Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The mystery around the reference to a Friesland ship named Gelderland in 1652

The First Dutch War, Vol.VI has a list of ships from Michiel De Ruyter's fleet in late July 1652. The editor of the volume, C. T. Atkinson, didn't recognize the list because of his lack of familiarity with the material. The volume was also published much later than the preceding volume. I actually have the document that the list is drawn from. The list gives the name of Laurens Degelcamp's ship as Gelderland. The Gelderland and the St. Nicolaes have big X marks next to them. My interpretation is that both ships were lost. We know that the St. Nicolaes was lost in a collision with the Rotterdam ship Gelderland. We have no other certain reference about the Gelderland, and you could easily question the existence of such a ship. I was certain, in the spring of 2007, that I saw a photograph of a page that showed the Gelderland as having the same dimensions and gun list as the Groninger Nicolaes. If I had such a page, I lost it when I ran out of email storage space and had a problem with duplicate file names of photographs. So the mystery remains. Why have we seen no other reference to a Friesland ship named Gelderland during 1652? The St. Nicolaes continued to be included in the list of Friesland ships through the war with the notation that the ship had been lost. Either the Groninger Nicolaes and the Gelderland were the same ship, or the list mentioning the Gelderland is in error. That possilibility also seems unlikely, as the rest of the information in the list is accurate.

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