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  THE STORY OF SHOREHAM       PRIVATEERING  
                       
"Dolphin," captured seven Dutch ships. The following April he took a French bark, the " Peter," of Conquet, laden with sugar, and in July, the " Rose," of Conquet. On a later occasion the "Dolphin " gave chase to a Dutch man-of-war, which had captured a Swansea bark and was making off with her prize. Captain Scras engaged the Dutchman and succeeded in re-takingthe bark, but retained her as his prize, taking from her, according to the owner, the sum of £600. The "Dolphin," sailing into Cowes Harbour with her prize, was seized by the Vice-Admiral of the Isle of Wight. Scras was taken into custody and his ship condemned to be sold, but some months after this the captain petitioned the Lords of the Admiralty for the release of his ship and for his own discharge out of custody. He " apologised " for the resistance which had been offered by his servants to the arrest of the ship, and was eventually allowed to buy back the " Dolphin " for £230 and again obtained a letter of marque in respect of her. The owner of the Swansea bark, although petitioning the Admiralty more than once, does not appear to have obtained redress.   her, were driven away by ordnance till they fetched a "piece from Brighthelmstone." Afterwards the enemy cast anchor before Shoreham all night. During the same year frequent requests were made for ships to convoy Shoreham barks laden with timber for Portsmouth, Plymouth, and Woolwich, " the French men-of-war being very busy on the coast." Some fighting occasionally took place, and the burial of " a man slain
          by the enemy off Shoram " is recorded in the Reizisters of St. Clement's Church, Hastings, on August 24th, 1628. In 1629, barks laden with quantities of Chichester and Shoreham wheat " look for a convoy, otherwise their captains will not put to sea, for the enemy lies well upon the coast so that none go out but are taken."
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Edward Alford, of Offington, writing to Nicholas on July 10th,. 1628, reports on prize matters at Shoreham, and states that " the fish prize lies at waste in Shoreham Haven and savoureth.," and that his man will deliver the account of the Dunkirk ship, " St. Michael," the cargo of which vessel sold for £226 4s. 3d. Sixteen days later Nicholas was asked to give definite instructions: concerning " selling the fish in the prize at Shoreham," which matter must, indeed, by that time have required urgent attention. It had been "lying at waste" for over a fortnight, and if it already " savoured " on the 10th, its condition on the 26th could only have been such as to fill the town with an odour not only fish-like but "ancient."       " The Narrows swarm with Privateers to the westward." Such was the complaint in 1672. " They daily do much damage, but four or five of His Majesty's small frigates would prevent the daily loss. and do much service to the King and country." When a ship was chased ashore by a Dutch caper of eight guns, her crew "cut a great hole in her side, purposely to sink her, but the privateers,
But although Shoreham captains were often successful in capturing prize ships, it is apparent that their vessels were as liable to be taken. During the period we have been considering there were continual petitions to the Lord-Lieutenant of the County that the coast might be well guarded, as " by the ravages of the Dunkirkers, they dare not put to sea to follow their fishing or vent their commodities, but are daily chased and taken, and they pray for two small ships for securing that coast."      
         
  following her so close, got her off and carried her away." Christopher Coles, timber merchant to the Navy Commissioners, had three vessels lying at Shoreham in March, 1673. They were laden with timber for Sheerness and he asked for a convoy for them.
  The " St. John," of Dieppe, bound for St. Malo in December, 1673, was chased by two Dutch privateers. She ran into harbour at Shoreham, only, it would seem, to escape from one enemy to
In August, 1628, three ships took a bark of Shoreham Haven., and the country people, coming down to rescue  
                       
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Copyright © Martin Snow 2002 All rights reserved
Revised 27 February 2002