On This Day: 11 April 1704

Today I am looking at a very basic receipted bill for ropes, stays (the ropes that hold the masts in place) and hawsers (one of the thick ropes used for mooring a ship – such as cruise ships passengers will be very familiar with) for the Mary Galley. In addition to demonstrating the different types of ropes required when fitting out a ship, this very ordinary bill illustrates something very important about Bowrey.

I have already mentioned that many of the receipts in his papers are written in his own handwriting. Those that are not, have one thing in common. There is always a little sum, on the front or reverse, where he has checked that the total is correct.

But that is not all. as in this case, often Bowrey has continued his arithmetic by calculating a discount yet the receipt is endorsed in full of all Account. In this case, he has claimed a five percent discount. Knowing that tradesmen often had to wait for a very long time to be paid in the 17th and 18th centuries, it is assumed that this discount was for prompt payment but did Bowrey negotiate this or simply claim the discount or did a grateful tradesman just accept it?

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