Interpretation of a 19th century Certificate of Registry

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    Boudewijn M

      Recently I purchased two 19th British Certificates of Registry of a Cutter. The two documents I have had “translated” into plain text, as I am no native speaker and had trouble deciphering the text.

      A number of question came-up when reading the text, with which I hope someone could help me.

      It states that the vessel is 1 foot 2 ½ inches long and 4½ wide. Are feet at the time different from how we measure it now adays, or where they deliberately undersized for tax reasons?

      The sizes and number of masts do not corresponded with the Augus registration. Is it a different vessel or was it common that alterations were made? I was under the impression that both certificates are of one and the same vessel, as on refers to the other.

      It also states …….. no gallery and no figure head…… Was it common that such vessels did have a gallery and figure head so that it needed to be mentioned that this vessel did not have any?

      John Francis Rotton (1837-1926), named as owner and master, would have been aged 11 at the time the Certificate of Registry was issued. Was that common practice to register a vessel to minors?

      Any insights or other observations would be of great interest.

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      Frank Scott

        Feet & Inches in Britain have not changed, so the certificates would seem to have been produced by the parents as a piece of family fun to make the two ‘pond yachts’ given as presents (probably birthday or Christmas) to their son rather more special. Charming.

        Note that the name of the first vessel is ARGUS, not AUGUS

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