Albertus Skynner

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Albertus Skynner
Person Albertus Skynner
First name Albertus
Middle name(s)
Last name Skynner
Spouse of
Widow of
Occupation Merchant
Secondary shorebased occupation
Mariner occupation
Associated with ship(s)
Training Not apprentice
Is apprentice of
Was apprentice of
Had apprentice(s)
Citizen Unknown
Literacy Signature
Has opening text Albertus Skinner
Has signoff text Albertus Skynner
Signoff image (Invalid transcription image)
Language skills English language
Has interpreter
Birth street
Birth parish
Birth town
Birth county
Birth province
Birth country
Res street
Res parish Saint George Botolph Lane
Res town London
Res county
Res province
Res country England
Birth year
Marriage year
Death year
Probate date
First deposition age 28
Primary sources
Act book start page(s)
Personal answer start page(s)
Allegation start page(s)
Interrogatories page(s)
Deposition start page(s) HCA 13/68 f.682r Annotate
Chancery start page(s)
Letter start page(s)
Miscellaneous start page(s)
Act book date(s)
Personal answer date(s)
Allegation date(s)
Interrogatories date(s)
Deposition date(s) Mar 30 1653
How complete is this biography?
Has infobox completed Yes
Has synthesis completed No
Has HCA evidence completed No
Has source comment completed No
Ship classification
Type of ship Shore based trade
Silver Ship litigation in 1650s
Role in Silver Ship litigation None

Biographical synthesis

Albert Skinner (b. ca. ?; d. bef. 1685) Merchant.

Resident in 1654 in the parish of Saint George Bottolph Lane, London

Evidence from High Court of Admiralty

Thirty year old Albert Skinner deposed on March 30th 1654 in the High Court of Admiralty. He was examined on an allegation in the case "The Clayme of Daniel Skynner of Dover for his wynes and in the Usddome.[1]

Giving his age as twenty-eight, Albertius Skynner deposed again on May 30th 1654 in the High Court of Admiralty, and again giving his residence as the parish of Saint George Botolph Lane.[2] He was examined on an allegation on behalf of Daniell Skinner the Elder, Daniell Skinner the Younger and Thomas Skinner in the case "The clayme of Daniell Skynner the elder Daniell Skinner the younger and Thomas Skinner Englishmen merchants of Dover for the shipp the Yonge Gyant of Dover (Robert Hopkins master) and her tackle and furniture and for the lading of the sayd shipp being wynes taken by some of the shipps of the State and Commonwealth of England".[3]

The ship had been bought by the Dover based Skinner merchants and had previously been named the Yonge Elephant. She was set out on a voyage from Dover to Newcastle (Master: Robert Hopkins). The ship was to take on coals at Newcastle for the account of the Skinners and laden by Nicholas Panzer of Newcastle. The ship was also sent to Rochell to lade cognac wynes. Albertus Skynner was to insure the wines at the rate of no more than 8%, but was offered only 10%.

Albertus Skynner attested to the three Dover Skinners all being Englishmen, but noted that Daniel Skynner the younger and Thomas Skinner were both born at Antwerp in Brabant. Albertus acknowledged that he too was born at Antwerp, but had lived in England "for these 10 yeares last..and is a ffree man of the Cittie of London where hee hath lived for the most part of the sayd tyme". Daniel Skinner the elder was his fathe, and Daniel Skinner the ypounger and Thomas Skinner were his brothers.

Comment on sources

The case of Daniel Skinner the elder and his two sons, Daniel Skinner the younger and Thomas Skinner, all merchants of Dover, shows a merchant family commercially active outside London, yet maintaining commercial and family links with the capital city and dominant commercial port.

The links were maintained through the London merchant Albertus Skinner, aged thirty in 1654, another son of Daniel Skinner the elder. In his HCA 13/69 deposition, Albertus Skinner reported being requested by his Dover family to seek an insurance policy on the ship the Yong Gyant (formerly the Yong Elephant) of Dover and its cargo of cognac wine, which he presumably sought to do at the Exchange in London. He was requested to insure the ship and cargo at eight pounds in the cent, but, being offered rates of ten pounds in the cent, declined to take out a policy. He also paid bills of exchange, when requested to do so by his family.

Research by this author shows that Daniel Skinner the elder (b. ca. 1579, d. 1659), was active in the Antwerp cloth trade and located in Antwerp earlier in his commercial career (1608 to ca. 1627 or 1628), nearly twenty years prior to the HCA proceedings of 1654. Making a deposition in January 1635/36, roughly eight years after leaving Antwerp, and having established himself as a merchant at Dover, Daniel Skinner the elder stated:

"that he had lived about twenty years at Antwerp from 1608, and had had born there eleven children, all which he had been compelled to take to their church to be baptized by the Romish priests, and that the Bishop of Antwerp peremptorily required him to frequent their churches, which he refused to do being the King of England's subject, and a few months after came from thence."[4]

This statement conflicts with the firm identification by a modern academic author, Paul Arblaster (2004), of Daniel Skinner the elder as a Catholic.[5]

Daniel Skinner the elder had a large family. Five are known to have been sons who survived into adulthood and who became merchants. The birth order is unknown. These sons were Daniel the younger, Frederick, Thomas, Albertus and Abraham. Neither Frederick nor Abraham are mentioned in the 1654 HCA depositions. Frederick Skinner had gone out to Bantam in 1650 as a factor, under the security of his father. Abraham Skinner (b. ? pre-1628, d. ca. 1661), writing his will in November 1661, gave his family, occupation and residence as "son of Daniell Skinner nowe dwelling in the porte of Dover in the Countie of Kent Merchant."[6]

Albertus Skinner (b. ca. 1626, d. post 1668, pre 1679)[7] referred in his 1654 deposition to the HCA to being borne in Antwerp, as were his brothers Daniel Skinner the younger and Thomas Skinner, though Albertus had been back in England for most of the last ten years (since ca. 1644 or 1645). Daniel Skinner the elder, appears frequently in the EEIC Court Books, 1645-1649, recorded as located in Dover and assisting the EEIC in purchasing bullion in considerable quantities in Dover, as well as providing shipping news. It is unclear whether he was free of the EEIC.

Frederick Skinner (b. ?, d. pre 1679), who had gone out to Bantam in 1650 as a factor for the EEIC, subsequently became the EEIC Agent at Bantam. He appears to have been an active private trader and to have fallen into dispute with the EEIC.

Albertus Skinner is recorded in the EEIC Court Books in 1652, identified as Frederick's brother, as much later is Thomas Skinner. There are some further records of Albertus Skinner, merchant of London, trading with France in the 1650s. He died intestate, leaving two children, according to his brother Daniel Skinner the younger, whose own will was proven in 1685.

Thomas Skinner (b. ? pre-1628, d. post- 1685) was involved in trade with the East Indies in the late 1650s and early 1660s. His brother, Daniel, referred in his will to a lengthy legal dispute in the Court of Exchequer between Frederick and Daniel, though the cause was not detailed.

The Skinner family connection with Dover was retained until at least the early 1660s. A document, probably drafted by Sir Andrew Riccard, in the early 1660s, refers to the Thomas of Dover, which Daniel Skinner the younger, Thomas Skinner, and Frederick Skinner, were alleged to have dispatched to the East Indies in 1657, and which Daniel Skinner the younger reported to its insurers in 1660 as lost. Abraham Skinner, as mentioned above, was resident in Dover at the time of writing his will in late 1661.

Daniel Skinner the younger (b. ?pre-1628, d. ca. 1685) moved his residence at some time after 1654 from Dover to London, describing himself in his will as "of London". His (?eldest) son, Daniel Skinner (b. ?. d. ?), was educated at Westminster School, and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he bacame a minor fellow (1673), and a major fellow (1679). This son, Daniel, played an important role in attempting to publish (and later to suppress the publication of) several papers of John Milton, including De Doctrina Christiana. Since the discovery by XXX of these papers in 18XX in the State Record Office there has been speculation about the identity of this Daniel Skinner, his father, and the son's relationship to John Milton. A recent book by Gordon Campbell et al. addresses these issues of identity and analyses the strength of the case for the attribution of De Doctrina Christiana to Milton.[8]


10/86/2 Thomas Andrewes, Daniel Skinner, Frederick Skinner and Francis Gardener v Albertus Skinner and Martin Skinner: money matters, Middx. 1668


PROB 11/387/411 Will of Albertus Skinner or Skynner, Apothecary being outward bound of a voyage to Sea in the Ship or Vessel called the Linsey Frigate of Saint Mary Whitechapel, Middlesex 20 June 1687

- Not the will of the subject of this profile; his brother Daniel Skinner states Albertus Skinner died intestate
  1. HCA 13/68 f.682r
  2. HCA 13/69 unfol: IMG_100_05_1066
  3. HCA 13/69 unfol: IMG_100_05_1065
  4. John Bruce (ed.), Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, of the Reign of Charles I ...: 1635-1636 (London, 1866), p. 191
  5. Paul Arblaster, Antwerp & the world: Richard Verstegan and the international culture of Catholic reformation (Leuven, 2004), p. 98, citing Roland Baetens, De nazomer van Antwerpen welvaart: de diaspora en het handelshuis De Groote tijdens de eerste helft der 17de eeuw. Pro Civitate. Historische uitgaven. Reeks in-8:o, 45; 1976, I, 231; and P. Voeten, 'Bidrage tot de Geschiednis van het Handelsleven te Antwerpen tijdens de eerste jaren van het Twaalfjarig Bestand (1609-1612)', unpubl. licence thesis, KU Leuven, 1954, 98
  6. PROB 11/307 Laud 1-52 Will of Abraham Skynner or Skinner, Merchant of Dover, Kent 26 March 1662
  7. See C 10/86/2 Thomas Andrewes, Daniel Skinner, Frederick Skinner and Francis Gardener v Albertus Skinner and Martin Skinner: money matters, Middx 1668; see also PROB 11/361 King 125-176 Will of Elizabeth Skinner, Widow of Dover, Kent 17 October 1679. In this will written in 1679, Elizabeth Skinner, mother of Albertus, stated that Albertus was already deceased
  8. Gordon Campbell, Thomas N. Corns, John K. Hale and Fiona J. Tweedie, John Milton and the Manuscript of De Doctrina Christiana (Oxford, 2007). See also an earlier paper: Gordon Campbell, Thomas N. Corns, John K. Hale, David Holmes, Fiona Tweedie, 'Milton and 'De Doctrina Christiana', 5 October 1996, pub. online,viewed 01/04/12