Bartholomew’s early years

A few notes before reading.

Spelling in the 17th century had not been formalised, people wrote words and names as they sounded, something that will drive your spellchecker nuts! The most famous example is William Shakespeare who once wrote his name three different ways in a single document.

The abbreviation ye should be read as ‘the’. The y is a hangover from the old Saxon letter ‘thorn’ which gives the ‘th’ sound – similarly the word ‘that’ could be abbreviated to yt and which to wch.

Numbers in dates such as xxith look odd but should be read as the ‘one and twentieth’ not the ‘twenty oneth’.

Bartholomew’s early life

I was born on ye xxiiith day of February in ye yeere of our Lord sixteen hundred and sixteen in ye towne of Gosprit neere Portsmouth where ye sailors lye. A towne wch I understand that Mister Aubrey, ye distinguished antiquarian, believes ‘has scarce iii honest women in it’, a most gross insult. My father James was a waterman ferrying goods and passengers out to ye shippes of his majestie’s navy yt lay in Portsmouth dockyard. My mother Eliza kept house for my father and cooked in ye Black Lion her brother’s tavern in North Streete. In time I joyned my father at his trade and wee worked ye harbour together.

In June sixteen hundred and twenty seven,  I did walk out to Broom Down, ye heathland yt lies neare to Stokes Bay to see our current majestie’s father, King Charles I, inspect ye cavalry yt was encamped there before embarking for France on ye Duke of Buckingham’s ill-fated expedition to relieve ye protestant Huguenot forces besieged by ye Catholic army of King Louis xiiith at La Rochelle. Ye expedition was ill prepared and led and for many months after itt returned to England our towne was full of grievously sick and injured soldiers and sailors.

Bartholomew at war