Brighton- Early 18th century

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    James C

      Hello, I was wondering if the society has any information about Brighton/Brighthelmstone in the early 18th century. Historians seem to refer to it as a simple fishing village only- but looking through some primary sources (Elizabeth Grover’s chronology among others) it seems that there were some ships that set out from Brighton on longer voyages, sometimes transatlantic, as opposed to just fishing boats. I’m asking specifically about the period from 1715 to 1730 or so. Are there any records of mariners at that time who might have been traveling from Brighton to America? Elizabeth Grover‘s chronology mentions that her brother William went to France in 1726, and that another relative traveled to Pennsylvania in 1723. Also that her brother John’s vessel was going on long voyages between 1723 and 1726. Is there any other corroborating information? I am researching an ancestor who came from England as a cabin boy between 1720 and 1725 or so, at the age of ten. The story is that he wanted to go to sea as a boy, and to put this to rest, his parents asked a sea captain neighbor to take him on a voyage as a cabin boy. The ship got to Boston, and he ran away rather than return to England. He started a new life and raised a family in America, and the captain had to return home without his cabin boy. I have possibly traced this ancestor back to Brighton, but I am unsure how likely it is that a ship may have gone to Boston from Brighton during this time period. Any information in this regard would be very much appreciated.

      Frank Scott

        There was no harbour for Brighton until the late 20th century, when a large marina was constructed on the eastern side from 1971-78. Prior to that everything had to be done off the beach, with larger vessels coming in at high water, drying out before loading or discharging cargo, then floating off & departing when the tide came in again. Obviously this was very weather dependant. In the era to which you are referring fishing boats could be based there permanently as they were quite small, but larger vessels would be restricted to having it as ‘port of registry’ because they could not use it in conventional sense.

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