Merry Christmas, Restoration Navy Style
I hoped to get a new post up this week, but have been stymied by a combination of domestic issues and by the fact that I’m preparing a couple of new posts for imminent publication on other sites, namely one for my Welsh naval history blog, britanniasdragon.com, and one for the Llanelli Community Heritage website. So here’s a reblog of a very well received post from a couple of years ago, looking at how Christmas was celebrated in Charles II’s navy. This blog will return on Monday 5 January 2015, a year which marks the 350th anniversary of the beginning of the second Anglo-Dutch war, the backdrop to the most recent ‘Quinton Journals’. So expect plenty of attention to be given to that on this site, to provide at least some balance for the ongoing commemoration of World War I and the imminent politically incorrect junketing for the bicentenary of the battle of Waterloo! In the meantime, a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all readers of my books and/or this blog, and thanks for your continuing support!
Henry Teonge, a Warwickshire clergyman, was fifty-five when he first went to sea as a naval chaplain, presumably forced into the job by the extent of his debts. In 1675 he joined the Fourth Rate Assistance, commanded by William Houlding, which was despatched to the Mediterranean as part of Sir John Narbrough’s fleet, operating against the corsairs of Tripoli. Teonge kept a lively diary of his time aboard the ship, and during his subsequent service on the Bristol and Royal Oak. This is one of the best contemporary sources for the nature of shipboard life in the Restoration navy, and I’ve used it often during my research for the Quinton books. For example, several of the ‘menus’ for officers’ meals in Gentleman Captain were taken straight from Teonge, while my description of Matthew Quinton’s Christmas at sea aboard the Seraph in The Mountain of Gold was based closely…
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