 32ft x 12ft, and was a much larger ship. This is the sort of ship that eventually carried 40 to 48 guns, but for whatever reason in 1654, they were only given 32 guns.

    Saturday, September 04, 2004

    The two small Rotterdam frigates Overijssel and Utrecht

    I was looking at the two small Rotterdam frigates from 1638 that are usually listed with their dimensions in Maas feet (100ft x 23ft x 8ft). I estimate that their dimensions in Amsterdam feet were 109ft x 25ft x 8.75ft. The two ships had quite different armaments (we know them from the 1654 list). They both had 22 guns, but composed from quite different selections of guns. The Overijssel carried 6 brass guns (4-chambered 24pdr and 2-light 12pdr) and 16 iron guns (4-8pdr and 12-6pdr). The Utrecht also had 6 brass guns (6-chambered 12pdr) and 16 iron guns (10-8pdr, 2-6pdr, and 4-4pdr). The broadside weight for the Overijssel was 112lbs while the broadside weight for the Utrecht was only 90lbs. The Overijssel had an armament weight of no more than 21.87 tons. The Utrecht had an armament weight of no more than 18.74 tons, probably much less than that. These weights don't take into account the weights of chambered pieces, so they should be considerably less than what I have listed here. The Overijssel made sacrifices to get the 4-24pdr guns, as she only had 10 guns of 8lbs shot and above. The Utrecht didn't have the large guns, but did have 16 guns of 8lbs shot and above. The interesting 26 February 1652 Admiralty of Rotterdam list indicates that there was a third ship of this class, the Gelderland. She had identical dimensions but only had 20 guns of unknown sizes. It is hard to know if this data was correct, as this is the only reference that lists a 20-gun Gelderland.

    Small Dutch ships armed with 18pdrs

    I still am rather mystified about a small Rotterdam ship armed with 18pdrs. The ship in question is the small Rotterdam, built in 1639, which I compare with the considerably larger Gelderland (built in 1634). Both of their lower tiers were armed with 18pdrs. I really don't understand how that could be for the Rotterdam, unless they were drakes or chambered guns, as I would have thought that normal iron guns would be too heavy. Too great an armament weight was a sign that something was amiss with the Aemelia and Brederode dimensions. It turned out that they were listed in Maas feet, but many people treated them as if they were measured in Amsterdam feet. People like Ab Hoving and Jan Glete had long recognized this issue, and had made the adjustment. The dimensions for the Rotterdam are: 116ft x 27ft x 11ft (in Maas feet: 106ft x 25ft x 9.5ft) The dimensions for the Gelderland are: 128.5ft x 30.5ft x 13.5ft (in Maas feet: 118ft x 28ft x 12.5ft) The Rotterdam's armament (30 guns) was: brass guns: 2-chambered 24pdr, 2-chambered 4pdr iron guns: 18-18pdr, 8-8pdr The Gelderland's armament (40 guns) was: brass guns: 2-light 18pdr, 4-light 12pdr, 2-chambered 12pdr, 2-chambered 6pdr, 2-chambered 4pdr iron guns: 16-18pdr, 6-12pdr, 6-6pdr The Rotterdam, in particular, seems to be anomolous. I estimate the Rotterdam's displacement to have been 486.5 tons. Her broadside was 222 lbs. The armament weight was at most 48.1 tons. I am guessing that the 18pdrs were drakes or chambered, and that would reduce the weight down from the maximum of 8.59% of displacement. I use that measure rather than percentage of burden, as Frank Fox had suggested that it was a better measure than "gross tonnage". I estimate the Gelderland's displacement as 741.4 tons. Her broadside weight was 224 lbs, little more than that of the Rotterdam. The armament weight was at most 45.32 tons, which would be 6.11% of the displacement, which is in line with other 40-gun ships. If I use my estimates for brass chambered and drakes, derived from what I learned from Nico Brinck, then the Rotterdam's armament weight drops to 26.84 tons, which is 5.52% of displacement. Of course, this is all guesswork, but it still explains a lot.

    Friday, September 03, 2004

    Some specifics from the French documents

    Since I hinted about the French intelligence documents, here are some nuggets (dimensions, although only length and beam):
    • Beschermer, 50 guns 142ft x 36.5ft
    • Deventer, 62 guns 1665 148ft x 38ft
    • Dolfijn, 82 guns 1667 171ft x 43ft
    • Essen, 50 guns 1667 142ft x 36.75ft
    • Geloof, 58 guns 1661 140ft x 40ft (I'm guessing 140ft x 37ft)
    • Wakende Boei, 40 guns 130ft x 32ft
    • Windhond, 20 guns 1667 94ft x 23.5ft
    • Woerden, 66 guns 1667 150ft x 39ft

    There are also some dimensions given that differ from those usually published:

    • Gouden Leeuwen, 50 guns 1666 141ft x 36.5ft
    • Witte Olifant, 82 guns 1666 169ft x 43ft

    This is by no means exhaustive, as there is more, and more to be interpreted.

    Missing Dutch ship data from French sources

    I am in the process of doing a spreadsheet of ship calculations for Dutch ships. Right now, I am concentrating on those ships at the Battle of Solebay (28 May 1672 Old Style). I have run into several cases where the only source of dimensions is from a set of documents supplied to me by Jan Glete that he had obtained while doing research in France. It turns out that French intelligence reports had dimensions for a number of ships, including the Essen (50 guns), the Deventer (60 guns), the Beschermer (50 guns), the Wakende Boei (46 guns), to name a few. I have this information at Dutch ships in French documents (at

    Thursday, September 02, 2004

    My estimates for some of the odd sizes of Dutch guns

    I now have the basis for starting to estimate Dutch guns. This is a quick attempt, based on what I learned from Nico Brinck and from G.C. Dik's book:
    • 2pdr 500 lbs
    • 3pdr 800 lbs
    • 4pdr 1100 lbs
    • 5pdr 1400 lbs
    • 6pdr 1750 lbs
    • 8pdr 2300 lbs
    • 9pdr 2500 lbs
    • 10pdr 2750 lbs
    • 12pdr 3160 lbs
    • 14pdr 3500 lbs
    • 15pdr 3650 lbs
    • 16pdr 3780 lbs
    • 18pdr 3950 lbs
    • 24pdr 4850 lbs
    • 36pdr 6200 lbs

    Brass Drakes and Chambered pieces:

    • 4pdr 520 lbs
    • 5pdr 700 lbs
    • 6pdr 850 lbs
    • 8pdr 1100 lbs
    • 10pdr 1360 lbs
    • 12pdr 1540 lbs
    • 15pdr 1850 lbs
    • 18pdr 2150 lbs
    • 24pdr 2800 lbs
    • 36pdr 3650 lbs

    I'm hoping that better information might eventually become available, but this is a start.

    Swedish gun weights

    Nico Brinck also provided data about Swedish gun weights (frequently imported and used by the Dutch):

    • 6 pdrs 1700 pounds
    • 8 pdrs 2300 pounds
    • 12 pdrs 3160 pounds
    • 18 pdrs 4000 pounds

    The weights are in pounds of 500 grams.

    Dutch cannon weights

    Nico Brinck, who is a ship's captain, kindly provided me with some information about Dutch gun weights. He says that chambered pieces are the same as drakes. This is what he provided:


    • 6 pdrs, 1725-2243 pounds ; drakes 520-1245 pounds
    • 12 pdrs, 2400-3640 pounds ; drakes 1075-1592 pounds
    • 18 pdrs, 3749-4060 pounds ; drakes-no info
    • 24 pdrs, 4075-5378 pounds ; drakes 2770 pounds (only one example)

    Wednesday, September 01, 2004

    Jacques Forant in the campaign leading up to the Battle of the Downs in 1639

    C. R. Boxer's book, Tromp's Journal 1639, has some more information about Jacques Forant.
    In a note and in the text on p.31:
    Five Dutch ships were brought into the Downs by the English because two Dutch ships had taken leaving Dover roads. The five ships were the Utrecht (28 guns) Captain Brederode, Prins Willem (32 guns) Captain Pieterszoon, Deventer (28 guns) Captain Post, Overijssel (26 guns) Captain Forant, and the Tholen (18 guns) Captain Hollaer. They were released after making a "humble apology".
    On 16 June 1639, ships arrived from the Goeree Gat, which included Commander Cats, Captains Forant, Dorrevelt, and Pieter Pieterszoon. They brought a letter to Tromp from their High Majesties about supplies.

    On 10 July 1639, Captain Forant was with Tromp's main body of ships:

    • Adm. Tromp
    • Witte de With
    • Jan Evertsen
    • Rear-Adm Willem van Coulster
    • Captain van Dieman
    • Jan Theuniszoon Sluis
    • Matijs Gillissen
    • Theunis Post
    • Keert de Koe
    • Lambert Ybrantszoon Halfhoorn
    • Captain de Zeeuw
    • Jan Pouwelszoon
    • Sijbrant Barentssen
    • Jan Garbrants
    • Captain Backhuijsen
    • Captain 't Hoen
    • Pieter Pieterszoon
    • Jacques Forant
    • Tjaert de Groot

    On 1 October 1639, Captain Forant reported to Tromp that English nobles on shore said that 6 or 7 Dunkirk frigates had arrived to take soldiers from the armada to Dunkirk.

    On 2 October, Captain Forant received 20 soldiers from a group of 160 that had arrived, having been part of the garrison of den Bos.

    On 3 October, Captain Forant was assigned to a squadron commanded by Joris van Cats: Cornelis Engelen Silvergieter, Sijbrant Waterdrincker, Dirck Claeszoon van Dongen, Frans Janszoon, Jacques Forant, Captain Regermorter, Commandeur Johannes Hend., Captain de Nijs, Lieuwe de Zeeuw, Captain Juynbol, and Captain Melcknap, and others. On 12 October, Rear-Admiral Cats lead the attack on the Flemish admiral: Joris van Cats, Jacques Forant (Overijssel, 26 guns), Jacob Turcquois, a fireship, Jan de Lapper, Captain Schllinghout, Elias Balck, Captain Melcknap, and Pieter Janszoon van den Brouck.

    Dutch captains in the campaign leading up to the Battle of the Downs

    After digging into Charles Boxer's book Tromp's Journal 1639, I am starting to think that it might be possible to fairly completely list at least the captains, not the ships, that took part in the Battle of the Downs. I am hampered by not having an lists for 1634-1651, but at least some of the 1633 list will be relevant. Boxer even has named a few ships. For example, Jacques Forant's ship was the Overijssel (26 guns). There are others named, as well. The only difficulty is that the index of the book is quite lacking. Boxer also mangled some names, as he was obviously not that familiar with the material. I can understand the difficulty of reading handwritten Dutch names, and it only really becomes feasible when you can recognize a scribble as being some particular captain's name.

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