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17th Century significant events

  1611/12 John Speed's publication      
    An extract form Yorkshire: North and East Riding taken from a proof copy of John Speed's Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain which was first published in 1611/12.

Cambridge University Library classmark: Atlas.2.61.1


1617 William Cambden 1551-1623 in his history refers to the coastline north of Scarborough - "From thence the shore, endented and interlaced with rockes, bendeth in as far as to the river Teise, and by a compasse that the said shore fetcheth there is made a bay about a mile broade. which of that outlaw Robin Hood so much talked about we call Robin Hood's Bay".

Edward Coke 1552-1634, Attorney General, Chief Judge and politician, and said to be the greatest juror of the Elizabethan and Jacobean era, wrote in his Third Institute "...Robin Hood lived in the reign of King Richard 1st in the borders of England and Scotland, in woods and deserts, by robbery, burning of houses, felony, waste and spoil, and principally by and with vagabonds, night-walkers and draw-latches: so this notable thief we not only name to this kind of man, but there is a bay, called Robin Hoods Bay, in the river of in Yorkshire. And all be it he lived in Yorkshire, yet men of this quality took their denomination of him, and were called Roberdsmen throughout all England......"

In 1631 fishing was an established Bay industry as the following extract shows:

At Richmond on January 13th 1631-2 at an enquiry into the state of the roads, the inhabitants of Filinge reported "that upon an innudation the highway named therein is stopped and barred, and the town of Robin Hood's Bay thereby much hindered in their fishing, and the whole country much prejudiced thereby having much fish."  (J.H.Bloom's-RHB retrospect)

1638 September 5th -  A recovery deed listing Cholmley properties in Bonside Dale (also written as Bonsidale) has fouteen names including those of Henry Storm and Widow Storm younger.

1653 August 22nd - a deed assigning property to John Moursom of Robin Hood Bay has witnesses including Edward Storme, Robert Storme and Will Storme 

To give further background to family history of the 1600s the State Papers give brief accounts of interesting events.

One of these is dated 1653 and is a letter from a (Captain) Hugh Powell to the Navy Commissioners. It includes references to his attempt to 'press' men into naval service. An extract reads                          

"Then to Whitby, but some ill-affected person having warned them, they got away, and I only impressed nine by aid of Capt. Axtell............Thence I came to Newcastle but the Mayor would not mention impressing, lest the seamen on 208 sail for which a convoy was to be sent should run away.
......A frigate or two would be very useful on these coasts as many ships are lost. Two Dutch men-of-war chased two English vessels into Robin Hood's Bay, and would have taken them but for the country and Capt Axtell's company from Whitby....."

In 1660 a Capt Richard Hodges in a letter to the Admiralty Commissioners writes:

" Sailing to the northward last Sunday, and descrying a sail, I gave chase, and after doing so for six hours and firing several shots, I fetched her up, and enetered 40 men on board her, which caused them to yield. I brought her into Whitby, and while riding at anchor, a boat arrived and certified there was another small roque in Robin Hood's Bay. Having weighed anchor and sailed there, in a short time I had possession of him; only one of the enemy was killed and 2 of our men wounded, but they are likely to do well........"