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John Shattock Visits Samuel Pepys, Diarist

by Philip Shaddock

Some members of the Shattock family of Somerset had acquired significant wealth by the late 16th century and early 17th century, particularly two Henry Shattockds that appear to be related. (See the Staplegrove Shattocks.) Shattockes are not found in London until the early 17th century. Apparently one of the Somerset Shattocks, John Shattock, had a female relative who married into a rich merchant family with high ranking connections. 


The famous diarist Samuel Pepys (1603-1703)

An entry in the Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles II, 1664-5, an archive of official papers in the reign of King Charles II of England, features a letter to Samuel Pepys, famous for the diary he kept of his daily life in the English Restoration period.  The letter was probably written to Pepys while he was Chief Secretary to the Admiralty. The entry is dated Feb. 21, 1665. 

Feb. 21. Ro. Richbell to Sam. Pepys. Being ill, sends his kinsman, John Shattock, to sign his contract for 20 tons of rosin, at 10per ton, and allowance for cartridge from Southhampton to London.

Rosin, a derivative of resin from pine and other plants, was used primarily for caulking and waterproofing wooden ships and tackle. 

Apparently John Shattock went to London to meet Samuel Pepys, who was an administrator of the Royal Navy, to sign a contract for the purchase and delivery of the rosin. This speaks to the social status of the Shattock family at the time.

Here is what Wikipedia has for Robert Richbell.

Robert Richbell (1605 - 1688) was an English merchant and politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1660.
Richbell was the son of Robert Richbell, yeoman, of Overton, Hampshire. He was apprenticed in the City of London as a Skinner in 1622, but did not become a member of the Worshipful Company of Skinners until 1638. For much of his life he divided his business interests between London and Southampton. He was commissioner for assessment for Hampshire in 1652 and again in 1657. In 1658 he became a freeman of Southampton. He was commissioner for assessment for Hampshire from January 1660 until 1663 and a commissioner for militia for Hampshire in March 1660.[1]

In April 1660, Richbell was elected Member of Parliament for Southampton in the Convention Parliament. He was a commissioner for trade from November 1660 to 1668. He was an alderman of London from January to February 1661. He was commissioner for corporations for Hampshire from 1662 to 1663. In 1662 he was mayor of Southampton for a year and during this time he called out the militia to suppress a ‘mutiny’. He owned wine-vaults near the Customs House and a share of a brewery and supplied deal, victuals and rosin to the Portsmouth dockyard. He was commissioner for assessment for Southampton from 1663 to 1669. He accommodated the King at his house during the royal visit to Southampton in 1669. From 1670 to 1671 he was mayor of Southampton again. and in 1671 was allowed to compound for customs frauds relating to the import of wine and tobacco. He was commissioner for assessment for Hampshire and Southampton from 1673 to 1680 and became a freeman of Portsmouth in 1677.

Richbell died at the age of about 82 and was buried at St Lawrence church on 16 July 1688.

Richbell married firstly by 1642, Frances Exton daughter of Edward Exton, merchant of Southampton and had nine sons and four daughters. She died in 1658 and he married secondly Lettice who had one daughter and died in 1661.


But who was the John Shattock, kinsman to Robert Richbell? I believe he was a merchant in his own right. There is a record of a John Shattock in the parliamentary papers, who got into a dispute with the governor of Madeira, the Portuguese archipelago situated southwest of Portugal, dated 1675, thirteen years before Robert Richbell died.

683. Edwd. Cranfield’s Narrative of Proceedings upon his Majesty’s Commission and Instructions of the 28th Mar. 1675, for the bringing of his subjects from Surinam. Sailed 6th Apr. from the Downs, and from Torbay on the 12th; met some ships on 21st, and wrote by them to Sec. Williamson, as follows (see ante, No. 527); anchored at Madeira 27th, where the Governor refused to return gun for gun, and declared that unless they would enter the King’s ship as a merchantman they should not have so much as a drop of water, whereupon they resolved to make the best of their way to Surinam. The merchants of the place being debarred coming off to them sent the following letter to the King’s Commissioners, signed by John Shattocke, Madeira, 27 April. Cannot express their resentment for the unmannerly behaviour of their unworthy Governor, who hath a second time rejected his Majesty’s concern that have touched at the island to buy refreshment. Have some days since dispatched their complaints both for Portugal and England, and hope for a speedy redress, for he did the same with Lord Vaughan and Sir Thos. Modyford. Has not spoke with the Governor himself since Lord Vaughan departed, for whose sake the Governor is continually molesting him; has forced away one of his servants, limited him a time for stay on the island, yet will not let him compose his affairs, nor pay him a penny of above 5,000 crowns he has owned him these two years.

Surinam was a Dutch colony of plantations on the northeast coast of South America, a part of the Caribbean economic zone. There is a presentation about the role of the island of Madeira played in the development of the Atlantic economy in the 17th century (presented at a conference at the the University of Edinburgh in 2012).


John Shattockes is listed as one of a group of 12 British merchants who played a pivotal role in the development of the Atlantic economy. Madeira was a provisioning stop for ships crossing the Atlantic. Wine and fruit from southern Europe was traded for supplies from England and salted fish and grain from North America and the Caribbean. I suspect the rosin that Robert Richbell sold to the Royal Navy might have been sourced out of the Americas.

The dispute with the governor of Madeira made its way all the way to the King's desk. I will bet Robert Richbell, who hosted the King at his house during the royal visit to Southampton, might have played a role in raising John Shattock's complaint with the king. 

There are Shaddocks in Hampshire, where Robert Richbell's family was from in the early 17th century. They are burials, but no births or deaths: Susanna Shaddock in 1670, Hugh Shaddock in 1625 and an unknown Shaddock in 1634. There are Shattocks in London, including a John Shattocke, blacksmith, in Southwark, London. I have not been able to find a marriage between a Richbell and a Shattock. 

Perhaps the most intriguing clue to John Shattock's ancestry is a record in 1569 of a John Shattock, who was a vintner. Taunton was an exporter of cloth. Cloth was traded for wine. If John Shattock of Taunton was an importer of wine, who traded cloth for the wine, than he would have reason to travel. See the page on Taunton where I discuss John Shattock and the wool trade.


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