EVENTS IN PORTSMOUTH

 

CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS IN PORTSMOUTH - (1600-1699)

The following list of events is based on William Gates' History of Portsmouth with additional entries by the author. Entries for the Members of Parliament for Portsmouth, The Mayors of Portsmouth and the Governors of Portsmouth have largely been omitted, as they appear elsewhere on this site. Gates cites no references for any entry.
 

1600 - Charter granted incorporating the inhabitants of the town as a free borough.
 
1603 March 1 - Sir Olyver St. John, Knt,. and Richard Jenvoy chosen as Members for Portsmouth. The latter was allowed 4s a day by the burgesses and 20s for horse hire.
 
1623 August 25 - James 1 paid an unexpected visit to the Fleet at Portsmouth, and dined on board the Prince.
 
1623 October 5 - The Prince of Wales, afterwards Charles 1, landed at Portsmouth on his return from France and Spain, and was received with the "greatest joy imaginable."
 
1625 - The cost of the men serving at Portsmouth was this year 6,858 6s. 8d.
 
1626 Feb. 7 - Four thousand soldiers were quartered at Portsmouth at this time.
 
1626 July 9 - Orders issued to have 30 ships ready at Portsmouth by Aug. I to proeeed to Spain.
 
1627 June 26 - The number of seamen on the men-of-war at Portsmouth at this date was 3,935, and in the victualling and other ships 594.
 
1627 June 27 - A fleet of nine warships and six small craft, under the command of Buckingham, sailed from Stokes Bay for La Rochelle. Fifty transports and ten Dutch vessels sailed with the fleet.
 
1627 Nov. 4 - Charter granted, giving some new, and confirming ancient privileges.
 
1627 Dec. 11 - A "desperate sickness " prevailed among the men of the fleet at Portsmouth.
 
1628 Jan. 15 - The seamen at Portsmouth were in a state of mutiny, and Sir John Watts writing to the Secretary of the Admiralty said he had to use " much violence" to make them return to their duties. Some of them were put in the " bilbowes."
 
1628 January 18 - Great mortality and sickness among the men of the Fleet.
 
1628 March - Southsea Castle burnt.
 
1628 June 3 - Writing to the Duke of Buckingham, from Portsmouth, Secretary Coke warned him that it was then no fit place for " his Majesty's access" being "pestered with mariners sick and whole."
 
1628 July 11 - The Fleet at Portsmouth on this day comprised 60 ships of an aggregate tonnage of 4,070. The guns numbered 783, and seamen 3934.
 
1628 August 23 - The Duke of Buckingham assassinated at Portsmouth.
 
1628 September 8 - The expedition to Rochelle, which Buckingham was to have commanded, sailed this day. It proved a failure.
 
1628 Nov. 16 - "Great distress" among the whole fleet and Scottish regiment for want of beer. Holt, the brewer, wrote pleading for some of the 4.000 due to him, and offered to repair the King's Brewhouse at his own expense if he were paid. His " crying debts" made him write " with watery eyes" and " no man would trust him."
 
1628 May 3 - The Dutch ships from the East Indies were brought into Portsmouth, and not released until they had " paid a great sum for wrong offered to our English."
 
1628 May - Secretary Cope, one of the Commissioners of the Admiralty, was sent to Portsmouth by the King to reorganise the fleet. He remained during the whole summer, but took a special dislike to the town, fearing for his health " in that loathsome place subject to ague and the infection of so many poor sailors."
 
1628 Sept, 29 - Henry Holt elected Mayor for the second time. He made default in electing his successor, and for this he was fined 13 6s. 8d., and had to remain in office another year.
 
1629 Juno 9 - Captain Richard Plumleigh writing to the Secretary to the Admiralty, from Portsmouth, entreats that " He may be quit of that Jail. Would rather be imprisoned anywhere than in the cursed town of Portsmouth."
 
1631 August 2 - Charles came to Portsmouth to inspect the fleet and stayed the night at God's House.
 
1639 - George Goring appointed Governor of Portsmouth.
 
1640 March 27 - Destructive fire at Southsea Castle.
 
1640 Oct. 25 - Henry Percy and George Goring chosen as members of the celebrated " Long Parliament,"
 
1642 August 2 - Colonel Goring, the Governor of Portsmouth, declared himself for the King.
 
1642 August 12 - The Siege of Portsmouth by the forces of the Parliament commenced.
 
1642 Sep. 7 - Capitulation of Portsmouth.
 
1647 May l - Sea fight of Portsmouth with five Swedish warships.
 
1648-9 - Fairfax sent from Oxford to inspect the fortifications of Portsmouth.
 
1652 Feb. 10 - Great sea fight off Portsmouth, in which Blake took eleven Dutch men-of-war and thirty merchant ships.
 
1653 - The Sussex, a new 46 gun ship, built only in the previous year was blown up at Portsmouth.
 
1653 Feb - The prisoners taken in the battle off Portland on February 18th were sent to Portsmouth, but they were so numerous that it was hard to know how to dispose of them. Wounded men were also landed and treated here, including General Blake.
 
1654 - In the summer of this year the men of the fleet at Portsmouth under the command of Vice-Admiral Penn mutinied and threatened to lay their grievances before Cromwell. They complained of the badness of the provisions and the hardships of their service. The provisions were improved and with some difficulty the men were pacified.
 
1654 - Christmas Day - Admiral Penn sailed from Spithead with a squadron of 38 ships and four small craft, with 3,000 soldiers, upon an expedition to the West Indies.
 
1655 August - Sir William Penn, Admiral of England, arrived at Portsmouth from America.
 
1656 June - Nicholas Peirson granted right to build warehouses on the beach at Point.
 
1656 August 27 - Thomas Smith chosen as member for Portsmouth. On this occasion one member only was returned, in accordance with the writ received from Cromwell.
 
1656 - The Pelican, a 38 gun ship, built six years previously, was accidentally burnt at Portsmouth.
 
1658 - Charles Thorowgood disfranchised for scandalising the Mayor.
 
1659 - The Portsmouth, man-of-war, of 468 tons, launched at Portsmouth.
 
1659 Dec Under Colonel Whetham the town sustained a brief siege, which was raised after the desertion from the besieging Royalists of nine troops of horse and five companies of foot.
 
1659 Dec. 23 - Sir Arthur Hastings marched out of Portsmouth with 5,000 men, and proceeded to London in aid of the Parliament. Only 400 men were left in the garrison.
 
1660 May 12 - Charles II. was "p'claymed Kinge of England, Scotlande, Fraunce and Irelande, etc., at Portesmouth wt verie great solemnity."
 
1660 June - The bakers at Portsmouth refused to supply more bread to the King's ships unless their accounts were paid.
 
1660 Aug - Colonel Richard Norton was appointed to the office of "Captain of the Town, Isle and Castle of Portsmouth,- with a fee of 10s a day for himself and 8d a day for each soldier.
 
1661 Feb. 1 - Colonel Norton, writing to Secretary Nicholas, pleads for some pay for the garrison of Portsmouth. "It is 20 weeks since they received any, they are almost undone by trusting, and a little pay would give them new life." The cost of the garrison at this time was 10,883 a year.
 
1661 Jan. 9 - The King attended his mother and sister to Portsmouth, where they embarked in the " London." The Queen set sail next day, but by the vessel running aground was obliged to return to Portsmouth, during which time her priest, Pere Cypriam employed himself in nearly converting the Vicar.
 
1661 - H.R.H. James Duke of York appointed Governor of Portsmouth, which position he held until 1673.
 
1662 May 14 - The Earl of Sandwich arrived at Spithead with the fleet conveying Catherine of Braganza to this country.
 
1662 May 22 - Marriage of Charles II. at Portsmouth to the " most illustrious Dona Caterina."
 
1662 March - Sir Charles Berkeley was appointed Lieut.-Governor. He was killed at the battle of the 3rd of June, 1665, when his brother, Sir William Berkeley succeeded him as Lieut. Governor of Portsmouth. Twelve mouths later, on the 1st of June, 1666, Sir William Berkeley was killed in a naval engagement, and on the 14th of June Sir Philip Honeywood, who had been Commander in Chief of the garrison under Sir Charles Berkeley was appointed Lieut.-Governor.
 
1662 - The churches of Portsea and its neighbourhood were swept almost clear of their ministers by the Act of Uniformity.
 
1664 - Charles II and the Duke of York came to Portsmouth to view Prince Rupert's Squadron.
 
1664 Nov. 9 - The Duke of York took command of the Fleet, and was joined by Prince Rupert and the Earl of Sandwich.
 
1665 Sept. 29 - Benjamin Johnson elected Mayor. He was Storekeeper in the Dockyard.
 
1667 - The Dutch Admiral de Ruijter, with a squadron, excited much alarm upon the south coast of England. He appeared before several ports, including Portsmouth, and captured several vessels, but made no very serious attempts upon any place.
 
1667 Under apprehension of a Dutch descent the fortifications of Portsmouth were put in order.
 
1672 May - The English and French fleets then allied, put to sea from Portsmouth, and on the 27th the battle of Solebay was fought. Both the Dutch and the Allies claimed the victory, but it was in effect a drawn battle. The King came specially to Portsmouth to see the French ships.
 
1673 August 20 - Captain R. Munden returned to Portsmouth after recapturing St. Helena from the Dutch, and bringing with him some valuable prizes.
 
1673 August 9 - Louise de Querouaille, one of the King's mistresses, created Duchess of Portsmouth
 
1676 August 2 - The first recorded Nonconformist, baptism at Portsmouth was solemnised this day by John Hicks.
 
1679 March - Sir Robert Robinson's fleet for the West was delayed many days at Portsmouth, which led Pepys to declare "I know not how possibly to lament enough the wretched state His Majesty's service must be in while it lies under this uncertainty of being supplied with stores and provisions" at this port, and to admit at the same time "the yet greater uncertainty of meeting with any despatch at Plymouth."
 
1680 - Captain Sir Richard Beach appointed to the control of the Dockyard.
 
1682 - William Bicknell, M.A., of Oxford, was ejected from his living at Fortson.
 
1687 November 12 - James II gave a quantity of silver plate for use of the Portsmouth Parish Church. With the exception of a small paten it is still in use in the church.
 
1687 - King James's Gate built.
 
1698 - Judge Jeffries, Lord Chief Justice of England, elected Recorder.
 
1688 - James Fitzjames, Duke of Berwick, natural son of James II, appointed Governor of Portsmouth. This was only three weeks after the Plate was presented to the Corporation by his father. Was the gift intended to soothe any irritation that might arise in the Corporation by the King appointing a 17-year-old bastard son to such an important post?
 
1688-9 - Richard Norton and Henry Slingsby returned to the Convention summoned by the Prince of Orange.
 
1689 April - Admiral Herbert sailed from Portsmouth with the fleet which, on May 1st, did battle with the French in Bantry Bay. On the return of the fleet to Portsmouth the King inspected it, created the Admiral, a Baron, Knighted two Captains, and presented each seaman with a gratuity of ten shillings.
 
1689 Nov - Great mortality in the fleet in harbour through unwholesome food.
 
1690 - Captain Thomas Wilshaw appointed to the command of the Dockyard.
 
1691 Feb. 14 - Death at Portsmouth of Rear-Admiral Sir John Berry. He was poisoned while on board one of the ships in harbour, though by whom or for what reason was never discovered.
 
1691 - The first Nonconfirmist Chapel built at Portsmouth.
 
1692 - A great fleet sailed from Portsmouth under Admiral Russell.
 
1692 - Fifty surgeons arrived from London to attend the men wounded at the battle of La Hogue.
 
1692 - The remains of Admiral Carter, killed in the battle, were interred with every mark of honour.
 
1692 - The sum of 47,000 was distributed among the men of the fleet for the victory of La Hogue
 
1692 September 8 - Earthquake at Portsmouth.
 
1693 May 3 - Admiral Russel sailed from Spithead with the combined squadrons, consisting of 52 English and 41 Dutch sail of the line, besides frigates, fire ships, and other smaller vessels.
 
1693 - Captain Benjamin Tymewell appointed to the command of the Dockyard.
 
1693 - The first Baptist Chapel erected in Thomas's-street, Portsmouth.
 
1693 Feb. 16 - William III reviewed the fleet, and dined with Admiral Rooke, whom be knighted.
 
1695 - Captain Henry Greenhill appointed to the command of the Dockyard.
 
1695 Nov. 1 - Admiral Ed. Russell and Nicholas Hedger elected Members for Portsmouth. The former being also returned for Cambridgeshire he chose that seat, and a fresh election took place on December 19th, when John Gibson was chosen in his room by " the Mayor, Aldermen, and part of the burgesses," whilst Admiral Matthew Aylmer was returned by "part of the burgesses with the major part of the inhabitants." This double return was declared void, the decision of the House of Commons being that " the right of election to serve in Parliament for the Borough of Portsmouth is in the Mayor, Aldermen, and Burgesses only." At the new election in Fob., 1696, Colonel John Gibson was chosen.
 
1697 June - Sir George Rooke being declared Admiral of the Fleet came to Portsmouth to take command.
 
1698 March - Visit of Tsar Peter the Great of Russia to Portsmouth Dockyard.
 
1698 November 29 - Rear-Admiral John Benbow sailed from Portsmouth on an expedition to the West Indies.
 
 
See also the Chronology of Events for the periods
500-1499 | 1500-1599 | 1700-1799 | 1800-1849 | 1850-1899 | 1900-1936