George Putt

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George Putt
Person George Putt
First name George
Middle name(s)
Last name Putt
Spouse of
Widow of
Occupation Mariner
Secondary shorebased occupation
Mariner occupation Master's mate
Associated with ship(s) Virginia Merchant (Master: John Lockier), Ffreeman of London (Master: John Whittey)
Training Not apprentice
Is apprentice of
Was apprentice of
Had apprentice(s)
Citizen Unknown
Literacy Signature
Has opening text George Putt
Has signoff text George Putt
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 Stepney
Res town
Res county Middlesex
Res province
Res country England
Birth year 1608
Marriage year
Death year
Probate date
First deposition age 42
Primary sources
Act book start page(s)
Personal answer start page(s)
Allegation start page(s)
Interrogatories page(s)
Deposition start page(s) HCA 13/63 f.381r Annotate, HCA 13/70 f.510r 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) Sep 23 1650, Sep 21 1655
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 Merchant ship
Silver Ship litigation in 1650s
Role in Silver Ship litigation None

Biographical synthesis

Georeg Putt (b. ca. 1607-1608; d. ?). Mariner.

Master's mate of the ship the Virginia Merchant (Master: John Lockier) on a voyage to Virginia, from September 1649 to March 1650.[1]

Master's mate of the ship the ffreeman, a large ship of a burthen of 500 tons, in 1655, which was involved in a collision in the River Thames.[2] The ffreeman had returned from a voyage to Virginia with a lading of tobacco.

Resident in 1650 in Shadwell in the parish of Stepney, and in 1655 in the parish of Stepney.

Evidence from High Court of Admiralty

Forty-two year old George Putt deposed on September 23rd 1650 in the High Court of Admiralty. He was examined in the cause of "Lockier et al con LOckier". He gave his residence as Shadwell in the parish of Stepney.

The case concerned the ship the Virginia Merchant (Master: John Lokier), and was a case for wages demanded by five of the ship's mariners.[3] The mariners in question were Edward Wood, George Spurgin, Richard Paile, Nicholas Paddocke and Thomas Reason. They had been hired by the ship's captaine to go on a voyage from September 6th 1649 and continued aboard the ship until March 2nd 1650, with the exception of Thomas Reason, who was eight months in Lockier's service. The ship delivered its goods and passengers in Virginia.[4]

Georeg Putt was master's mate of the Virginia Merchant on a voyage from London to Virginia in 1649 and 1650. Putt declared that all five men deserved their wages, although he did not know their monthly rates. He himself was owed about 50 s, which was part of his wages, and which he had not yet demanded since coming to England. Putt was an unwilling wittness, coming "compelled by the order of this court". Putt was critical of two of the plaintiffs, saying that Spurgeon and Lockier "would sometimes behave themselves idelye and carelessley", and were not so dutiful and industrious many times as they ought to have been.[5] In an attempt at balance, Putt stated that John Lockier himself had behaved fairly towards his mariners, "striveing by all good meanes to give them any reasonable content".[6]

Forty-eight year old George Putt deposed on September 21st 1655 in the High Court of Admiralty. He was examined on an allegation on behalf of Delavall and Company in the case of "Yaxday (sic) against Delavall and others".[7]

George Putt described his ship the ffreeman falling down the River Thames near Woolwich towards Gravesend. It came foul of a second ship, the Mary, which "was comming up with the tyde of fludd towards London". Putt recounts that "the company of the ffreeman called out to the company of the Mary aforesayd and desyred them to putt their shipp the Mary a stayes that thereby they might avoide running against the ffreeman who was going downe the River with a fayre wynde". However, "they did not bring their shipp a stayes but willfully or at least in a carelesse manner (as hee beleeveth) ranne upon the ffreeman and not the ffreeman upon her the ffreeman not being able to edge neerer the shore then shee did without apparant hazard to her selfe and her ladeing shee being a large vessell of about five hundred tonnes and drawing above sixteene foote water and hee beleeveth the sayd shipp Mary was a smale shipp and therefore her company if they had pleased might have gone neerer the shoare or put their shipp a stayes as they were desyred, or layed their foresayle and foretopsayle to the mast".[8]

Strange tale of Virginia Merchant

Mariner, chief mate and pilot of the William and Ralph alias the Virginia Merchant, and resident in Shadwell. Mentioned in criminal case as a witness, alongside the passenger, Phillip Stephens.

George Putt's name is also mentioned in the humble petition of Priscilla Lockier and Sara Spurgeon. He appears to have criticised the poor victualling of the ship, The humble petition states that: "The sayd Captaine Lockier had not layd in above 6 weekes victualls in his said shipp when she sett saile from Gravesend outward bound; which Mr George Putt cheife Mate and pilot of the said Shippe taking notice of, asked the said Captaine why he had soe slenderly victualled the shipp telling him, it would not serve halfe way; he replyed that he would take in more victualls at the Downes which he did not at all performe notwithstanding there were 35 seaman and above 130 passengers neere upon 200 persons in all in the said Shippe, whereof 62 passengers and 4 Seamen by reason of the want of provisions were starved to death before the shipp came to Virginia."[9]

Colonel Henry Norwood, in his account of the voyage, refers to George Putt as "mate Putts", calling him "a stout seaman".

Norwood describes Putt's strength of character in adversity:

"Mate Putt was then on the watch, and did not want his apprehension of what did soon ensue, which in all likelihood was to end in our utter perdition; for about the hours of twelve or one at night, we heard and felt a mighty sea break on our fore-ship, which made such an inundation on the deck where the mate was walking, that he retired back with all diligence up to his knees in water, with short ejaculations of prayers in his mouth, supposing the ship was foundering, and at the last gasp. This looked like a stroke of death in every seaman's opinion: the ship stood stock still, with her head under water, seeming to bore her way into the sea. My two comrades and myself lay on our platform, sharing liberally in the general consternation. We took a short leave of each other, men, women, and children. All assaulted with the fresh terror of death, made a most dolorous outcry throughout the ship, whilst mate Putts perceiving the deck almost freed of water, called out aloud for hands to pump. This we thought a lightning before death, but gave me occasion (as having the best sea legs) to look and learn the subject of this astonishing alarm, which proved to arise from no less cause than the loss of our forecastle, with six guns, and our anchors (all but one that was fastened to a cable) together with our two cooks, whereof one was recovered by a strange providence."[10]

According to Norwood's account, Putt remained on the ship while Captain Lockier, Colonel Norwood and others went ashore to a coastal island off Virginia.

Comment on sources


"Marriage: 1644 Sept. 19 George Putt of Ratcliffe Maryner & Elizabeth Bowen of Shadwell, W."[11] CHECK - I think there is a remarriage of Elizabeth Bowen of Ratcliffe, W. to an Edmund Call of Poplar around 1695 [CHECK DATE]


SP 46/137/526 Masters' certificates granted by Trinity House: Master: George Putt of New Gravell Lane Signatures: William Wildeys and 2 others [named] 24 Feb. 1666
  1. HCA 13/63 f.381r
  2. HCA 13/70 f.510r
  3. HCA 13/63 f.380v
  4. HCA 13/63 f.381r
  5. HCA 13/63 f.381r
  6. HCA 13/63 f.381v
  7. HCA 13/70 f.510r
  8. HCA 13/70 f.510r
  9. Petitio Prescilla Lockyer, September 28th 1650, HCA 15/5 f.99
  10. Colonel Norwood, A Voyage to Virginia (1649), in Tracts and Other Paper Relating Principally to the Origin, Settlement, and Progress of the Colonies in North America From the Discovery of the Country to the Year 1776, vol. 3 (Gloucester, MA, 1963), p.10
  11. Thomas Colyer-Fergusson, Marriage Registers of St. Dunstan's Stepney, in the County of Middlesex (XXXX, XXXX), vol. 2., 1640-1696 p.44, viewed 07/03/15