On This Day: 18 September 1703

On this day in 1703, Thomas Bowrey purchased 28 bundles of iron hoops for his ship, the Rising Sun, from Samuel Berdoe. There is nothing very remarkable about this purchase but it does point to how self-sufficient the crew of ships of this period needed to be.

Ships always carried a highly skilled carpenter who was usually considered to be an officer. The carpenter would be required to make repairs to the ship’s hull and masts. He would build additional cabins if needed. A ship needed a fairly substantial small boat to ferry people and goods between ship and shore. This smaller boat was also frequently used for side trips to other markets while the mother ship remain behind. To avoid towing these smaller boats during the outward journey they could be carried as a flat-pack and built closer to their destination.

As today’s document shows, barrels would also be made on board as they became required. Barrels would be needed for drinking water and cargo purchased. Bowrey’s ill-fated Worcester brought back a barrel of mangoes (probably as chutney). Bills for fitting out a ship and inventories of a ship’s equipment show that a great many woodworking tools were carried.

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