Biography of William Castle Shipbuilder of Rotherhithe 1629-1681

Around 1629 William Castle Shipbuilder of Rotherhithe was born.

Pepy's Diary. 09 Apr 1661. After dinner, we went to fit books and things (Tom Hater being this morning come to us) for the sale, by an inch of candle, and very good sport we and the ladies that stood by had, to see the people bid. Among other things sold there was all the State's arms, which [his future father-in-law] Sir W. Batten (age 60) bought; intending to set up some of the images in his garden, and the rest to burn on the Coronacion night. The sale being done, the ladies and I and Captain Pett and Mr. Castle (age 32) took barge and down we went to see the Sovereign, which we did, taking great pleasure therein, singing all the way, and, among other pleasures, I put my Lady, Mrs. Turner (age 38), Mrs. Hempson, and the two Mrs. Allens into the lanthorn and I went in and kissed them, demanding it as a fee due to a principall officer, with all which we were exceeding merry, and drunk some bottles of wine and neat's tongue, &c. Then back again home and so supped, and after much mirth to bed.

Pepy's Diary. 17 Apr 1661. That done I went to the Dolphin by appointment and there I met Sir Wms. both and Mr. Castle (age 32), and did eat a barrel of oysters and two lobsters, which I did give them, and were very merry. Here we had great talk of Mr. Warren's being knighted by the King, and Sir W. B. seemed to be very much incensed against him. So home.

Pepy's Diary. 07 Jun 1663. Thence to Sir W. Pen (age 42), who I found ill again of the gout, he tells me that now Mr. Castle (age 34) and Mrs. Martha Batten (age 26) do own themselves to be married, and have been this fortnight. Much good may it do him, for I do not envy him his wife.

Pepy's Diary. 05 Jul 1663. Lord's Day. Lady Batten had sent twice to invite me to go with them to Walthamstow [Map] to-day, Mrs. Martha (age 26) being married already this morning to Mr. Castle (age 34), at this parish church. I could not rise soon enough to go with them, but got myself ready, and so to Games's, where I got a horse and rode thither very pleasantly, only coming to make water I found a stopping, which makes me fearful of my old pain. Being come thither, I was well received, and had two pair of gloves, as the rest, and walked up and down with my Lady in the garden, she mighty kind to me, and I have the way to please her. A good dinner and merry, but methinks none of the kindness nor bridall respect between the bridegroom and bride, that was between my wife and I, but as persons that marry purely for convenience.

On 05 Jul 1663 Jun 1663 William Castle Shipbuilder of Rotherhithe (age 34) and Martha Batten (age 26) were married.

Pepy's Diary. 21 Jul 1663. At noon, by my Lady Batten's desire, I went over the water to Mr. Castle's (age 34), who brings his wife home to his own house to-day, where I found a great many good old women, and my Lady, [his father-in-law] Sir W. Batten (age 62), and Sir J. Minnes (age 64). A good, handsome, plain dinner, and then walked in the garden; which is pleasant enough, more than I expected there, and so Sir J. Minnes (age 64), Sir W. Batten (age 62), and I by water to the office, and there sat, and then I by water to the Temple [Map] about my law business, and back again home and wrote letters to my father and wife about my desire that they should observe the feast at Brampton, and have my Lady and the family, and so home to supper and bed, my head aching all the day from my last night's bad rest, and yesterday's distempering myself with over walking, and to-day knocking my head against a low door in Mr. Castle's (age 34) house. This day the Parliament kept a fast for the present unseasonable weather.

Pepy's Diary. 22 Aug 1663. After breakfast Mr. Castle (age 34) and I walked to Greenwich, Kent [Map], and in our way met some gypsys, who would needs tell me my fortune, and I suffered one of them, who told me many things common as others do, but bade me beware of a John and a Thomas, for they did seek to do me hurt, and that somebody should be with me this day se'nnight to borrow money of me, but I should lend him none. She got ninepence of me.

Pepy's Diary. 13 Oct 1663. And so rose in the morning in perfect good ease.... continued all the morning well, and in the afternoon had a natural easily and dry stoole, the first I have had these five days or six, for which God be praised, and so am likely to continue well, observing for the time to come when any of this pain comes again

(1) To begin to keep myself as warm as I can.

(2) Strain as little as ever I can backwards, remembering that my pain will come by and by, though in the very straining I do not feel it.

(3) Either by physic forward or by Mr. Castle's (age 34) backward or both ways to get an easy and plentiful going to stool and breaking of wind.

(4) To begin to suspect my health immediately when I begin to become costive and bound, and by all means to keep my body loose, and that to obtain presently after I find myself going the contrary.

Pepy's Diary. 23 Oct 1663. Thence to Mr. Holliard (age 54), who tells me that Mullins is dead of his leg cut off the other day, but most basely done. He tells me that there is no doubt but that all my slyme do come away in my water, and therefore no fear of the stone; but that my water being so slymy is a good sign. He would have me now and then to take a Mr. Castle's (age 34), the same I did the other day, though I feel no pain, only to keep me loose, and instead of butter, which he would have to be salt butter, he would have me sometimes use two or three ounces of honey, at other times two or three ounces of Linseed oil.

Pepy's Diary. 17 Nov 1663. So home, Mr. Hollyard (age 54) being come to my wife, and there she being in bed, he and I alone to look again upon her .... and there he do find that, though it would not be much pain, yet she is so fearful, and the thing will be somewhat painful in the tending, which I shall not be able to look after, but must require a nurse and people about her; so that upon second thoughts he believes that a fomentation will do as well, and though it will be troublesome yet no pain, and what her mayd will be able to do without knowing directly what it is for, but only that it may be for the piles. For though it be nothing but what is fiery honest, yet my wife is loth to give occasion of discourse concerning it. By this my mind and my wife's is much eased, for I confess I should have been troubled to have had my wife cut before my face, I could not have borne to have seen it. I had great discourse with him about my disease. He tells me again that I must eat in a morning some loosening gruel, and at night roasted apples, that I must drink now and then ale with my wine, and eat bread and butter and honey, and rye bread if I can endure it, it being loosening. I must also take once a week a Mr. Castle's (age 34) of his last prescription, only honey now and then instead of butter, which things I am now resolved to apply myself to.

Pepy's Diary. 08 Apr 1664. Up betimes and to the office, and anon, it begunn to be fair after a great shower this morning, [his father-in-law] Sir W. Batten (age 63) and I by water (calling his son Castle (age 35) by the way, between whom and I no notice at all of his letter the other day to me) to Deptford, Kent [Map], and after a turn in the yard, I went with him to the Almes'-house to see the new building which he, with some ambition, is building of there, during his being Master of Trinity House, Deptford [Map]; and a good worke it is, but to see how simply he answered somebody concerning setting up the arms of the corporation upon the door, that and any thing else he did not deny it, but said he would leave that to the master that comes after him.

Pepy's Diary. 14 Apr 1664. So to the office, where a great conflict with Wood and Castle (age 35) about their New England masts?

Pepy's Diary. 23 Apr 1664. Coronation Day. Up, and after doing something at my office, and, it being a holiday, no sitting likely to be, I down by water to Sir W. Warren's, who hath been ill, and there talked long with him good discourse, especially about [his father-in-law] Sir W. Batten's (age 63) knavery and his son Castle's (age 35) ill language of me behind my back, saying that I favour my fellow traytours, but I shall be even with him.

Pepy's Diary. 02 Nov 1664. Up betimes, and down with Mr. Castle (age 35) to Redriffe [Map], and there walked to Deptford, Kent [Map] to view a parcel of brave knees [Knees of timber] of his, which indeed are very good, and so back again home, I seeming very friendly to him, though I know him to be a rogue, and one that hates me with his heart.

Pepy's Diary. 16 Dec 1664. Back again, Mr. Wayth walking with me to Half-Way House talking about Mr. Castle's (age 35) fine knees lately delivered in. In which I am well informed that they are not as they should be to make them knees, and I hope shall make good use of it to the King's service.

Pepy's Diary. 11 Jan 1665. After dinner to Gresham College to my Lord Bruncker (age 45) and Commissioner Pett (age 54), taking, Mr. Castle (age 36) with me there to discourse over his draught of a ship he is to build for us. Where I first found reason to apprehend Commissioner Pett (age 54) to be a man of an ability extraordinary in any thing, for I found he did turn and wind Castle (age 36) like a chicken in his business, and that most pertinently and mister-like, and great pleasure it was to me to hear them discourse, I, of late having studied something thereof, and my Lord Bruncker (age 45) is a very able person also himself in this sort of business, as owning himself to be a master in the business of all lines and Conicall Sections.

Pepy's Diary. 26 Jul 1665. By and by they to dinner, and all to dinner and sat down to the King (age 35) saving myself, which, though I could not in modesty expect, yet, God forgive my pride! I was sorry I was there, that [his father-in-law] Sir W. Batten (age 64) should say that he could sit down where I could not, though he had twenty times more reason than I, but this was my pride and folly. I down and walked with Mr. Castle (age 36), who told me the design of Ford and Rider to oppose and do all the hurt they can to Captain Taylor in his new ship "The London", and how it comes, and that they are a couple of false persons, which I believe, and withal that he himself is a knave too.

Pepy's Diary. 26 Jul 1665. Up, and after doing a little business, down to Deptford, Kent [Map] with [his father-in-law] Sir W. Batten (age 64), and there left him, and I to Greenwich, Kent [Map] to the Park, where I hear the King (age 35) and Duke (age 31) are come by water this morn from Hampton Court [Map]. They asked me several questions. The King (age 35) mightily pleased with his new buildings there. I followed them to Castle's (age 36) ship in building, and there, met Sir W. Batten (age 64), and thence to Sir G. Carteret's (age 55), where all the morning with them; they not having any but the Duke of Monmouth (age 16), and Sir W. Killigrew (age 59), and one gentleman, and a page more. Great variety of talk, and was often led to speak to the King (age 35) and Duke (age 31).

Calendars. 17 Feb 1666. 43. William Castell (age 37) to the Navy Comrs. The new ship Defiance is gone to Longreach; desires a warrant for her survey, as to the finishing according to contract, [Adm. Paper.]

Calendars. 22 Feb 1666. 117. William Castell (age 37) to the Navy Comrs. Mr. Grey has no masts large enough for the new ship Defiance; if two can be supplied from the stores, will agree to return two of the same size in eight months' time, or make two of the same scantlings upon two months' warning. [Adm. Paper.]

Pepy's Diary. 09 Mar 1666. Thence by water down to Deptford, Kent [Map], where I met my Lord Bruncker (age 46) and [his father-in-law] Sir W. Batten (age 65) by agreement, and to measuring Mr. Castle's (age 37) new third-rate ship, which is to be called the Defyance1. And here I had my end in saving the King (age 35) some money and getting myself some experience in knowing how they do measure ships.

Note 1. William Castell wrote to the Navy Commissioners on February 17th, 1665-66, to inform them that the "Defiance" had gone to Longreach, and again, on February 22nd, to say that Mr. Grey had no masts large enough for the new ship. Sir William Batten (age 65) on March 29th asked for the consent of the Board to bring the "Defiance" into dock (" Calendar of State Papers", Domestic, 1665-66, pp. 252, 262, 324).

Pepy's Diary. 01 May 1666. Thence by water to Redriffe [Map], reading a new French book my Lord Bruncker (age 46) did give me to-day, "L'Histoire Amoureuse des Gaules"1, being a pretty libel against the amours of the Court of France. I walked up and down Deptford, Kent [Map] yarde, where I had not been since I come from living at Greenwich, Kent [Map], which is some months. There I met with Mr. Castle (age 37), and was forced against my will to have his company back with me. So we walked and drank at Halfway house and so to his house, where I drank a cupp of syder, and so home, where I find Mr. Norbury newly come to town to see us. After he gone my wife tells me the ill newes that our Susan is sicke and gone to bed, with great pain in her head and back, which troubles us all. However we to bed expecting what to-morrow would produce. She hath we conceive wrought a little too much, having neither maid nor girle to help her.

Note 1. This book, which has frequently been reprinted, was written by Roger de Rabutin, Comte de Bussy, for the amusement of his mistress, Madame de Montglas, and consists of sketches of the chief ladies of the court, in which he libelled friends and foes alike. These circulated in manuscript, and were printed at Liege in 1665. Louis XIV. was so much annoyed with the book that he sent the author to the Bastille for over a year.

Pepy's Diary. 09 May 1666. Up by five o'clock, which I have not a long time done, and down the river by water to Deptford, Kent [Map], among other things to examine the state of Ironworke, in order to the doing something with reference to Downing that may induce him to returne me the 50 pieces. Walked back again reading of my Civill Law Book, and so home and by coach to White Hall, where we did our usual business before the Duke (age 32), and heard the Duke commend Deane's (age 32) ship "The Rupert" before "The Defyance", built lately by Castle (age 37), in hearing of [his father-in-law] Sir W. Batten (age 65), which pleased me mightily.

Pepy's Diary. 19 May 1666. Up, and to the office all the morning. At noon took Deane (age 32) (lately come to towne) home with me to dinner, and there after giving him some reprimands and good advice about his deportment in the place where by my interest he is at Harwich [Map], and then declaring my resolution of being his friend still, we did then fall to discourse about his ship "Rupert", built by him there, which succeeds so well as he hath got great honour by it, and I some by recommending him; the King (age 35), Duke (age 32), and every body saying it is the best ship that was ever built. And then he fell to explain to me his manner of casting the draught of water which a ship will draw before-hand: which is a secret the King (age 35) and all admire in him; and he is the first that hath come to any certainty before-hand, of foretelling the draught of water of a ship before she be launched. I must confess I am much pleased in his successe in this business, and do admire at the confidence of Castle (age 37) who did undervalue the draught Deane (age 32) sent up to me, that I was ashamed to owne it or him, Castle (age 37) asking of me upon the first sight of it whether he that laid it down had ever built a ship or no, which made me the more doubtfull of him.

Pepy's Diary. 28 Apr 1667. Thence walked to Half-way Tree, and there stopt and talk with Mr. Castle (age 38) and Captain Perriman, and so to Redriffe [Map] and took boat again, and so home, and there to write down my Journall, and so to supper and to read, and so to bed, mightily pleased with my reading of Boyle's book of colours to-day, only troubled that some part of it, indeed the greatest part, I am not able to understand for want of study. My wife this night troubled at my leaving her alone so much and keeping her within doors, which indeed I do not well nor wisely in.

Pepy's Diary. 28 Apr 1667. And so by water, the tide being with me again, down to Deptford, Kent [Map], and there I walked down the Yard, Shish (age 62) and Cox with me, and discoursed about cleaning of the wet docke, and heard, which I had before, how, when the docke was made, a ship of near 500 tons was there found; a ship supposed of Queene Elizabeth's time, and well wrought, with a great deal of stoneshot in her, of eighteen inches diameter, which was shot then in use: and afterwards meeting with Captain Perriman and Mr. Castle (age 38) at Half-way Tree, they tell me of stoneshot of thirty-six inches diameter, which they shot out of mortarpieces.

Buckingham Shrewsbury Duel

Pepy's Diary. 17 Jan 1668. Up, and by coach to White Hall to attend the Council there, and here I met first by Mr. Castle (age 39) the shipwright, whom I met there, and then from the whole house the discourse of the duell yesterday between the Duke of Buckingham (age 39), Holmes, and one Jenkins, on one side, and my Lord of Shrewsbury (age 45), Sir John Talbot (age 37), and one Bernard Howard (age 27), on the other side: and all about my Lady Shrewsbury (age 25)1, who is a whore, and is at this time, and hath for a great while been, a whore to the Duke of Buckingham (age 39). And so her husband (age 45) challenged him, and they met yesterday in a close near Barne-Elmes, and there fought: and my Lord Shrewsbury (age 45) is run through the body, from the right breast through the shoulder: and Sir John Talbot (age 37) all along up one of his armes; and Jenkins killed upon the place, and the rest all, in a little measure, wounded. This will make the world think that the King (age 37) hath good councillors about him, when the Duke of Buckingham (age 39), the greatest man about him, is a fellow of no more sobriety than to fight about a whore. And this may prove a very bad accident to the Duke of Buckingham (age 39), but that my Baroness Castlemayne (age 27) do rule all at this time as much as ever she did, and she will, it is believed, keep all matters well with the Duke of Buckingham (age 39): though this is a time that the King (age 37) will be very backward, I suppose, to appear in such a business. And it is pretty to hear how the King (age 37) had some notice of this challenge a week or two ago, and did give it to my Lord Generall (age 59) to confine the Duke (age 39), or take security that he should not do any such thing as fight: and the Generall trusted to the King (age 37) that he, sending for him, would do it, and the King (age 37) trusted to the Generall; and so, between both, as everything else of the greatest moment do, do fall between two stools. The whole House full of nothing but the talk of this business; and it is said that my Lord Shrewsbury's (age 45) case is to be feared, that he may die too; and that may make it much the worse for the Duke of Buckingham (age 39): and I shall not be much sorry for it, that we may have some sober man come in his room to assist in the Government. Here I waited till the Council rose, and talked the while, with Creed, who tells me of Mr. Harry Howard's' (age 39) giving the Royal Society a piece of ground next to his house, to build a College on, which is a most generous act. And he tells me he is a very fine person, and understands and speaks well; and no rigid Papist neither, but one that would not have a Protestant servant leave his religion, which he was going to do, thinking to recommend himself to his master by it; saying that he had rather have an honest Protestant than a knavish Catholique. I was not called into the Council; and, therefore, home, first informing myself that my Lord Hinchingbrooke (age 20) hath been married this week to my Lord Burlington's (age 55) daughter (age 23); so that that great business is over; and I mighty glad of it, though I am not satisfied that I have not a Favour sent me, as I see Attorney Montagu (age 50) and the Vice-Chamberlain have (age 58). But I am mighty glad that the thing is done.

Note 1. Anna Maria (age 25), daughter of Robert Brudenel, second Earl of Cardigan (age 60). Walpole says she held the Duke of Buckingham's (age 39) horse, in the habit of a page, while he was fighting the duel with her husband. She married, secondly, George Rodney Bridges, son of Sir Thomas Bridges of Keynsham, Somerset (age 51), Groom of the Bedchamber to Charles IL, and died April 20th, 1702. A portrait of the Countess of Shrewsbury, as Minerva, by Lely.

Pepy's Diary. 25 May 1668. By and by comes Mr. Cooke to see me and so spent the morning, and he gone by and by at noon to dinner, where Mr. Shepley come and we merry, all being in good humour between my wife and her people about her, and after dinner took horse, I promising to fetch her away about fourteen days hence, and so calling all of us, we men on horseback, and the women and my father, at Goody Gorum's, and there in a frolic drinking I took leave, there going with me and my boy, my two brothers, and one Browne, whom they call in mirth Colonell, for our guide, and also Mr. Shepley, to the end of Huntingdon [Map], and another gentleman who accidentally come thither, one Mr. Castle (age 39); and I made them drink at the Chequers, where I observed the same tapster, Tom, that was there when I was a little boy and so we, at the end of the town, took leave of Shepley and the other gentleman, and so we away and got well to Cambridge, about seven to the Rose [Map], the waters not being now so high as before. And here 'lighting, I took my boy and two brothers, and walked to Magdalene College: and there into the butterys, as a stranger, and there drank my bellyfull of their beer, which pleased me, as the best I ever drank: and hear by the butler's man, who was son to Goody Mulliner over against the College, that we used to buy stewed prunes of, concerning the College and persons in it; and find very few, only Mr. Hollins and Pechell, I think, that were of my time. But I was mightily pleased to come in this condition to see and ask, and thence, giving the fellow something, away walked to Chesterton, to see our old walk, and there into the Church, the bells ringing, and saw the place I used to sit in, and so to the ferry, and ferried over to the other side, and walked with great pleasure, the river being mighty high by Barnewell Abbey: and so by Jesus College to the town, and so to our quarters, and to supper, and then to bed, being very weary and sleepy and mightily pleased with this night's walk.

Pepy's Diary. 17 Feb 1669. Up, and with W. Hewer (age 27) with me to Lincoln's Inn, by appointment, to have spoke with Mr. Pedley about Mr. Goldsborough's business and Mr. Weaver's, but he was gone out, and so I with Mr. Castle (age 40), the son-in-law of Weaver, to White Hall to look for him, but did not find him, but here I did meet with several and talked, and do hear only that the King (age 38) dining yesterday at the Dutch Embassador's, after dinner they drank, and were pretty merry; and, among the rest of the King's company, there was that worthy fellow my Lord of Rochester (age 21), and Tom Killigrew (age 57), whose mirth and raillery offended the former so much, that he did give Tom Killigrew (age 57) a box on the ear in the King's presence, which do much give offence to the people here at Court, to see how cheap the King (age 38) makes himself, and the more, for that the King (age 38) hath not only passed by the thing, and pardoned it to Rochester, Kent [Map] already, but this very morning the King (age 38) did publickly walk up and down, and Rochester, Kent [Map] I saw with him as free as ever, to the King's everlasting shame, to have so idle a rogue his companion. How Tom Killigrew (age 57) takes it, I do not hear. I do also this day hear that my Lord Privy Seale do accept to go Lieutenant into Ireland; but whether it be true or no, I cannot tell. So calling at my shoemaker's, and paying him to this day, I home to dinner, and in the afternoon to Colonel Middleton's house, to the burial of his wife, where we are all invited, and much more company, and had each of us a ring: and so towards evening to our church, where there was a sermon preached by Mills, and so home. At church there was my Lord Brouncker (age 49) and Mrs. Williams in our pew, the first time they were ever there or that I knew that either of them would go to church. At home comes Castle to me, to desire me to go to Mr. Pedly, this night, he being to go out of town to-morrow morning, which I, therefore, did, by Hackney-coach, first going to White Hall to meet with Sir W. Coventry (age 41), but missed him. But here I had a pleasant rencontre of a lady in mourning, that, by the little light I had, seemed handsome. I passing by her, I did observe she looked back again and again upon me, I suffering her to go before, and it being now duske. I observed she went into the little passage towards the Privy Water-Gate, and I followed, but missed her; but coming back again, I observed she returned, and went to go out of the Court. I followed her, and took occasion, in the new passage now built, where the walke is to be, to take her by the hand, to lead her through, which she willingly accepted, and I led her to the Great Gate, and there left her, she telling me, of her own accord, that she was going as far as, Charing Cross [Map]; but my boy was at the gate, and so je durst not go out con her, which vexed me, and my mind (God forgive me) did run apres her toute that night, though I have reason to thank God, and so I do now, that I was not tempted to go further.

In Jul 1681 William Castle Shipbuilder of Rotherhithe (age 52) died.

Records of the High Court of the Admiralty 13 27 Folio 47 Recto. and put aboard a hoy belonging to one Gilbert Waters of Yarmouth (he the said Gilbert being Master of her) the full number of one and fifty loades of planks or thereabouts which came out of Earsham Parke, and one load of plancks or thereabouts that came from Colsill in Norfolk to be brought and delivered to one Mr William Castle of Redriffe a Shipwright dwellinge there, but denyeth that the said plancks or any part of them were the plancks or timber that grew in that division betweene the hedge and the pale aforesaid bought by the said Jonas Shish for the use of this Comonwealth, but were plancks which came of timber that grew in other divisions separate from that division betweene the hedge and pale, And this he knoweth to be true, he this rendent having sent the said 51. loades of plancks distinct by themseves out of other divisions to Yarmouth to be put on board the hoy of the said Gilbert Waters for the use of the said Mr William Castle, and to the use of noe other person whatsoever, And did signe a Bill of Ladeing for the delivery of the same at Redriffe to the said Mr Castle as aforesaid, And hee believeth that he was to give an Account for all the said 51. loades of plancks unto the said John Tanner and Henry Richardson as his partners, And otherwise he doth not believe the said Article to be true in any parte thereof.

Note 5. To the 5th pretended article he answereth and believeth That he thus rendent being not acquainted with the Contents of the Contract made betweene the said John Tanner and Henry Richardson and the said Jonas Shish, hee this rendent did sell out of the division sould to the said Jonas Shish as aforesaid, one piece of timber and not more which piece of timber he sold unto the arlate Edgar for the sum of 1. li 13 s and noe more, and since the said sale and receipt of 1. li 13 s as aforesaid, he this rendent hath given satisfaction to the said Jonas Shish in other plancks of this rendents owne in a far greater summe then 1. li 13 s that there remaineth of the plancks and timber bought by the said Shish of the said Tanner and Richardson the number of ten loads and noe more as hee beleeveth the quantity of [LH MARGIN which hath bin delivered to the said Shish in other timber and plancks in [?XXX] of the same And otherwise saveing his former answere he doth not believe the said Article to be true in any parte

To the 6th pretended Article he answereth and believeth That the timber and plancks now controverted when they were first delivered into the said Gilbert Waters his hoy of Yarmouth