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Help and advice for Clovelly Mariners 1792

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Articles of the Mariners Union in Clovelly in the County of Devon

For assisting each other in Sickness and for the Burial of each other and for other purposes herein mentioned

The Societys Commencement was the 19th day of November 1792 and is now kept at the New Inn


1. We all agree to meet every Saturday month at the house where our Stock is kept between the hours of seven and nine at night at seven o'clock and no business to be done after ten, and pay six pence each man, two pence whereof is to be spent and three pence to the doctor and the remainder to be put into stock.

2. If either of us come not to our monthly meeting to pay into our Stock he shall be excused till our next monthly meeting but if he neither comes then nor sends his money we agree that the landlord shall advance two months pay for any member that is absent and if he neither comes nor sends his money at the four months end he shall be forever excluded the benefit of our Stock and not be restored again on any terms, the Landlord to be repaid two shillings by the Steward.

3. If it should please almighty God to afflict either of us with sickness after he hath been a payer two years so that he be confined to his bed or bedroom he shall receive out of our Stock seven shillings a week till he is able to walk and afterwards three shillings and sixpence a week till he is able to work.

4. If any member dies after paying into our Stock two years there shall be allowed out of Stock for his Burial one Pound and Ten Shillings (if Buried) and the Stewards shall immediately pay a further Sum of five Pounds, one Shilling of which to be paid by each member the second Club night after and the remainder to be taken out of our Stock, the same to be paid to his Widow if any or nearest relative or to whom the same shal be given. If any member die indebted to this Society the whole amount of such debt shall be deducted out of his funeral allowance. Whosoever of our Society do not attend the funeral of a deceased member he shall pay into our Stock one shilling if not hindered by sickness or any other just cause.

5. We all agree that two Stewards shall be chosen to keep the accounts and to look after our sick and see the dead decently buried and the said Stewards shall render a just and true account to the Society every month if required. The said Stewards shall not in any wise diminish the Stock by trafficking or lending the same without the consent of the majority of the Members. And it is agreed that if any topic is proposed the proposer is to be heard without being interrupted and when he has done the Majority of the Members by ballot shall either approve of or reject his proposal. No member to Ballot before he has paid into our Stock two years nor to continue in the Society Room when Ballotted for and distinguishing tickets to be provided, the Stewards to enforce all fines or pay the fines themselves.

6. If any member be visited with sickness or misfortune in his Limbs either absent or home he shall immediately give notice to the Stewards in writing whether he claims laying or walking pay. If he is on laying pay he should send another notice when he intends going on walking pay and also a notice when he goes off that Pay, which notices shall be filed at the clerk's office for inspection of the members. And if any member is found walking out or working before such notice is given he shall pay back all money that he has received or be excluded. Also the Clerk shall enter it on a Book provided for that purpose or be fined five shillings. The Stewards shall vist the sick as soon as they receive notice and that day so might (???) pay him according to our Articles if he remains sick and disabled as he was when he visited him first. If the Stewards refuse to visit him when warned or to pay him at the weeks end they shall pay into our Stock Ten Shillings or be excluded the benefit of our Society. If any member of our Society during the term of receiving pay be found in an Alehouse intoxicated with Liquor his pay shall be stopped from him for any disorder that shall happen to him for three months after.

7. If any difference arise concerning our Society it shall be determined by a Majority at the next monthly meeting, of which the Stewards shall give notice at least seven days before.

8. Whosoever of our Society shall in any way profane Almighty God by cursing or swearing during our Monthly or Annual meeting shall for each offence pay sixpence fornightly for the benefit of our Stock and if on refusing an order of the Stewards he shall lose the benefit of our Stock and not be restored again under the fine of Two Shiilings and Six Pence and whosoever raises any arguments so as to disturb the Society shall be dealt with as aforesaid.

9. That the majority of the members at any monthly meeting be at Liberty to admit such members after their being proposed at the monthly meeting before and paying the sum of five Shillings which sum shall be returned if not admitted and a further sum of five Shillings on his admision. Every member so admitted shall be subject to the approbation of our next Annual meeting and if not approved by them his admission money and monthly pay shall be returned to him and he no longer to continue a member. No member to be admited above thirty five years of age and if it be afterward proved that any person concealed any disorder or malady at his admission he shall be excluded the benefit of our Stock and never be restored again.

10. We all agree that Mr. Henry Ellis Heard shall look after our sick and see there is no fraud amongst any of our Society. But if any of our Society receive by any hurt by any unlawful means whatsoever he is not to look after them on the above-mentioned agreement. The Doctor shall attend any member as aforesaid within the Parish of Clovelly under the fine of five Pounds.

11. If any member paying into our Stock arrive at the age of 70 years he shall receive out of our Stock Three Shillings and Six pence per week during life.

12. We all agree that the Society shall not be broke up till it be reduced to three Persons and whosoever shall mention anything concerning the breaking up this Society shall be excluded the benefit of our stock and never be restored again.

13. If any member of our Society shall receive benefit of our Stock according to our Articles and any other member shall reflect on him for receiving it he shall pay into our Stock five Shillings or be excluded the benefit of our Stock.

14. The Stewards are to appear at the Society Room at the aforesaid hour or to pay six pence each for the benefit of the company.

15. It is agreed that every member of our Society being within fifteen miles of the society house shall meet at the society house every first day of January (unless it happen on a Sunday) then to be the Monday following at the hour of ten o'clock in the forenoon to proceed to Church to hear a Sermon preached which shall be paid for out of our stock of which timely notice shall be given to the Clergyman by the Stewards every member not attending as aforesaid shall be forfeit two shillings and six pence to be paid into our Stock at the next monthly meeting if he be not hindered by sickness or produce a sufficient reason for not attending. it is also agreed that the members are not to leave the table at an Annual meeting till the business is settled under a fine of one Shilling or be excluded the benefit of our society without showing a sufficient reason for so doing.

16. If any member be sick abroad he is to send a proper certificate of such sickness to the Stewards every month signed by the Minister of the Parish and the Surgeon or Apothecary who attended him, the Postage of such Certificates to be deducted out of the pay he is then to be allowed the pay for Sickness as Specified in the third Article provided such sickness did not proceed from any unlawful means. If any doubt shall arise among any of our Society concerning such illness the member shall certify on oath if required before he shall receive such pay and all Claims to be brought forward within four months 17. We all agree that if any member shall have the the misfortune to be shipwrecked or taken by the enemy or if the Ship or Vessel to which he belongs should happen to be stranded so that he suffer any loss or damage to the amount of forty Shiilngs or above he shall on commmunicating the same to the Society by a certificate signed by himself and and [sic] attested to by two respectable witnesses receive one shilling from each the said members. If any doubt should arise concerning the claim for Shipwreck the money shall be deposited in the box till the next annual meeting and after an enquiry into the business the Stewards to pay the money to the Person claiming it, return it again to each member

18. We all agree that no member of this society shall be entitled to any benefit of this society before mentioned who shall voluntarily enter into any part of His Majesty's service liable to be sent on foreign service or goes on board a Letter of Marque or Privateer during his service but on his returning a second member and on continuing his pay he shall be entitled to the benefit as before.

19. Any member who may become acquainted with any imposition practiced on the society and shall not inform the officers of the society thereof shall pay a fine of five shilings.

20. If any member be convicted of Perjury or Felony before any Court of Judicature he shall be forever excluded the benefit of this Society.

21. If any member apply for a Second book of Articles he shall pay six pence for the same and if any member intends going out of the society he shall give one months notice or be answerable for all fines shown to that time.

22. No member that belongs to or enters into any other like benefit society in future shall become or continue a member in this Society.

23. A Committee of eleven members shall be chosen before the business commences on the Annual day one of which Committee to be chairman the steward will be included, which Committee are to settle the accounts and levy all fines according to Articles.

24. No member to be entitled to the benefit of the Society who acts contrary to the eighteenth article.

25. It is agreed that our Stock shall not be reduced under Six Hundred and Ten Pounds, Ten Pounds of which shall remain in the box for the Payment of Sick Members and afterwards the claim for Shipwrecked and deceased members shall be paid out of the monthly subscriptions & Interest of money so far as the same will go and if not sufficient the remainder to be collected from the members.

Form of Certificate to be sent by a Sick Member case

This is to certify that AB has been ill in ............ and under my care from date to date both days included /here state laying or walking pay/
as Witness our hand

AB Surgeon, EH Minister Churchwarden or Ship Master

Form of the Oath

I, AB, do make oath that the money I have drawn from the Stock
of the Mariners Union Society is without fraud on the society.

So help me God.
  Members Names    
William Jackson William Burman Thomas Dennis Richard Lane
Robert Yeo James Cooke William Blany Richard Burman
Lewis Richards William Lee Derrick Lane Thomas Waters
John Lee, Senr. Thomas Lewis, Senr. John Bannister Thomas Lewis, Jun.
William Courtice Richard Burman, Senr. James Southwood William Pengelly
James Beer, Senr. James Britton John Jones Robert Cook
Thomas Jenkin Andrew Pininton(?) Thomas Whitfield John Hopgood
John Marshall Thomas Davy James Evans, Senr. John Pearce Lacothes(?)
James Waters John Lane Thomas Hughes James Beer, Jun.
William Buckler John Jenkin John Madge Francis Waters
John Wade Nicholas Taylor John Harvey(?) Richard Cary
Richard Prince William Heard Philip Jones(?) William ????
Thomas Braund William Whitfield John Buse Richard Bragg
Joseph Harvey John Lee, Junr. James Methvall Thomas Bragg
John Whitfield Nichalas Bear Thomas Burnard Thomas Pitman
John Hayden Samuel Lee Robert Evans George Richards
John Elliott John Lewis James Evans, Junr. Samuel D. Richards
William Buckingham Samuel Whitfield William Galsworthy Nicholas Menery(?)
Joseph Holley William Cornish Charles Turner Robert Heard
James Galsworthy Hugh Baily James Lowther(?) William Burman, Junr.
Thomas Burnard Richard Marshall Derrick Prince Edward Burnard
Philip Cecil(?) Richard Sanders George Reese John Marshall, Junr.
      Wm. Evans
      Richard Cleverdon

The transcription is of the entire text found on one side of a large single sheet document held in the North Devon Record Office (Ref: 1142B/B1), and is made available here by permission.

This text, including the list of names, appears to be by a single hand, apart from the words of the "Form of Oath", which seem to have been added by a second hand. A number of the names listed at the end of the page had been crossed out, as indicated here. (Some of the text of Articles 17 and 25 also shows signs of alteration.) The document presumably either dates from 1792 or is a later copy of a 1792 original. However, the crossings out of various names may have occurred later. The reverse side of the document contains accounts, and listings of members, in several different hands, variously dated in 1823 and 1825.

The layout of this transcription approximates to that of the original document, except that in the original the text of Article 25 and of the Forms of Certificate and of Oath is placed to the left of the four columns of names.

Transcription by Brian Randell, with the assistance of Beryl Howard

9 Sep 2000