The Smugglers' City
Department of History, University of Bristol


Updated:
18-Dec-2002

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Documents Relating to the Seizure of Smuggled Wheat from a ship of William Tyndall, M.P.

Letter: William Tyndale to Robert Tyndale, August 1558

Source: Transcribed and annotated by: Vanes, J. (ed.), Documents Illustrating the Overseas Trade of Bristol in the Sixteenth Century, (Bristol Record Society Publications, Vol. XXXI, Kendal, 1979), No. 27. p. 46.
Manuscript: Bristol Record Office, P.StJ.B./Misc.124.

Brother, herewith I doo send yow yowr cokett with the lettur which
was sent by Redde, which is iiij way xx bushels, as I perceyve. And
now ye shall understand that I have hadd much talke with the
Custumer and Comptroller, who be honest men but yott (beyng
enformed) must nedes doo that they wold nat willyngly. And therfore I
pray God send tyme for that pynnas that she may depart, otherwise I
feare me the officers must nedes cumm aboard and for ther owne
discharge doo harme, for here is no smalle talke of her and yett I
consider that it is not mete she shuld be frome the shipp. Wherfore I
pray God send yow a good tyme that ye may be out of this place of
exclamacion. And for such thinges as be behynd (God willyng) we
shall wirck thatt they shalbe saved with smalle losse and if ye will
cumm up this nyght ye shall nede to feare nothyng and then we may
apoynt what thynges be nedefull and send downe with the bote. Yowr
men did cast out that weate geare1 yesterday openly which is talked of
here.

Yowr lovyng brother,

William Tyndale.

Endorsed

To my Broother this be delivered.

1This may mean the mats which were used in stowing the wheat.


Wheat Seized from Tyndall's Boat, 1558.

Source: Calendared by: Vanes, J. (ed.), Documents Illustrating the Overseas Trade of Bristol in the Sixteenth Century, (Bristol Record Society Publications, Vol. XXXI, Kendal, 1979), No. 28, p. 46
Manuscript: P.R.O. E 159/340 Easter 97r.s

William Harvest, servant of the searcher at Bristol, reported in the
Exchequer Court that on the 5th August, 1558 at Bristol he had seized
40 qr. of wheat from the Margaret of Elmore, loaded by an unknown
merchaunt for transhipment at Kingroad into the ship Caesar bound for
a foreign port. The Margaret was confiscated and valued at 10.
1

1 The Margaret belonged to William Tyndall. the Caesar to his brother, Robert. Robert redeemed the Margaret after his brother's death.


William Tyndall Smuggling and his Ship Seized, 1558

Source: Calendared by: Vanes, J. (ed.), Documents Illustrating the Overseas Trade of Bristol in the Sixteenth Century, (Bristol Record Society Publications, Vol. XXXI, Kendal, 1979), No. 137, p. 122.
Manuscript: P.R.O. E 159/339 Mich. 38r.

William Harvest, merchant of Bristol, reported in the Exchequer
Court that William Tyndall, owner of the ship Margaret, on
1 December, 1557, shipped 30 qr. wheat at 10s. a qr. and 7 barrels of
butter at 40s. a barrel for export uncustomed and without a licence.
Knowing this, Harvest seized the ship on 4 August, 1558, and left it
with all its tackle in the hands of George Snygge, merchant, for safe-
keeping.

The Margaret was valued by a shipwright and several merchants at
only 42. She had 3 masts and a small anchor but no other tackle on
board. By this time William was dead and Robert, his brother appeared
as one of the executors, denying that his brother was guilty of
smuggling or that the ship was forfeit.


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