Thomas Pitcher; 27 November, 1667
Deposition [taken at Totnes, before commissioners appointed by the Privy Council]
West Devon Record Office, Plymouth
W360/74; another copy is in Great Britain, PRO, State Papers SP
Abstract published in J.J. Beckerlegge ,ed., "Plymouth Muniments and Newfoundland," in Annual Reports and Transactions of the Plymouth Institution 18 (© 1945) 2-23. Transcribed by P.E. Pope.
Thomas Pitcher of Dartmouth,
aforesaid, mariner, aged 65 years or thereabouts, produced, sworn, and examined, deposeth that he hath been employed and used fishing voyages from the harbour of Dartmouth to the Newfoundland for about 50 years. For the first ten years of which time, there was not any governor placed at the said Newfoundland, or any inhabitants residing there, or any forts or fortifications for defence and preservation of the same. And, as concerning the other facts, matters, and things formerly deposed by John Cull ... written and expressed on his examination before us, he, this deponent, deposeth to the same effect in every particular. Adding further that he, being a master of a ship, and arrived in the Newfoundland in a fishing voyage, and possessed of a convenient stage and place for the making of his voyage, and there made half thereof, the said Sir David Kirke, then governor, there having a ship of his own arrived at the Newfoundland in a fishing voyage, about the latter end of June, and unprovided of a stage and room of his own, came with 40 or 50 armed men and dispossessed this deponent of his ship, and weighed an anchor of her, and threatened to take and carry the same away, unless he would deliver up the said stage and rooms for the use of his said ship to use and fish, in which this deponent was thereby enforced to do, to the great damage of his voyage. And it was Sir David Kirke's usual practice and he did do the like and by force of arms, in like manner, dispossessed and drove several others from their stages and rooms fishing in the same and to place and put others in possession thereof.