Trimley St. Martin, or Tkemley
Grimston Hall, in this parish, was formerly the seat of Thomas Cavendish, Esq.,
the circumnavigator, who Mr. Kirby says, was born here, and of whom he has given
some account from Hackluyt's "Collection of Voyages."
The witty and learned Dr. Fuller, in his "History of the Worthies of England,
"gives also on account of this enterprising seaman, the substance of which, he
says, is derived from the same publication. A more circumstantial account of Mr.
Cavendish may be found in the "Harwich Guide, "published in 1808, which account
was re-printed in the Gent. Mag. for 1811, Part ii., p. 606.
Dr. Fuller's account of him is as follows: "Thomas Cavendish, of Trimley, in
this county, Esquire, in pursuance of his generous inclination to make foreign
discoveries for the use and honor of his nation, on his own cost victualled and
furnished three ships (the least of fleets) as followeth:
- 1. The Desire, admiral, of 120 tons:
- 2. The Content, vice-admiral, of 60 tons:
- 3. The Hugh-Gallant, rear-admiral, of 40 tons. All three managed by 123
per-sons, with which he set sail from. Plymouth the 21st of July, 1586.
"So prosperous their winds, that by the 26th of August they had gone nine
hundred and thirty leagues to the south of Africa.
Then bending their course south-west, January the 7th, they entered the mouth of
the Megellan Straits; straits indeed, not only for the narrow passage, but many
miseries of hunger and cold, which mariners must encounter therein. Here Mr.
Cavendish named a town Port- famine; and may never distressed seaman be
necessitated to land there! It seems the Spaniards had a design so to fortify
these straits in places of advantage, as to engross the passage, that none save
themselves should enter the southern sea. But God, the promoter of the public
good, destroyed their intended monopoly, sending such a mortality amongst their
men, that scarce five of five hundred did survive.
"On the 24th of February they entered the South Sea, and frequently landed as
they saw occasion. Many their conflicts with the natives, more with the
Spaniards; coming off gainers in most, and savers in all encounters, that alone
at Quintero excepted, April 1, 1587, when they lost twelve men of good account,
which was the cause that the June following they purposely sunk the
rear-admiral, for want of men to manage her.
"Amongst the many prizes he took in his passage, the St. Anne was the most
considerable, being the Spanish admiral of the southern sea, of seven hundred
tons However, our Cavendish boarded her, with his little ship (a chicken of the
game will adventure on a greater fowl, and leap where he cannot reach), and
mastered her, though an hundred and ninety persons therein. There were in the
ship an hundred and two and twenty thousand pezos (each worth eight shillings)
of gold; the rest of the lading being silks, satins, musk, and other rich
commodities. Mr. Cavendish's mercy after, equaled his valor in the fight,
landing the Spaniards on the shore, and leaving them plentiful provisions.
"Surrounding the East Indies, and returning for England, the ship called the
Content did not answer her name, whose men took all occasion to be mutinous, and
stayed behind in a road, with Stephen Hare their master, and Mr. Cavendish saw
her not after. But he, who went forth with a fleet, came home with a ship, and
safely landed in Plymouth, Sept. 9, 1588. Amongst his men, the three most
remarkable were; Mr. John Way, their preacher; Mr. Thomas Fuller, of Ipswich,
their pilot; and Mr. Francis Pretty, of Eyke, in this county, who wrote the
whole history of their voyage.
"Thus having circumnavigated the whole earth, let his ship no longer be termed
The Desire, but The Performance. He was the third man, and second Englishman, of
such universal under-takings.
"Not so successful his next and last voyage, begun the 20th of August, 1591,
when he set sail with a fleet from Plymouth, and coming in the Hegelian Straits,
near a place by him formerly named Port-Desire, he was, the November following,
casually severed from his company, not seen or heard of afterwards. Pity so
illustrious a life should have so obscure a death. But all things must be
as Being itself will have them to be."
About this period Grimston Hall became the property of Robert Barker, Esq., by
purchase, who removed hither from his house in St. Matthew's parish, Ipswich,
called "Esquire Gawdy's House,"1 at present the
property and residence of William Rodwell, Esq.
The Barker's became very early seated at Ipswich, several of whom served as
burgesses in parliament for that borough: in the 35th of Queen Elizabeth, the
above Robert Barker, Esq., was elected to that honor. He was also made Knight of
the Bath, at the coronation of King James I.
John Barker, of Grimston Hall, Esq., his eldest son by his first marriage, was
created a Baronet in the 1 9th of that reign; and William Barker, of Booking
Hall, in Essex, Esq., a descendant by his second marriage, was advanced to the
same dignity in 1676, the 29th of King Charles II.
The descendants of Sir John Barker, Bart., continued to reside here until the
decease of Sir Jermy, his grandson, who died un-married; and the title and
estate descended to his brother John, who married Bridget, daughter of Sir
Nicholas Bacon, of Shrubland, KB.
He removed to Ipswich, and made that place again the residence of the family,
for which borough he served in several parliaments, temp. Charles II. Sir
William Barker, Bart., his son and heir, also represented Ipswich in parliament,
during the reign of Queen Anne, and was elected a Knight of the Shire for this
Sir John Barker, Bart., his only son and heir, purchased of the heirs of Edward
Ventriss, Esq., an estate called the Chauntry, in Sproughton, near Ipswich, and
enlarged the mansion. His son, Sir John Fitch Barker, Bart., resided there: he
died in 1706, without issue, when this branch of the family became extinct.
George Nassau, Esq., inherited, by will, his estate in this parish, with
considerable other possessions, and for some time resided here. In 1805, he
served the office of High Sheriff of this county, and died at his residence, in
Charles Street, Berkeley Square, August 18, 1823.2
The Earl of Rochford, his half brother, inherited this estate, and at his
decease it became the property of his Grace the Duke of Hamilton and Brandon.
ARMS. Cavendish: sable; three stags' heads, caboshed, argent. Barker:
party per fess, nebule, vert and sable; three martlets, or; a canton, ermine.
CHARITIES. An allotment of four acres of land, set out for the poor on an
inclosure in this parish, in 1808, lets at the yearly rent of
£.10; and the rent is laid out in the
purchase of coals, which are distributed among the poor at Christmas, yearly.
1. A print of this house is given in Ogilby's Map of
Ipswich, anno. 1698.
2. Mr. Nassau's extensive collections in elucidation of the
antiquities of this county, have been already noticed in the introduction to
this work; and for a more ample account of that gentleman, see Gent. Mag. for
1823, Part ii., p. 178.
Topographical and Genealogical, The County of Suffolk, 1844, Augustine Page