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Mayflower, Day by Day - Saturday, 19 September 1620

19 Sep 2020 2:27 AM | Soule (Administrator)

Mayflower under full sail (continued)

The Mayflower’s galley, with its primitive conditions for cooking, existed rather as a place for the preparation of food and the keeping of utensils, than for the use of fire.  The arrangements for cooking were exceedingly crude, and were limited to the open “hearth-box” filled with sand, the chief cooking appliance being a tripod-kettle of the early navigators. This might be set up in any part of the ship where the “sand-hearth” could also go, and the smoke be cared for.  It not infrequently found space in the forecastle, between decks, and, when fine weather prevailed, on the open deck. The bake-kettle and the frying-pan were only slightly less important than the kettle for boiling.

Her ordnance doubtless comprised several heavy guns, mounted on the spar-deck amidships, with lighter guns astern and on the rail, and a piece of longer range and larger calibre on the forecastle; this was the general disposition of ordnance on merchant vessels of her size in that day, when an armament was a sine qua non. Edward Winslow in his “Hypocrisie Unmasked” ([1646] 91) says, in writing of the departure of the Pilgrims from Delfshaven, on the Speedwell: “The wind being fair we gave them a volley of small shot and three pieces of ordnance,” by which it seems that the Speedwell, of only sixty tons, mounted at least “three pieces.” The Mayflower, being three times the size, may have carried more.

Comments

  • 19 Sep 2020 2:58 AM | Soule (Administrator)
    One of the scarier consequences of this arrangement was that, during storms at sea -- of which there were several that were severe, lasting for days -- the passengers would be confined below decks in the pitch black for days at a time. There would have been no light because of the danger of fire.
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