Book Of the Day: New Light on the Mysterious Tragedy of the Worcester 1704-1705

Worcester Title Page

Today’s offering is third in the trio of books by Sir Richard Carnac Temple concerning Captain Thomas Bowrey. Whilst not a light read, I consider New Light on the Mysterious Tragedy of the Worcester 1704-1705 to be the most balanced account about the ill-fated Worcester although it will never satisfy those who believe Thomas Green, John Madder and John Simpson to have been guilty.

I have read everything I have been able to find on the incident – and that is a great deal of material – and, for once, I cannot fault Temple’s conclusions. Whatever your stance, however much you will not be swayed by the arguments, the research carried out by Temple is impressive. If you have any interest in the history of the period, if you want to understand the still topical question of the union between England and Scotland, it you have any interest in miscarriages of justice or conspiracy theories, this book is well worth reading.

The story of the Worcester is not simply that of the loss of a ship. There many of those on Thomas Bowrey’s papers. The events leading up to the loss, and the consequence of it, are a brilliant example of how complex political affairs can become and how ordinary people can be tragically caught up in them.

Unlike the previous two Temple volumes, I do not believe that this book is available as a modern, print-on-demand book but there are plenty of second-hand copies available all of which are likely to cost you less than the interlibrary loan fee charged by our local library.




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