Extracts from Plymouth Municipal Records refering to the early defences of the town



The municipal records were collected and published by R.N. Worth and published in 1893. They are available as an Ebook. .



The Black Book:

1589, Johannes Blitheman, mercat. This yere the northewest tower of the Castell was covered w th leade, and 7 brass peics were planted vppon the iiii or Castells.
this yere likewise were the platteformes at hawe tymbred, the gate a co cksyd e w ch is to be shutte everye neight was newe made, and the greatte platte forme by the gate att Hand, and the wall neere the same contayninge 257 fote was nowe newly made.

Mor bought two demy-colverines and two hole colverines of Iron and mounted them at the barbigan and bulwerkes.

1595, James Bagg. S r Fardinando Gorges appoynted Captayne of the Forte.


The Audit Books:

1504-5. Thomas Cocke. Two great guns bought out of Spain under indenture with the gunmakers, paid for by xxij ' doss of whytts ' worth 7 lis. Sd., which was packed in canvas and sent to Saltash ; customs 3s. 6d. ' Loops '
made in the bulwarks for the guns ; and the end of the great gun calked with oakum, with a piece of iron nailed over the mouth ' to kepe hym close.'

1506-7. Wat P'diaux.  
Much outlay this year on the great gun and bulwarks. Palmer, mason, had 2s. for six days; Gundey, labourer, 8d. for four days.

1511 -1512
Work done on Thykpeny's bulwark, the new bulwark, and the west bulwark.
Itm p d to the hermyte of Seynt Katyn to mende the tyle yn the Chapell the which was broken w* the gvnne . ... iiij d

1512 - 13. Thomas Bidle.
Itm Rec d of Docto r Barber the whiche he gave towarde the makynge of the dike at howe by the wat r side . . ... xij d
Itm to Stephyn Rede at Aysshe passage for iij qrtes of lyme to the newe lope for the portyngal gvnne at x d the qrt 1 ' . ij s vj d
Itm for xj molds of tymber to make gvnne stonys by . ... xx d
A gun under 'Seynt Katyns' mentioned, 'John Walshe is bullework,' the 'gvnne of loostrete warde,' and the 'westmasto' gun. Gun stones were supplied at id. each. Two guns were bought of John Ilcomb for 8;
Gun chambers are frequently mentioned, and a 'slynge'.

1513 1514
Wm. Randall's gun and John Ilcomb's gun named ; also ' Stephen Pers is gonne ' — he held the town barne by the howe. A good deal of timber used on the bulwarks. ' Gun stones ' fetched from the Moor ;

1514 -15 Thomas Sayer.
John Ilcombe for 'tabelynge' five Frenchmen and four men eight weeks had 13J. 4^. A Fleming who told the Mayor that the six Frenchmen were in the Flemish ship had is. 6d. Two trusses of furze cost 1 id. John Lucas,
sergeant, had 8d. for cutting gogmagog.
Itm for bredde & drynke for peter hare and other Gunne's at the chargyng of the gvnnys when the Spaynarde shipps were comyng yn ageyn aft r that Thomas Rowland & Fote were slayne. [A commission sat on the Spaniards.] iij d

[The guns were taken backwards and forwards to the Hoe from the Guildhall, &c, as required.]

1522 -23
Itm payed for a Bembe for the Bulworkes that goyeth on & on the greate bulworke vnder Seynt Katyns . . ij s viij d

1527 28
The bulwarks were manned to defend the 'arrogosye ageynst the ffrenshemen ' by Stephen Pers, William Bull, Christopher Moore, William Hawkyns, John Pers, Richard Horswell, Simon Weryng, Richard Gerrard, Nicholas Sark,
Langharne, and Lawrence, with men waiting on them. Wm. Hawkyns sold the town 196 lbs. of gunpowder at 6d. a pound.

1544-5. Rye hard Hooper.
A ' tryumphe for the takyn of Boleyn ' and a hogshead of wine drunk at the high cross. John Palmer had 8s. for six dozen of shot ; two brass pieces of the king were brought from Dartmouth, powder and shot from London ; work done on the new dyke ; much expenditure on the defences ; iron shot of different sorts bought of a Fleming

1545-6. Thomas Crowne.
13 6s. 8d. received from the Recorder ' ready money geven by the Country towards the mayntenance of o 1 ' bulworks & ordynance';
Itm p d for carying of ij empty pypys to make boyes for the gonners to shote to . . ij s iiij d


Widey Court`Book:

1597 - 98
An outrage was here,' Capt. Parker being kept in the fforte, and the sergeant of the fort sent to Gaol.

1605-6. Thomas Founes.
Item pd for a dynner for S r Thomas wise, knight, and others w c h came aboute the water Course . ... xviij s
Item pd for the Gunners for shooting of the Ordyn a nce vppon the tryumphe for y e joyful deliverance of ye King and State from the Treason of Percie & others

1689-90. Nicholas Edgcumbe.
88 18s. id. spent on raising fortifications on Piggs Point and Batten when French fleet on the coast, with ammunition and vtensills of war — 16 18s. iod. subscribed.