Saturday, 18 July 2015

Double Dutch Mystery Document

We have this wonderful document* from September 1659, which we believe was written in Dutch. But we have no idea what it is about.  Can anyone help? Have we any Dutch followers who can also read 17th century documents?
We can identify two words which are repeated a lot "Looft God" which means "God Bless" , so perhaps it is a religious document, or connected in some way with St Magnus Cathedral?
September 1659 was mid-way between the resignation of Richard Cromwell, son of Oliver Cromwell,ending the Protectorate in May 1659 and the Restoration of the monarchy with Charles II in 1660.
*Archive reference: D14/8/8 part of the Walter Traill Dennison papers.
After receiving such wonderfully quick responses to the appeal above, I enclose the second page of the document here below:


  1. I'll send this link through to the regional Dutch Archive, the have a few professionals in reading 17th and 18th century handwriting!

  2. 1659
    Looft God boven al den 24 september
    Bennen wij van Amsterdam scheip gegaen met heet
    schep genaemt Sijtte Marij met een noort noort lik[e]
    wint ende een driever het ons over paappas geslept
    ende doe gingen wij noord oost aen na Urck tot ende daer
    lieten wij het ancker valle ende den 27 dittoo licht[en]
    wij onse ancker weder ende de wijnt was N N W ende
    saavonts lieten wij onse ancker weder vallen inde kuil.

    Looft God boven al de eersten november
    benne wij ut tessel seijl gegaen met een noort noort ost wijnt
    na de criebesse eijlanden met het schep genaemt # Sijettie Marij
    ende wij setten onse coers WSW an. # het schep genaemt de sante marij

    Den tweede was heet noch moij weer en de wijnt als vooren
    ende smijdachs liep de wint Z W en Z ende wij gijngen Z oost
    an ende doe dar 5 glasen uit waren wenden wij over stagh ende
    liepen W S W an ende in de eersten wacht oostelichte de wijn[t]
    soo veel dat wij SW behouwen mochten.

    Den daerden was het noch moij wer ende wint was Z oost
    ende het ginck noch Z Z W an ende saftermidd[a]chs saagen wij
    […]aeken ende lieppen savonts inde eerste wacht door
    […]hoofde ende de wijnt l[…] […] inde honde wacht sa [gen?]
    wij het wijr van de sijngels ende wij wenden het over stac[h]
    ende inde dach wacht weeder over stach naer eengelse wal

    Den vijrden smorgens wenden wij weeder over stach nade fransche w[al?]
    toe ende dar na weeder na de Eengelse cust ende lieppen v[…]
    in duinsd.

    Den 27 bennen wij weeder ut duijns geloopen met een ooste wijnt
    ende setten onse koors Z W ten W an

    Den 28 sagen wij kap de hag [?] ende wij seetten doe W an ende sna [chts?]
    lijep de wijent Z ende wij seetten weeder W Z W an recht de kust ut.

    Den 29 was de wijnt weeder oost ende wij gingen Z W en W ten a[en?]
    ende smiddachs sagen wij noch 4 scepen het eenen was onse
    Ammerael ende de andere de Scout be nacht ende het darde het
    kleijn selcs Farden[?] ende gingen Z W an ende inde eerste wacht ZZ [W]
    ende sagen doe weeder de franse wal weeder ende seetten h[...]
    weeder [waen?]

    Den 30 smorgens saagen wij noch de wal ende flooet ende smiddag[s ]
    waaren wij bij Tsant dat was Z oost van ons ende wij sagen
    8 engelsche scheepen ut de bocht koomen ende heet was ste[...]

  3. English translation:

    Praise God above all. On the 24th september 1659 we sailed from Amsterdam with the ship called ‘Sijtje Marie’, with a northern wind, a shiplift towed us past “Paappas” (= Pampus) and then we sailed for Urk and there we dropped the anchor. On the 27th we lifted the anchor, the wind was NNW and in the evening we dropped the anchor again in the ‘Kuil’.
    Praise God above all. On the first of November we sailed from “Tessel” (= Texel) with a NNW wind for the “criebesse” islands (= The Caribbean) with the ship # Sijtje Mary and we set course WSW. # the ship called Saint Mary
    On the second was still good weather and the wind the same in the afternoon the wind was ZWZ and we went southeast and when we were 5 glasses (=2,5 hours) out we changed our tack and sailed WSW and in the first watch the wind was east so we could keep Southwest.
    On the third it was still good weather and the wind was Southeast and we sailed SSW and in the afternoon we saw […] and in the evening in the first watch we went through […] “hoofde” (= Head of North Foreland?) and the wind […] In the dog watch (= from 0.00 untill 4.00 AM) we saw the weed in the “sijngels” (= the Shingles) and we changed our tack and in the daywatch again changed our tack again to English shore.
    On the fourth in the morning we changed our tack again to the French shore and then again to the English shore and moored in “duinsd”(= Downs?).
    On the 27th we sailed forth from Downs with an eastern wind and set course SSW.
    On the 28th we saw “Kap de Hag” (= Cap de la Hague) and sailed west and in the night the wind shifted south and we sailed WSW straight away from the shore.
    On the 29th the wind was east again and we went SWS and in the afternoon we saw another 4 ships, one was our “Ammerael” (= Admiral) and the other the “Schout-by-Nacht” and the third the small […] and went SW and in the first watch SSW and saw the french shore again and set [...]
    On the 30th we still saw the shore and the fleet and in the afternoon we were at “the Sand” (= Goodwin Sands?) on our southeast and we saw 8 english ships sail out of the “Bocht” (= Southern Bight) and it was […]

    1. Thank you for posting a transcription and translation so quickly Coretta. I hope you will have a go with the second page too. It would be interesting to know if it explains how the document reached Orkney, but that might be too much to hope for.

  4. Plesman @APANO5519 July 2015 at 12:10

    I sent you an enhanced version of the document via wetransfer .com
    Perhaps someone can use it. Cheers, Plesman

    1. Many thanks Plesman for your quick reply. I hope you will have a go at the second page. There is no more after that though.

  5. Thank you all so much for your hard work and quick responses. I never expected a complete transcription and translation so fast. You are right though that there is a second page. I will add it to the blog today.

  6. 3 stuk 4e regel: "[…]hoofde ende de wijnt liep zuijen inde honde wacht sa[gen?]"
    Leo de Kluijver

  7. Day3 row5 'wijr' must be 'vijr', that means 'vuur' (fire)' from the lighthouse!

  8. 1
    Den eersten desember was het noch mooij weer ende
    stel [stil?] ende ginck WZW 8 mijlen
    Den 2de wijndt was oost en noort ende gingen ZW en ZW en Z an
    ende waaren op de hootte van 47 20 mi ende heet was moij weer
    Den daarden was heel donker weer dat wij gen hoochten
    kregen mar het was bij ginssie wel 30 milen voort gan ZW an
    Den vijerden was heet mooij weer ende heet was steel ende gaven
    Den hoochten van 45 graden en 16 minuten noorden brete] en 5 graden
    37 minutten lantten ZW an
    Den vijefden […] op een vrijdach hadden wij den hoochten van ZW
    Aan 44 graden 41 mennuten ende 4 graden langten en 50
    mennutten ende 12 mijlen geseijlt met [? ijenckert
    weer ende smorgens sagen wij een seell die looevert [?] van ons
    Den sesten op een saaterdache bennen wij van de schepen of
    gescheijdem ende wij hadden die dach de hochten van 43 graden 4 menn.
    noorden breten ende 3 graden 43 minnutten ende hadden 17 mijlen
    gesellt ZW ten Z an
    Den seevenden op een sroodach was heet noch mooij weer ende
    de wijnt war oost ende coors ZW ten Westen ende wij waaren
    op 42 graden 5 minnutten noorden breeten ende 2 graden [5?]
    minnuten ten laenten
    Den aachten maandach was heet noch mooij weer ende wijnt
    noord oost ende koors was WZW en drije vijert sueijdelicker ende
    waren op de hoochten van 42 graden 4 menutten noorder breten
    ende 359 graden en 55 mnnutten ende heet had 27 mijlen voortiens
    Den neegende dinsdachs was heet noch mooij weer ende wijnt als
    vooren ende cors was ZW ten W ende waren op de hoochten van
    40 graden en 49 mnnutten noorden breten en 357 graden en 26 mnn[.]
    laenten ende heet had dat eetmael 34 milen voortgan
    De 10 woendachs was het nooch moij weer ende de wijnt en cooers
    als vooren en heet had dat eetmael 22 milen voortgaen bij gijssien
    Den 11 donderdachs was het nooch mooij weer ende de wijnt en cooers
    als vooren ende het had dat eetmael 32 milen voortgaen ende wij
    waaren op de hoochten van 38 graden 49 munutten noorde breten
    en 353 graden 39 mnnuten laenten ende wij setten doe onse koers
    W aen ende sijengen die dach vijf feessen die corael [?] heeten
    Den 12 svrijdachs was het noch mooij weer ende ooste wijnt
    ende het gijnck W en W ten (n)oorden an ende waaren op de hoochten
    van 38 graden 59 mennutten noorderbreten 350 graden 38 mnnutten
    laenten en het had bij gijssin 34 mijlen voort gan

  9. 1. The first of december it was still good weather and quiet (?) and sailed WSW 8 miles
    2. The second the wind was east and north and we went SW en SWS and we were latitude 47, 20 min. and the weather was nice
    3. The third it was so dark that we could’nt get a height but it was by guessing 30 miles SW
    4. The fourth it was good weather and quiet and it gave the latitude of 45 degrees and 16 minutes and 5 degrees and 37 minutes longitude SW
    5. The fifth […] on a Friday we had the latitude of 44 degrees and 41 minutes and 4 degrees and 50 minutes and sailed 12 miles with [..] weather and in the morning we saw a sail that tacked away from us
    6. The sixth on a Saturday we were separated from the other ships and we were that day at the latitude of 43 degrees 4 minutes and 3 degrees 43 minutes and we sailed 17 miles SW to S
    7. The seventh on a Sunday it was still good weather and the wind was east and the course was SW to W and we were at the latitude of 42 degrees and 5 minutes and 2 degrees 5[?] minutes longitude
    8. The eight on Monday it was still nice weather and the wind north east and the course was WSW and threequarter southern and we were athe latitude of 43 degrees 4 minutes and 359 degrees and 55 minutes and 27 miles distance
    9. The ninth Tuesday the weather was still good and the wind as before and the course was SW to W and were at the latitude of 40 degrees and 49 minutes and 357 degrees and 26 minutes longitude and that day 34 miles distance
    10. The tent Wednesday ist was still nice weather and the wind and course as before and we went 22 miles by guessing
    11. The eleventh Thursday the weather was still good and the wind and course as before and we sailes 32 miles and we were at the latitude of 38 degrees 39 minutes and we set our course to W and we saw that day [fishes, that are calles corael??]
    12. The twelfth on Friday it was nice weather and the wind east and we went W en west to north and we were at the latitude of 38 degrees 59 minutes and longitude 350 degrees 38 minutes and the distance by guessing 34 miles

    1. Thank you Coretta so much for all your hard work. I've been trying to work out where they were (based on the latitudes given, and it seems they were definitely not near Orkney. I thought perhaps the ship was wrecked here like so many others. So it is still a mystery how the document came into the hands of Walter Traill Dennison and what connection it has to Orkney.

    2. You're welcome! It was fun to do, especially with all the buzz on Twitter. And thank Nick, he was the one who drew my attention!

      So, Unfortunately there were no clues on the second page how the document ended in your library. Perhaps the ship and/or writer did come in later times near Orkney? We will probably never find out, only can use our fantasy.
      Well, if I find in the future any scottish document in 'my' archive in Gouda, I will find you for help ;-)

  10. I have found this link this morning that mentions Amsterdam and a ship called St Mary in 1658:
    Could it be the same ship, I wonder?

    HCA 13/73 is a volume of witness statements or depositions submitted in the English High Court of Admiralty in the years 1659 and 1660. The original manuscripts are held at the National Archives, Kew, England.

  11. I'm late to the party as always, but what a wonderful collaboration! Great job, everyone!



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