1631, Joseph Harrison and Henry Goodwin request a royal office with a suitable salary

Joseph Harrison and Henry Goodwin, gentleman. SP 16/182 f. 10 (1631)

To the Kinge’s most excellent majestie

The humble peticion of Joseph Harrison and Henry Goodwin gentleman

Humbly shewing, whereas your majesties late deare father (of blessed memory) by his letteres patentes under the great seale of England in the thirtenth yeare of his majesties raigne did graunt unto Richard Hooper and William Randes and the longest liver of them an annuity or pencion of xxx pounds per annum out of your highnes receipt of Exchequour quarterly; in consideracion that they undertook at their own charge to cleare all the usuall roades and harbours for shippes in the narrow seas between the Ile of Wight and Yarmouth of all anchours and cables as had or shoulde be slipt and lost, soe as your majesties shipes and other vesselles might the safer ride in harborough in those places, which service hath been allwaies thought requisite and found to be very necessary for the preserving your majesties shipps and others from danger, and the said Hooper and Randes are now both deceased and the service neglected to the great hurt and danger of the said shipps.

Your petitioners most humbly pray, that your majesty wilbe graciously pleased to graunt unto them for their lives and the longest liver of them the said annuity or pencion of 30 pounds per annum in as ample manner as the same was graunted to the former patentees, they undertaking at their owne charge by themselves or their deputies to performe the said service in all things:

And your petitioners (as most bound) shall daily pray for your majesties long and prosperous raigne.

[paratext:] At the court at Whitehall 4o January 1630 / His majestie is graciously pleased, that the lordes commissioners for the Admiralty shall consi= der of the pretence and request of the peticioners; and thereuppon informe his majestie, what is fitt to be done / Dorchester / Read 14o January 1630 petition of Joseph Harrison and Henry Goodwin for 30 pounds per annum for sweeping of anchors. / Referred from his majestie.

Report by Sandra Wiggins

According to the petition the King’s father (James I) granted Richard Hooper and William Randes an annuity for keeping the seas between the Isle of Wight and Yarmouth clear of anchors and cables. Hooper and Randes have died and their duties are no longer being performed. The petitioners ask to succeed to Hooper and Randes’ role, in return for an annuity of £30 a year.


Yarmouth was the smallest parish in the Isle of Wight at only 58 acres. Originally there were only two means of access to Freshwater Isle: by ferry at Norton across the mouth of the Yar estuary to Yarmouth and by foot across a narrow neck of land called Freshwater Gate at the southern end of the creek formed by the River Yar.[1]  Yarmouth is the first port inside the Needles at the mouth of the Western Yar. The last and most important charter to Yarmouth was granted in 1609 by King James I. In 1618 the quay was in decay and the mayor and constables were responsible for repairing it, so in 1625 all inhabitants of the town were asked to pay a levy to do the work. In 1628 King Charles I granted the port of Yarmouth to Mary and her brother-in-law William Wandisford. Mary and William wanted to cut off the parishes of Freshwater and Totland from the main island. However, the mayor and the burgesses were against this scheme as they believed it would ruin the harbour by diminishing the current of the river, which was apparently already only just sufficient to keep the harbour clear.[2]

1st Viscount Dorchester

On receipt of the petition ‘Dorchester’ referred it for consideration to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty.  Dorchester was Dudley Carleton, 1st Viscount Dorchester, an English art collector, diplomat and Secretary of State 10 March 1573 – 15 February 1632. In December 1628, Dorchester was made principal Secretary of State, becoming a leading figure in    Charles I’s rule without Parliament from 1629. He died in 1632 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.[3]

The Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty

On the death of the Duke of Buckingham in 1628 his office of Lord High Admiral was put into commission, and six Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, members of the Board of Admiralty, were appointed to execute the office jointly. The Commissioners were a mixture of politicians without naval experience and professional naval officers.[4]


[1] ‘Farringford House: Historical Note on Freshwater Parish’, https://farringford.co.uk/history/estate/historical-note-on-freshwater-parish.

[2] ‘The borough of Yarmouth’, in A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 5, ed. William Page (London, 1912), pp. 286-292. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/hants/vol5/pp286-292.

[3] ‘Dudley Carleton, 1st Viscount Dorchester’, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dudley_Carleton,_1st_Viscount_Dorchester.

[4] ‘List of Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty’, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Lords_Commissioners_of_the_Admiralty.


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’.