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    THE STORY OF SHOREHAM         MURDER AND PIRACY  
                   
                         
A somewhat curious case occurred in July, 1354, when the goods of Thomas Paterlyng and other merchants of London were plundered at sea by the French. Shortly after this the goods of Ralph de Sancta Fide, of " Depe," Normandy, were taken at sea by mariners of England, brought into Shoreham and there arrested by the bailiffs of the town. An agreement was then made by which Ralph promised " as far as he may " to cause the merchandise of Thomas Paterlyng and his fellows, " which can be found in the ships of those that took them," to be brought safely to England. In the meantime, two-thirds of the French goods brought into Shoreham were to be delivered to Ralph. The third part was to remain in the keeping of John Bernard, burgess of Shoreham, Ralph's host, until the Frenchman had fulfilled his part of the contract, and, moreover, his two sons were to be delivered to Thomas Paterlyng as hostages.     Sometimes the crime of murder was added to that of piracy. This was the case in August, 1371, when there was an enquiry, " touching the evil-doers who boarded a ship of Durdraght, whereof Yonge Bond was master, laden with goods and wares on the coast near Shoreham." After killing the master, mariners, merchants, other men and some women who were in the ship, they took the goods and wares " to no small value," put them in a barge, sank the ship and brought the barge and goods into Shoreham.
               
                In 1380, William Lenchlade, citizen and mercer of London, was granted protection for two years in respect of his ship " la Margarete," of Shoreham, and for its mariners and goods.
                A levy of 3d. was made on every noble's worth of fish landed at Shoreham, Pende, and other ports, to be expended on their defence, when an invasion by the French was considered imminent in 1385.
                         
  In March, 1359, a ship of St. Malowe, in Brittany, "which is of the King's enmity," laden with wines and " other wares and things" and lately driven into the port of Shoreham by a storm at sea, was ordered to be arrested and delivered to the bailiff and "two or three of the good men of the town to be kept for the King's use."   In 1399 the agent of the Abbot of Fecamp was building a vessel at Pende. It was seized while yet unfinished because he had taken the timber for her construction from the wood at Warminghurst without first obtaining the King's licence.
    We find very little record of maritime activity at this period. Signs of the exhaustion and depression following after the French wars of Edward III. are apparent.A small vessel, known as a balinger, was ordered in June, 1400, " to be ready by the following April."
  Very frequent are the references to " goods and merchandise by certain pirates plwidered at sea, and put ashore at the town of Shoreham," but it is impossible to notice them all. During the year 1371, several vessels, some of them English, were relieved of their cargoes in this manner. It is interesting to note the goods with which they were laden.  
    In July, 1406, the " Barthelemewe," a balinger, of Shoreham, was concerned in the capture and spoliation of a. ship of Prussia, called " Crystofre of Gypswold," and Alexander Pynson, John Gate, and John Bradbrege, all of Shoreham, and probably the owners of the vessel, were ordered to pay £10. In October of the same year, John Gascoigne, of Foweye, and John Mayhewe, of Dartmouth, masters of two balingers, and many other persons " arrayed in warlike manner " attacked and captured a Portuguese ship carrying a cargo worth 500 marks. They brought her into Shoreham, imprisoned her captain and crew eleven days, and sold the ship and cargo to John Scullie, John atte Gate, Alexander Pynson, and Symon Manyngfield, men of the town, who were ordered to be arrested and taken before the King's Council.
  One cargo consisted of 35 bales woad, 6 bales " alum," 4 cases (casi) " sope," 3 tons flax and 14 reams paper-valued at £140. Another vessel carried 31 dozen fells of foynes (the hides of that animal), 5 mantles of fitchews (fur of the polecat), one timber and a half, 8 fells of greywork, 7 dozen fells of roes, 131 lbs. green thread-of the value of £22 10s. Another ship was laden with 334 pieces of kerchief of " Wermoise," every piece containing 4 plights, 4 pieces of "camaca bleue" (a fine fabric, probably of silk), containing 34 ells, and 500 ells of " canavace "-valued at £100.  
  Another vessel was laden with 3 cloths of " motele," divers pieces of " roys " of Deest, 12 dozen " sadelskirtes," 6 dozen " redlash," 1 fardel of linen cloth, 3 rydels, and a great number of nails, " bokeles " of iron, and hides " silvered by the saddler's ,craft" in divers bags-to the value of £40 3s. 4d.  
    A ship sailed in 1420 from Pende-juxta-Shoreham to Rouen, carrying provisions (probably wheat), together with many others employed in the same service. This was at the time
             
                         
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Copyright © Martin Snow 2002 All rights reserved
Revised 27 February 2002