On 26 November 1703 (actually 7 December in our modern Gregorian calendar), England was hit by what became known as The Great Storm. The damage to property was enormous, many ships were lost and the Eddystone Lighthouse destroyed.

Bowrey’s ship, the Rising Sun, was caught up in the storm whilst being fitted out on the Thames at Wapping. She was one of about 700 ships in the Pool of London at the time. For once, Bowrey’s had better luck than many. The Rising Sun was damaged but survived. The masts, cables and anchors as well as the ship’s longboat were lost. Her captain, Thomas Wybergh, believed that the mast ended up on the coast of Holland but the anchors could not be located – especially as he could remember no details by which to identify them. It was impossible for the London shipyards to effect all the repairs required and priority was given to the ships of the Royal Navy and the East India Company. The Rising Sun was taken to Flushing for repair.

Bowrey kept very detailed accounts for the ship. It is clear from them that the ship was almost ready to sail when the storm hit. The delay and cost of repairs were of great concern but the Rising Sun, following repairs, sailed for the East Indies the following February. The voyage was far from uneventful and it will take some time to decipher the full story for my book but it is of great interest to students of marine insurance among others.

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