Punishment aboard an East Indiaman 1684

Home Forums Nautical Research: 1500 – 1830 Punishment aboard an East Indiaman 1684

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  • #17679
    Judy S. P
    Participant

      The logbook for a 1684 East India Co. voyage includes the following entry: “. . .one of our midshipmen, for lyeinge ashore from the next day after
      came into St. Hellena to the day set Saile & for other mifsbehavores I turnd hime afore the mast. Allow hime but 238 pmt fro the pmt 8ber.” I presume that the captain reduced this sailor’s pay for his misbehaviors, but what does “turnd hime afore the mast” mean?

      #17681
      Frank Scott
      Participant

        As a midshipman he was treated as a junior officer, with some privileges. Being ‘turned before the mast’ meant being disrated to ‘common’ seaman, and living & working with them. Traditional accommodation for the seamen was in the forecastle – before the mast.
        The Oxford Companion to Ships & the Sea – latest edition 2016, by Peter Kemp & Ian Dear (also on-line at many public libraries), is a good source for such things.

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