Come and ask, answer or inform.
|Nationality||Commonwealth of England|
|How acquired||Purpose built||BWAS-1603|
|Shipyard||Deptford Dockyard - Deptford||B028|
|Constructor||Peter Pett (1610-1672)||B028|
|Ship Type||Ship of the Line||B028|
|Sailing Rig||Ship Rigged||B028|
|Dates||Fleet||Fleet Commander||Source||29.9.1654-8.1657||Fleet for the Mediterranean||Robert Blake (1598-1657)|
Right Worshipful, This night about ten of the clock the Fairfax became on fire and is almost burned down to the water ; by a great providence the Unicorn was preserved. I much doubt there was treachery in it for that she was the weathermost ship, the tide newly come, the wind easterly and the fire so sudden that it was discovered ashore before the ship's company were sensible of it. The Unicorn was not a cable's length from her, and was yare in cutting cables in the hawse, and so with a warp bowsed l ashore on the east side, the Greyhound and other ships did the like, and she drove ashore upon the west side. I dare assure you there is no danger of the other ships but she is irrecoverable, her lower tier of guns are out, and part of her upper and her powder taken out at Queenborough. I thought fit to give you this brief account and shall be more punctual when I shall see the event; in the meantime I crave leave to remain
At your command,
Chatham Dock, 22 March, 1652, at 1 in the morning. (1st April 1653 New Style)
Right Honourable, According to order we came this morning to this place. Immediately went to view the ruins of the Fairfax which is burnt down fore and aft to the lower futtock, only her bottom remaining wherein was the guns and other provisions left on board. And in the pursuance of your Honours' commands in order to a strict examination of the manner of burning the aforesaid ship and also the persons who are guilty or accessories thereof, we have accordingly used the best way and means to inform ourselves whether this said disaster happened by treachery or neglect of duty in those concerned in your trust, and have ripened matters in our thoughts ready for a farther prosecution; only have waited this day to see whether Dr. Walker come or not, but now, the evening being come, conclude that your Honours have seen cause to alter that resolution, and therefore in case we receive nothing to alter our purposes we are resolved in the morning to take such examinations that are material to the case, in meantime shall only give your Honours this general account of our apprehensions (that concurs with what one of us gave you last night) that there is no appearance of any design by treachery to destroy her, but only a thievish contrivement which occasioned the setting on fire some loose powder that was scattered in the powder room by the fall of a candle, and as to that part of neglect of duty we humbly conceive that cannot be excused, for upon examination we find that there was borne upon her book thirty men, whereas there was but fourteen on board and he that was the principal officer of trust (who was yeoman to the boatswain) was absent, and the gunner's mate and yeoman of the powder room, who were on board, we conceive will appear most deeply chargeable. We find by examination that no watch was kept on board; no boatswain or gunner belonging to her, nor any other care taken to prevent this untimely loss. We shall take boldness to represent matters clearly to your Honours as we apprehend, as also offer our thoughts thereupon when we have more fully acquainted ourselves therewith, which we hope to effect to-morrow, so for present crave leave to subscribe ourselves,
Your very faithful and humble servants,
N. BOURNE. J. LAWSON.
Chatham, 24 March, 1652.