Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A challenge

What I would be interested to see is if anyone can find information about these ships hired or which served during the First Anglo-Dutch War. This is not an exhaustive list, but it covers most of the ships that I have either no information or minimal information. In some cases, I have some information, but would like some confirmation (Prins Maurits). It doesn't count that you can say "I know but I won't tell".
Admiralty or Directors      Ship
Harlingen Directors         Sint Vincent      28 guns
Harlingen Directors         Vergulde Pelicaen 28 guns

a possible ship hired by the Groningen Directors

Noorderkwartier             Vergulde Schel, 24 guns
Noorderkwartier             Peereboom       24 guns
Noorderkwartier             Tobias          30 guns
Noorderkwartier             Profeet Samuel  30 guns
Noorderkwartier             Lastdrager      28 guns
Noorderkwartier             Mars            34 or 38 guns
Noorderkwartier             Alkmaar         26 guns ('s-Landsschip)
Noorderkwartier             Roode Leeuw     24 guns
Noorderkwartier             Huis van Nassau 24 or 28 guns
Noorderkwartier             Burgh van Alkmaar 24 or 28 guns ('s-Landsschip)
Noorderkwartier             Adam en Eva     24 guns 
Noorderkwartier             Sampson         24 or 26 guns ('s-Landsschip)
Noorderkwartier             Stad Medemblick 26 or 32 guns ('s-Landsschip)
Noorderkwartier             Nieuw Kasteel   14 guns
Noorderkwartier             Arke Noach      24 guns
Noorderkwartier             St. Jan Baptist 24 guns
Noorderkwartier             Wapen van Holland 30 guns
Noorderkwartier             Prins Maurits   28 or 32 guns ('s-Landsschip)
Noorderkwartier             Herder          

Amsterdam                   Jonas            26 guns
Amsterdam                   Gewapende Ruyter 36 guns ('s-Landsschip)

Rotterdam Directors         Erasmus
Rotterdam Directors         Sint Pieter     28 guns  Sijmon Cornelisz van der Meer
Rotterdam Directors         Sint Pieter     29 guns  Isaac de Jongh
Rotterdam Directors         Jonas           36 guns
Rotterdam Directors         Meerman         32 guns
Rotterdam Directors         Prins           38 guns
Rotterdam Directors         Hollandia       26 or 28 guns  Ruth Jacobsz Buijs

Rotterdam                   Gulden Beer     24 guns
Rotterdam                   Maria           24 guns
Rotterdam                   Hollandia       24 guns  Hendrick Ernestus de Bartrij
Rotterdam                   Roscam          26 guns

Medemblick Directors        Koning Radboud  28 guns
Zeeland                     Wapen van Keulen 30 guns
Zeeland                     Hasewind         28 guns ('s-Landsschip)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Friesland Directors' ships in 1652

There were potentially two sorts of Friesland Directors' ships. This is a matter over which there has been heated discussion. Fortunately, you can't yell over email. There were definitely two Harlingen Directors' ships: the Sint Vincent and the Vergulde Pelicaen. Both carried 28 guns. The Vergulde Pelicaen was apparently discarded after the Battle of Portland in 1653, if not before that. The Sint Vincent served up until early November 1653, when it foundered in the severe storm off the Texel. I have at least four or five references to the existence of a Groningen Directors' ship. At least two references cite the Groningen ship Graef Hendrick as being a Groningen Directors' ship. Also, in early 1652, Joost Hendricksz Bulter is cited as a captain commanding a Groningen Directors' ship. By late 1652, he was appointed to command the new ship Stad Groningen en Ommelanden, which as purchased by the Admiralty of Friesland. A list from December 1652 lists Jan Reijndersz Wagenaer as the captain of a Groningen Directors' ship Graef Hendrick. This controversy, in my opinion is not resolved, even though several of us have our own, differing opinions. One is that there never was a Groningen Directors' ship, despite that being part of the plan for the Extraordinary Equipage. I tend to believe that at least in 1652, the Graef Hendrick was the Groningen Directors' ship, but by 1653 may have been funded by the Admiralty of Friesland.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Brederode in June 1653

The inventory for the Brederode was signed by Maerten Harpertsz Tromp, with his characteristic signature. These are some details:
The ship Brederode

crew of 260 men

54 guns: 4-36pdr, 20-24pdr, 20-12pdr, 10-6pdr

14,000 lbs of gunpowder

 100 36 pound shot
1000 24 pound shot
1000 12 pound shot
 400  6 pound shot

I would imagine that the lower tier consisted of the 4-36pdr and 20-24pdr guns The upper tier would be the 20-12pdr guns. The quarterdeck would be armed with the 10-6pdr guns.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Amsterdam pound versus the English pound (weights)

I usually do not think about this issue, but I have known that the Amsterdam pound is heavier than the English pound. The Amsterdam pound is about 494.1 grams while the English pound is 453.6 grams. That is a ratio of 1.0892857 to 1.0. That means that an English 42 pound shot is 38.56 Amsterdam pounds. The Dutch 6 pound shot is roughly 6.5 English pounds. The Dutch 8 pound shot is 8.7 English pounds (you can see my American-centric viewpoint, since I use the period as the decimal point, not the comma).

To put things in perspective: gun weights

I happen to own a copy of Vol.I of Adrian Caruana's book about English guns. While the shot diameter given for the Alderney wreck guns seems like a Falcon (3-1/2 pounds), the length and gun weight resembles a saker from the Revenge "cast away near the Isle of Azores in September 1591". There is the added benefit of being contemporary to the Alderney gun:
Sakers from the Revenge, all 7ft long:

13 cwt-3qtr-0lbs:  1540 lbs
14 cwt-3qtr-13lbs: 1665 lbs
15 cwt-1qtr-18lbs: 1726 lbs
15 cwt-1qtr-14lbs: 1722 lbs
16 cwt-1qtr-21lbs: 1841 lbs
14 cwt-2qtr-6lbs:  1630 lbs
16 cwt-0qtr-14lbs: 1806 lbs
13 cwt-1qtr-24lbs: 1508 lbs

The two Falcons are much smaller guns, although they are also 7ft guns:

8cwt-0qtr-21lbs:  917 lbs
8cwt-2qtr-19lbs:  971 lbs

Using my empirical equation for guns, I estimate a weight of 973 lbs for a 7ft long iron Falcon firing a 3-1/2 pound shot, which closely matches the Revenge guns.

The Alderney Guns

I was looking at the Alderney Elizabethan Wreck website. I was particularly interested in the gun page. They say about the guns:

All the shot so far recovered is of 78 – 80 mm (3? inches) diameter which reinforces our current view that the guns are all the same, that is to say 7 foot long, cast iron, smooth bore, muzzle loaders of 3½ inch bore and 14 hundredweight (1568 lbs)

I tried my empiracle calculations and I would have said that I would expect 4 pound shot, for the shot diameter and the gun weight. My first idea was that it would be a Falcon, firing 3-1/2 pound shot. I have trouble believing the gun weight of 1568 lbs. For the shot diameter given, that would make for an extremely heavy gun, outside of the range with which I have seen. I concede that for the shot diameter, it must be a Falcon, not a Minion (4pdr). My problem is that the gun weight and length are more like a Dutch 6pdr iron gun. For that small of a shot weight, a similar Dutch gun would be a bit less than a 1000 lbs.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Joris Caulerij

I have a page with Joris Caulerij's signature and he spelled his name with one "L" and "au", not two L's or an "O" instead of the "au". The document is an inventory of his hired ship Jonas, dating from 23 June 1653.

The Vlissingen

A large Zeeland ship named Vlissingen served in the First Anglo-Dutch War. I have wondered if this was the same ship that was Johan Evertsen's flagship in the Battle of the Downs in 1639. The Vlissingen spent 1652 in the Caribbean with a small squadron. Cornelis Mangelaer was the captain up through the Three Days Battle (the Battle of Portland). By May, Jan Pouwelszoon was the captain. He had been Michiel de Ruyter's flag captain on the small Neptunus at the Battle of Plymouth, in August 1652. He fought in the Battle of the Gabbard (the Zeeslag bij Nieuwpoort) on 12 and 13 June 1653, and almost certainly at the Battle of Scheveningen on 10 August 1653. He took the Vlissingen on the voyage to Norway from September to early November 1653 and survived the terrible storm off the Texel on their return. This was a ship that was 130ft long and carried 32 guns.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Battle of the Kentish Knock

Dr. Elias's book Schetsen uit de Geschiedenis van ons Zeewezen, in Vol.V, has some very good references about ships and the fleet. In Vol.III, for the Battle of the Kentish Knock, that is strangely absent. He mostly refers to The First Dutch War, Vol.II, Brandt's biography of De Ruyter, and the Hollandsche Mercurius. He does refer to Witte de With's journal and to some references in the Staten Generaal, but he seemed to lack knowledge of where the good information was located. For that matter, that is true for me, as well. I happen to know that at least some "good information" exists and that it is a matter of finding where it is. The reason being that it is so good, that there is some advantage for the researcher and author who knows where it is, when there is good reason to want to be the first to publish it.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

William Laird Clowes' work is apparently available, online

I was amazed to see that the seven volumes of William Laird Clowes' work The Royal Navy: a History from the Earliest Times to the Present is available at You seem to be able to choose between a variety of formats. I highly recommend this work, if you are interested in sailing naval warfare.

Friday, January 04, 2008

A nice summary list dated 24 June 1653

One of the documents that I have dates from 24 June 1653 and includes the name, captain, guns, and crew of all the ships in the fleet after the Zeeslag bij Nieuwpoort (the Battle of the Gabbard). The ships are grouped by admiralty, starting with the Admiralty of Amsterdam. This list actually reflects the fleet before the battle, as it includes ships that were lost. For example, the St. Matteeus is listed. The captain was Cornelis Laurensz, and the ship was armed with 42 guns and had a crew of 155 men. A few ships have some elements omitted. In other cases, the figures are incorrect, such as for the Gorcum, commanded by Capta. Willem Ariensz Warmont. The ship is listed as having 23 guns and a crew of 94 men. I would say that the ship would have carried 30 guns. As the entry for "D'heer Commandeur de Ruijter" might be of interest, the ship was "'t Lam", which had a crew of 168 men and carried 38 guns.

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