Alexander Baareffoott

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Alexander Baareffoott
Person Alexander Baareffoott
First name Alexander
Middle name(s)
Last name Baareffoott
Spouse of
Widow of
Occupation Cooper
Secondary shorebased occupation
Mariner occupation
Associated with ship(s)
Training Not apprentice
Is apprentice of
Was apprentice of
Had apprentice(s) John Otley
Citizen Unknown
Literacy Signature
Has opening text Alexander Barfoote
Has signoff text Alexander Baareffoott
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 Ratcliff
Res parish Stepney
Res town
Res county Middlesex
Res province
Res country England
Birth year 1602
Marriage year
Death year
Probate date
First deposition age 56
Primary sources
Act book start page(s)
Personal answer start page(s)
Allegation start page(s)
Interrogatories page(s)
Deposition start page(s) HCA 13/72 f.324v 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)
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, Whaling ship
Silver Ship litigation in 1650s
Role in Silver Ship litigation None

Biographical synthesis

Alexander Baareffoott (alt. Barfoote; Barfoot) (b. ca. 1602; d. ?). Cooper.

Resident in Ratcliff in 1658.

Alexander Baareffoott was a highly experienced cooper specialising in whale oil. Aged fifty-six when he deposed in the High Court of Admiralty in 1658, he claimed to have had thirty years experience of the whaling trade.

It is possible that there were other related Baareffoott (alt. Barefoot; Barfoot) mariners and/or coopers living in Stepney and involved in the whaling trade. For example, a "John Barefoote" is named in a list of whalers exempt from impress in 1654.[1] A John Barefoot of Wapping in the parish of Stepney, deposed in the High Court of Admiralty in March 1655, described as a forty-four year old mariner. He had been gunner on the Elizabeth of London on her last two voyages from Lisbon and the Canaries.[2] However, there is no evidence to link him to the exempt whaler from 1654.

Evidence from High Court of Admiralty

Alexander Baareffoott deposed on May 3rd 1658 in the High Court of Admiralty.[3] He was examined on a libell in the case of "Captaine Thomas against Halley".[4] His examination took place immediately after the examination of his servant, John Otley, who is described as "servant and apprentice of Alexander Barfoote".[5]

The case concerned two whaling ships, the John of Barkeshire and the Sarah of London. Fifty-seven tons of whale oil had been unladed and discharged from the two ships and landed at the "Stile Yard Key".

According to John Otley, Edward Halley, the principle defendant disposed of part of the oil prior to the oil being divided between William Basset, William Thomas and other parties. Otley stated that "two choice pipes" of oil were sent away, one to a Mr Howbart and one to a Mr Cox, and a further thirteen tons were sent to Mr Tuck and Mr Stocke.[6] Otley stated that he had been one of the company of the John of Barkeshire on its recent voyage and had been employed as a cooper in the landing and disposal of the oil. According to Otley the whale oil was worth arpund £18 per ton, "or betwixt eighteene and twenty pounds, which hee saith was then the market price of the like commoditie, and knoweth being a cooper and acquainted with the valew of that commoditie." The oils which had been left and not disposed of by Edward Halley "were not answerable in goodnes to what was soe disposed of, And that they were left in a warehouse and subiect to the charge of warehouse hire, which hee alsoe knoweth because hee hooped and looked to them in point of cooperage, and soe tooke notice of their qualities."[7]

Alexander Baareffoott provided additional detail. He stated that the seven tons undisposed of were of several qualities: "namely three pipes and a hogshead of the best sort, five hogsheads of the blackest and worst sort, and eight pipes of the middle sort." Baareffoott, like his servant, had gone cooper on the voyage to Greenland to catch whales "and agreed with the owners to take care of the oiles after they came home, for the owners service, and after their said landing this deponent as cooper had the looking to them and keeping of them in service of and subordination to the said Halley and the rest of the owners or imployers"[8] Baareffoott had enormous experience of whaling and whale oul "having used the Greenland voyage as a cooper or overseer for making of oiles for thirtie yeares last."[9]

Bartholomew Cuff, a porter at the Still Yard Key, stated that "the said Barfoote was cooper of the said oiles, and a cooper looked to them, after their landing, and was the man that put the said seaven tonnes in a warehouse and after they had laine about fourteene monethe at the Stillyard and that noe body would move them they were disposed of by the said Barfoot."[10] According to Bartholomew Cuff, the porters (including Cuff) were paid for their work by the cooper Alexander Baareffoott.[11]

Edward Halley gave personal answers in the High Court of Admiralty on June 18th 1658 to a libell admitted on behalf of William Thomas. Referring to the role of the cooper Alexander Baareffoot he stated that "the said Captaine Thomas used delayes and did not fetch away the Oyles as he had said he would, and thereupon Alexander Barefoote cooper to the said goods for preservation of them hyred warehouse=roome for twenty tonns or thereabouts of the said oyles."[12]

Comment on sources


"BIRTH/CHRISTENING: Alexander Barefoote; Date: 29 Jul 1638; Father: Alexander Barefoote: Mother: Ellen; Christening place: St Mary Whitechapel, Stepney"[13]


"BIRTH/CHRISTENING: Jane Barefoote; Date: 24 Jan 1639; Father: John Barefoote; Mother: Elizabeth; Christening Place: St Mary Whitechapel, Stepney"[14]


"BIRTH/CHRISTENING: Mary Barefoote; Date: 12 Dec 1647; Father: John Barefoote; Mother: Joane; Christening place: St Mary Whitechapel, Stepney"[15]


"BIRTH/CHRISTENING: William Barefoot; Date: 20 Oct 1667; Father: William Barefoot; Mother: Prisilah; Christening place: St Mary Whitechapel, Stepney"[16]
  2. HCA 13/70 f.298r
  3. HCA 13/72 f.324v
  4. HCA 13/72 f.323v
  5. HCA 13/72 f.323v
  6. HCA 13/72 f.323v
  7. HCA 13/72 f.324r
  8. HCA 13/72 f.325v
  9. HCA 13/72 f.325r
  10. HCA 13/72 f.330r
  11. HCA 13/72 f.329v
  12. HCA 13/128, Libell: William Thomas; Personal answers: Edmund Halley; Date: June 18th 1658
  13. "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch ( : 30 December 2014), Alexander Barefoote, 29 Jul 1638; citing ST MARY WHITECHAPEL,STEPNEY,LONDON,ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 94,691.
  14. England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch ( : 30 December 2014), Jane Barefoote, 24 Jan 1639; citing ST MARY WHITECHAPEL,STEPNEY,LONDON,ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 94,691
  15. "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch ( : 30 December 2014), Mary Barefoote, 12 Dec 1647; citing ST MARY WHITECHAPEL,STEPNEY,LONDON,ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 94,691
  16. "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch ( : 30 December 2014), William Barefoot, 20 Oct 1667; citing ST MARY WHITECHAPEL,STEPNEY,LONDON,ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 94,691.