On This Day: 9 January 1705

On this day in 1705, Patrick Stewart made a formal complaint to Roderick MacKenzie about the breaking of the seal on the hatches of the Worcester and unloading her cargo. Stewart was acting on behalf of Captain Thomas Green, Thomas Bowrey and the other owners and freighters of the ship which had been seized by the Scots in Leith harbour.

The trial of Green and his crew on charges of robbery, piracy and murder would not start for more than a month and nothing on the ship should have been touched but that did not stop MacKenzie selling the cargo and, in all likelihood, pocketing the proceeds. Later in the year, after the execution of Green, Madder and Simpson, Henry Smith would spend weeks in Edinburgh trying to establish exactly what happened to the cargo, how much it sold for and who had the proceeds. Had he succeeded, Bowrey is certain to have sued for its recovery.

The ship herself was sold to a Captain Gavin, possibly Alexander Gavin who was known in Scotland at the time. As a final irony, whilst Smith was in Edinburgh, he witnessed the last ever reported sighting of the Worcester. She was being used as a convict ship and departing for the West Indies. After being seized by the Scots, the Worcester was rumoured to have run aground and remain stranded for some time. As she had been in poor repair when she arrived in Scotland and little money was likely to have been spent on a convict ship before its human cargo was loaded on board, the chances of the unfortunates arriving safe and well in the West Indies were slim although there is a record of Captain Alexander Gavin being alive in Scotland in 1709.



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