1629, the owners of a ship seized by Algerian pirates seek to reclaim it

Hugh Perry, Thomas Eyans, John Hide and others. SP 16/131 f. 13 (1629)

To the right honourable the lords commissioners of the Admiralty.

The humble peticion of Hugh Perry, Thomas Eyans, John Hide and others.

Whereas the peticioners having about 7 yeares past let to freight for Lisbon their ship called the Lyon, whereof John Hide one of the peticioners was master, she was surprized on the coast of Portugal by certaine pirates of Algier, and by them carryed to the same place, from whence the said master after some misery was redeemed by disbursement of a great ransome.

Now so it is, that their said ship was lately descried by some watermen to be in the river of Thames manned by Italians, Turkes, and English bound for Holland: whereof the said watermen having given notice unto the peticioners, they have caused their said ship to be arrested by the officers of the Admiralty.

The peticioners humble suite therefore is, that seing the said ship was most unjustly taken from them by pirates, your lordships would be pleased to take such order, that the peticioners being the true owners may have the possession of their ship againe. And they shal daily pray for your lordships in health and happines long to continue

Report by Graham Camfield

The petitioners claimed that some seven years before their ship, the Lion, was taken by pirates from Algiers; the ship’s master (and one of the petitioners), John Hide was only released from captivity, after some misery, by the payment of a great ransom. The ship was lately spotted on the Thames, manned by Italians, Turks and English and bound for Holland. It had been detained by the Admiralty. The petitioners sought its restitution.

The taking of the Lyon

Sometime in 1621/22 a group of London merchants, among them Hugh Perry and Thomas Eyans, dispatched the Lyon under Master John Hide to Portugal. There, off the coast, the ship was surprised and taken by pirates and taken back to Algiers. A large ransom was paid for the return of John Hide, but nothing more was seen of the ship for several years. Then in 1627 it was spotted in the Thames by some watermen with a crew of Italians, Turks and Englishmen bound for Holland.  It was reported to the Admiralty and a warrant was made in September 1627 for Gabriel Marsh, Marshal of the High Court of Admiralty, to bring John Hide, his mate and boatswain from the Lyon, before the Lords of Admiralty.[1] The Lyon was to be secured at one of His Majesty’s forts.  In January 1629, Hugh Perry, Thomas Eyans and others (unidentified) petitioned for their ship to be released and returned to them.  The outcome is unknown.

The petitioners

Hugh Perry belonged to the Mercers Company, becoming a Master Mercer in 1633. From 1632 to 1634 he was an Alderman of the City of London, representing Queenhithe ward.[2] He served on the Committee of the East India Company from 1627 to 1634. He died in January 1635 and his funeral was an elaborate affair.[3] In his will he left a substantial amount to benefit the poor in his home town of Wotton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire, founding almshouses and a scheme to provide apprenticeships for boys.[4]

Thomas Eyans belonged to the Haberdashers Company. He died in 1637 and is buried at All Hallows, Lombard Street.[5]

The Lyon (or Lion) was not an uncommon name among ships of the period. This particular vessel belonged to a Mr Slany[6], probably either John or Humphrey Slany (or Slaney), two brothers from a wealthy and influential merchant and ship-owning family with wide ranging commercial interests.[7]

John Hide was a mariner who appears several times in the State Papers and in the records of the High Court of Admiralty.[8] It appears that he had returned from his captivity by early 1626 when he is recorded as Master of the Nonsuch. During an expedition with other ships into the Elbe in April 1626, while lying in the Freiburg Road (‘Flyborough’), they encountered a fleet of ships from Hamburg laden with arms bound for Spain, which was then at war with England. In the stand-off which ensued the captain of the Nonsuch, Captain Wilbraham and seven others perished in an accident when their boat overturned.[9] Communication went backwards and forwards to London on how to proceed. It appears that the English ships were also gathering intelligence and Hide reported on the activities of German commander Count Mansfeld in Hungary.[10]

Hide had returned to London by November 1626 with some prizes from the expedition.[11] In December he gave evidence to the High Court of Admiralty.[12] Some years later in 1635 John Hide was himself the object of a petition brought by the wife of Robert Eliott, quartermaster on the Freeman. It was claimed that Hide had withheld 35 shillings of her husband’s wages out of malice and should not be permitted to sail again until it was paid.[13]


[1] ‘Pages 51-76’, in J V Lyle (ed.), Acts of the Privy Council of England Volume 43, 1627-1628 (1940), p. 53. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/acts-privy-council/vol43/pp51-75. The Marshal was an officer of the High Court of Admiralty.

[2] ‘Aldermen of the City of London: Queenhithe ward’, in Alfred P Beaven, The Aldermen of the City of London Temp. Henry III – 1912 (1908), pp. 189-196. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/london-aldermen/hen3-1912/pp189-196.

[3] Order of Hugh Perry’s funeral procession, 20 January [1635], British Library, Add MS 71131 M, http://searcharchives.bl.uk/IAMS_VU2:IAMS040-001965135. He was buried at St Bartholomew by the Exchange.

[4] ‘Will of Hugh Perry, Mercer of London’, The National Archives, PROB 11/166/664, http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D867080.

[5] ‘Will of Thomas Eyans, of All Hallows, Lombard Street, City of London’, The National Archives, PROB 11/173/547, http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D870578.

[6] ‘Pages 51-76’, in J V Lyle (ed.), Acts of the Privy Council of England Volume 43, 1627-1628 (1940), p. 53. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/acts-privy-council/vol43/pp51-75.

[7] Kenneth R. Andrews, Ships, Money and Politics: Seafaring and Naval Enterprise in the Reign of Charles I (1991), p. 51.

[8] See High Court of Admiralty, Oyer and Terminer Records (HCA 1), Index, 1535-1834 (1969), http://www.listandindexsociety.org.uk/PUB.html?PUB=046&MOD=this. This gives his birth as 1581 and his residence as the Tower Precinct, London.

[9] ‘Charles I – volume 26: May 1-13, 1626’, in John Bruce (ed.), Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles I, 1625-26 (1858), pp. 324-333. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/chas1/1625-6/pp324-333.

[10] The Count had been in London and had the support of James I in the Protestant cause in the Thirty Years War.

[11] ‘Charles I – volume 40: November 18-30, 1626’, in John Bruce (ed.) Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles I, 1625-26 (1858), pp. 477-485. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/chas1/1625-6/pp477-485.

[12] The National Archives, HCA 13/45/47, http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C4248805.

[13] ‘Charles I – volume 310: Undated 1635’, in John Bruce (ed.), Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles I, 1635-6 (1866), pp. 60-81. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/chas1/1635-6/pp60-81.


This report is part of a series on ‘Petitioners in the reign of Charles I and the Civil Wars’, created through a U3A Shared Learning Project on ‘Investigating the Lives of Seventeenth-Century Petitioners’.