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The Lady Of The Ship
by [?]

[Or so much as is told of her by Paschal Tonkin, steward and major-domo to the lamented John Milliton, of Pengersick Castle, in Cornwall: of her coming in the Portugal Ship, anno 1526; her marriage with the said Milliton and alleged sorceries; with particulars of the Barbary men wrecked in Mount’s Bay and their entertainment in the town of Market Jew.]

My purpose is to clear the memory of my late and dear Master; and to this end I shall tell the truth and the truth only, so far as I know it, admitting his faults, which, since he has taken them before God, no man should now aggravate by guess-work. That he had traffic with secret arts is certain; but I believe with no purpose but to fight the Devil with his own armoury. He never was a robber as Mr. Thomas St. Aubyn and Mr. William Godolphin accused him; nor, as the vulgar pretended, a lustful and bloody man. What he did was done in effort to save a woman’s soul; as Jude tells us, “Of some have compassion, that are in doubt; and others save, having mercy with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh”–though this, alas! my dear Master could not. And so with Jude I would end, praying for all of us and ascribing praise to the only wise God, our Saviour, who is able to guard us from stumbling and set us faultless before His presence with exceeding joy.

It was in January, 1526, after a tempest lasting three days, that the ship called the Saint Andrew, belonging to the King of Portugal, drove ashore in Gunwallo Cove, a little to the southward of Pengersick. She was bound from Flanders to Lisbon with a freight extraordinary rich–as I know after a fashion by my own eyesight, as well as from the inventory drawn up by Master Francis Porson, an Englishman, travelling on board of her as the King of Portugal’s factor. I have a copy of it by me as I write, and here are some of Master Porson’s items:–


8,000 cakes of copper, valued by him at 3,224 pounds.
18 blocks of silver, ' ' ' 2,250 pounds.
Silver vessels, plate, patens, ewers and
pots, beside pearls, precious stones,
and jewels of gold.
Also a chest of coined money, in amount 6,240 pounds.

There was also cloth of arras, tapestry, rich hangings, satins, velvets, silks, camlets, says, satins or Bruges, with great number of bales of Flemish and English cloth; 2,100 barber’s basins; 3,200 laten candlesticks; a great chest of shalmers and other instruments of music; four sets of armour for the King of Portugal, much harness for his horses, and much beside–the whole amounting at the least computation to 16,000 pounds in value. [1] And this I can believe on confirmation of what I myself saw upon the beach.

But let me have done with Master Porson and his tale, which runs that the Saint Andrew, having struck at the mouth of the cove, there utterly perished; yet, by the grace and mercy of Almighty God, the greater part of the crew got safely to land, and by help of many poor folk dwelling in the neighbourhood saved all that was most valuable of the cargo. But shortly after (says he) there came on the scene three gentlemen, Thomas Saint Aubyn, William Godolphin, and John Milliton, with about sixty men armed in manner of war with bows and swords, and made an assault on the shipwrecked sailors and put them in great fear and jeopardy; and in the end took from them all they had saved from the wreck, amounting to 10,000 pounds worth of treasure–“which,” says he, “they will not yield up, nor make restitution, though they have been called upon to do so.”