Some distressed Bristol Seamen and their dependents, 1758

Jonathon Bisp of Winterbourne, c1754, who appears in my Kingswood Index (elsewhere on this site) was apparently also nown as “Bliss”.  In 1996, Mrs Walsh, a descendant of the Bisp Family, sent me a copy of an original document at the Society of Merchant Venturers.

“Merchants Hall, April 11th, 1758”.

“The Trustees for the Relief of Seamen, &c, there met:

Mr Abraham Elton, Master; Mr Richard Combes, Warden; Mr Thomas Farr, junior, Warden; Mr Cranfield Becher, Mr Henry Swymmer,Mr James Laroche; Mr Richard Farr; Mr William Reeve; Mr John Foy; Mr Nathaniel Foy; Mr George Daubeny; Mr Wm Warsip; Mr Thomas Willoughby; Mr Chr: Willoughby

No. 61: Jonathan BLISS (hitherto by mistake called BISP) late cook on board the ship or vessel called Duke of Cornwall belonging to the Port of Bristol whereof David Jenkins was Commander having the misfortune to have his left arm broke and his right hand shattered so much as to render it useless and his body and face burnt by the sudden going off of a gun aboard the said ship applying for relief and the same being certifyed (sic) to the satisfaction of the Trustees it is ordered that the said Jonathan Bliss be allowed two shillings a week to be paid Quarterly upon the General Quarter days the first payment to be made on the twenty fourth day of June next.

No 62: Betty BRUMAGE, widow of Pierce Brumage, late Chief Mate and afterwards Master of the Ship Nonpareil belonging to the Port of Bristol who was lost in the said Ship on her passage from Cape Fear to the said Port of Bristol sometime in the year one thousand seven hundred and fifty four petitioning for relief and the proper certificates being read whereby it appears that she hath one child living named Elizabeth aged about three years. It is ordered in consideration of her having had no relief hitherto and that Pierce Brumage was Master of the said ship at the time of his death that Betty Brumage be allowed two shillings a week to be paid quarterly……” (same conditions as above.) (The parish register of St James, Bristol shows that Pierce Brumage married Betty Dixon on 26th January 1748; the baby Elizabeth “aged one year and two months” was baptised 28th January 1756.)

Undated – a later occasion:

“The Trustees for the relief of Seamen &c then met:

Mr Isaac Baughton, Master; Mr Jos: Daltera, Warden; Mr Rd Farr, Warden; Mr Hry. Casamajor; Mr Nathaniel Foy; Mr Wm Reeve; Mr Hry Swymer; Mr Jas. Laroche; Mr Wm. Jones; Mr William Hilhouse; Mr Henry Dampier; Mr James Daltera; Mr Wm Wansey; Mr Chr.Willoughby:

No. 2: Thomas WEAVER – allowed to reside in or near Waterford and to be paid quarterly

No.5: Joshua HOLLAND – did not appear being ill.

No. 19: Rachel DAVIS is now married to Methusaleh DYER, a seaman now on board a Man of War. (Methusaleh Dyer & Rachel Davies were married at St Stephen’s, 1st June 1753.)

No. 22: John FLING – does not reside in Ireland

No.27: Mary GARDNER did not appear

No. 28: John HEALY – it appears that he is not quite dark (I can’t understand what “not quite dark” means) and is able to get four or five shillings a week, his pay therefore is reduced to two shillings a week from next (illegible)

No. 32: Rebecca RUTH did not appear. She lives at Westbury.

No. 38: John THOMAS did not appear, being ill.

No. 50: Robert BARKER did not appear.

No. 53: The Pension paid to Mrs EDWARDS in respect of Richard LARKWORTHY ordered to be discontinued, he being admitted into Mr Colston’s Hospital.

No. 63: Jas. PITMAN did not appear.”

NB. Whenever a name is sufficiently unusual, it is always worth looking to see if there is any further information to be had. In this case Jonathan Bisp, if this is the same man, came to an unfortunate end, as described in the London Chronicle of 1762:

“Bristol, October 30th. Saturday night a fray happened in Nicholas Street between the butchers and a party of the Glamorganshire Militia, in which Jonathan Bisp, butcher, had his skull fractured so that he died next morning and several others were wounded on both sides. One Robert Williams who struck the deceased with an iron bar is committed to Newgate.”

Then: Bristol Gaol Delivery, Saturday 28th May, 1763. Robert Williams convicted on the wilful murder of Jonathan Bisp. Let him be hanged by the neck until he be dead and let his body be delivered to Mr Townsend, surgeon to be dissected and anatomized. But execution to be respited until 24th day of June next. (From Bristol Gaol Delivery Fiats 1741-99)