History of River Thames

851 Battle of Oakley

1649 Trial of Charles I

1683 Frost Fair

Battle of Oakley

Life of Alfred by Asser Part 1 849-887 Page 1. In the year of our Lord's incarnation 851, which was the third after the birth of king Alfred, Ceorl, earl of Devon, fought with the men of Devon against the pagans at a place called Wiegambeorg; and the Christians gained the victory; and that same year the pagans first wintered in the island called Sheppey, which means the Sheep-isle, and is situated in the River Thames between Essex and Kent, but is nearer to Kent than to Essex; it has in it a fine monastery.
The same year also a great army of the pagans came with three hundred and fifty ships to the mouth of the River Thames, and sacked Dorobernia, which is the city of the Cantuarians, and also the city of London, which lies on the north bank of the River Thames, on the confines of Essex and Middlesex; but yet that city belongs in truth to Essex; and they put to flight Berthwulf, king of Mercia, with all the army, which he had led out to oppose them.
After these things, the aforesaid pagan host went into Surrey, which is a district situated on the south bank of the River Thames, and to the west of Kent. And Ethelwulf, king of the West-Saxons, and his son Ethelbald, with all their army, fought a long time against them at a place called Ac-lea, i.e. the Oak-plain, and there, after a lengthened battle, which was fought with much bravery on both sides, the greater part of the pagan multitude was destroyed and cut to pieces, so that we never heard of their being so defeated, either before or since, in any country, in one day; and the Christians gained an honourable victory, and were triumphant over their graves.
In the same year king Athelstan, son of king Ethelwulf, and earl Ealhere slew a large army of pagans in Kent, at a place called Sandwich, and took nine ships of their fleet; the others escaped by flight.

Chronica Majora: Heavy falls of rain. 10 Feb 1236. About the same time, for two months and more, namely, in January, February, and part of March, such deluges of rain fell as had never been seen before in the memory of any one. About the feast of St. Scholastica, when the moon was new, the sea became so swollen by the river torrents which fell into it, that all the rivers, especially those which fell into the sea, rendered the fords impasSable, overflowing their banks, hiding the bridges from sight, carrying away mills and dams, and overwhelming the cultivated lands, crops, meadows, and marshes. Amongst other unusual occurrences, the River Thames overflowed its usual bounds, and entered the grand palace at Westminster, where it spread and covered the whole area, so that small boats could float there, and people went to their apartments on horseback. The water also forcing its way into the cellars could with difficulty be drained off. The signs of this storm which preceded it, then gave proofs of their threats; for on the day of St. Damasus, thunder was heard, and on the Friday next after the conception of St. Mary, a spurious sun was seen by the side of the true sun.

Trial of Charles I

John Evelyn's Diary 1649 January. 22d January 1649. I went through a course of chemistry, at Sayes Court. Now was the Thames frozen over, and horrid tempests of wind.
The villany of the rebels proceeding now so far as to try, condemn, and murder our excellent King (48) on the 30th of this month, struck me with such horror, that I kept the day of his martyrdom a fast, and would not be present at that execrable wickedness; receiving the sad account of it from my brother George (31), and Mr. Owen, who came to visit me this afternoon, and recounted all the circumstances.

John Evelyn's Diary 1651 September. 6th September 1651. I went with my wife (16) to St. Germains, to condole with Mr. Waller's (45) loss. I carried with me and treated at dinner that excellent and pious person the Dean of St. Paul's, Dr. Stewart, and Sir Lewis Dives (52) (half-brother to the Earl of Bristol (38)) [Note. Beatrice Walcott - 1658 was mother to Lewis Dyve 1599-1669 (52) and George Digby 2nd Earl Bristol 1612-1677 (38) by her first and second husbands respectively. At the time of writing, 1651, the Earl of Bristol was John Digby 1st Earl Bristol 1580-1653 (71); a case of Evelyn writing hi sdiary retrospectively], who entertained us with his wonderful escape out of prison in Whitehall, the very evening before he was to have been put to death, leaping down out of a jakes two stories high into the Thames at high water, in the coldest of winter, and at night; so as by swimming he got to a boat that attended for him, though he was guarded by six musketeers. After this, he went about in women's habit, and then in a small-coal-man's, traveling 200 miles on foot, embarked for Scotland with some men he had raised, who coming on shore were all surprised and imprisoned on the Marquis of Montrose's score; he not knowing anything of their barbarous murder of that hero. This he told us was his fifth escape, and none less miraculous; with this note, that the charging through 1,000 men armed, or whatever danger could befall a man, he believed could not more confound and distract a man's thoughts than the execution of a premeditated escape, the passions of hope and fear being so strong. This knight was indeed a valiant gentleman; but not a little given to romance, when he spoke of himself. I returned to Paris the same evening.

John Evelyn's Diary 1658 June. 3rd June 1658. A large whale was taken between my land abutting on the Thames and Greenwich, which drew an infinite concourse to see it, by water, horse, coach, and on foot, from London, and all parts. It appeared first below Greenwich at low water, for at high water it would have destroyed all the boats, but lying now in shallow water encompassed with boats, after a long conflict, it was killed with a harping iron, struck in the head, out of which spouted blood and water by two tunnels; and after a horrid groan, it ran quite on shore, and died. Its length was fifty-eight feet, height sixteen; black skinned, like coach leather; very small eyes, great tail, only two small fins, a peaked snout and a mouth so wide, that divers men might have stood upright in it; no teeth, but sucked the slime only as through a grate of that bone which we call whalebone; the throat yet so narrow, as would not have admitted the least of fishes. The extremes of the cetaceous bones hang downward from the upper jaw, and are hairy toward the ends and bottom within side: all of it prodigious; but in nothing more wonderful than that an animal of so great a bulk should be nourished only by slime through those grates.

John Evelyn's Diary 1662 December. 1st December, 1662. Having seen the strange and wonderful dexterity of the sliders on the new canal in St. James's Park, performed before their Majesties [Note. Charles II King England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685 (32) and Catherine of Braganza Queen Consort England 1638-1705 (24)] by divers gentlemen and others with skates, after the manner of the Hollanders, with what swiftness they pass, how suddenly they stop in full career upon the ice; I went home by water, but not without exceeding difficulty, the Thames being frozen, great flakes of ice encompassing our boat.

Before 1687 Pieter Borsseler Painter 1634-1687. Portrait of Catherine of Braganza Queen Consort England 1638-1705.

Around 1663 Peter Lely Painter 1618-1680 (44). Portrait of Eleanor Needham Baroness Byron 1627-1664 (36) depicted as Saint Catherine of Alexandria in a guise probably intended to flatter Charles II's Queen, Catherine of Braganza (24). Accordingly she carries the martyr's palm branch and leans upon a wheel. The sitter looks to two Putti in the upper left, one of whom holds a wreath of bay leaves above her head. She is wearing a copper-red dress with a richly decorated blue mantle about her arms.

Around 1665 Peter Lely Painter 1618-1680 (46). Portrait of Catherine of Braganza Queen Consort England 1638-1705 (26).

Around 1670 Jacob Huysmans Painter 1633-1696 (37). Portrait of Catherine of Braganza Queen Consort England 1638-1705 (31).

Before 1696 Jacob Huysmans Painter 1633-1696. Portrait of Catherine of Braganza Queen Consort England 1638-1705.

Before 1696 Jacob Huysmans Painter 1633-1696. Portrait of Catherine of Braganza Queen Consort England 1638-1705.

John Evelyn's Diary 1667 March. 06 Mar 1667. I proposed to my Lord Chancellor (58), Monsieur Kiviet's (40) undertaking to wharf the whole river of Thames, or quay, from the Temple to the Tower, as far as the fire destroyed, with brick, without piles, both lasting and ornamental.—Great frosts, snow and winds, prodigious at the vernal equinox; indeed it had been a year of prodigies in this nation, plague, war, fire, rain, tempest and comet.

John Evelyn's Diary 1667 June. 08 Jun 1667. To London, alarmed by the Dutch, who were fallen on our fleet at Chatham, by a most audacious enterprise, entering the very river with part of their fleet, doing us not only disgrace, but incredible mischief in burning several of our best men-of-war lying at anchor and moored there, and all this through our unaccountable negligence in not setting out our fleet in due time. This alarm caused me, fearing the enemy might venture up the Thames even to London (which they might have done with ease, and fired all the vessels in the river, too), to send away my best goods, plate, etc., from my house to another place. The alarm was so great that it put both country and city into fear, panic, and consternation, such as I hope I shall never see more; everybody was flying, none knew why or whither. Now, there were land forces dispatched with the Duke of Albemarle (58), Lord Middleton (59), Prince Rupert (47), and the Duke (33), to hinder the Dutch coming to Chatham, fortifying Upnor Castle, and laying chains and bombs; but the resolute enemy broke through all, and set fire on our ships, and retreated in spite, stopping up the Thames, the rest of the fleet lying before the mouth of it.

Around 1642. William Dobson Painter 1611-1646 (30). Portrait of the Prince Rupert Palatinate-Simmern 1st Duke Cumberland 1619-1682 (22), Colonel John Russell 1620-1687 (22) and Colonel William Murray.

Before 1656 Gerrit van Honthorst Painter 1592-1656. Portrait of Prince Rupert Palatinate-Simmern 1st Duke Cumberland 1619-1682.

Around 1680 Simon Pietersz Verelst Painter 1644-1710. Portrait of Prince Rupert Palatinate-Simmern 1st Duke Cumberland 1619-1682 (60).

John Evelyn's Diary 1670 December. 15 Dec 1670. It was the thickest and darkest fog on the Thames that was ever known in the memory of man, and I happened to be in the very midst of it. I supped with Monsieur Zulestein, late Governor of to the late Prince of Orange.

John Evelyn's Diary 1683 February. 02 Feb 1683. I made my court at St. James's, when I saw the sea charts of Captain Collins (40), which that industrious man now brought to show the Duke (49), having taken all the coasting from the mouth of the Thames, as far as Wales, and exactly measuring every creek, island, rock, soundings, harbors, sands, and tides, intending next spring to proceed till he had finished the whole island, and that measured by chains and other instruments: a most exact and useful undertaking. He affirmed, that of all the maps put out since, there are none extant so true as those of Joseph Norden, who gave us the first in Queen Elizabeth's time; all since him are erroneous.

Frost Fair

In Dec 1683 the River Thames froze for a period of six weeks during which a great Frost Fair took place on the frozen surface.
The printer Croom sold souvenir cards written with the customer's name, the date, and the fact that the card was printed on the Thames; he was making five pounds a day (ten times a labourer's weekly wage). King Charles II (53) bought one. .

John Evelyn's Diary 1687 May. 12 May 1687. To London. Lord Sunderland (45) being Lord President and Secretary of State, was made Knight of the Garter and Prime favorite. This day there was such a storm of wind as had seldom happened, being a sort of hurricane. It kept the flood out of the Thames, so that people went on foot over several places above bridge. Also an earthquake in several places in England about the time of the storm.

John Evelyn's Diary 1689 January. 07 Jan 1689. A long frost and deep snow; the Thames almost frozen over.

John Evelyn's Diary 1689 July. 11 Jul 1689. I dined at Lord Clarendon's, it being his lady's wedding day, when about three in the afternoon there was an unusual and violent storm of thunder, rain, and wind; many boats on the Thames were overwhelmed, and such was the impetuosity of the wind as to carry up the waves in pillars and spouts most dreadful to behold, rooting up trees and ruining some houses. The Countess of Sunderland (43) afterward told me that it extended as far as Althorpe at the very time, which is seventy miles from London. It did no harm at Deptford, but at Greenwich it did much mischief.

John Ashton, Edmund Elliot, Richard Graham 1691. On Fryday, the 2d day of this Sessions, my Lord Preston (41), John Ashton and Edmund Elliot, were all Arrained for High Treason, my Lord Preston (41) was Tryed on Saturday by the name of Sir Richard Graham , Mr. Ashton on Monday. The Indictments against them consisted of Two Parts, the First of which set forth, That they had a Treasonable Design carrying on to Depose the King and Queen, and to Subvert and Alter the Government of the Kingdom of England, and to raise War and Rebellion in the same; which said Traiterous and Wicked Designs and Purposes to bring to pass, they did, on the 29th of December last, Meet and Conspire together, with several other Traitors not yet discovered, and did Compose several Treasonable Letters, Notes and Memorandums in writing, which set forth the most effectual way and means how they might Dethrone and Depose our Most Gracious Sovereign Lord and Lady the King (40) and Queen (28), and further describing therein how the Affairs of this Kingdom stood, and of what Strength and Force our Shipping was; as also the Fortifications of several Sea-Port-Towns within this Kingdom. The Second Part was their adhering to the Kings's Enemies: And to that end, that they might Acquaint Lewis the French King of the same, they did hire a Boat and Embarque themselves in order to Transport themselves and Pacquet of Treasonable Letters into France , agreeing to pay for their said Passages the Sum of One hundred Pound; and, in order to their Treasonable Voyage, they had made their Passage as far as below Gravesend, but were then Taken by Captain Billop, who Cruised abroad to search for them.
After this the Evidence for the King (40) being called, gave an Account particularly from Step to Step, how cunningly and subtilly they managed this horrid Conspiracy, by hiring the Smack called the Thomas and Elizabeth, to convey them secretly into France; in order to which they took Water in a Skuller at Surrey-Stairs, and went on Board the aforesaid Vessel, which lay in the River of Thames over against the Tower: From thence they set Sail down the River, till coming within the View of the George Frigate, lying in Long-reach, they desired the Master of the Smack to hide them under the Quarter-Hatches; which was done, they having some Fear of being discovered: There they remained till past that Danger, and then came up; but when they were within Sight of Gravesend they hid again, and a little below it Captain Billop came aboard them, under Pretence of Pressing the Masters two Men, who were assistants to him; but indeed his Design and real Intention was to find out those Traytors, which, upon Search, he found lying along under the Hatches; and after their being haled up he search'd them, and found a Pacquet of Treasonable Papers in Mr. Ashton's Bosom: which he with the Prisoners carried before my Lord Nottingham; who examined the Papers, and after being examined by the Cabinet Council they were committed to the Tower. The Evidence was very full and plain against them both, much to the same effect and purport: The Letters being also Read against them in Court, were adjudged to be of no less Import than High-Treason. Upon the whole they had nothing material to offer in their Defence; so after a very long hearing, they were both found Guilty of High Treason. Edmond Elliot was ordered to remain till further order.

Around 1680 Willem Wissing Painter 1656-1687 (24). Portrait of William III King England, Scotland and Ireland 1650-1702 (29) wearing his Garter Collar.

John Evelyn's Diary 1699. 26 Mar 1699. After an extraordinary storm, there came up the Thames a whale which was fifty-six feet long. Such, and a larger of the spout kind, was killed there forty years ago (June 1658). That year died Cromwell.

John Evelyn's Diary 1699. 15 Nov 1699. There happened this week so thick a mist and fog, that people lost their way in the streets, it being so intense that no light of candles, or torches, yielded any (or but very little) direction. I was in it, and in danger. Robberies were committed between the very lights which were fixed between London and Kensington on both sides, and while coaches and travelers were passing. It began about four in the afternoon, and was quite gone by eight, without any wind to disperse it. At the Thames, they beat drums to direct the watermen to make the shore.

Around 1747. Canaletto Painter 1697-1768. Westminster Bridge, with the Lord Mayor's Procession on the Thames.

Around 1747. Canaletto Painter 1697-1768. Westminster Bridge, with the Lord Mayor's Procession on the Thames.

Around 1747. Canaletto Painter 1697-1768. View across the River Thames to Westminster Abbey and Westminster Hall.

Around 1752. Canaletto Painter 1697-1768. Greenwich Hospital from the North Bank of the Thames.

Around 1754. Canaletto Painter 1697-1768. View across the River Thames to Eton College with the new Eton College Chapel, Eton College visible in white stone and the original Tudor buildings in red brick.

Around 1754. Canaletto Painter 1697-1768. View across the River Thames to Eton College with the new Eton College Chapel, Eton College visible in white stone and the original Tudor buildings in red brick.

The Nore. A sandbank at the mouth of the Thames Estuary, near the town of Sheerness. It marks the point where the River Thames meets the North Sea.

John Evelyn's Diary 1695 January. 13 Jan 1695. The Thames was frozen over. The deaths by smallpox increased to five hundred more than in the preceding week. The King and Princess Anne reconciled, and she was invited to keep her Court at Whitehall, having hitherto lived privately at Berkeley House; she was desired to take into her family divers servants of the late Queen; to maintain them the King has assigned her £5,000 a quarter.

Thames Estuary

The Nore. A sandbank at the mouth of the Thames Estuary, near the town of Sheerness. It marks the point where the River Thames meets the North Sea.

The Hope, or Hope Reach, is the part of the Thames Estuary between Tilbury and the mouth of the River Medway. It is named after the Hope stream that enters the Thames about three miles east of Tilbury. A noted anchorage for fleet assemblages and rendevous.

The Nore

Loss of The London

Samuel Pepy's Diary 1665 March. 08 Mar 1665. … though a bitter cold day, yet I rose, and though my pain and tenderness in my testicle remains a little, yet I do verily think that my pain yesterday was nothing else, and therefore I hope my disease of the stone may not return to me, but void itself in pissing, which God grant, but I will consult my physitian.
This morning is brought me to the office the sad newes of "The London," in which Sir J. Lawson’s men were all bringing her from Chatham to The Hope, and thence he was to go to sea in her; but a little a’this side the buoy of the Nower, she suddenly blew up. About 24 [men] and a woman that were in the round-house and coach saved; the rest, being above 300, drowned: the ship breaking all in pieces, with 80 pieces of brass ordnance. She lies sunk, with her round-house above water. Sir J. Lawson hath a great loss in this of so many good chosen men, and many relations among them. I went to the ’Change, where the news taken very much to heart. So home to dinner, and Mr. Moore with me. Then I to Gresham College, and there saw several pretty experiments, and so home and to my office, and at night about 11 home to supper and to bed. See Loss of The London.

Around 1665 Peter Lely Painter 1618-1680 (46). Portrait of Admiral John Lawson 1615-1665 (50). One of the Flagmen of Lowestoft.

The Nore. A sandbank at the mouth of the Thames Estuary, near the town of Sheerness. It marks the point where the River Thames meets the North Sea.

Buoy of the Nore

John Evelyn's Diary 1665 June. 30 Jun 1665. To Chatham; and, 1st July, to the fleet with Lord Sandwich (39), now Admiral, with whom I went in a pinnace to the Buoy of the Nore, where the whole fleet rode at anchor; went on board the Prince, of ninety brass ordnance, haply the best ship in the world, both for building and sailing; she had 700 men. They made a great huzza, or shout, at our approach, three times. Here we dined with many noblemen, gentlemen, and volunteers, served in plate and excellent meat of all sorts. After dinner, came his Majesty, the Duke (31), and Prince Rupert (45). Here I saw the King (35) knight Captain Custance for behaving so bravely in the late fight. It was surprising to behold the good order, decency, and plenty of all things in a vessel so full of men. The ship received a hundred cannon shot in her body. Then I went on board the Charles, to which after a gun was shot off, came all the flag officers to his Majesty (35), who there held a General Council, which determined that his Royal Highness (35) should adventure himself no more this summer. I came away late, having seen the most glorious fleet that ever spread sails. We returned in his Majesty's (35) yacht with my Lord Sandwich (39) and Mr. Vice-Chamberlain, landing at Chatham on Sunday morning.

Around 1642. William Dobson Painter 1611-1646 (30). Portrait of the Prince Rupert Palatinate-Simmern 1st Duke Cumberland 1619-1682 (22), Colonel John Russell 1620-1687 (22) and Colonel William Murray.

Before 1656 Gerrit van Honthorst Painter 1592-1656. Portrait of Prince Rupert Palatinate-Simmern 1st Duke Cumberland 1619-1682.

Around 1680 Simon Pietersz Verelst Painter 1644-1710. Portrait of Prince Rupert Palatinate-Simmern 1st Duke Cumberland 1619-1682 (60).

John Evelyn's Diary 1666 May. 08 May 1666. To Queensborough, where finding the Richmond frigate, I sailed to the buoy of the Nore to my Lord-General (57) and Prince Rupert (46), where was the Rendezvous of the most glorious fleet in the world, now preparing to meet the Hollander. Went to visit my cousin, Hales, at a sweetly-watered place at Chilston, near Bockton. The next morning, to Leeds Castle, once a famous hold, now hired by me of my Lord Culpeper (40) for a prison. Here I flowed the dry moat, made a new drawbridge, brought spring water into the court of the Castle to an old fountain, and took order for the repairs.

John Evelyn's Diary 1666 June. 15 Jun 1666. I went to Chatham. 16th. In the Jemmy yacht (an incomparable sailer) to sea, arrived by noon at the fleet at the Buoy at the Nore, dined with Prince Rupert (46) and the General (57).

John Evelyn's Diary 1667 June. 28 Jun 1667. I went to Chatham, and thence to view not only what mischief the Dutch had done; but how triumphantly their whole fleet lay within the very mouth of the Thames, all from the North Foreland, Margate, even to the buoy of the Nore — a dreadful spectacle as ever Englishmen saw, and a dishonor never to be wiped off! Those who advised his Majesty (37) to prepare no fleet this spring deserved—I know what—but—
Here in the river off Chatham, just before the town, lay the carcase of the "London" (now the third time burnt), the "Royal Oak", the "James", etc., yet smoking; and now, when the mischief was done, we were making trifling forts on the brink of the river. Here were yet forces, both of horse and foot, with General Middleton (59) continually expecting the motions of the enemy's fleet. I had much discourse with him, who was an experienced commander, I told him I wondered the King (37) did not fortify Sheerness and the Ferry; both abandoned.

John Evelyn's Diary 1667 July. 19 Jul 1667. I went to Gravesend; the Dutch fleet still at anchor before the river, where I saw five of his Majesty's (37) men-at-war encounter above twenty of the Dutch, in the bottom of the Hope, chasing them with many broadsides given and returned toward the Buoy of the Nore, where the body of their fleet lay, which lasted till about midnight. One of their ships was fired, supposed by themselves, she being run on ground. Having seen this bold action, and their braving us so far up the river, I went home the next day, not without indignation at our negligence, and the nation's reproach. It is well known who of the Commissioners of the Treasury gave advice that the charge of setting forth a fleet this year might be spared, Sir W. C. (William Coventry (39)) by name.

1672 Battle of Solebay

John Evelyn's Diary 1672 June. 02 Jun 1672. Trinity Sunday, I passed at Rochester; and, on the 5th, there was buried in the Cathedral Monsieur Rabiniére, Rear Admiral of the French squadron, a gallant person, who died of the wounds he received in the fight. This ceremony lay on me, which I performed with all the decency I could, inviting the Mayor and Aldermen to come in their formalities. Sir Jonas Atkins was there with his guards; and the Dean and Prebendaries: one of his countrymen pronouncing a funeral oration at the brink of his grave, which I caused to be dug in the choir. This is more at large described in the "Gazette" of that day; Colonel Reymes (58), my colleague in commission, assisting, who was so kind as to accompany me from London, though it was not his district; for indeed the stress of both these wars lay more on me by far than on any of my brethren, who had little to do in theirs. I went to see Upnor Castle, which I found pretty well defended, but of no great moment.
Next day I sailed to the fleet, now riding at the buoy of the "Nore," where I met his Majesty (42), the Duke (38), Lord Arlington (54), and all the great men, in the "Charles," lying miserably shattered; but the miss of Lord Sandwich redoubled the loss to me, and showed the folly of hazarding so brave a fleet, and losing so many good men, for no provocation but that the Hollanders exceeded us in industry, and in all things but envy.
At Sheerness, I gave his Majesty (42) and his Royal Highness (38) an account of my charge, and returned to Queenborough; next day dined at Major Dorel's, Governor of Sheerness; thence, to Rochester; and the following day, home.

John Evelyn's Diary 1672 August. 18 Aug 1672. Sir James Hayes (35), Secretary to Prince Rupert (52), dined with me; after dinner I was sent to Gravesend to dispose of no fewer than 800 sick men. That night I got to the fleet at the Buoy of the Nore, where I spoke with the King (42) and the Duke (38); and, after dinner next day, returned to Gravesend.

River Medway

John Evelyn's Diary 1667 June. 08 Jun 1667. To London, alarmed by the Dutch, who were fallen on our fleet at Chatham, by a most audacious enterprise, entering the very river with part of their fleet, doing us not only disgrace, but incredible mischief in burning several of our best men-of-war lying at anchor and moored there, and all this through our unaccountable negligence in not setting out our fleet in due time. This alarm caused me, fearing the enemy might venture up the Thames even to London (which they might have done with ease, and fired all the vessels in the river, too), to send away my best goods, plate, etc., from my house to another place. The alarm was so great that it put both country and city into fear, panic, and consternation, such as I hope I shall never see more; everybody was flying, none knew why or whither. Now, there were land forces dispatched with the Duke of Albemarle (58), Lord Middleton (59), Prince Rupert (47), and the Duke (33), to hinder the Dutch coming to Chatham, fortifying Upnor Castle, and laying chains and bombs; but the resolute enemy broke through all, and set fire on our ships, and retreated in spite, stopping up the Thames, the rest of the fleet lying before the mouth of it.

John Evelyn's Diary 1672 March. 23 Mar 1672. Captain Cox, one of the Commissioners of the Navy, furnishing me with a yacht, I sailed to Sheerness to see that fort also, now newly finished; several places on both sides the Swale and Medway to Gillingham and Upnore, being also provided with redoubts and batteries to secure the station of our men-of-war at Chatham, and shut the door when the steeds were stolen.
24 Mar 1672. I saw the chirurgeon cut off the leg of a wounded sailor, the stout and gallant man enduring it with incredible patience, without being bound to his chair, as usual on such painful occasions. I had hardly courage enough to be present. Not being cut off high enough the gangrene prevailed, and the second operation cost the poor creature his life.
Lord! what miseries are mortal men subject to, and what confusion and mischief do the avarice, anger, and ambition of Princes, cause in the world!
25 Mar 1672. I proceeded to Canterbury, Dover, Deal, the Isle of Thanet, by Sandwich, and so to Margate. Here we had abundance of miserably wounded men, his Majesty (41) sending his chief chirurgeon, Sergeant Knight, to meet me, and Dr. Waldrond had attended me all the journey. Having taken order for the accommodation of the wounded, I came back through a country the best cultivated of any that in my life I had anywhere seen, every field lying as even as a bowling-green, and the fences, plantations, and husbandry, in such admirable order, as infinitely delighted me, after the sad and afflicting spectacles and objects I was come from. Observing almost every tall tree to have a weathercock on the top bough, and some trees half-a-dozen, I learned that, on a certain holyday, the farmers feast their servants; at which solemnity, they set up these cocks, in a kind of triumph.
Being come back toward Rochester, I went to take order respecting the building a strong and high wall about a house I had hired of a gentleman, at a place called Hartlip, for a prison, paying £50 yearly rent. Here I settled a Provost-Marshal and other officers, returning by Feversham. On the 30th heard a sermon in Rochester Cathedral, and so got to Sayes Court on the first of April.

The Hope, or Hope Reach, is the part of the Thames Estuary between Tilbury and the mouth of the River Medway. It is named after the Hope stream that enters the Thames about three miles east of Tilbury. A noted anchorage for fleet assemblages and rendevous.

The Hope

Loss of The London

Samuel Pepy's Diary 1665 March. 08 Mar 1665. … though a bitter cold day, yet I rose, and though my pain and tenderness in my testicle remains a little, yet I do verily think that my pain yesterday was nothing else, and therefore I hope my disease of the stone may not return to me, but void itself in pissing, which God grant, but I will consult my physitian.
This morning is brought me to the office the sad newes of "The London," in which Sir J. Lawson’s men were all bringing her from Chatham to The Hope, and thence he was to go to sea in her; but a little a’this side the buoy of the Nower, she suddenly blew up. About 24 [men] and a woman that were in the round-house and coach saved; the rest, being above 300, drowned: the ship breaking all in pieces, with 80 pieces of brass ordnance. She lies sunk, with her round-house above water. Sir J. Lawson hath a great loss in this of so many good chosen men, and many relations among them. I went to the ’Change, where the news taken very much to heart. So home to dinner, and Mr. Moore with me. Then I to Gresham College, and there saw several pretty experiments, and so home and to my office, and at night about 11 home to supper and to bed. See Loss of The London.

Around 1665 Peter Lely Painter 1618-1680 (46). Portrait of Admiral John Lawson 1615-1665 (50). One of the Flagmen of Lowestoft.

The Hope, or Hope Reach, is the part of the Thames Estuary between Tilbury and the mouth of the River Medway. It is named after the Hope stream that enters the Thames about three miles east of Tilbury. A noted anchorage for fleet assemblages and rendevous.

Tilbury

1672 Attack on the Smyrna Fleet

John Evelyn's Diary 1672 March. 21 Mar 1672. I visited the coasts in my district of Kent, and divers wounded and languishing poor men, that had been in the Smyrna conflict. I went over to see the new-begun Fort of Tilbury; a royal work, indeed, and such as will one day bridle a great city to the purpose, before they are aware.

The Hope, or Hope Reach, is the part of the Thames Estuary between Tilbury and the mouth of the River Medway. It is named after the Hope stream that enters the Thames about three miles east of Tilbury. A noted anchorage for fleet assemblages and rendevous.

River Kennet