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Muster roll

Muster roll


Ships’ muster rolls from 1748 – 1749; Society of Merchant Venturers’ archive.
Muster roll no: 80.

Muster roll for the ship, the Lucia, sailing from Jamaica, 1749.
The Lucia was one of many merchant ships supplying the colonies. Like most merchant ships, the crew was discharged in Jamaica whilst the master waited to unload and sell the cargo he had brought and find and load a new cargo for the voyage home. On this voyage, Padstow, a black , from Bristol made the round journey of 9 1/2 months. Was he a free black sailor or did he belong to the captain? Taken on in Jamaica for the return journey to Bristol were five blacks and two blacks more.

The muster roll is a list of all crew signed on for all or part of a voyage, which was used to calculate the money each man should pay to the Sailors’ Hospital Fund (insurance).

The Society of Merchant Venturers is a Bristol-based organisation, which was formed in 1552 as an elite body of merchants involved in overseas trade. The Society still exists today.

The language used to describe people of African descent in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries is unacceptable in today’s terms. We cannot avoid using this language in its original context. To change the words would impose 20th century attitudes on history.

Date: 1749

Copyright: Copyright The Society of Merchant Venturers

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