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  Shirleys of Ratcliff, Stepney
Middlesex England
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Capt. Thomas Sherley mariner
of Ratcliff, Stepney Middlesex

Royal African Company (the Guinea Company) - a royal monopoly on trade in gold, silver and slaves in West Africa.

Calendar of Treasury Books, Volume 10 - 1693 - June 23 - Prefixing: (a) Order of the Privy Council, dated Whitehall, June 15 inst., for leave to the Royal Africa Company to send for Guinea six ships as follows with 200 seamen for carrying ammunition and necessaries for their forts and factories which require frequent supplies and also merchandises whereof the most part will be English manufactures for purchasing negroes to furnish their Majesties' Plantations in the West Indies; it being six months since they had licence to send any ships into those parts, viz.: [list of ships]

East India Merchant, 430 tons, 40 men, Thomas Shirley master.

"Tales of Masonic Fire" - Vol 111, 1998 Ars Quatuor Coronatorum Transactions

Bef 1694 - Here is another example of the 17th century custom of toasting associated with gun-fire. In February 1694 Captain Thomas Phillips, in his account of the voyage of the ship Hannibal, referred to a similar practice thus:

"In this garden [of Cape Coast Castle on the West Coast of Africa] Captain Shurley and I entertain'd the agents, factors, and other officers of the castle at dinner before our departure... where we enjoy'd ourselves plentifully, having each of us six of our quarter-deck guns brought ashore, with powder, &c., and our gunners to ply them; which they did to purpose, _ and made them roar merrily, firing eleven at every health."

Two months later Phillips and some other officers dined with the native chief who occupied Christiansborg Castle, having captured it from the Danes. When they were ascended, the Chief drank to them in a glass of brandy and all the guns in the fort were discharged. After dinner he "drank the king of England's, the African company's, and our own healths frequently, with vollies of cannon."

Bef 1693 - ...Intriguingly, the practice was adopted by at least one European slave-trader. The Englishman Thomas Shurley (who died trading off the West African coast in 1693) is said to have 'used to make his negroes aboard take the fatish, that they would not swim ashore or run away, and then he would let them out of irons', using for this purpose 'a cup of English beer, with a little aloes to imbitter it'. His fellow-slaver Thomas Phillips, who reports Shurley's practice, while acknowledging that this 'operated upon their faith as much as if it had been made by the best fatishes in Guiney', nevertheless observed sardonically that 'for my part I put more dependence upon my shackles than any fatish I could give them'.


1. Unknown Sherley


2 (i). Captain Thomas Sherley,

married Christain Magior 2 July 1687. She married 2) Watson

1687 July 2 Thomas Shirley and Christain Magior - License Allegations in the Registry of the Bishop of London

2 (ii). Andrew Sherley - named as brother in the probate sentence of Thomas Sherley

2 (iii). Nicholas Sherley - named as brother in the inventory accounts of Thomas Sherley

2 (iv). ?Benjamin Sherley - witness to the will of Thomas Sherley

(note: this family appears to fit into the Shirleys of Bagber Dorset


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