Friday, 25 October 2013

Goods stolen from ship in distress in the Ramsgate area

This is from the calendar of Patent Rolls for 1299 and appears to be the first written account of a shipping related incident in the Ramsgate area.

It seems some of the locals appropriated some armour and other goods from a ship that floundered here, the names Martin de Rammesgate, Richard de Northwode, John the chaplain of St Lawrence give the game away.

The hearing decided they had to return the goods to their rightful owner.

Local history this far back is a fairly inexact business, and I guess this is a small window into Ramsgate life 700 years ago.


  1. I wonder if Sprakeling became Spratling after Spratling lane near Haine Road.

    1. Likely to be related to Adam Sprackling who owned Ellington House in the early 1600s, notable and therefore recorded in various histories, for murdering his wife with a meat cleaver.

  2. Changing the subject slightly... Good news for democracy, bad news for TDC:

  3. Noted the chaplain of St. Lawrence bit and wondered if you could explain, Michael, why the church is St. Laurence yet the area and college are St. Lawrence, as apparently spelt in this old document.

    1. William the spelling, usually with a U for the church and without for the village is a convention rather than a rule. With documents dating from before around 1700 spelling varies enormously. For a modern researcher looking for mediaeval references on the internet, this has considerable advantages in some instances, Remisgate when googled will bring you up.

      “Hundred of Ringeslo [comprising so much of the Isle of Thanet as is

      not within the Cinque Ports].

      The King's bailiff holds the lath of St. Augustine's and the lath of
      Edelinge, and the Hundred of Ringeslo, for 24/. a year, and there are
      four marks there of the sheriffs turn. The townships of Munekenetone
      and Westhalimote used to do suit at the sheriff's turn by ten men, but
      have withdrawn.

      The Archbishop and the Abbot of St. Augustine have the return of
      writs, etc.

      The King's bailiffs were wont to hold the Hundred Court, but the
      Abbot's bailiffs have not permitted them to do so for ten years past.

      Cristina de Remmesgate and others have stopped a common road at

      Several exactions in the boroughs of Menstre, Bircheton, and North-
      burne, and the townships of Reculre and Westhalimote.”

    2. Thanks, Michael, ever the fund of knowledge which brings me onto another aged query. When I was a young lad at Chatham House I understood the word 'Ruym' was the old Roman name for the settlement at Ramsgate. More latterly I was told it was a Saxon name for a river flowing through the area.

      You will appreciate that pre-amalgamation days, Ruym was the name of the Chatham House school magazine and former pupils were referred to as Old Ruymians as, indeed, the school lodge still is today. Do you have anything on this?

    3. William the various permutations of Ramsgate first appear in the late 1200s with no earlier mentions in the rolls or anywhere else prior to that. I would think it unlikely that there would have been anything much apart from a gate in the defensive wall used by the villagers of St Lawrence to gain access to the sea.

      Connecting the name of what I take to be nowhere much but a gate in a defensive sea wall in 1200 to the roman occupation which was over about 800 years before that requires a jump in the imagination, rather than any historical context.

      Frankly in mediaeval times I don’t think that Thanet counted for much apart from the Abby at Minster, when there was a reasonable chance of the French landing the people were ordered to Dover and Sandwich, and I assume these places were thought to be defendable in a way that the Thanet villages were not.

      Lewis writing at the beginning of the 1700s says the inhabitants of Ramsgate fancied the name derived from roman but he couldn’t find any historical confirmation then as I can’t now.

    4. Interesting, Michael, but presumably back when someone came up with the name Ruym for the school magazine they must have at that time had some reason for choosing it. The school, as far as I recall, dates back to 1795 although initially it was a private school and it continued to have some paying pupils right up until 1945 becoming all scholarship entry from 1946 onwards. Perhaps it could be a future project for you if you have not already done it. It also counts Brunel, Edward Heath (the PM, not the bandleader) and Frank Muir amongst its former pupils along with a host of senior military and naval officers.

    5. Historia Brittonum

      She is first mentioned in the 9th-century Latin Historia Brittonum (traditionally attributed to Nennius) as the lovely unnamed daughter of the Saxon Hengist. Following his and his brother Horsa's arrival at Ynys Ruym (modern Thanet), Hengist negotiates with the British High King Vortigern for more land.

      From an article on Wiki

    6. Barry William when one gets back before around 1200 nothing whatsoever was written down about the Isle of Thanet anywhere near the timeframe it happened.

      Historia Brittonium was written around 828 and I think the oldest manuscript dates from around 1100 the Hengist and Horsa story in it being about events that occurred around 450.

      So you have a mixture of folk legend and history coming down through history for hundreds of years, verbally and then from manuscript to manuscript.

      Anyway here is a chunk of Historia Brittonium relating to Thanet.

      “In the meantime, three vessels, exiled from Germany, arrived in Britain. They were commanded by Horsa and Hengist, brothers, and sons of Wihtgils. Wihtgils was the son of Witta; Witta of Wecta; Wecta of Woden; Woden of Frithowald; Frithowald of Frithuwulf; Frithuwulf of Finn; Finn of Godwulf; Godwulf of Geat, who, as they say, was the son of a god, not of the omnipotent God and our Lord Jesus Christ, but the offspring of one of their idols, and whom, blinded by some demon, they worshipped according to the custom of the heathen. Vortigern received them as friends, and delivered up to them the island which is in their language called Thanet, and, by the Britons, Ruym. Gratianus Aequantius at that time reigned in Rome. The Saxons were received by Vortigern, four hundred and forty-seven years after the passion of Christ, and, according to the tradition of our ancestors, from the period of their first arrival in Britain, to the first year of the reign of king Edmund, five hundred and forty-two years; and to that in which we now write, which is the fifth of his reign, five hundred and forty-seven years.”

    7. Well that would indicate that the Britons called the isle Ruym, but I wonder if that was a left over of the earlier Roman occupation? Certainly seems to rule it out being a Saxon word.

    8. Nah William the Romans called it Athanaton or Thanaton.

      It is said by most writers to be what the Britons called, Inis Ruim or Ruochim; that is, the island of Richborough; though Richborough itself, having anciently been an island, they may have meant that.

      Julius Solinus the Roman writer mentions Thanet by the name of Athanaton and Thanaton in his De mirabilibus mundi ('The wonders of the world').

      The Saxons afterwards called it Teneth, and Tenetlonde.

      The soil here has always been remarkable for its fruitfulness hence; Felix tellus Tanet sua fecunditate.

      The home of Felix the fertile cat, type of fingy.

      Or Thalamus: Insula arridens, bona verum copia, regni flos et Thalamus, amenitate, gratia, in qua tanquam quodam Elysio

      Smiling island, the flower, the chamber wiv loads of beauty and grace; which as Elysium (type of ancient Greek heaven), type of fingy.

      But yes in Latin the language the Romans used it’s definitely Fanit or Afanit or Fannymus.

  4. Was the Martyn who lost the goods related to the Martyns who gained them I wonder ?

    1. Michael
      Would you please break the link set up between our blogs. Thanks for including me, it was, and still is, much appreciated. I just think I need to stick with my target audience now who can find me quite easily on search engines.
      All the best.

    2. Solo Gays, I respect your right to your own opinion, it is what freedom and democracy are about, but I accept your apology none the less. Best of luck with your blog site and hope your personal problems are resolved.

    3. SG I have removed the link to your blog.

  5. Well said William. Wish you well SG.

    1. Thankyou William, Michael and 11.51


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