HCA 13/72 f.170r Annotate

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The 30th of October 1657

Cox against Norbrooke.}

Exámined upon an allegation given in on the behalfe of
the said Cox the 28th instant.

Rp. 1

John Morris of the parish of Saint Buttolphs Algate London
Sailor; aged 19 yeares or thereabouts sworne and exámined.

To the first and second árticles hee saith and deposeth
that in the time of the late Warrs betwixt this Nation and the States of
the United Netherlands the producent Thomas Cox served in the
Elizabeth frigot whereof Captaine Mings was commander in the
immediate service of this Common Wealth, and was in a fight against
the Dutch at sea wherein the said frigot tooke twenty saile of Dutch or
hollanders, and saith the said Cox behaved himselfe very stoutly and
valiantly in the said service and fight, and was wounded in the same
by a splinter that strooke him on the throat of which hee bled very much
and there was much adoe to stench the bleeding, and soe much the
more difficult it was, because hee bled inwardly and that in such abundance
that hee had much adoe to breathe, and had severall other wounds
about him in that fight, All which notwithstanding the said Cox
still stood to his place and charge and performed his part very
manfully and stoutly and desisted not untill the fight was ended

and the dutch vanquished, but plied about the guns where his quarter

was: All which hee knoweth because hee this deponent was in the
said shipp and service and saw him soe behave himselfe. And
otherwise hee cannot depose.

To the third hee saith fourth and fifth articles hee saith and deposeth
that the said Captaine Mings being about Christmas at the
Barbada's in the frigot the Marston Moore whereof hee was then
Commander in the said service of this Commonwealth, and being in
the roade there and thence bound for Jamaica, and hearing that the said
Cox was aboard a shipp there (the name whereof hee knoweth not, but
heard that shee came from Ginney) hee the said Captaine called a board
the said shipp, and asked for the said Cox, and hee appearing, the
said Captaine told him hee must goe alwaye with him, and soe hee
declared to the men on the deck, namely that hee would presse and have
the said Cox, and accordingly sent his boate and fetcht him aboard
the frigat and impressed him into the service of this Commonwealth
and declared that hee would not heave him because hee knew him to be
a valiant stout fellow; and the said Coxes clothes were alsoe fetcht
in the frigats boate. And from the said roade the said frigot sailed
to Jamaica, where there were about 150 man put out of her ashore on service
to take a towne and fort, of which number this deponent and the
said Cox were two, and in the said service the said fort and towne were
taken by assault, and therein the said Cox behaved himselfe very stoutly
and valiantly in fight of this deponents sight and knowledge, And
saith hee this deponent was in the said frigit at the Barbadas when
the said Cox was there soe pressed and thereby knoweth the same
And otherwise cannot depose.

To the sixth hee saith that the said Cox had only three and twenty
shillings wages per month for his service in the said frigot the
Marston Moore, whereas in the shipp out of which hee was soe
impressed, hee had as hee said thirtie shillings per moneth,
And otherwise hee cannot depose.




Captain Mings


Christopher Myngs, by Sir Peter Lely, 1666[2]

Christopher Myngs, Peter Lely, 1666

"Sir Christopher Myngs (1625–1666), English admiral and pirate, came of a Norfolk family and was a relative of another admiral, Sir Cloudesley Shovell. Pepys' story of his humble birth, in explanation of his popularity, is said to be erroneous. His name is often given as Mings.

The date of Myngs's birth is uncertain, but probably somewhere between 1620 and 1625. It is probable that he saw a good deal of sea-service before 1648. He first appears prominently as the captain of the Elisabeth, which after a sharp action during the First Anglo-Dutch War brought in a Dutch convoy with two men-of-war as prizes. From 1653 to 1655 he continued to command the Elisabeth, high in favour with the council of state and recommended for promotion by the flag officers under whom he served.[1]

In 1655, he was appointed to the frigate Marston Moor, the crew of which was on the verge of mutiny. His firm measures quelled the insubordinate spirit, and he took the vessel out to the West Indies, arriving in January 1656 on Jamaica where he became the subcommander of the naval flotilla there, until the summer of 1657. [1] In February 1658, he returned to Jamaica as naval commander, acting as a commerce raider during the Anglo-Spanish War. During these actions he got a reputation for unnecessary cruelty, sacking and massacring entire towns in command of whole fleets of buccaneers. In 1658, after beating off a Spanish attack, he raided the coast of South-America; failing to capture a Spanish treasure fleet, he destroyed Tolú and Santa Maria in present-day Colombia instead; in 1659 he plundered Cumaná, Puerto Caballo and Coro in present-day Venezuela.

The Spanish government considered him a common pirate and mass murderer, protesting to no avail to the English government of Oliver Cromwell about his conduct. Because he had shared half of the bounty of his 1659 raid, about a quarter of a million pounds, with the buccaneers against the explicit orders of Edward D'Oyley, the English Commander of Jamaica, he was arrested for embezzlement and on the Marston Moor sent back to England in 1660. The later governor described him in an accompanying letter as "unhinged and out of tune".

The Restoration government retained him in his command however, and in August 1662 he was sent to Jamaica commanding the Centurion in order to resume his activities, despite the fact the war with Spain had ended. This was part of a covert English policy to undermine the Spanish dominion of the area, by destroying as much as possible of the infrastructure. In 1662 Myngs decided that the best way to accomplish this was to employ the full potential of the buccaneers by promising them the opportunity for unbridled plunder and rapine. He had the complete support of the new governor, Lord Windsor, who fired a large contingent of soldiers to fill Myngs's ranks with disgruntled men. That year he attacked Santiago de Cuba and took and sacked the town despite its strong defences. In 1663 buccaneers from all over the Caribbean joined him for the announced next expedition. Myngs directed the largest buccaneer fleet as yet assembled, fourteen ships strong and with 1400 pirates aboard, among them such notorious privateers as Henry Morgan and Abraham Blauvelt, and sacked San Francisco de Campeche in February. The atrocities led to an outrage and Charles II of England was forced to forbid further attacks in April, a policy to be carried out by the new governor, Thomas Modyford. Nevertheless a pattern had been set and large buccaneer attacks on Spanish settlements, secretly condoned by the English authorities would continue till the end of the century, gradually laying waste to the entire region.

During the attack on Campeche Bay Myngs himself had been severely wounded; in 1664 he returned to England to recover. In 1665 he was made Vice-Admiral in Prince Rupert's squadron. As Vice-Admiral of the White under the Lord High Admiral James Stuart, Duke of York and Albany, he flew his flag during the Second Anglo-Dutch War at the Battle of Lowestoft in 1665, and for his share in that action received the honour of knighthood.

In the same year he then served under Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich, as Vice-Admiral of the Blue and after the disgrace of Montagu under the next supreme fleet commander, George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle. He was on detachment with Prince Rupert's Green squadron, when on 11 June 1666 the great Four Days' Battle began, but returned to the main fleet in time to take part on the final day, and in this action when his flotilla was surrounded by that of Vice-Admiral Johan de Liefde he received a wound — being hit first through the cheek and then in the left shoulder by musket balls fired by a sharpshooter when his Victory was challenged by De Liefde's flagship, the Ridderschap van Holland — of which he died shortly after returning to London.[1]


(1) a, b, c Chisholm 1911.


Hugh, ed. (1911). "Myngs, Sir Christopher". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Angust Konstam, Buccaneers 1620–1700, Oxford, 2000."

"His successor as commander of the Jamaica squadron was one of the most distinguished and famous English seamen of his day. Commodore Christopher Myngs. Confidence in his ability had already been expressed in 1655 at the outbreak of unrest amonst seamen who had returned to England from Jamaica with Penn. They were fiercely resisting Cromwell's proposal to dispatch their ships back to the West Indies. Their agitation was at its most severe amongst the crew of the Marston Moor, whose senior officers displayed reluctance to obey the order and whose men finally mutinied against the intention. The causes were the denial to them of any plunder from their previous voyage, the delay in paying their wages on return to England, and above all their general disillusionment and the frustration of their expectations of gain in the Spanish Indies. 'All their imaginary mountains of gold turned into dross', Myngs was appointed by the Admiralty to pacify the unrest, a difficult job successfully carried out through a mixture of firmness and cajolery where appropriate. He sailed to Jamaica as commander of the Marston Moor on 10 November 1655. His first service there was alongside Goodson in the raid on Rio de la Hacha and during the fruitless vigil at the entrance to the Florida Channel in the following year.

Myngs too returned to England in 1657 and remained there until December whilst the Marston Moor was refitted. When he re-assumed his command in Jamaica on 2 March 1658, he was accompanied by six Dutch prizes that he had seized off Barbados on the charge of illegal trading. After lengthy investigation, and at the cost of considerable personal annoyance, only one of these was finally granted to him as a legitimate prize. His first actions in the West Indies as senior naval officer were characteristic of a period in which the joint activities of naval ships and privately fitted out privateers would become common..."[3]


The Marston Moore



Primary sources

Captain Christopher Mings (Myngs)

Bodleian Library, Oxford

"Original [subscribed & signed]Contents: Sir Christopher Mings hath brought in five prizes more,... and considerable ones;... so that, from this whole campagna, we are furnished with a good story to carry to the Parliament..."[4]


ADM 106/492/25 Captain Christopher Myngs, the St. Michael. Weekly account of men, provisions and stores. 17 January 1696
ADM 106/492/73 Captain Christopher Myngs, the St. Michael. Weekly account of men, provisions and stores. 28 February 1696

PROB 11/359/556 Will of Dame Rebekah Mings, Widow of Hertford, Hertfordshire. 05 May 1679

SP 46/99/fo9 Cornelius Burroughs [Steward-General of the fleet at Jamaica] recommending assistance for Capt. Christopher Mings [Myngs]. 18 April 1658

SP 82/11 Description: Lady Utricia [otherwise Hester] Swann to [Williamson]. Her husband having gone to Cuxhaven to procure from Sir Christopher Myngs a convoy for home-bound English merchant ships `which are verie rich'; encloses communication from Talbot to Arlington. Folio 13. Note: Endorsed `For your selfe' Date: 1666 Mar. 10/20 Hamburg

SP 82/11 Description: Jollivet to [Williamson]. Transmits communication from Sir Godfrey Floyd to Swann, handed in by Lady Floyd, that he has obtained leave from duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg [-Celle] to resign (see f.9) and, following King's command signified to him by Arlington, is preparing his departure for England; he has permission to draw bill of exchange for over £200, Swann having passed word to a merchant [at Hamburg]. Myngs has gone, leaving behind most merchantmen, they could not join him `for contrary wind and sands'; those he has with him are laden with pipe staves [i.e. staves used for making casks, required by navy]. Folio 14 Date: 1666 Mar. 13/23 Hamburg

SP 82/11 Description: Swann to Williamson. Merchant vessels `richly laden' with cloth and other commodities could not reach Myngs in time and are now awaiting another convoy. Has applied to Morrice for home leave of a month or six weeks to attend to personal affairs. Enclosesanother communication from Floyd `who is at present with me'. Folio 15. Note: Endorsed `For your selfe' Date: 1666 Mar. 24/Apr. 3 Hamburg

SP 82/11 Description: Swann to Williamson. Myngs received Wrangel `handsomely' before his departure aboard his ship The Fayrefax. Thinks he has good reason to believe that Sweden will `keepe firm' to her league with England and will not allow Denmark to close the Sound especially to her ally; feels certain [elector of] Brandenburg has made `an ill bargain for himselfe' with Holland `especially if things were well managed on the other syde'; notwithstanding all reports, does not anticipate that bishop of Münster will make peace with Dutch or be induced thereto, being offered carte blanche by them; though being Catholic, he will be `constant' to a Protestant king. 800 Dutch, horse and foot, taken prisoner by bishop's army in Friesland, are being transferred to Münsterland, among them a captain Harris, Englishman, whom Swann knew well in Holland. Folio 16 Note: Endorsed `For your selfe' Date: 1666 Mar. 17/27 Hamburg
  1. 'Christioher Myngs', Wikipedia, viewed 21/05/13
  2. Christopher Mings. Artist: Sir Peter Lely, 1666. Sourcerd from Wikicommons, viewed 21/05/13
  3. Peter Bradley, British Maritime Enterprise in the New World: From the Late Fifteenth to the Mid-eighteenth Century (Lampeter, 1999), p.194, citing 'Dyer, 'Christopher Myngs'. 173-187; Taylor, Western Design, 133, 212-220; Haring, Buccaneers, 97-99, 104-108; Pope, Buccaneer King, 79-82, 92-99; Marley, Pirates, 277-282
  4. Oxford University, Bodleian Library, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts: Carte Papers (MS. Carte 45 - MS. Carte 48): Letters from Lord Arlington to the first Duke of Ormonde, on public affairs in England and Europe MS. Carte 46 1660-71: Arlington to Ormond: written from Sarum MS. Carte 46, fol(s). 207 23 September 1665, viewed 21/05/13