Books of the Day: The Sources for the Story of the Worcester

Yesterday my Worcester Timeline was referenced in another blog and I thought, if it is going to drive more people interested in the story of the Worcester here, it may be the time to feature books relevant to that story. More has been written about the case of the Worcester than any other episode in Thomas Bowrey’s life and it is the one element that is still capable of exciting vehement debate today. I cannot claim to have studied everything – each Internet search throws up more sources – but I have read enough to know that there is no one definitive version of what happened. Thus, today, I am featuring a number of books and other sources all of which relate to the Worcester or the events around it.

The main primary source is London Metropolitan Archives: CLC 427 MS24176 Lloyds of London Papers of Thomas Bowrey

For the case of the Worcester, the important folios as well as other primary sources are included in Lieut.-Colonel Sir Richard Carnac Temple, New Light on the Mysterious Tragedy of the Worcester 1704-1705, Ernest Benn, London, 1930

Temple is biased towards Bowrey and, therefore, Green. A more recent counterbalance to this is J Irvine Smith, The Trial of Captain Green lecture @ Annual General Meeting of the Stair Society, Edinburgh @ (accessed 26 February 2016)

A full transcript of the trial can be found at Thomas Bayly Howell, A complete collection of State Trials and Proceedings for High Treason and other Criteria and Misdemeanours from the earliest period to the year 1783, 1700-1708, in case 438 pages 1199-1328, Longman, Rees. Orme, Brown & Green, London, 1826 @

One of the best summaries is Eric J. Graham, Seawolves: Pirates & the Scots, pages 163-190, Birlinn, Edinburgh, 2007

Once you have worked through all of the above, you will have a good understanding of the complexity of the case. However, if you still have an appetite for more, the following may fill in some of the details:

Anon (Possibly Daniel Defoe), A Letter from Scotland, to a Friend in London: Containing a Particular Narrative of the Whole Proceedings Against the Worcester and her Crew from her First Arrival in Leith-Road, to 20th April 1705 …, London, 1705

Anon, The Case of Captain Green, Commander of the Ship Worcester and his crew Tried and Condemned for Pyracy and Murther in the High Court of Admiralty of Scotland, John Nutt, London, 1705

Karin Bowie, Scottish Public Opinion and the Anglo-Scottish Union, 1699-1707, Boydell Press, Woodbridge, Surrey

Karin Bowie, Newspapers, the early modern public sphere and the 1704-5 Worcester affair in Benchimol, A., Brown, R. and Shuttleton, D. (eds) Before Blackwood’s: Scottish Journalism in the Age of Enlightenment Series, Pickering & Chatto, London, 2015

Thomas Bowrey, The Case of the Owners and Freighters of the Ship Worcester in relation to the seising … of the said ship … in Scotland, for reprisal of the Scots ship Annandale, seised … in England. And also the case of the late Capt. Thomas Green, London

British Library: IOR/H/30 Petitions Relating to the Annandale, folios 2-15, 35-43

Rory Carroll, The Sorry Story of How Scotland Lost its 17th Century Empire in The Guardian: https://www.theguardian .com/uk/ 2007/Sep/11/britishidentity.past (accessed 19 June 2016)

Daniel De Foe, The History of the Union Between England and Scotland. To which is added the Articles of Union, &c., pages 23-31, John Exshaw, Dublin, 1799

Christine Hancock, John Madder Englishman or Scot? in the Journal of the Guild of One Name Studies volume 10 number 9 Jan-Mar 2011

Headsman, 1705: Captain Thomas Green and two of his crew on the Worcester @ (accessed 15 October 2014)

George Pratt Irish, editor, Papers relating to the Ships and Voyages of the Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies, 1696-1707, page x, Scottish History Society, Edinburgh, 1924

Kinnaird,, (accessed 20 March 2016)

Andrew Lang, The Case of Captain Green in The Select Works of Andrew Lang @ (accessed 15 October 2014)

MadderGenealogist, 2013/ 04/11/start-of-the-voyage/ (accessed 15 October 2014)

John Prebble, The Darien Disaster, Pimlico, page 56, New York, 1968

Wikipedia (Thomas Green), (accessed 15 October 2014)


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