Memories of the Nore
Memories of the Nore
Back in 1797, a great naval meeting took place on board the Royal Navy’s fleet in the mouth of the River Medway where the ships were lying. The ring leader and 24 other seamen were hanged at the yard arm ‘pour exemple pour les autres’. Richard Parker’s death mask became a curiosity and a collectors’ item. Anthony Cross, the president of the Greenwich History Society, had promised to return a gruesome copy to the landlord of The Boar’s Head at Maldon in Essex and would I like to go there for the ride? Well, yes. On a sparkling spring morning I was collected from the Trafalgar Tavern together with some rolled drawings which I was preparing for a most worthy appeal for a charity which is building and equipping a Thames Spritsail barge suitable for youngsters in trouble (no yard arm stuff here!).
Memories of the East Coast and hopes for the future
The Sea Change Sailing Trust is also based in Maldon so a lift to meet Captain Richard Titchner, the man in charge of fund raising who by chance was working on the ‘Xylonite’ – a similar charter barge – to discuss the various projects was very apt as we balanced my sketches on the track of a mobile crane. The vast sails of the barge were stretched out on the sunlit wharf and the tan colour applied. However, I was not invited to join in the traditional final finishing, which was meant to be the application of fresh urine! The drawing is aimed at a fund raising event in St. Katherine’s Dock on a May evening – very suitable as there is usually a brace of barges moored in this remarkable basin just downstream from the Tower of London.
More on the Blue Boar
Sited in the town centre, this coaching inn is a quite remarkable 14th century centre of hospitality. At the ceremony of handing over the death masks to the jovial landlord in the busy public bar, there was a remarkable restrained silence as the ‘resident’ old boys witnessed this odd ceremony. Just the crackling of the open fire punctured their hostility to these Londoners who dared break into their daily ritual. Perhaps they didn’t remember that, as a lad, I used to dance the ‘Dashing White Sergeant’ at the Young Farmers’ Ball. My sister used to teach ballroom dancing here too! Oh, these memories…
Even more on the Nore
Once an important RN command on a sandbank in the Thames Estuary, a famous Naval anchorage at the entrance of the Medway, both Sheerness and Chatham Dockyards close by, and not too far from the Admiralty in Whitehall either!