Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Will of Nathaniel Blake, Carpenters Second Mate on board the Ship of Vessell called the Osterley in the service of the honourable the East India Company - The National Archives PROB 11/900, probated 3 Jul 1764

Mary Blake married John Booker 13 Sep 1750 at St Mary Magdalene Old Fish Street, London, England. Nathaniel mentions in his will that his mother was married to John Booker and that they lived in Croydon, Surrey and John Booker was a carpenter.

Nathanel Blake was baptized 23 May 1733 at Croydon St John, Surrey, England and born 6 May 1733 at Croydon son of Thomas and Mary Blake. Thomas Blake married Mary Lane 2 May 1732 at Saint John the Baptist Croydon, Surrey.

A Thomas Blake was baptized 13 Mar 1714 at Bletchingley St Mary, Surrey and born 6 Mar 1714 son of John and Elizabeth Blake. There are a number of possible marriages for a John Blake to Elizabeth.

A website discussing the voyages of the Osterley, originally a merchant ship which was commissioned by the Navy in 1761.


Osterley I[3]

Owner: Francis Child III

Launched 1758

Principal Managing Owner: Charles Raymond


1)      1757/8 China

2)      1760/1 Benkulen, Madras and Bengal

3)      1765/6 Bombay and China

4)      1768/9 Madras and China

Like his father Samuel, Francis Child III invested in an EIC ship, the Osterley, in 1757/8 whose managing owner was Charles Raymond. [4] This ship, Osterley I, sailed four voyages around to Sumatra, around the Indian coast, St Helena and China between1758-1770.

Its Captain received permission to seize pirates and attack the French in 1757 and the ship seems to have taken on board a French prisoner of war whose death was reported a few years later. In 1761 under Captain Frederick Vincent the ship was commissioned by the Navy to assist a beleaguered Fort in Indonesia.[5] He seems to have stayed on to govern the Company Fort at Benkulen on the Sumatran coast for a while before returning to Gravesend in the following February where the Court Minutes record payment of £2000, £9000, and £3000 to the owners of the Osterley between April and December 1760 for freight and demurrage. After its first voyage before returning to Gravesend in February 1760 it was  ‘…met by many boats, such as the Providence which were loaded with the Hon Company’s goods, tea, Chinaware, Iron and some Chinawares.’[6]After this voyage in that December it was ordered that the Committee of Treasury be desired to ship 5 chests of foreign silver for China to the ship Osterley (and other similar ships) for Bencoolan (Benkulen).[7] At Benkulen the Osterley, like other Company ships, was engaged in buying large quantities of pepper.[8]
Fort St George on the Coromandel Coast. Belonging to the East India Company of England

Figure 9: Fort St George on the Coromandel Coast. Belonging to the East India Company of England. 1754, Ryne, Jan Van, Sayer, 255 x 398 mm. Robert, National Maritime Museum, PAD1845.

Osterley I’s final voyage from Madras to China provides a good example of the East India Company’s dealings in Asia. Harbour logs from the Captain Francis Fortescue’s journal for Osterley I indicate that like most East Indiamen, it sailed along with other companion ships (Pigott, Thames, Ankerwick, Lincoln, Triton, Nottingham, Havannah, Hector, Ashburnham) as well as country vessels. Osterley I sailed for Madras on 31 January 1769. (See Figure 10: Fort St. George on the Coromandel Coast) In June while on its journey from the Goan port of Cabo de Rama (Cape Rama) in northwest India to Cape Comorin in the southernmost tip of India, the ship picked up an important consignment of elephant bone (ivory). On 12 July 1769 while docked close to Madras, the ship received redwood and cotton on behalf of the East India Company. These goods were usually brought to the main ship on smaller country ships, which did the rounds from ports and factories. The ship then sailed towards Bengal and stowed additional loads of five hundred bales of cotton and thirty tons of redwood. It was only in October that the ship reached Whampoa, through the Malacca Straits.

Once near Canton, much of the cotton and redwood as well as the ship’s cargo of lead was unloaded and the ship ‘…received on board 90 chests of china of the hon’ble comps [Honorable Company’s], and 62 Private trade.’ It is remarkable that the number of chests containing porcelain was nearly two-thirds of those bought on behalf of the Company. This also suggests that Fortescue was acting on behalf of several private clients one of whom may have been Samuel Child’s son Robert Child (since Francis III had died in 1763) under whom many restorations and refurbishments occurred at Osterley Park. Between November and December Osterley I stacked up hundreds of chests of different varieties of tea such as bohea, souchong, congo and nanheen. Osterley’s journey back in January 1770 was its last as in its next incarnation, the ship changed owners.


[3] This information is summarized from British Library, LMAR 400 series A through E.

[4] According to a Letter of Marque traced by Georgina Green, the owners of Osterley I in 1757/58 were Sir Richard Lyttleton, Francis Child, Jonathan Ewer and Charles Raymond. For further information on Charles Raymond, see the Valentine Mansion Case Study.

[5] National Archives  DD/N/223c/26 & 27  6 Sept. 1762 & 12 Oct. 1762.

[6] BL IOR L/Mar/B400A-E

[7] Court Minutes of the EIC 1760-61 B 76.

[8] BL IOR L/MAR/B/400B-C, Journal 23 Nov 1760-2. The Journal entry for 30 May 1762 records 595 bags of pepper; on 31 May and 1 June, 719 bags of pepper and 612 bags of pepper from the ship Deligence on account of the EIC.

Transcriber: Elizabeth Kipp
Recorded: 15 May 2017
Source:  The National Archives, PROB 11/900
Name of testator: Nathaniel Blake, Carpenters Second Mate
Place:  on board the Ship or Vessell called the Osterley in the service of the honourable the East India Company
Type of Record: Will
Dated: 16 Dec 1760, probated 3 Jul 1764

[In margin]: Nathl Blake

1    In the Name of God Amen
2    I Nathaniel Blake Carpenters Second Mate on board the Ship or
3    Vessell called the Osterley in the Service of the honourable the East
4    India Company whereof Captain Vincent is Commander now Outward
5    Board to Bencoolen and China and not knowing how it may
6    please God to deal with me But Considering the uncertainty of
7    this present Transitory life do make and declare these presents to
8    contain my last Will and Testament in manner and Form
9    following (that is to say) First and principally I commend my
10    Soul into the hands of Almighty God hoping to be saved through
11    the Merit death Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ my
12    only Saviour and my body to the Sea and as for my Estate
13    Real and personal I dispose thereof in manner following (that is
11    to say) all such Wages Sum and Sums of Money Lands Tenements
15    Goods Chattles and Estate whatsoever wherewith at the time of my
16    decease I shall be possessed or invested or which shall then belong or
17    of right appertain unto me I do give devise and bequeath unto
18    my dear Mother Mary the Wife of John Booker of Croydon in
19    the County of Surry Carpenter whom I do hereby Nominate and
20    appoint Sole Executrix of this my last Will and Testament and I
21    do revoke all former Wills and deeds of Gift be me at any time
22    heretofore made and do ordain these presents to stand and be for
23    and as my last Will and Testament for ever Witness my hand and
24    Seal this Nineteenth day of December in the year of our Lord
25    One thousand seven hundred and sixty Nathaniel Blake Signed
26    sealed published and declared by the said Testator Nathaniel
27    Blake as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence
28    of us who at his request and in his presence have hereunto
29    Subscribed our Names as Witnesses thereto Elizth Lewen Elizth
30    Haydon Jas Lewen
31    This Will was proved at London before the Worshipfull
32    William Compton doctor of Laws Surrogate of the Right
33    Worshipfull George Hay doctor of Laws Master
34    Keeper or Commissary of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury
35    Lawfully Constituted on the third day of July in the Year of Our
36    Lord one thousand seven hundred and sixty four by the Oath of
37    Mary Booker (Wife of John Booker) the Mother and Sole
38    Executrix named in the said Will to whom Administration was
39    granted of all and Singualr the Goods Chattels and Credits of
40    the deceased she having been first Sworn duly to Administer

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