Guide to the Sheerness Naval Yard Logbook, 1721-1725 MS 203
Sheerness is a town in north Kent, England located at the mouth of the River Midway on the northwest corner of the Isle of Sheppey. The town of Sheerness started as a fort that was built during the reign of King Henry VIII in the early 16th century to protect the River Medway from invasions by sea. In 1665, plans were laid out to rebuild and strengthen the fort and make Sheerness an extension of the naval dockyard in Chatham. However, the fort was destroyed in 1667, during the Dutch raid on the Medway. Soon after, Samuel Pepys, Secretary of the Admiralty, ordered construction to begin again for a naval dockyard. It was hard to retain construction workers as a result of indecent living conditions and lack of fresh water; therefore, the first dry-dock was not completed until 1708. A fire completely destroyed the dockyard in the early 1820’s but was rebuilt and redeveloped with a high brick wall and moat surrounding the yard as a defense measure. The dockyard officially reopened in 1823 by the Duke of Clarence, the future King William IV. Sheerness served as one of the bases of the Nore Command of the Royal Navy until 1960 when the dockyard closed and the Royal Navy relinquished control to the Medway Port Authority.
This collection consists of a 161-page handwritten logbook, penned (probably) by William Ward, whose name appears on the front pastedown endpaper. The majority of entries are Orders of the Day, letters, memoranda, and accounts of expenditures. Each entry is initialed by at least three officers, some are initialed by as many as eight officers. The principal officers are mostly identified by their initials in this logbook. Thomas Kempthorne, J. Acworth, J. Burchett and Christian Tilson are identified by full name.
This material is open for research.
Conditions Governing Access
Stored onsite at the Woodson Research Center.
Restrictions on Use
Permission to publish material from the Sheerness Naval Yard Logbook (1721-1725) must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library.
Sheerness Naval Yard Logbook, 1721-1725, MS 203, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University
This collection was purchased from Edwards in November 1962 and was a purchase recommended by History Professor Dr. Hardin Craig.
Detailed Description of the Collection