On This Day: 29 January 1705

On this day in 1705, William Charlton sent his latest bill to Thomas Bowrey. I have written previously about Charlton caring for Bowrey’s yacht, the Duck, but today’s bill is for more than just that.

Charlton is an interesting man. He acted as sailing master on the Duck when Bowrey and Nathaniel Long took their six week long tour of France, Flanders and Holland in 1698. Charlton’s son acted as crew on that journey. Today’s bill shows that the father also acted as pilot on the Mary Galley as she sailed up the Thames to Gravesend. He afterwards gave Bowrey advice on handling the galley for best performance. Richard Carnac Temple believed Charlton to be a ships’ chandler but I have found no evidence of this.

I thought that William Charlton was a common name and I would not be able to identify him but there was only one likely candidate. William Charlton married Ann Hanger 11 November 1680 at St Alfege Greenwich. They had at least eight children between 1681 and 1693, all baptised at the same church and another daughter buried there in 1697. William was a waterman, someone who carried people on the Thames, which meant that he knew the River well. He, perhaps, stored the Duck with his own boats.

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