Lyon’s Whelp

While we are on the subject of our original Thomas Miner,  he arrived on the Lyon’s Whelp in 1629.  I bet you didn’t know there was a whole whelp of Lyon’s Whelps – Nine in All …

1629  – Lyon’s Whelp The Talbot and the Lion’s Whelp sailed from Gravesend on Saturday, April 25, 1629, at seven o’clock in the morning,  On Tuesday, June 30, Governor Endecott went on board the Talbot, bade the passengers welcome to Salem.

The National Maritime Museum at Greenwich has a small (5" x 10") painting by Abraham de Verwer on copper dated about 1650. The ship corresponds to the general appearance of the Whelps in that she is a three-masted ship having one gun deck with a grating or flying deck over the waist and eight broadside gun ports.

Thomas Miner was onboard.  Alternatively, he arrived on the John Winthrop’s flag ship Arabella.

Now in this year 1629, a great company of people (The Higginson Fleet) of good rank, zeal, means and quality have made a great stock, and with six good ships in the months of April and May, they set sail from Thames for the Bay of the Massachusetts, otherwise called Charles River.  The fleet consisted of, the George Bonaventure of twenty pieces of ordnance; the Talbot nineteen; the Lion’s Whelp eight; the Mayflower fourteen; the Four sisters fourteen and the Pilgrim four, with 350 men women and children, also 115 head of cattle, as horses, mares, cows and oxen, 41 goats, some conies (rabbits), with all provision for household and apparel, 6 pieces of great ordnance for a fort, with muskets, pikes, corselets, drums, colors, and with all provisions necessary for a plantation for the good of man.”  (The True Travels, Adventures and Observations of Captain John Smith – London 1630)

The Lyon’s Whelp was the name of several British naval ships dating back to the 1600s, the tenth of which was an important part of the pre-Great Migration flow of immigrants into New England.

A painting of single-decker in the National Maritime Museum shows a ship similar to the Lion's Whelp with the English coat of arms at the stern. This picture (negative number A3627) used to hang in the Queen's House in the 1970's- artist unknown

The name is possibly from the biblical quotation from Genesis; Judah, the fourth son of Leah, is described with these famous words: “Judah is a lion’s whelp; On prey, my son, have you grown. He crouches, lies down like a lion, like the king of beasts, who dare rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet….” (Genesis 49:9-10 )

Rev. Mr. Higginson wrote, for the satisfaction of friends, upon their request, a journal during the voyage, the original manuscript of which is in the possession of the Massachsetts Historical Society. With this he wrote under date of July 24, 1629, and also sent before November following a description of the region about Naumkeag and of its conditions, entitling it “New-Englands Plantation.” This was published in London in 1630, and two other editions followed immediately.
Mr. Higginson wrote of his book as follows: “A Trve Relacon of ye last voyage to new England, declaring all circumstances wth ye maner of ye passage wee had by sea.

One of the ships, the George Bonaventure, was a strong vessel of about three hundred tons burden, with twenty pieces of ordnance and manned by about thirty mariners. It was commanded by Thomas Cox, and carried fifty-two planters and provisions and twelve mares, thirty kine and some goats. Among the passengers were Rev. Samuel Skelton and his family, consisting of his wife Susanna and three children, Samuel, aged six, Susanna, four. and Mary, nearly two. As it was specially desirable that the George should sail as early as possible, it set out upon its voyage about the middle of April and from the Isle of Wight May 4, and safely arrived at Naumkeag June 22, 1629.

The Talbot, Thomas Beecher, master, was also a strong ship of three hundred tons, with nineteen pieces of ordnance and manned by thirty mariners. It carried about one hundred planters, and as freight six goats, five great pieces of ordnance, with oatmeal, pease and all kinds of munitions and provisions sufficient for the plantation for a year. Several servants of the Pilgrims came in this vessel at this time and also Mr. Higginson and his family, consisting of his wife Ann and children, John, the eldest, aged twelve, Francis, Timothy, Theophilus, Samuel, Mary, Ann, Charles and Neophytus.

Lyon's Whelp Model

The Lion’s Whelp, John Gibbs, master, was a ship of one hundred and twenty tons, well proportioned and fast, carrying eight pieces of ordnance, six fishermen and about forty planters, principally of Dorsetshire and Somersetshire, besides the mariners and provisions and four goats. Rev. Francis Bright and his family, consisting of his wife, two children and one maid servant, were among the passengers.

The Talbot and the Lion’s Whelp sailed from Gravesend on Saturday, April 25, 1629, at seven o’clock in the morning, with a wind so light that a progress of only twelve miles was made that day. They remained where they were that night and the next day, keeping the Sabbath. On Monday, they sailed as far as Gorin Road, where they anchored for the night. On Tuesday, they proceeded a little further and anchored opposite Margaret Town, waiting for wind to carry them through The Downs. The next day, they passed The Downs, and remained there that night. For the next three days the southwest wind caused the water to be so rought [sic] that a number of the passengers, among them Mrs. Higginson, were sea-sick. At this time, officers from the king’s ship, named the Assurance, impressed two of the seamen. Sunday, May 3d, was a cold windy day, and the vessels were still at The Downs. The next day, the wind became fair from the north-north-east, and sails were spread. The vessels passed Dover, where they saw six or seven sail of Dunkirks coming toward them. For some reason, probably because of the presence of other vessels, the latter returned. That night the Isle of Wight was reached, and the vessels were anchored to wait for the light before attempting to go through the channel. On the next day, they entered the channel, passed Portsmouth, and anchored at night opposite Cow-Castle. Here, Rev. Mr. Higginson, his wife and daughter Mary and several others from both vessels went on shore to refresh themselves and wash their linen. They remained on shore all night. In the evening, however, sails were hoisted, and the vessels proceeded eight miles, anchoring opposite Yarmouth. The next morning, a shallop from the Talbot was sent to take in those who had gone on shore the night before. The water was so rough that the women, at their request, were put on shore when they had got within three miles of the vessels, and they walked to the town, where they lodged that night. At this place the vessels remained until Monday, May 11, and took on board some fresh provision. On Saturday, officers from the king’s ship impressed two more men, but by entreaty one was returned. On Sunday, Mr. Higginson preached aboard the Talbot in the morning and in the afternoon at Yarmouth in response to an earnest invitation. On Monday afternoon, at three o’clock, sail was again set, and about an hour later the vessels passed the narrow Needles and entered the sea.
The next day they sailed as far as Lizzard Head, and on the following day, Wednesday, May 13, to Land’s End. There, most of the company saw their native England for the last time. Mr. Higginson called his children and other passengers to the stern of the ship to take their last look at the homeland. He said: “We will not say, as the separatists were wont to say at their leaving of England, ‘Farewell, Babylon!’ ‘Farewell, Rome!’ but we will say, ‘Farewell, dear England! farewell, the church of God in England, and all the Christian friends there!’ We do not go to New England as separatists from the church of England; though we cannot but separate from the corruptions in it; but we go to practise the positive part of church reformation, and propagate the gospel in America.” He concluded with a fervent prayer for the king, and church and state, in England; and for the presence and blessing of God with themselves in their present undertaking for New England. (Magnalia Christi Americana. by Rev. Cotton Mather, page 360.)

About ten leagues further on, they passed the Scilly Islands and turned the prows of their vessels directly toward the new world. Sea-sickness followed the first experience of the passengers with the rough Atlantic. The next Sunday, the religious services were disturbed by the approach of a man-of-war of the Biskaniers. Apparently concluding that an attack would be Unsuccessful, the ship sailed away. On the same day two children of Mr. Higginson, Samuel and Mary, became sick of small pox, and subsequently many more were afilicted. The disease had been brought aboard the vessel by a Mr. Browne who was sick with it at Gravesend. Samuel Higginson recovered, but Mary lived only two days, and her body was, of course, committed to the sea. She was five years old, and for a year had been hunch-backed, weak and sickly, and had suffered much pain. Her death was regarded as a great relief from suffering.

The second day thereafter (Thursday, May 21) was kept as a day of humiliation, fasting and prayer tobeseech [sic] God to cause sickness and death on board the ship to cease. There was another clergyman on the Talbot, Rev. Ralph Smith,2 who although not in full sympathy with Mr. Higginson observed the service with many of the people on board.   Rev. Ralph Smith came voluntarily and on his own account, and the Company did not learn that he was not in accord with the ministers who came under contract until his provisions for the voyage were on shipboard. Governor Endecott was directed to allow him to remain within the limits of their grant only while he was conformable to the government.  Mr. Smith was baptized in the parish of Gainford, Durham, England, April 5, 1589, and was son of Rev. Ralph and Catheran (Mathewson) Smith; and graduated at Christ College, Cambridge, in 1614. He remained in Salem a short time, and with his family removed to the struggling little colony of fishermen at Nantascot, now Hull. He found only insufficient shelter for his family, and a lack of associations and surroundings that were agreeable to a man of grave demeanor and education. He went to Plymouth a few weeks later, and preached there until 1636. He continued to live in Plymouth until 1642, when he went to the little settle-

The sailors were much interested in the exercises, saying that they had never heard of a fast day service at sea.  During the entire passage the seamen were religiotis and kind. Each day was opened and closed with reading and expounding a chapter in the Bible and by singing and prayer. On Sundays Mr. Higginson preached twice and catechised on the Talbot, and probably similar services were held on each of the other vessels. The master of the Talbot and his crew set the eight and twelve o’clock watches each night with singing a psalm and prayer “that was not read out of a book.”

On Wednesday, May 27th, there was a fearfull gale, and rain fell in torrents. The darkness was intense; and the waves poured over the ships, filling the boats with water. As the end of the voyage approached some of the men became sick with the scurvy and others with small pox, but during the entire journey no one died but Mary Higginson until toward the end, when one of the men and a child of Goodman Black died, the latter of consumption, having been sick before they left England. On Tuesday, June 2d, another fast was held.

As the days passed and the American coast was approached, many and various kinds of fish and whales were seen, and great ice-bergs floated near them.
A great deal of the time during the voyage the Talbot and the Lion’s Whelp were in sight of each other. June 15th and 16th, when fog shut off the view, a drum was beat on the Talbot to learn the position of the Lion’s Whelp, and response was made by ment at Jeffries Creek. Now Manchester. firing a cannon. A week elapsed before the vessels were again within sight of each other.

On Wednesday, June 24, a clear sight of Arnerien was obtained, the ships being seven or eight leagues to the south of Cape Sable. There they saw on the water flowers resembling yellow gilliflowers; and in the afternoon of the next day they clearly saw many islands and hills by the sea-shore. By noon of Friday, they were within three leagues of Cape Ann; and as they sailed along the coast saw “every hill and dale and every island full of gay woods and high trees.” An increased longing for the new world came upon them as they saw the woods and flowers. Saturday night, June 27, they anchored at the old fishing station at Cape Ann. Some of the men went upon the little island in the harbor, and brought back ripe strawberries and gooseberries and sweet single roses. This was the first taste of the fruit of the new land.

Some of the planters had seen the colors on the vessel and so apprised Governor Endecott, who thereupon sent a shallop with two men to pilot the vessels into the harbor. The next day was the seventh Sunday they had spent on the voyage, and the first in America. The two pilots spent the day with them. The next day, Monday, they sailed to Naumkeag. Mr. Higginson, in his journal, states that by God’s blessing and the directions of the pilots they “passed the curious and difficult entrance into the large spacious harbour of Naimkecke.” When they had come within the harbor they saw the Ship George which had arrived the preceding week. With great thankfulness and gladness and satisfaction they had ended their tedious voyage of three thousand miles and six weeks and three days from Land’s End and nine weeks and three days from Gravesend. The next morning, Tuesday, June 30, Governor Endecott went on board the Talbot, bade the passengers welcorne, and invited Mr. and Mrs. Higginson on shore to take lodging in his house, which they did.

Lord Admiral Buckingham instituted a class of warships named the Lyon’s Whelps. There were ten of them built, the First Lyon’s Whelp in the late 1620s. They were named First Lyon’s Whelp, Second Lyon’s Whelp, and so on. The Fourth went down off Jersey. The Fifth was also lost with 17 men on board. The seventh exploded off Suffolk due to negligence in the powder-store. The Tenth was built by Robert Tranckmore of Shoreham, ended her sailing days, and “sold by candle” on 19 Oct. 1654.

As one sees, there are many British ships with the name, Lyon’s Whelp. The most famous may have been the First Lions/Lyon’s Whelp was invested by Lord Admiral Howard as his contribution in backing the El Dorado “entrada” (expedition) to Guiana, South America organized by Sir Walter Raleigh around 1594. The Lion’s Whelp was listed in the Raleigh privateering fleet in 1595. The Lion’s Whelp was sent to the Low Countries by Lord Cobham. Following Raleigh’s voyage, the Lion’s Whelp returned to West Indies in 1596-97 captained by Henry Reynolds. The Lion’s Whelp saw action at Cadiz in 1596, most probably captained by Henry Gifford, knighted for this action. In 1601, Lord Admiral Howard sold the Lion’s Whelp to the state. She was refurbished and was serviceable until 1625. During this time, James I gave the Lion’s Whelp to Lord Admiral Buckingham for a planned expedition to discover the Northwest Passage to Asia; however, the Lion’s Whelp did not sail and was not heard of again.   Could this be the Lion’s Whelp that brought Thomas Miner to Salem in 1629?  This is conjecture, but to interest everyone so that some may further investigate and report on our Lion’s Whelp.

The Salem Company had purchased the Lion’s Whelp, and hired the other two ships. The charge for the hire of these ships was so great that it was economical to speedily return them with some kind of a cargo, — of beaver, otter or other skins, fish, especially sturgeon, or staves or wood. Though beaver and fish were the more desirable, timber was selling in England better titan it had for many years. Sassafras, sarsaparilla and sumach were also suggested as a cargo; also, a ton of silk grass and anything else that might be useful for dyeing or in the practice of medicine. Information as to the quantity of each of these articles that could be found in the region about Naumkeag was also requested. No delay was to be allowed; if articles were not ready for shipment, the vessels were to sail at once, though without a cargo. The George was to proceed to Newfoundland with dispatch, and the Talbot to return to England, but the Lion’s Whelp was to be retained for some time if there were occasion therefor.

John Wessel thinks our Lyon’s Whelp was a privately owned vessel – possibly the First Lyon’s Whelp reparied by Phineas Pett in about 1602 and considered seaworthy enough for an expedition to find the North-West passage in 1625. There are no references in the CSPD (Calendards of State Papers, Domestic)  in 1629, which I would expect if what was by then a King’s ship was used for this purpose. (The Ten Whelps having been “taken over” from the estate of the Duke of Buckingham after his murder in the summer of 1628).     From his notes it seems that only the First Whelp is a possibility- there is no mention of her in CSPD for 1629.  He thinks this was due to the need for repairs after the battering that the fleet took in the bad weather during the return from the La Rochelle campaign (during which the Sixth Whelp was wrecked)- several other Whelps are recorded as needing such repairs before giong to sea in 1629.
Wessel believes his research would also have picked up any reference to a non-royal “Lyon’s Whelp” if it was mentioned in the CSPD.  The references to the other eight Whelps mean it is highly unlikely that any of them could have sailed to the new world and back that year.

George Villiers (1592-1628), created Duke of Buckingham by King James, had a precedent for naming the ten new ships lion’s whelps in 1628. A ship called Lion’s Whelp was owned by Charles, Earl of Nottingham who was Buckingham’s predecessor as Lord Admiral of England. This ship was loaned to Sir Walter Raleigh for his 1595 expedition and was sold to the State in 1602 and repaired at Chatham by up-and -coming shipwright Phineas Pett.

Buckingham received her as a gift from King James just before James died in 1625. She was to be the Duke’s contribution to an expedition under William Hawkridge to find a North-West passage. As this gift was not ratified when James died, the whole procedure had to be repeated with Charles, the new King. I have not traced the fate of this ship.

Although masted and armed from Royal Navy stores, the 10 Whelps were built at the Duke’s expense. As the Duke’s private fleet, they were used to prey on French shipping (with the proceeds going to the Duke’s war-chest) before joining the rest of the English fleet for the final attempt to relieve the siege of La Rochelle. They were taken into the Royal Navy after the Duke was assassinated and in 1632 the State reimbursed his estate with £4,500. The accounts of Captain Pennington (who supervised their construction) show that the Duke spent almost £7,000 on them. Had he lived he would probably have recouped his expenses by selling them to the State (following Nottingham’s precedent) – at a better price than that paid to his estate.  The coat of arms of the Villiers family was a lion rampant- no doubt the Duke appreciated the allusion in the name!

FIRST LION’S WHELP (the one that could be ours)
Built by William Castell of St. Saviour’s (Southwark). Converted into a chain ship for the Chatham “Barricado” c. 1641. Sent to Harwich as a careening hulk in August 1650 and not mentioned futher, but was probably the hulk at Harwich ordered to be sold October 1651.

Built by John Taylor of Wapping. Converted into a chain ship for the Chatham “Barricado” c. 1641. Ordered to be sold in August 1650 together with the Defiance and the Merhonour as being too rotten for service. She was to have been sent to Harwich as a careening hulk but was found to be “too decayed” even for this.

Built by John Dearsley of Ipswich at Wapping. Listed as unfit for service in Batten’s survey of 1642 and “cast” before February 1643.

Built by Christopher Malim of Redriff. Used for experiments on the “project of a Dutchman” c. 1633. Works in the hold were ordered to be removed in March 1634 as they were of no use in a man-of-war. I have not found any details of these works, which were probably carried out by Cornelis Drebbel, who died in 1633. Struck a rock in St. Aubin’s Bay, Jersey on 4 August 16361 and sank, without loss of life.

The following report is preserved in the State Papers, Domestic for 1633 (SP16 262) – spelling modernised and abbreviations expanded for clarity-

Right Honourable.
We have returned to your Lordships (amongst the other ships mentioned in the last survey at Chatham) the defects to be repaired on the 4th Whelp which in effort is no more than the other Whelps want that have been strengthened already since their first build: but the 4th Whelp had diverse works fitted in her hold on the project of a Dutchman by his Majesty’s command signified from our very good lord the Earl of Holland: and now we finding those works unuseful for the ship to go to sea; and in the mean time to annoy her timbers in hold so as they will thereby sooner perish. We desire your lordships directions whether we shall proceed to repair her, and make her fit for a man of war as the rest are; which to do the said works within board must be broken down & the stuff, being of 3 & 4 inch plank will be very useful for the repairing of divers defects on other ships, & save longer planks; and in our judgments if she be to continue for his Majesty’s service will be the best course: which we humbly leave to your Lordships’ consideration.
and rest at your Lordships command
Minchyn (Mincing) Lane this 17th of March 1633 (1634)

Built by Peter Marsh of Wapping. Spent most of her service life based in Ireland. Foundered in the North Sea on 28 June 1637 (Capt. Edward Popham commanding) with the loss of 17 men. The blame was placed on her construction of “mean, sappy timbers”.

Right Honourable

According to your Lordship’s order directed to the captains of the Pleiades and the Industry and myself we wafted over to the Brill three vessels laden with the goods and servants belonging to the Prince Elector, and on Monday the 26th June about four of the clock in the afternoon, when we had seen them safe before the Brill, we stood off again to sea and plied away all that night and the next day. Between seven and eight of the clock that night the wind began to blow very hard at the North West, the storm continued all this night and the next day. My ship I found took in much water at her ports and over her head and therefore once every glass I pumped and still cleared her as fast as she took it in. At eleven of the clock the eight and twentieth day of June I pumped and baled her, at twelve of the clock I looked in the well and found two and twenty inches water. I then plied both my pumps but the water still increased. The carpenters and other of my officers searched to find where the leak was but could never come to know where it was. We therefore bore up for the next port, my officers being all of opinion that we could not long keep her above water, we kept both our pumps continually going and as many buckets as we had hands to spare from the pumps, but do what we could before four of the clock in the afternoon on the eight and twentieth day of June, she sank within four hours after she had sprung her leak. The two ships which the evening before were in my company, the night and the storm robbed me of, and in them all hopes of any safety, we being then 16 leagues from the coasts of Holland which was then our nearest. Seventeen men sank with the ship, myself and forty men more got into a small boat which I had aboard of the ship and but newly cleared her of the ship when she sank. We rowed with the boat from four of the clock that evening ’till eight the next morning before we could see anything that could give us the least hope of succour. We then made a ship riding at an anchor which when we recovered we found her to be an English ship riding before the Brill and bound for Rotterdam where he landed me with the rest of my men that were saved. At Rotterdam I had news of some of his Majesty’s ships that were at Helford Sluce (Helvoetsluys), where I found the St. George, the Vantguard and the William and aboard of these ships I have placed all my men, not knowing how to get a more speedy and convenient passage for them. As soon as wind and weather shall give us leave I shall myself wait on your Lordships to give you a more full relation and to recieve your Lordships’ commands for the disposing of my men, and for this present humbly take my leave, and rest,

your Lordships’ most faithful servant, ever to be commanded
Edw. Popham
from aboard the St. George now riding at Helford Sluce this 4th of July 1637

Built by Peter Pett of Ratcliffe. Captained by Phineas Pett’s son John and lost with all hands off the coast of Brittany while returning from La Rochelle in 1628. Pett lost other relatives in the wreck and there were Army casualties too- A Captain James Whitehead of Colonel Greville’s regiment was lost.

From “The autobiography of Phineas Pett” (W.G. Perrin, Navy Records Society, 1918) p. 141:

In this interim I received certain intelligence of the great loss of my son John, his ship, and all his company, who foundered in the sea about the Seames, in a great storm about the beginning of November; not one man saved to bring the doleful news; no ship near them to deliver the certainty, but a small pink belonging to the fleet that was within ken of her and saw her shoot 9 pieces of ordnance, hoping of succour. This affliction was the greater for that his dear wife was, much about the time of her husband’s loss, delivered of a son at my house in Chatham, having a mournful time of lying in, which son was baptized at Chatham Church on Sunday the 23rd day, afternoon, called Phineas.

Seames = Chaussee de Sein, a rock-bound area south of Ushant in Brittany. Not a place to be caught on a lee shore, even today.

John Pett (1601-1628) was Phineas Pett’s eldest son.

Built by Matthew Graves of Limehouse. Blown up on 25 October 1630 and lost. She and the Mary Rose were involved in a dispute with a Dutch warship from Enkhuisen over a Dunkirk privateer captured off the Suffolk coast. Only 10 men survived the explosion, which was caused by negligence in the powder store as the ship set about the Dutchman. Captain Dawtrey Cooper survived but lost both a son and a nephew.

Captain Francis Sydenham of the Mary Rose wrote the following letter (State Papers, Domestic: SP 16 .173) describing the loss.  The spelling has been modernized for clarity.

May it please your Lordships
I received order from Sir Henry Mervyn to go to the northwards and the 7th Whelp with me to scour the coast of the Dunkirkers or to take any of them, sink or fire them. The 23rd of September we came in with Orfordness at 12 of the clock where we did see at anchor under Sharpness a ship of Newport whom, when he had made what we were he made all the sail that he could and we with the Whelp chased him so far as Dunnage, (Dunwich) the wind being at south east and then the wind came to the east north east so he tacked to sea and the Whelp and I after him. So standing off, we descried two sail running to the southwards one of them proved to be a Holland man of war chasing of a Dunkirke(r) so we following our chase and the Holland man of war his, we fetched up ours and made him to strike amaine for the King of England, so he came by the lee, then I sent my boat off to enter him but the Hollander seeing that, gave over his own chase, struck his topsail to me and before my boat could get aboard he run stemling* aboard my prize and entered his men, and when my men came to enter he bid them keep off or else he would sink them. So I, seeing that he he gave me that affront I was forced to let fly some ordnance at him before he would free my prize of his ship, whereupon he fell off but left 23 of his own men on board her. Then I sent my boat again to enter her but coming the Flemings resisted them but yet they entered , then the Flemings being too strong for them would a hoisted sail and a followed the Dutchman a war, so my men calling out to me I gave order to the 7th Whelp to assist them and withall told him (Captain Cooper) that I would stand with the Dutchman a war to bring him under my command. In the meantime that I stood off with the Dutchman of war an unfortunate fellow went down to the powder room with a candle in his hand without a lanthorn and took hold of the powder and blew her up and she sank down in an instant. I, seeing that awful sight and hearing the terrible cries of the poor men, I bore up to save as many of them as I could, which was but ten, the captain being one of them. In the instant that I bore by to save the men this Dutchman of war took away himself. I was resolved to have made stay of him until I had heard from your Lordships, he committing the insolent attack as he did unto the King’s ship. The captain’s name is John Bleker, he is captain of the Rue Base of Ancusan (Enkhuisen) I have 23 of his men which I purpose to send ashore to be kept until I have order from your Lordships for the releasing of them. When the Dutchman of war laid my prize aboard all the Dunkirks ran aboard of him fearing he had sunk their ship. There was forty of them at least, there is only two boys left which I have. May it please your Lordships the prize is about 60 tons and she has 4 iron minion guns in her and she has about 20 days victuals in her for 30 men and she goes exceeding well and I have manned her and if your Lordships please to give warrant for victualing of her for the time that the Mary Rose is victualed I make no question but she will do every good service. I have not any ship with me but this and here is 7 sail of Dunkirkers upon this coast as I am reliably informed, so leaving this to your Lordships’ consideration, I rest,
yours Hons. to command
Fra. Sydenham

from on board his majestys ship the Mary Rose in North Yarmouth road 25th September 1630

* “stemling” – the Dutch warship appears to have struck the smaller Dunkirker amidships with his bows, enabling his men to board from the overhanging beakhead.

Built by John Graves of Limehouse. Used to transport gold to the Scottish parliament in 1644. By July 1645 was considered too rotten to be worth repairing and was ordered to be laid up on shore at Woolwich.2

Built by John Graves of Limehouse. Spent her service based in Irish waters. Captained by Dawtrey Cooper in 1632/33, during which time there were constant disputes and near-mutinies on board. These seem to have resulted from Cooper’s actions- perhaps the loss of the Seventh Whelp affected his reason. The Ninth was wrecked in the river Clyde with the pinnace Confidence while taking supplies from Ireland to Dumbarton Castle (on the Clyde near Glasgow) in April 1640. She may be the ship referred to in a warrant of 1642 authorising the Marquis of Argyle to use “four of the best ” of the cannon lying near Newark Castle which had come from the “English ship” cast away there3. The Eighth and Ninth are noted in some records as having been sunk in 1628. This arises from a misreading of a letter in the State Papers, Domestic stating that they were “lost to the fleet” in the bad weather that wrecked the Sixth Whelp. In fact they were separated from the fleet and returned to Portsmouth later.

Built by Robert Tranckmore of Shoreham. Went over to the Royalists after the fall of Bristol in 1643 and was recaptured by Parliament’s forces in 1645. Was at Helvoetsluys with the Earl of Warwick’s fleet in 1648 (see below) and was fitted out as a fireship for Blake’s pursuit of Prince Rupert to Lisbon in 1650. She was used for convoy work and despatches during the first Dutch war. Sold “by the candle” (a form of auction- a pin is stuck in the side of a candle and the last bid made before the pin falls, wins) on 19 October 1654 to Jacob Blackpath for £410. (SP18.89)


Journal of the Voyage, kept by Rev. Francis Higginson, London, 1630.

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  8. Edith Harding says:

    You have done a magnificent job with the Minor Family history. Thank you so much!
    Edie Harding (Thomas Minor’s 10th great granddaughter — through the Minor-Kenner-Harding side)

  9. Diane Miner says:

    Is this book still available to purchase? My husband’s grandfather was I. Dwight Miner and we have had a copy of this book for years. My husband recently passed and my daughter now has the book. I would like to find another one to give our son.

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