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This webpage updated 14 November, 2017

The English Business of Slavery - Chapter 2

Elizabeth 1 inherits the oceans of the earth - England engages with slavery - The English-Morocco trade - The Dudley family - Intermarriages - The Hawkins-Gonson-Winter naval story - Intermarriages

Elizabeth I inherits the oceans of the earth:

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Many of the merchants named here lived on into the reign of Elizabeth I. It is hardly surprising then, that themes drawn from their activities entered the history and folklore of her reign. Some political overtones of resistance to royal power surface in conjunction with themes of English maritime endeavour, with the case of the Dudley family (whom some think had been traitors for two generations!). What is required is a longitudinal study of people interested in latitude and longitude! We need to look again at the Dudley family...

News in July 2006: The history websites on this domain now have a companion website, and an updating website as well, on a new domain, at Merchant Networks Project, produced by Dan Byrnes and Ken Cozens (of London).

This new website (it is hoped) will become a major exercise in economic and maritime history, with much attention to London/British Empire and some attention to Sydney, Australia.

The Dudley family:

Councillor Edmund Dudley (1462-1510) was executed. His son was John Dudley (1502-1554), a Lord Admiral and also a timber merchant. John's son Ambrose Dudley (1528-1589), first Baron Lisle and fourth Earl Warwick, is noteworthy, since by 1600, the earldom of Warwick was in the hands of the family Rich, who will figure largely in later chapters here. Also appearing in the lineage from the executed Edmund Dudley is Robert Dudley (1534-1584), Earl Leicester, a promoter of the Morocco trade; and the illegitimate mariner, Sir Robert Dudley (1573-1649).

Other figures of interest are:
The earls Pembroke, who became promoters of colonisation (as discussed in later chapters);
The colonist and "republican" Robert Sydney (1595-1677);
the Cromwellian Sir John Hobart (1627-1683);
and the "geographer", John Dudley (died 1554), Viscount Lisle and Earl Warwick, John Dudley - who knew the executed pretender to the English throne, Lady Jane Grey, since his executed brother Guilford married Jane. But what might such family interconnections mean in the longer term? The answer can be complicated - and not.


After the time of Henry VIII, as England expanded its number of major trading companies, many examples arose of linkages between commercial families and aristocracy. Here the family Boleyn becomes conspicuous, along with the "Bible-study group" of Katherine Parr, in conjunction with the rise of a Puritan social movement which increasingly included members of affluent merchant families. Such groupings also interested themselves in colonialism and maritime endeavour. These were new trends in English life, and they happened to connect with opportunities provided by the existing slave trades in the New World conducted by the Portuguese and Spanish... in terms of themes, as follows...
In this chapter, I have relied on information in the following books: Joyce Lorimer, (Ed.), English and Irish Settlement on the River Amazon, 1555-1646. London, The Hakluyt Society, 1989. Kenneth R. Andrews, Trade, Plunder and Settlement: Maritime Enterprise and the Genesis of the British Empire, 1480-1630. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1984. K. R. Andrews, ‘The English in the Caribbean, 1560-1620’, pp. 103-123 in K. R. Andrews, N. P. Canny and P. E. H. Hair, (Eds.), The Westward Enterprise: English Activities in Ireland, the Atlantic and America, 1480-1650. Liverpool University Press, 1978.
K. R. Andrews, Elizabethan Privateering: English Privateering during the Spanish War, 1585-1603. Cambridge at the University Press, 1964.
K. R. Andrews, The Spanish Caribbean: Trade and Plunder, 1530-1630. London, Yale University Press, 1978. K. R. Andrews, Ships, Money and Politics: Seafaring and Naval Enterprise in the Reign of Charles I. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1991.)
1450-1550: In the world of finance, on the development of bills of exchange from the fifteenth century or earlier, see R. B. Westerfield, Middlemen in English Business: 1660-1760. Newhaven, Connecticut, 1915. [Reprinted, Newton Abbot, 1968]., pp. 386ff.
See also, Julian S. Corbett, Papers Relating to the Navy during the Spanish War, 15585-1586 - Cadiz Voyage - 1587. London, Navy Records Society, MDCCCXCVIII. (Copy at Griffith University, Brisbane, Nathan Campus.)

Theme (1): English engagement in slavery:

The English began their maritime engagement in the ancient business of slavery with selling black slaves into the existing institution of chattel slavery as used by Europeans - who were Catholics - from about the 1530s. Later, from 1628, on Barbados, the English began to use chattel slavery for their own purposes, in their own right. During this near-century, England experienced a religious revolution - the sidelining of Catholicism and the rise of Protestantism, or Puritanism.

We have to go back to the times of the Hawkins', Sir William Winter, Raleigh and Drake to find how their maritime endeavours became linked to slavery. How men from Devon and Somerset, very often, became a social movement in English life, heavily promoting maritime endeavour and expanded international trade interests. Which can also be called maritime expansionism, commercial expansionism, colonial expansionism.

English historians meantime are not eager to talk about aristocrats engaging in vulgar commerce, which is where Robert Brenner's writings are interesting. Brenner makes it clear that the Earl of Warwick (two of them, actually, father and son), were fiercely Puritan, anti-Spanish, and were pushing maritime endeavour, colonisation, expansion, whatever we wish to call it, a variety of commercial activity, into the Caribbean and later to Virginia.

Today, the genealogist/researcher wishing to track Londoners involved in shipping across a couple of centuries will find that the linked parishes of St Dunstan's in the West, and in the East, provide an amazing population to deal with. To people resident there can be added people from the nearby areas of Hackney, Stepney, Greenwich (which sited Elizabeth's royal palace), Blackheath, Deptford and Poplar-Isle of Dogs.

As a municipal zone, The City of London was filled with many Puritan-leaning merchants, often wealthy, often intermarried, and so we often see the religious and ideological radicalisation of commodity-handlers in London. Few if any English writers have so emphasised intermarriedness of commercial families as Brenner has done, and of course, genealogically, the aristocracy was gradually affected, till in the time of Charles II began the the rise of the political Whigs, who were progressive and anti-Tory. (As with the career of the first Earl of Shaftesbury).

Where they were aristocrats, England's Whig politicians of the later seventeenth century inherited an earlier-set and quite strong tradition. As for what gentlemen began to think? By 1673, the poet/dramatist William Wycherley (born 1640), could write that "all gentlemen must pack to sea". Educated Englishmen taking to the sea in greater numbers became its own kind of revolution in English life.
William Wycherley (1640-1716), a worshipper of "gentility" and a one-time naval officer. His entry in Encyclopedia Britannica, 1962 edition.

Theme (2): Rivalry with the Spanish: and Puritan hatred of the Catholicism of Spain combined with envy of Spanish silver supplies.

By 1602-1604 in the "Guinea trade" (to the north-west African coast) were Charles Leigh and his brother Oliph (sic). Charles Howard (Earl Nottingham) dealt with shipowning merchants Robert and William Bragg, who also handled war business. Allied to Cecil were Sir Thomas Myddleton (and his partner, Nicholas Farrar), and Sir Richard Hawkins. Also in Cecil's circle was Thomas Alabaster, an Anglo-Iberian trader of Seville.
See Andrews, Spanish Caribbean, variously.

Operators included a George and a William Winter, and after 1574 sailed Gilbert Horsley, Andrew Barker, John Oxenham and William Hawkins from England. As Wendy Garcia's website on the Winter family conveys, by about 1595 Sir Anthony Sherley (treasurer of England's navy from 1577) moved a fleet of privateers against the Caribbean. He was of Plymouth, Devon, and a noted improver of ship design; also of St Dunstan's in the East, London. He assisted Drake with efforts to control the "Darien area" (the Isthmus of Darien, about the present site of Panama Canal). Andrews notes that by 1604 in the English "Caribbean trade" were new traders, such as John Eldred and Richard Hall, talking to Sir Robert Cecil in 1604 of such trade; some Dutch names were given, some Genoese, plus John Williams of London, with Edward Savage a London merchant as a go-between. Charles Howard, Earl Nottingham and Lord High Admiral 1585-1619 was then a political ally of Sir Robert Cecil and also a privateer.

Kenneth R. Andrews, Elizabethan Privateering: English Privateering during the Spanish War, 1585-1603. Cambridge at the University Press, 1964., pp. 135ff, pp. 188ff.

From 1629, an Earl of Warwick went to the lengths of attempting to establish Providence Island in the Caribbean as a base and a southern border of English ambitions. In any case, the English worked hard to establish a maritime border for "their" Southern Seas, which scarcely pleased the Spanish. (Here, Brenner might even underplay the extent of English interest in the area of mouth of the Amazon River - which I will call Amazonia.) Soon after Sir Walter Raleigh's first voyage to the Guianas in 1595, the English explorer Captain Charles Leigh attempted to start a settlement on the Waiapoco (Oyapock) River, now the border between Brazil and French Guiana.
1539: In 1539, Orellano had voyaged down the Amazon. McIntyre, Secret Discovery of Australia, pp. 215-216. The writings of many merchants discussed here can be found in Richard David, Hakluyt's Voyages: A Selection. London, Chatto and Windus, 1981. J. H. Parry, The European Reconnaissance: Selected Documents. London. Macmillan. 1968. (A general cultural context for such discussions in the time of Elizabeth I are well-outlined at a recommended website at: (broken link?): http://www.dipmat.unipg.it/~bartocci/ep2ded.htm/

However, the English problems of managing their expansionism in the Caribbean was not well-solved, however, till 1654, when Cromwell occupied Jamaica, when it was assumed of course that the enslavement of Negroes would continue to provide needed labour.


Theme (3): Subjugation of Ireland:
From the aristocratic and royal levels, a consistent view was held on the continued need to keep Ireland under English domination. It is clear from the activities of certain aristocratic groups, seen in terms of their basic family histories, that all these four themes in English life had to be managed simultaneously, otherwise balance was lost. This policy was adhered to rigorously.

Elizabeth I had little political choice but to cope with these commercially-minded Puritan types. She could hardly have reined them in, and of course English joy at the outcome of the Spanish Armada problem became a theme of English life. James I did not quite understand the linkages between Puritan feelings, colonisation and maritime endeavour, and/or he had little simpatico with some themes: he was rather more keen on maintaining royal monopolies, which Puritan types found restrictive; hence James I's problems with merchant groups in London, questions of prerogative, and problems between King and Parliament.
Useful short biographies for these periods are given in: Alan and Veronica Palmer, Who’s Who in Shakespeare’s England. Brighton, Sussex, Harvester Press Ltd., 1981.


Theme (4): That the powers of parliament had to grow, with resulting impacts on royalty and its prerogatives:

Cromwell only intensified the fierceness of these themes, which can be seen always in operation in the employment of members of certain aristocratic families, and/or their hangers-on. These four themes established in English life during the reign of Elizabeth I were still influential as the British gained Australia from 1770-1788 - just as one theme was being loosened a little, since slavery was being challenged by the abolition movement, the activities of the Clapham Sect.


Any review of English international maritime activity after 1580 needs a general preface about piracy generally…

Where pirates from their own point of view can operate successfully, the waters they use are obviously not being well-policed by any national power(s). What can any particular state do about this? If particular states cannot police given waters, the historical record seems to suggest that states react passively by not policing the waters themselves, and also by letting no other state police those waters. In this situation, maritime arenas become decontrolled, and no power can be properly exercised by any particular state. Pirates are virtually given free rein, though they may become subject to land-based law (and any relevant sea law) if they are captured, or if they land.
Australian Encyclopedia. In 10 Vols. Sydney, Angus and Robertson, 1958. Grolier Society. of Australia, 1962. Brenner, Merchants and Revolution, variously on privateering. G. R. Elton, England Under The Tudors. London, Methuen, 1955. Clennel Wilkinson, William Dampier. London, John Lane, 1929. George Wycherley, Buccaneers of the Pacific: of the bold English buccaneers, pirate privateers & gentleman adventurers, who sailed in peril through the stormy straits or pierced the isthmus jungle, to vex the king of Spain in the South Seas & the Western Pacific, plundering his cities & coasts & preying on his silver fleets & his golden galleons. London, John Long, 1929. (Found in the Bateson Collection of maritime history in the library of the Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney.) Margaret Irwin (pseud), The Great Lucifer: A Portrait of Sir Walter Raleigh. London, Chatto and Windus, 1966.

At times, pirates did the policing, as it were. Meanwhile, normal trade becomes difficult or impossible. Trade routes are either stymied, diverted, created, or, need to be recreated. The uneasy relationship between states, merchants operating legally, and pirates becomes an unstable boundary for the exercise of state power… and this was all the political environment that amused and challenged William Dampier enormously - and a great many other pirates, including William Kidd and another pirate working later and even further east than Kidd, in Siam, Samuel White.


The English Morocco trade:

But firstly... England's first southern trade routes to the Atlantic coast of Morocco were energised by "the Edwardian impulse", tempe Edward VI. This however raised a serious policy problem of policy, for it meant incursions into spheres of Portuguese-Spanish monopoly, confirmed from 1494 by papal grant. Papal confirmation had no validity, however, for the Protestant English; "another of the imponderable, inestimable benefits of the their Reformation". This view and those below presented in Arial typeface are from Wendy Garcia, whose writings on the naval family, Winter of Bristol, are cited liberally here with the author's permission.

Until the 16th century, only France amongst the Christian powers rejected slavery. Slaves were regarded as simply unfortunate people, usually prisoners-of-war. They might be of any race. "No Algerian lady of rank but had her retinue" of Christian (that is, European) slaves. A few years before the Hawkins voyages of the 1560s, in a single raid, Algerian corsairs took 4000 slaves from Granada. Regular centres existed for the exchange of captives and pious societies raised money for slaves' release.
Per Wendy Garcia, citing Thomson, Sir Francis Drake. nd?

A view of the Hawkins' day on slaving was... The Negroes were "under bloody and capricious tyrannies in Africa and some voluntarily gave themselves to the slavers to escape." The tribes were often at war and were quite ready to sell their prisoners to the slavers. It was also a common punishment for offenders against tribal laws to be sold to the white men. From this arose the system which became standard in later times, whereby coastal tribes acted as agents for the supply of slaves, whom they obtained by raiding the interior. Hardly anyone, except possibly Montaigne, saw anything wrong in the slave trade. The view was, further... There always had been slaves and, indeed, many Negroes had a better prospect of life, as such, than if they had remained at home with "their bloody tribal wars and their cannibalistic practices".
Per Wendy Garcia, citing J. A: Williamson, Hawkins of Plymouth. nd? A. L. Rowse, Expansion of Elizabethan England. nd?

"In 1442, when the Portuguese under Prince Henry the Navigator were exploring the Atlantic coast of Africa [sometimes termed Morocco], one of his officers, Antam Goncalves, who had captured some Moors, was directed by the prince to carry them back to Africa." Goncalves when he returned the Moors, received in exchange some gold dust and ten blacks. This so interested other Portuguese, they fitted out "a large number" of ships for such trade and built forts on the African coast. One result was that the Portuguese sent many Negroes into Spain...
Encyclopedia Britannica, 1962 edition.

By 1502, as Nicolas de Ovando was sent out as governor of Haiti, with regulations which would not be obeyed about protection of local natives, he had with him permission to also bring various Negro slaves born in Seville or other parts of Spain (who had also received instruction as Christians).
Encyclopedia Britannica, 1962 edition.

The Spaniards of the Caribbean, the colonists planted by Columbus, had settled in Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica and Puerto Rico. They had almost exterminated the inoffensive natives and almost exhausted the scanty stock of gold. As adventurers they seemed to have no future and as colonists they were hampered by lack of labour. Slaves of some sort were their necessity. The solution of the labour problem was in the African Negroes (who) were not carried to America until about 1510, after which their labour was used more extensively. After 1510, King Ferdinand ordered some extra Negroes to be sent to Haiti to work as miners.
Encyclopedia Britannica, 1962 edition.

By 1570, some 70,000 Spanish emigrants to America had left home, multiplying and prospering by enslaving the native people in Mexico, Peru and on the Caribbean shores. How many millions of these Indians had died of overwork or mere heartbreak, it is impossible to say. In 1570, a year of epidemic in Mexico, 40-50 per cent of the Indians perished, a calamity for all concerned. The Indians had been the working population for Spanish settlers who had come to America to escape their culture's ultimate disgrace, el deshonor de trabajo, "the dishonour of work".

But when the conquered Indians faded away, solutions were found to problems arising from shortage of labour. In the Portuguese territories on the West African coast were "any number of sturdy Negroes captured in inter-tribal fighting" and who could profitably sold as slaves. Here were "inexhaustible" sources of cheap, almost free, labour. A Spanish expert, Antonio Herrera, reported with satisfaction that Negroes would not die unless they were hanged and that one of them would work as hard as four Indians.
See Paul Herrmann, The World Unveiled: The Story of Exploration from Columbus to Livingstone. (Translated from the German by Arnold Pomerans) London, Hamish Hamilton, 1958.

The importation of Negro slaves from Africa originated partly also from motives of compassion in the mind of Fra Las Casa, "an apostle to the Indians", (Bartolome de las Casas), who saw it as a means of saving his flock of American Indians from extinction. He had begged the Emperor Charles V in 1517 - it was not entirely an original idea, others agreed - to allow twelve Negroes to be imported for every colonist who would not be using Indians as labourers. Accordingly, the emperor gave to a Flemish friend - who sold it to a Genoese syndicate for 25,000 ducats – a sole right to import 4000-5000 Negroes a year to fill gaps in the Caribbean labour force. Via this syndicate, the sole right or contract being termed the Asiento, the Portuguese sold Africans from Guinea to colonists of Hispaniola, the first Caribbean island settled by the Spanish, and brought back sugar and hides to Lisbon.
Encyclopedia Britannica, 1962 edition.
Regrettably, most historians' articles on the asiento are not in English. We find also that questions of the slave trade of the day were bound up with most other questions of trade, making the entire trading patterns very complicated. See Victor von Klarwill, (Ed.), The Fugger News-Letters, Being a Selection of Unpublished Letters from the Correspondents of the House of Fugger during the Years 1568-6105. (Authorized translation by Pauline de Chary) New York/London, G. P. Putnam's Sons, The Knickerbocker Press, 1925., p. 251; Klarwill notes that John Hawkins (died 1595, "a well-known pirate") was once made a grandee of Spain by Philip II, who at the time gave him £40,000. Garcia notes that according to Spanish sources, John Hawkins was even knighted by Philip II, whom he served when Philip was king of England, and Hawkins referred to him as his master during the Ridolfi Plot.
See also

John Lynch, Bourbon Spain. Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1989., pp 36, 55, 70ff, 141-153; and Henry Kamen, The War of Succession in Spain, 1700-1715. London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1969., pp. 24ff. Lynch on the asiento de negros finds that in 1713 the English negotiator for the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713 was Lord Lexington. By 1701, Louis XIV of France had determined to gain entry to American trade, and he secured the asiento, giving France an exclusive right (for a French Guinea Company based at Cadiz/Seville and Madrid), to export slaves to Spanish America plus permission to export much else to America. Much however remained in the power of monopolists of Cadiz-Seville. From 1704, France sent a surprising number of ships to Chile and Peru for legal trade. After the War of the Spanish Succession, with the Treaty of Utrecht, the English from March 1713 received from Spain the asiento for the slave trade to America, earlier held by Portugal and France, plus formal possession of Minorca and Gibraltar.


The North-West Passage:

The English also had a long maritime love affair with a geographical prize that did not exist - the North-West Passage, which presumably took a ship across the far north of the Northern Hemisphere to fabled Cathay-China. Such a route - as though Canada's north was divided by a huge natural canal - for one thing would have enabled the English to keep out of the way of the Spanish. Capt. Cook later sought such a passage and failed. Later, before he died in 1855, a one-time employee of the Australian Agricultural Company, Admiral Sir William Parry (1790-1855), FRS, arctic explorer, had sought the North-West Passage for near a decade. Such "coincidences of theme" occur frequently in the history of English interest in Australia - all remarkable, regarding a geographical entity which never existed. .

But things thematic go even deeper. Parry's daughter Elizabeth Emma (died 1818) married a governor of Tasmania, Sir John Eardley-Wilmot (1783-1847), first Baronet.
Parry's entry in Australian Dictionary of Biography. See Heaton's genealogies: J. Henniker Heaton, Australian Dictionary of Dates and Men of the Time: Containing the History of Australasia from 1542 to May, 1879. By J.H. Heaton, Sydney; George Robertson, 125, New Pitt Street, and at Melbourne and Adelaide, 1879.; Stenton, British Parliamentarians, Vol. 1, p. 413. Valentine, Establishment, p. 936 for Parry's lineage. Burke's Landed Gentry for Garnier of Rookesbury Park and for Hoare (the bankers) of Gateley Hall.

Such allusions leap-frog over each other, continually. The polar explorer and searcher for the North-West Passage, former governor of Tasmania, Sir John Franklin (1786-1847), according to Brendon in his chapter on Franklin, was cousin to the explorer of Australian coastlines, Matthew Flinders, and by June 1801 was on Flinders' ship, HM Investigator.
J. A. Brendon, in Great Navigators and Discoverers. London, George Harrap and Co., 1929., p. 269.


The English move to slaving business:

As the English moved into the business of slavery, we find, considered in roughly chronological order, a complicated story simplified chiefly by reference to urges for English expansionism.... but concern with the North-West Passage permeated what became the maritime history of Europeanized Australia. England's interest in developing a northern hemisphere trade route was one thing. Developing interest in what could be created by engagement in slaving business - slowly, across decades - was another. To proceed... to the Cabots...

Sebastian Cabot (1472-1477-1557) was son of a one-time leader of Bristol mariners, the Genoese, John Cabot (1450-1498). John was originally a Venetian, who some say had been on the American continent before Columbus had done more than merely visit, a navigator whose discoveries were promoted by John Dee, Hakluyt and Humphrey Gilbert. On 5 March, 1496, Henry VII issued orders for John Cabot to make a voyage of discovery. Williams observes, "The date has been called the birthday of the British Empire." (As noted earlier, a trend was set when Cabot, organizing his second expedition to the New World, was allowed by Henry VII to take "some criminals" as part of his crew.) Cabot's exploration efforts were continued by his son, Sebastian Cabot, to Chesapeake Bay (today's Virginia-Maryland area on the US' east coast).
Eric Williams, From Columbus to Castro: The History of The Caribbean, 1492-1969. London, Andre Deutsch, 1970., p. 71. H. R. Fox Bourne, English Merchants: Memoirs in Illustration of the Progress of British Commerce. 1886. London, Chatto and Windus, 1886. J. A. Brendon, Great Navigators and Discoverers. London, George Harrap and Co., 1929. Treats explorers, Magellan, Sebastian Cabot, Richard Chancellor, Raleigh, Drake, Sir John Hawkins (in Chapter XI), Henry Hudson, Sir Henry Morgan and William Dampier. Also, Daniel Pratt Mannix, Black Cargoes: A History of the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1518-1865. London, Longmans, 1963. (Bateson Collection at Australian National Maritime Museum.)
Note: Genoese residents in Seville invested in Columbus' first and second voyages and were also the chief backers of Sebastian Cabot's expedition to the Rio de la Plata. See J. H. Parry, The European Reconnaissance: Selected Documents. London, Macmillan, 1968., p. 23.

The patent of 5 March 1497, was made re the ship Matthew, to Newfoundland, with John and then Sebastian Cabot. Henry VII by 3 February 1498 made a patent to Sebastian, while some London merchants adventured small stock. Three or four small ships got to Chesapeake Bay, not to Cathay.

As early as 1526, the Thornes of Bristol had maintained a factor, Thomas Tyson, in Santo Domingo, Hispaniola. Some Englishmen lived in Mexico, and by 1550, they engaged in trade and in "serving Spain". A Bristol man went on Magellan's voyages but died in 1526. Roger Barlow of Bristol and Henry Latimer, backed by Robert Thorne, sailed with Sebastian Cabot, the Pilot Major of Spain in 1526 for an examination of the River Plate (Rio de la Plata). By 1529, a Portuguese captain, Garcia, had visited the Indonesian spice island, Neira. The Winter family of Bristol were presumably aware of such exploits, as were the Hawkins' of Plymouth.
Giles Milton, Nathaniel's Nutmeg, Or, The True and Incredible Adventures of the Spice Trader who Changed the Course of History. Penguin Books, 1999/2000.


The Winters, the Hawkins' and slavery:

The Hawkins' are regarded in many books, and now on many websites, as the "founders" of English involvement in the slave trades. Which is a simplification. A similar role for the Winter family has been somewhat veiled from history by the engagement of members of the Winter family in yet another feisty historical matter - the question of blowing up Parliament - the plot involving Guy Fawkes!

Note: The Winter family of Bristol might also be "of Cornwall", and be spelled Wynter or Wintour. The Winter family split into two branches, the main one being of Huddington, and causing some confusions for posterity.

The Hawkins family loom large as the promoters of Plymouth as a major port, active in new trade with America, and a leading city of England's south west. Family members played a leading part in Plymouth's local politics, in national-London politics, in overseas trade and naval warfare, "often all at the same time".
Entry in

C. R. N. Routh, Who’s Who in History. England: 1485-1603. Vol. Two. London, Basil Blackwood, 1964., p. 378. P. W. Hasler, The History of Parliament: The House of Commons, 1558-1603. Vol. 1, 2, 3. London, The History of Parliament Trust, 1981., pp. 280 for his son John. E. Keble Chatterton, The Mercantile Marine. London, William Heinemann Ltd., 1923., p. 51. E. Keble Chatterton, Ventures and Voyages. London, Longmans Green, 1928.

From the late 1520s, the rise of Plymouth was the work of the remarkable Hawkins family, initially "Old Master" William Hawkins, "much esteemed" by Henry VIII, who had married a Cornishwoman, Joan Trelawney. This William Hawkins (b.1495-d.1553/15554, son of John Hawkins and Joan Amydas), became discontented with ordinary voyages to Europe, and in 1528 made the first of his three voyages to Guinea and Brazil with Paul of Plymouth, 250 tons. His ships were all equipped, manned and victualled from Plymouth. Brendon, Great Navigators and Discoverers, pp. 120ff.

"Old Master" William Hawkins sailed again in 1530, 1531, 1532 with Paul to the coasts of Brazil and Guinea, "to sell to the Indians". Or, as Hakluyt put it, by 1530... "the Worshipful Master William Hawkins of Plymouth, father of Sir John Hawkins, knight, late Treasurer of Her Majesty's Navy, in the years 1530 and 1532... [voyages] in the course of which he touched at the river of Sestos upon the coast of Guinea where he trafficked with the negroes and took of them elephants' teeth and other commodities which the place yieldeth".
"William Hawkins reaches Brazil", in Hakluyt's Voyages. Some material here is adapted with author's permission from sections of the Winter family history, The Golden Falcon, a website book sometimes using research from Spanish archives, by Wendy Florence Winter Garcia, with index page given as (website moves URL): http://www.pillagoda.freewire.co.uk/

As yet another website notes, the English began trading with Guinea in the reign of Henry VIII when John Hawkins' father, William Hawkins (d.1554), Receiver or Treasurer to the Corporation of Plymouth (1524-5), and Collector of the Subsidy for Devon, traded with La Rochelle, Bordeaux, Portugal and Spain, exporting tin and cloth and importing Rochelle salt, Bordeaux wine, sugar, pepper, olive oil and soap from Spain and Portugal. He also dealt in Newfoundland fish. Hawkins had Spanish connections and was allowed to trade with the Americas, Hispaniola and Mexico under the Spanish flag as early as 1526, even serving the Spanish government under Charles V.

He also traded with the Portuguese colony of Brazil where Thomas Cromwell was involved in the trade in brazilwood (from which a red dye for cloth was extracted), sailing there three times, calling at Guinea on his way. In 1530 he traded with Africa near the Sestos river in Upper Guinea for malaguette pepper (called "grains of Paradise").

Further material here is adapted with the author's permission from sections of the Winter family history, The Golden Falcon, a website book by Wendy Florence Winter Garcia, with index page given as (URL has changed): http://www.pillagoda.freewire.co.uk/. On the Hawkins family, see website (broken link?): http://www.southern-style.com/hawkins.htm

Hawkins' ships, bound for the West Indies, were laden with cloth for the Canaries, which was exchanged for kid skins and orchel, orchella, orchil, orchilla or archil, a dye obtained from the lichen Rocella. Other cargoes consisted of wheat, wine, sugar, drugs, "dragon's blood" (a resin from the Canarian dragon-tree Dracaena draco of the genus Lillaceae, used as a varnish). The islands were a rendezvous for merchants as well as pirates.

Naturally, Sebastian Cabot saw the early rise of English anti-Spanish feeling. Sebastian by 1508-1509 claimed to have found a North-West Passage after a voyage around the Hudson’s Strait area. But in 1512 Sebastian left England and spent 35 years serving the Spanish, becoming a pilot-major at Seville's world-first school of navigation. By 1544... Sebastian had a map of 1544 or so, possibly a corrupted version of the Dauphin Map, which France had filched from Portugal.

Later, in 1533, England's Muscovy Company was incorporated under Sebastian with a view to finding a passage to "Old Cathay" - but geographic ignorance meant this brought England into contact with Russia, not China. However, later profit came with the establishment of the Russia Company, and regular supplies to England of naval stores such as timber and tar.
McIntyre, Secret Discovery of Australia, p 80; H. R. Fox Bourne, English Merchants: Memoirs, p. 100.

The very fact of Cabot's patent disputed the partition of the world into Hispanic spheres of influence by fiat of the papacy. Williams says: the implicit English view was that England would regard ownership as by right of discovery. France felt much the same. With the rise of Protestantism and the failure of the Spanish to keep the friendship of the French, England now typified the terms of any dispute about the pretensions of the Papal Bull in presuming to divide the world into two spheres for benefit of the Spanish and Portuguese, ultimately answering to Vatican authority. Protestant England developed a doctrine of "effective occupation", leaving the way open for an argument that the discovery and use of a place by any power would in future be the basis for a right of continued occupation of any unknown location, not the fiat of an ecclesiastical power dealing jesuitically with two powers it held subject.

England retained this attitude with remarkable consistency. England gave notice then, it would discover and occupy what it liked, when, and as may be, and one expression of this was the (brutal) tradition of British piracy - buccaneering - incarnate in the career of Sir Francis Drake. Drake demonstrated that on the seas that Spain was temptingly vulnerable. Treasure was at stake in days when a full treasure chest was supposed to be the key to the wealth of a nation - or an empire.


The Hawkins-Gonson-Winter naval story - an overview of rivalry:

While the story built of fact-plus-legend is often told, of how England's naval administration grew, helped by the Hawkins family, it is clouded by the also oft-told story of how John Hawkins also "began English involvement in slavery". Matters were rather more complex, and another family involved in naval administration, the Winters, can easily carry the same reputation.
Hawkins' slaving and trading voyages are well-treated in K. R. Andrews, ‘The English in the Caribbean, 1560-1620’, pp. 103-123 in K. R. Andrews, N. P. Canny and P. E. H. Hair, (Eds.), The Westward Enterprise: English Activities in Ireland, the Atlantic and America, 1480-1650. Liverpool University Press, 1978. (On the Hawkins', see website (broken link?): http://www.southern-style.com/hawkins.htm

There was a notable rivalry between men of Bristol and Plymouth, then London, who were rivals also in the administration of what became the English navy, the Hawkins, the Gonsons and the Winters. The complications of their relationships stream into the time of Elizabeth I, along with the usual stories of privateering, piracy, the rise of Puritanism. It is said that the families of Hawkins, Drake, Raleigh and Winter intermarried. But how extensively?

The Winter family of Bristol (it has been said, and disputed) had some descent from the name, Botetourt. By 1511 or so (also disputed), one progenitor of the Winter family, John, had married Alice Terry from Ireland; and they had eleven children including Arthur, who died fighting against the Spanish about the Orkneys. From Bristol, the Winter family had also become involved in naval administration - and "trade"...

By 1525, William Gonson (d. 1544-1545) was a naval administrator, and master of ordnance for the ships of Henry VIII. By 1540 or so, Henry Baker was becoming important as his king's master shipwright; and he became head of a commercial dynasty of shipbuilders. But in many ways, the rise of shipbuilding in Tudor times is a mere sub-plot in the story of the Hawkins-Winter rivalry. Widening stories involve firstly co-operation, then rivalry, between the Hawkins' of Plymouth and Winters of Bristol. The outcome of their rivalry was associated with the origins of English slaving business, but associated also were matters of family attitude to problems of royal succession, tensions between Catholics and Protestants, involvements in political conspiracies (or not), differences of opinion about methods of naval administration, and, probably, questions of investment in or dealing with shipbuilding yards.

In short, the Hawkins' chose "the more correct ideological pathway", then won the historical propaganda war via their intermarriages and adherence to Protestant causes. The Winters lost out partly due to their ambivalence about the Catholic/Protestant divides. If any fingers need to be pointed to the original English engagement in slavery, the Winters can be blamed as much as the Hawkins'.

To chronologise (and available genealogies can be confusing):
William Amydas married Margaret Hawkins of Cornwall, who may have been related to other Hawkins' of Launceston and/or Plymouth. Margaret had a daughter Joan who married the Hawkins progenitor in question, John Hawkins (1450-1490?).

John Hawkins of Tavistock had a son William (1495?-1553), an MP and mayor of Plymouth, who sailed about Brazil in 1530, who married Joan Trelawney.This William had a son William Hawkins (1519-1589) (The Elder), an MP, trader and privateer; and a son John (1531-1595), treasurer of the Navy, who in 1558 married Katherine Gonson (1540-1591). Katherine was daughter of Benjamin Gonson below, and had a sister, Thomasine. (Katherine was buried at Deptford in London.) Linkages between the Hawkins and Gonson families became extensive.
Routh writes that John Hawkins (died 1595) sailed not to "save the cloth trade" but for the Merchants Adventurers Company, which excluded cloth traders and worked to restrict the output of cloth. Slaves were Hawkins' main merchandise; and his backers included naval treasurer Benjamin Gonson, Sir Lionel Ducket, Sir Thomas Lodge, William Cecil, Lord Burghley; and the earls of Leicester and Pembroke. The slaving voyages of Hawkins and others did much to forge other work-a-day, industrial connections between slaver voyages, privateering and ship and naval management, as well as to promote interest in navigation generally. In such ways, the views of John Dee made contact with multiple industries. Sir John Hawkins was of the London parish, St Dunstan's in the East, where many notable mariners and merchants later lived. See also, Alfred C. Wood, A History of the Levant Company. London, Frank Cass, 1964.

William Gonson worked as secretary/organiser of the navy from 1525 till his death, aiding Henry VIII. His son Benjamin, active by 1561, was an admiralty figure, treasurer/secretary of the navy, and the father of Katherine above, the first wife of John Hawkins, slaver and naval treasurer.
See websites giving print media citations also (broken link?): http://home.ican.net/~jenseng/descend/Amadas.html
Also on Hawkins genealogy see (broken link?): http://www.southern-style.com/hawkins.htm

William Hawkins (1495-1553) began trading in tin and with exporting cloth to Europe, getting salt and wine from France, dyewood from Brazil ("Brazil" means dyewood), sugar and pepper from Portugal, soap from Spain and fish from Newfoundland. Meanwhile, William Winter (later Sir) was born about 1528 (or 1519?). He became Keeper of Deptford Storehouse by 1546, and then Surveyor of the Ships or Surveyor of the Marine Causes from June 1549, and Master of the Ordinance of the Ships from July 1557. He retained both offices till his death in 1589.
Add MS 5762 fo. 6b., PRO. Letters Patent of Philip & Mary dated 2 November 1557 refer to a patent of Edward VI which appointed William Winter to be "Surveyor of our Ships" and goes on to appoint him "Master of our Ordnance of our Ships". He was an administrator for all sea-going expeditions (1557-88).

William Winter (born 1519?) was cousin of the Winters of Huddington whose grandmother was Katherine Throckmorton, sister of Sir Nicholas - two members of which family were involved in Essex's rebellion (1601) and three in the Gunpowder Plot (1604-1605). Sir William's wife, Mary Langton, was descended from several families who were involved in the violently put-down Catholic Pilgrimage of Grace in 1537. A chalice was found hidden at Lydney, inherited by his grandson Sir John Winter, secretary to Queen Henrietta Maria. A "known and fervent Catholic", Sir John Winter (son of MP Sir Edward Winter (d.1619, Hasler, p. 673) married Lady Anne or Mary Howard - a family again split by the Catholic-Protestant divide. (His son Sir Charles Winter "was accused by Titus Oates of being a Catholic but no harm was done as Oates was proved to be a liar".)
Item: Circa 1586: MP Edward Winter (1560-1619), a man of anti-Spanish prejudice, was first son of slaver William Winter and Mary Langton. He married Lady Anne Somerset. The next generation of his family was Catholic. This Edward once had booty worth £60,000 and took part in Drake's 1586 voyage to the West Indies. (Hasler, The House of Commons, 1558-1603, p. 673. Adapted with author's permission from sections of the Winter family history, The Golden Falcon, a website book by Wendy Florence Winter Garcia, with index page given as (URL has changed): http://www.pillagoda.freewire.co.uk/.

William Hawkins (1495-1553) was mayor of Plymouth in 1532 and 1538, and as such was partly responsible for making Bristol a chief port for trade with the Americas. At one point he had an assistant, Capt. Keeling. William's first voyage to Brazil was in 1530.
See Who's Who in Shakespeare's England, pp. 110ff. G. R. Elton, England under the Tudors. Furber, Rival, pp. 39ff. Fox-Bourne, Merchants: Memoirs, Vol. 1, pp. 197ff.

This same William Hawkins before he crossed the Atlantic was trading to Spain and the Canary Islands, where he learned about the West Indies, so he proceeded to the West Coast of Africa and took Negroes to America. He later became an associate of Francis Drake. Variously, he owned merchantmen and privateers, led expeditions to Africa and Brazil, and died in 1553/1554.
Williamson, Age of Drake, variously.

One son of this William was Sir John Hawkins (1531-1595), a slaving merchant and later treasurer of the Navy, who married Katherine Gonson, as above, as his first wife. Naval treasurer John's brother, William (1519-1589), was a privateer and mayor of Plymouth. That is, William stayed as head of the Hawkins' headquarters in Plymouth, while John in London took care of naval business and trade associated with slavery. Later Hawkins descendants remained merchants. (An Australian reputed to be a Hawkins descendant was Hannibal Hawkins Macarthur, of the noted New South Wales grazing family, the Macarthurs.)

G. R. Elton, England Under the Tudors. James A. Williamson, The Age of Drake. London, Adam and Charles Black, 1938., pp. 254ff. Andrews, Spanish Caribbean, pp. 188ff. C. R. N. Routh, (Ed.), Who’s Who in History, on Hawkins, pp. 378ff.

Now, in 1541 in London had been the burning at the stake of Protestant Anne Ayscough (Askew). Some witnesses included Nicholas Throckmorton with his brothers George and Kenelm. Ayscough had been known at court as an over-enthusiastic Protestant, and it was in Wilson's book on her case that I found information on Protestant women at the court of Henry VIII which helped prompt the completion of this book.
GEC, Peerage, Dudley, p. 481. See Hasler, The House of Commons, 1558-1603, p. 449. Derek Wilson, A Tudor Tapestry: Men, Women and Society in Reformation England. London, Heinemann, 1972., treats Ayscough's tragic case in detail.

Meanwhile, when William Gonson died in 1544, his office of naval paymaster, which had been evolving into the role of treasurer, was filled by the Bristol merchant and seaman, John Winter... who served at sea as captain of one of the king's ships in the campaign on 1545, contracted a burning fever, and died at the end of the year. By 1544, also, William Winter as a royal servant sailed on an expedition with 260 ships... which burned Leith and Edinburgh. In 1545 he served in the Channel Fleet under John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland and in 1547 he was sent on another expedition to Scotland by Protector Somerset.
Some material here is adapted with author's permission from sections of the Winter family history, The Golden Falcon, a website book by Wendy Florence Winter Garcia, with index page given as (URL has changed): http://www.pillagoda.freewire.co.uk/

After William Gonson died in 1544-1545, the post of paymaster of the navy went to John Winter of Lydney, merchant of Bristol, captain of one of the King's ships in the 1545 campaign, who died of a "burning fever" at the end of the year.
Williamson, Age of Drake, pp. 254ff.

About 1544, near the time naval administrator from 1525, William Gonson died, one William Winter became master of ordnance for the ships of Henry VIII. (William Winter was appointed Surveyor of the Navy and Master of Ordnance of Ships... in the year of the Prayer Book Rebellion.) There were other interconnections as well...

William Gonson (died 1544-1545), had a son, Benjamin, treasurer of the admiralty, who had a daughter, Thomasine, who married privateer and Muscovy Company mariner, Edward Fenton. Secretary of State for Elizabeth I, Sir Thomas Wilson (1520-1581), married Anne Winter daughter, of Sir Thomas Winter.
See E. G. R. Taylor's material on Edward Fenton. G. R. Elton, England under the Tudors; Williamson, Age of Drake, pp. 34ff, pp. 254ff. This William Winter, surveyor of the navy, with Benjamin Gonson became a Gold Coast venturer in 1561, promoting a voyage by John Lok which made a profit of £3000. Williamson, Drake, pp. 34ff, pp. 258ff. Noted also in G. R. Elton, England under the Tudors. (There was a childless Sir John Hawkins who died 1603 at Deptford, a deputy treasurer of the navy from 1589, who had a niece married to mariner Capt. Edward Fenton (that is, Thomasine Gonson as above), but I am not sure if this is the same John.) A relevant title here is: E. G. R. Taylor, (Ed.), The Troublesome Voyage of Captain Edward Fenton, 1582-1583. Cambridge University Press, Second Series, No. CXIII. The Hakluyt Society, 1959. Works Issued by the Hakluyt Society. Descendants of one of these men include Sir R. Leicester Harmsworth and Harold C. Harmsworth circa 1927; and members of the Steward-Hawkins family.
Some information following will be from Garcia's website on the Winter naval family, cited here since I have never seen such material in books. On the Winter family here, see (URL has changed): http://www.pillagoda.freewire.co.uk/ADMIRAL.htm

Sir William Winter had been involved in trading with Guinea, not only in spices but also in slaves with Hawkins, whose slaving voyages, so it is often said, started the Atlantic Triangular Trade via the Canaries to Gold Coast and then to the Spanish Main. Soon after 1560, John Hawkins had moved to London and formed a syndicate of merchants and officials including Sir Lionel Ducket and Sir Thomas Lodge, who were already engaged in Gold Coast trade, Benjamin Gonson and Sir William Winter (died 1589). This syndicate's period of activity may mark the time when a nexus of interest strengthened - between "naval men" and merchant-slavers.
Some material here is adapted with author's permission from sections of the Winter family history, The Golden Falcon, a website book by Wendy Florence Winter Garcia, with index page given as (URL has changed): http://www.pillagoda.freewire.co.uk/
Hasler, The House of Commons, 1558-1603, for his son Edward, p. 673. William Winter had a cousin the "hot-gospeller", Edward Underhill.

See Garrett Mattingly, The Defeat of the Spanish Armada. London, Jonathan Cape, 1960. Fifth impression., pp. 176-178, 268-269. Williamson, Age of Drake, pp. 34ff, pp. 258ff. G. R. Elton, Tudor England.

Widening stories involve firstly co-operation, then rivalry, between the two families - the Hawkins' of Plymouth and Winters of Bristol. The outcome of the rivalry was associated with the origins of English slaving business, but associated also were matters of family attitude to problems of royal succession, tensions between Catholics and Protestants, involvements in political conspiracies (or not), differences of opinion about methods of naval administration, and, probably, questions of investment in or dealing with shipbuilding yards. In short, the Hawkins' chose "the more correct ideological pathway", then won the historical propaganda war via their intermarriages and adherence to Protestant causes. The Winters lost out partly due to their ambivalence about the Catholic/Protestant divides. If any fingers need to be pointed to the original English "engagement in slavery", the Winters can be blamed as much as the Hawkins'.

John Winter had been recommended to the admiral, Sir William Fitzwilliam, l by Thomas Cromwell, once Recorder of Bristol, who knew Roger Winter of Huddington, probably a relative of John who had been ward of Anthony fitzPoyntz of Iron Acton, Gloucestershire in 1544.
35 Henry VIII, PRO. Garcia here cites Hundred of Berkeley, Vol. 3. p. 225.) Some material here is adapted with author's permission from sections of the Winter family history, The Golden Falcon, a website book by Wendy Florence Winter Garcia, with index page given as (URL has changed): http://www.pillagoda.freewire.co.uk/

Abroad, ancient trades were changed from 1544 when the Emperor made peace with France after war. "English privateers scoured the seas with Spaniards and Flemish", earlier their allies, now neutrals who carried French goods.
Williamson, Age of Drake, p. 6.

At home, from 1544, England took to refining her own sugar, and after 1585 became an important refining centre for the European sugar trade. (The first documented shipload of sugar went to England direct in 1319.) In 1551, Capt. Thomas Wyndham returned to England from Agadir, Morocco with a load of sugar.
From Sidney W. Mintz, Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History. New York, Viking, 1985., p. 45.

By 1545: The English abridged respect for flags and took enemy goods as "fair prizes in neutral bottoms". One captain cruised off Cape St. Vincent and captured a Spanish treasure ship with no French goods on board. The Emperor retaliated and in 1545 arrested all English merchants in Spain and the Netherlands and prohibited trade with a former ally, England. This broke the prosperity of English trades prevailing since Tudor times. The stoppage lasted a year and the Hanse competitors to the English did well from it. The only English to gain were freebooters of the sea.


Did the Winters tend to get lost in political plots and religious factionalism? Few of the names listed below by Garcia are trading or commercial names...

By 6 November 1544, a plot had been hatched to place Elizabeth on the throne. According to their indictment, the conspirators as led by Sir Thomas Wyatt (son of Wyatt the poet who was Anne Boolean's suitor) included: Sir Peter Carew, Sir James Crofts (later Sir William Winter's partner in the London Merchants Company), Sir Nicholas Arnold, Sir William Pickering, Sir Edward Rogers (possibly of Cannington, Somerset and son-in-law of George Winter of Dyrham), William Winter, Sir George Harper and William Thomas.
The indictment: Placita Coram Rege KB27/aa74 Rex V, PRO. Some material here is adapted with author's permission from sections of the Winter family history, The Golden Falcon, a website book by Wendy Florence Winter Garcia, with index page given as (URL has changed): http://www.pillagoda.freewire.co.uk/

By 1544 or after came another rebellion led by Sir Henry Dudley, second son of John Sutton de Dudley and younger brother of Edmund Sutton, fourth Baron Dudley. Edmund's mother was Cicely/Cecily (d.1554), daughter of Thomas Grey (1451-1501), first Marquis of Dorset. Involved in this rebellion was John Throckmorton of Tortworth Gorseland, Gloucestershire, son of Sir Thomas Throckmorton of Coughton, Warwickshire, who was related to Sir George Throckmorton (father of Katherine, wife of Robert Winter of Huddington). John Throckmorton went to the block; one Nicholas Throckmorton did not and sat as an MP in Elizabeth's first parliament.

Amongst those questioned after the 1544 conspiracy were Lord Grey, Lord Thomas Howard, Nicholas Arnold, Nicholas Throgmorton, Edmund and Francis Verney and Anthony Kingston, Comptroller of the Queen's Household, MP for Gloucester in the parliaments of 1545, 1552-3 and 1555.
Some material here is adapted with author's permission from sections of the Winter family history, The Golden Falcon, a website book by Wendy Florence Winter Garcia, with index page given as (URL has changed): http://www.pillagoda.freewire.co.uk/

William Winter (born 1519?) was cousin of the Winters of Huddington whose grandmother was Katherine Throckmorton, sister of Sir Nicholas - two members of which family were involved in Essex's rebellion (1601) and three in the Gunpowder Plot (1604-1605). Katherine's brother Sir Robert Throckmorton (died 1580), was ancestor of both the Catesbys and the Treshams, also involved in the Gunpowder Plot.
On the Gunpowder Plot, see Graham Phillips and Martin Keatman, The Shakespeare Conspiracy. Arrow Books, 1995. Antonia Fraser also has a book on the subject, Faith and Treason. Hasler, The House

However, new research by Garcia indicates that... "no descendant of Sir William Winter was ever executed after the Gunpowder Plot." Antonia Fraser in her book on the Gunpowder Plot made a mistake, confusing Sir John Winter of Lydney, the famous Cavalier, with John Winter of Huddington, although the latter was also a Royalist - his wife defended herself against the Roundheads and is called Honorabilissima heroina in her epitaph".


William Winter in 1549 was appointed Master of Ordnance by John Dudley, first Earl of Northumberland, an extreme Protestant, son of Councillor Edmund Dudley executed in 1510. (William Winter was knighted in 1573 and held the Vice Admiralty of Somerset [united with Bristol], which his descendants held until 1628. Sir William Winter in 1549 was appointed Master of Ordnance by John Dudley, earl of Northumberland. Yet, Winter took part in Dudley's plot to place a Protestant queen, Jane Grey (1537-beheaded 12 February, 1554. A sixteen-year-old girl for nine days was queen of England, from 6 July 1553. (The Catholic Mary was proclaimed for the throne on 19 July by Jane's father.)

Winter also involved himself in Sir Thomas Wyatt's plot to rebel against Mary and place Elizabeth on the throne. (Wyatt was executed 11 April, 1554). When Mary succeeded, Jane Grey was executed and Elizabeth was sent to the Tower. However, William Winter was not punished in any way by Philip and Mary. The Protestant Sir Nicholas Throckmorton (died 1571) was also involved, although other members of his family were Catholics and his nephews, Francis (died 1584) and Thomas conspired in the Throckmorton plot to assassinate Elizabeth and place Mary Stuart on the throne.
Some material here is adapted with the author's permission from sections of the Winter family history, The Golden Falcon, a website book by Wendy Florence Winter Garcia, with index page given as (URL has changed): http://www.pillagoda.freewire.co.uk/


The Asiento, the Spanish slaving concession:

In many ways, the Winters looked inwardly into England, the Hawkins looked outward, expansively. Concerning the national outward-looking attitude, the more closely mariners are examined, the busier they and their backers seem. From 1555, John Dee acted as a consultant for the just-incorporated Muscovy Company. He influenced Sebastian Cabot, and was interested in finding a North-West Passage. By 1560, Dee kept in touch with cartographers such as Mercator, and wrote on calendar reform, navigation, geography and astrology; and he also at times spoke of "the Southern Continent". (By 1997, on the Internet, many websites concerning John Dee mention topics such as astrology and alchemy, not maritime history or English expansionism). Brendon writes that in 1553, Sebastian Cabot aided expeditions by Sir Hugh Willoughby and Richard Chancellor, and in 1556 by Stephen Burrough. (Cabot died in 1557 aged 83.)
Brendon, Great Navigators and Discoverers, pp. 89ff.

Even in the days of Sebastian Cabot, the Winters and the Hawkins', there are many English aristocrats to be mentioned, who were interested in trade in various ways - and Londoners too. John Hawkins, son of William Hawkins (died 1553-1554), commanded ships and dealt with foreign connections. John went often to the Canary Islands to deal with Spanish merchants. He had "an acute mind" for assessing information and learned how the supply of Negro slaves to planters was restricted by a monopoly system (created by the Spanish) which enhanced slave prices. Also, that English goods found thriving markets where slaves were sold, a system started by Charles V for defence against French, and made tighter in the days of Philip II. For the English, there was at this time, however, no Asiento (silver exchange/financial clearing house) for slave purchasing, though at this time, perhaps, Portuguese or Genoese merchants handled that business. The Genoese might advance money to the Spanish government, or furnish fleets of galleys for wars against Turks in the Mediterranean. Hawkins got whiff of an idea that a foreigner might hold "slaving concessions" from the Spanish and/or the Portuguese.
Williamson, Age of Drake, p. 51.

By 1564, John Hawkins' patrons included: Lord Robert Dudley, Earl Leicester, Earl of Pembroke. He had backers including Alderman Duckett, Sir Lionel Duckett, Sir Thomas Lodge and Sir William Winter, his own father-in-law Benjamin Gonson. There arose ideas that Hawkins could become the first English "concessionaire" for the West India slave trade.
Andrews, Chapter five of Spanish Caribbean, pp. 110ff. Fox-Bourne, Merchants: Memoirs, pp. 200ff. Who's Who in Shakespeare's England, p. 152. GEC, Peerage, Lincoln, p. 690, Tailboys, p. 602ff; Chandos, pp. 126ff; Bedford, p. 78; Willoughby, p. 703. Vilhjalmur Stefansson, Great Adventures and Explorations: From the Earliest Times to the Present, as told by the Explorers themselves. (Revised edition) New York, Dial Press, 1947. (Stefansson treats voyages by Frobisher, Davis and Cabot.)
Here a relevant title is: J. Williamson. Sir John Hawkins. Oxford, 1927. See also: James A. Williamson, Maritime Enterprise, 1485-1558. Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1913.; James A. Williamson, The Age of Drake. London, Adam and Charles Black, 1938.; James Williamson, The Caribee Islands under the Proprietary Patents. Oxford, 1926. (As cited in Dunn, Sugar and Slaves, Notes, p. 13).; James A. Williamson, The English Channel: A History. New York, World Publishing Co., 1959.)

Garcia writes: One major obstacle stood in the way of swifter development of this English business: the Spanish tax on the licence to import slaves - the "asiento". By 1550, this had brought about a grave shortage of Negro slaves in the Indies and a divergence of interest between the colonists needing the labour and the government in Madrid who were interested, above all, in seeing that the law taxes were paid in full. The question therefore occurred to speculative minds of the period: would it be possible to drive a wedge into this crack in the Spanish colonial monolith? One Englishman - John Hawkins of Plymouth - thought that it might be.

Other sources suggest... John Hawkins' first voyage was an initiative in the slave trade, it was not to save the cloth trade as some have said, since he sailed for the Merchants Adventurers' Company, which excluded cloth traders; and used its influence to restrict the output of cloth. Textiles formed about 10 per cent of the value of his sales; slaves were his main merchandise.

Sir John Hawkins, slaver and treasurer of the Navy, was of a "virulently anti-Spanish" spirit, and was later to be supported by backers such as Alderman Duckett, Sir Thomas Lodge and Sir William Winter.
C. R. N. Routh here disputes the DNB entry on this man, pp. 378ff. See Andrews, Spanish Caribbean, pp. 188ff. Fox-Bourne, Merchants, pp. 200ff.

Navy treasurer (and slaver), Sir John Hawkins (1531/1532-1595), was a Puritan, a "Darienite", of a "virulently" anti-Spanish persuasion, He died at sea in battle off Puerto Rico. He was son of MP (and slaver) William Hawkins and Joan Trelawney. He was of Kinterbury St., Plymouth, and in his retirement kept an inn, suggesting that when he died in battle, he was "out of retirement" (?)
A website gives one John Hawkins died 1603 as a cousin of Sir Francis Drake: See (broken link?): http://www.southern-style.com/hawkins.htm

In 1548, William Winter became Surveyor of the Ships - his Elizabethan designation was Surveyor of the Marine Causes. About 1548, meanwhile, Sebastian Cabot, earlier serving the Spanish, was tempted to revisit England, and by 1552 he found he was urged by the Protestant Duke of Northumberland (John Dudley, executed in 1554-1555), to help with an attack on Peru with the help of French corsairs, or, to sail up the Amazon; ideas which were dropped. (Sebastian helped found the Muscovy Company and The Company of Merchant Adventurers.)

Garcia continues, in litt... "Later, after 1554, when Philip II of Spain (1527-1598, a Habsburg) was married to Mary (1516-1558) and the Catholic point of view was supposed to prevail, the English-Morocco-Gold Coast trade was prohibited. But English ships going to the Gold Coast did not stop. With Elizabeth's accession there was nothing to stop them. Three embassies were sent to her to protest. To the first two, while her hand was not yet a strong one, she replied accommodatingly; to the third, she refused outright to forbid the trade, while Cecil took the occasion to tell the Spanish ambassador that England did not recognise the distribution of territories by papal grants. From then, English doctrine gave free rein to English enterprise; only effective occupation of territory was recognised, the seas were open to all." The Dutch view was similar.
A. L. Rowse, Raleigh and the Throckmortons. London, Macmillan, 1962. A. L. Rowse, An Elizabethan Garland. London, Macmillan, 1953., p. 4. Taylor, Tudor Geography, p. 6. See also, E. G. R. Taylor, ‘The Northern Passages’, in A. P. Newton, (Ed.), The Great Age of Discovery. Josef Hamel, England and Russia; comprising The Voyages of John Tradescant The Elder, Sir Hugh Willoughby, Richard Chancellor, Nelson and others, to the White Sea. London, Richard Bentley, 1854. (Translated by John Studdy Leigh). Lorimer, Amazon, variously. Williamson, Age of Drake, pp. 12ff.

Now, the families of Hawkins, Drake, Raleigh and Winter intermarried... partly as follows...

Garcia conveys: "Sir Francis Drake was a kinsman of Hawkins and cousin of Robert Barrett (who was burnt at the stake in Seville.) Drake's first wife, Mary Newman, died in January 1582 and was buried at Budeaux near Plymouth and in 1585 he married as his second wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir George Sydenham (knighted in 1548), whose second husband was Sir William Courtenay. Sir Francis Drake lived at Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire and Sir Walter Raleigh at Purton Manor near Severn Bridge which crosses the river above Sharpness dock just past Lydney, Gloucestershire. Arthur, Charles and Henry Champernowne (d. 1570) of Modbury were Walter Raleigh's cousins."
Some material here is adapted with author's permission from sections of the Winter family history, The Golden Falcon, a website book by Wendy Florence Winter Garcia, with index page given as (URL has changed): http://www.pillagoda.freewire.co.uk/. I am grateful here also to Helen Jackson of Brisbane for comparative information on the Sydenham family tree. GEC, Peerage, Devon, p. 333. Burke's Extinct Baronetcies, p. 516.

Another "family case" provides further glimpses which help a longitudinal study...

Otes (Othos) Gilbert married Katherine (or Elizabeth) Champernowne (died 1594). Their children included Sir John Gilbert; the anti-Spanish navigator, Sir Humphrey Gilbert (1539-1583); Adrian Gilbert (1541-1628), a "navigator"; Isabel the first wife of Sir Thomas Grenville (who had a daughter who possibly married Wimund a member of the Raleigh family); and another daughter Honor, who was the second wife of an "aristocratic wool dealer", Arthur Plantagenet (died 1541), a vice-admiral, Viscount Lisle.

Questions arise, such as: how densely was intermarriedness a factor in the management of English maritime expansionism?

Garcia writes (pp. 242-243): The personnel of Elizabeth's Navy Board demand attention. Its senior member was Benjamin Gonson, a son of old Master William Gonson who had served as Henry's chief naval officer for 20 years. Benjamin Gonson seems to have been a clergyman, recorded in 1542 as rector of St. Mary Colechurch in London. Whether he retained the benefice does not appear but his appointment as Clerk of the Ships in 1545 was the beginning of a service on the Navy Board which lasted the rest of his life. From clerk, he became Surveyor in 1546 and in 1549 was promoted to Treasurer, an office which he held for 28 years. During that time there are indications he engaged in commerce. Gonson was an investor in Guinea and West Indian ventures. He never went to sea in command of any royal ships, as did all the other members of the Navy Board and it is evident that he was strictly a landsman. John Hawkins married his daughter Katherine in 1559.

William Winter (the later Sir William) in 1557 was appointed Master of the Ordnance of the Ships, and he held that and another office concurrently till he died in 1589. And about 1560; his brother George was made Clerk of the Ships, a post he held till he died in 1582.

Garcia writes (p. 245): Early on, the master spirit in the Navy Board was the elder Winter, Sir William (knighted in 1573). Filling two important offices, which enabled him to deal more directly with goods and with men than did the treasurer, he was able to organise thoroughly for his personal profit and at the same time to achieve a standard of efficiency. He did it in the character of a masterful man, greedy for wealth and power, careful of his reputation, intolerant of any rival. With all his covetousness he was not mean. He did promote the public service after his own, and to that end displayed a magnanimity which must modify judgments that would otherwise be harsh. A big man, he had to be fought and beaten before reform and progress could win their way in the Navy. His brother George was less prominently, less obviously masterful, his ally and assistant. Between them they enjoyed control, the continuance of which they would seek to ensure by suitably filling of the approaching vacancy in the treasurership. No doubt Sir William considered himself the candidate with the best claim.
Per Wendy Florence Winter Garcia

A quickening of business... :

The coincidence of George Winter's appointment and the Hawkins-Gonson marriage seems to have presaged the way the Winters and Hawkins' fell out. At least, about 1561-1562, something happened to quicken and increase the scale of certain kinds of English commercial activity... it may have simply been new profits from slaving business? Other business conducted on a wider scale? Situations are not clear.

1562: Some Hawkins backers besides Gonson were Sir Lionel Ducket and Sir Thomas Lodge. Privateer names were Gonsons, William Winter (surveyor of the queen's navy), Fenners; "fighting captains" were such as Thomas Wyndham ("died in action on the Gold Coast") and Martin Frobisher. Hawkins departed his first venture in October 1562, by when he had a contact on the Canaries, Pedro de Ponte.
On Frobisher's career, see especially, Robert McGhee, The Arctic Voyages of Martin Frobisher: An Elizabethan Adventure. The British Museum Press/Canadian Museum of Civilization, 2002. McGhee also mentions activities of Sir William Winter in terms of some of Frobisher's activities.

Though legend has it that John Hawkins "began the English slave trade" from the 1560s, in fact he acted out an expansionist family theme established from the 1530s. By 1562 he used three ships outfitted from London, one of his backers being Alderman Duckett. John in 1562 got 300 slaves from Sierra Leone, and later used one of the largest ships available in England. But as he did so, other English merchants became "expansionists", in several directions at once.
Here a relevant title is: Rayner Unwin, The Defeat of John Hawkins: a biography of his third slaving voyage. London, Allen and Unwin, 1966. (Bateson collection, Australian National Maritime Museum.) H. R. Fox Bourne, English Merchants: Memoirs in Illustration of the Progress of British Commerce. London, Chatto and Windus, 1886., p. 136.

By 1561, English "Gold Coast venturers" included naval treasurer Benjamin Gonson and secretary of the navy, Sir William Winter, who had use of four navy ships. The queen found equipment and £500 for vittles. Merchants paid the crews, cargo, repairs, and undertook to hand on one-third of the profits. John Lok made another voyage in 1561. A formal charter party for an African voyage by Queen's ship Minion is found in Landsdowne ms 113, ff9-17.
Williamson, Age of Drake, pp. 34-35. Elton, England under the Tudors, pp. 336ff.

In the autumn of 1562, Hawkins with three or perhaps four ships sailed for the African coast, intending to fill his ships with African slaves whom he would try to sell in the Caribbean. If successful, this pioneering voyage would be followed by others.

Hawkins was a contraband trader - an interloper - intent on taking advantage of any slackness appearing in Spanish administration or due to the vast distances separating Spain from her colonies. Hawkins was also aware of the time-lag that could be produced between an incident taking place in the Spanish Main and its being reported in Seville or Madrid. Moreover, since the colonists were desperately short of manpower - especially strong, cheerful manpower which the Guinea Coast could furnish – was it not possible that the men with whom he did business would put as respectable a face as they could on the transactions? Even if they were clearly contrary to Spanish policy? Hawkins talked to the moneybags of London as one who was himself a man of substance, since his share of the family business was, just then, valued at £10,000. He explained to magnates like Sir Lionel Duckett and Sir Thomas Lodge what he had in mind. From his talks in the City there emerged a syndicate to exploit the West Indian slave trade. Hawkins set sail to Sierra Leone, where he bought 400 slaves from the Portuguese local authorities of this trading post.

By 1561, John Hawkins had links with a member of an important Canarian family of Genoese descent in Tenerife, named Pedro de Ponte, from whom he got information about the African and American trade. The Canaries were free to English merchants under a treaty and there was a factory of the Company of English Merchants trading with Spain. Hawkins's pilot, Juan Martinez, was from Seville. Hugh Tipton, an important English merchant in Seville, was agent for John Hawkins and sent him cargoes.
John Hawkins first went to Guinea in 1562 with private ships, crew less than a 100 total, and got 300 Negroes. See Mannix, Black Cargoes , pp. 21ff.

Garcia continues: "In 1562, Hawkins's first voyage involved 260 tons of shipping and 100 men; he sailed in October 1562 to Tenerife to meet Pedro de Ponte, accompanied by his Sevillian pilot, Juan Martinez of Cadiz. He brought back ginger, pearls, sugar and hides, but he broke Spanish laws by not obtaining a licence to go to the Indies, nor obtaining a trading licence and he carried goods not manifested in Seville, so his two cargoes were seized in Lisbon and Seville and his agent Hugh Tipton was jailed."

When John Hawkins sailed on his first venture from Plymouth in October 1562 to the Canaries, his chief ally amongst the Spanish was Pedro de Ponte. Hawkins sailed thence for Cape Verde, while Ponte dealt with Hispaniola (Jamaica). Hawkins got about 400 slaves, some from Portuguese ships. In April 1563 Hawkins got to north of Hispaniolo, to Puerto de Plata; then to La Isabela, bartering slaves for goods, pearls, hides and sugars, some gold.

John Hawkins' second voyage had the backing of Elizabeth, the earls of Leicester and Pembroke, and Lord Admiral of England, Lord Clinton (Edward [Fiennes] Clinton (1512-1584), first Earl Clinton), plus Gonson, Winters and some Londoners. Later Captain John Lovell was slaving in Hawkins's tracks. So these are the names which began the English slave trade, including the Winters, not just the Hawkins'.

(In the period when Hawkins' business was sent to Hugh Tipton, the Duke of Feria, an adviser to Philip of Spain, had an English wife and one of Hawkins' men, George Fitzwilliam, was a kinsman of hers; though such connections "did not ensure cargo delivery".)

In 1564, John Hawkins swapped hides, sugar, ginger and pearls for 300 Negroes; he sent some slaves to be sold in Spain but since he'd taken them illegally from Guinea, the outraged Spanish authorities seized the slaves. Elizabeth 1 had initially thought Hawkins' actions "detestable" and worthy of the vengeance of heaven, but when she saw Hawkins' balance sheet, she promptly became a shareholder in his second voyage, in 1564, and Hawkins then could use four ships.

Hawkins was backed financially by a syndicate of London Merchant Adventurers formed to exploit new discoveries - including Sir William Garrard, Sir Lionel Ducket, William Winter (Surveyor of the Navy and Master of the Ordnance), Hawkins's father-in-law Benjamin Gonson, naval treasurer), Sir Thomas Lodge and others.
London lord mayor Sir Lionel Duckett had three daughters each given large dowries. (Fox-Bourne, Merchants, p. 230.) Duckett, a cloth manufacturer and metalworker had a company with Cecil and the earls of Pembroke to construct waterworks to drain mines. Taylor, Tudor Geography, p. 107. Brenner, Merchants and Revolution, p. 81.

Hawkins arrived home to England in September 1563, with profit despite all. Soon, hearing of seizures of his cargoes, Hawkins wrote to the queen, before the end of 1563. Then he readied to go to Spain in person. By 1562, a Frenchman Jean Ribault wished to lead an expedition to Florida. About then, Elizabeth I wanted Thomas Stukeley to go to Florida with Ribault, but Stukeley found Channel privateering more lucrative. Another Frenchman, a Huguenot, Rene de Laudonniere, sailed for Florida in 1564 with the approval of French government.
Williamson, Age of Drake, p. 47, p. 60.

Garcia notes: By about 1565, Portugal had armed ships on the Upper Guinea coast. Somers' men were there in autumn, 1565, for they sank a vessel sent out by William and George Winter of the navy board. Here, slaves had been captured on the coast of Guinea. A William Winter was interned or interred near the River Cestos on the Gold Coast. He is unidentified and may have been Sir William's brother of the same name mentioned in the will of his father (John Winter).

In 1566 meanwhile, Sir Humphrey Gilbert wrote on "discovering Cathay", a mix Elton says of sense and nonsense. In 1566, John Lovell followed in Hawkins' wake, but found Spanish ports closed to him, and he is remembered only as he had Francis Drake with him. By 1567 or so we find Drake's father, "of good yeoman stock", leaving Devon "under a cloud" to become chaplain to ships of the Medway. Drake when quite young went back to Plymouth to take part in his cousin John Hawkins' trading voyages as the latter "opened trade" with coast of Guinea, Brazil and the Caribbean.
A. L. Rowse, An Elizabethan Garland, pp. 99ff). J. A. Williamson, Hawkins of Plymouth.

In 1566, Elizabeth had a financial stake in John Hawkins' second voyage of plunder, which was undertaken in defiance of views of the Spanish. Mannix, Black Cargo pp. 21ff. See Neville Williams, Elizabeth 1: Queen of England. London. Sphere, 1971.

Garcia conveys (by e-mail) that regarding slavery... the Winters were up to their necks in it. Not only did both Sir William and his brother George Winter finance Hawkins' slaving voyages, but the later Portsmouth Winters (who claimed descent from Sir William) owned land (and slaves) in Jamaica. One Winter descendant married a mulatto (or quadroon) girl, and their descendants, the Rose-Wynters, settled in Cornwall. One of the researchers in the original group with my great-uncle Charles Henry Winter, was Kenneth Rose-Wynter of this family, who once sent to Brian Rendell, a great deal of information. Mr Rendell was the former headmaster of the Whitecross School, Lydney, built near the remains of Sir William's manor, the site of which was excavated by the school's pupils... Sir William's ship was once seized by the Spanish when trading on the Guinea coast - slaving probably. Information on such an incident is in the Simancas Archives, Spain.


Endnote1: By 1550, German bankers also were active in the Caribbean and the Americas. The Spaniard Balboa, the first European to see the Pacific, searched for gold, and a colony called Golden Castille (Castilla del oro). The Darien area was soon depopulated, but was repopulated, and it provided links between the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans, the silver mines of Peru and Port Bello.
Pierre Vilar, A History of Gold and Money, 1450-1920, pp. 106-107.

Endnote2: 1550: Portuguese settlement on Nova Scotia became the first European settlement of North America
McIntyre, Secret Discovery of Australia, pp. 215-216.


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