Shattocks Defending the Kingdom Against the Spanish Armada in the 16th Century

Wikipedia: "The Spanish Armada was a Spanish fleet of 130 ships that sailed from La Coruña in August 1588, under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia with the purpose of escorting an army from Flanders to invade England. The strategic aim was to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I of England and the Tudor establishment of Protestantism in England, with the expectation that this would put a stop to English interference in the Spanish Netherlands and to the harm caused to Spanish interests by English and Dutch privateering.

In the history of local preparations for the invasion of Somerset by the Spanish Armada by Emanuel Green (1888), there is a reference to "William Shuttocke" (a common mistake in the transcription of "Shattock"). He appears in connection with John Frauncis, esq., as his commitment to the defense of the realm. William was probably his tenant. The year was 1585, three years before the defeat of the Spanish Armada.

William Shattock's role in the defense of Somerset was to act as a type of light cavalryman, who carried a petronel. Wikipedia has this entry for a petronel.

A Petronel is a 16th or 17th century firearm, defined by Robert Barret (Theorike and Practike of Modern Warres, 1598) as a horsemans peece. It was the fire-arm which developed on the one hand into the pistol and on the other into the carbine. The name (French petrinel or poitrinal) was given to the weapon either because it was fired with the butt resting against the chest (French poitrine, Latin pectus) or it was carried slung from a belt across the chest. Petronels are found with either matchlock or wheellock mechanisms.[1]

The sclopus was the prototype of the petronel. The petronel is a compromise between the harquebus and the pistol.[2] By extension, the term petronel was also used to describe the type of light cavalryman who employed the firearm. The petronel (cavalryman) was used to give support to more heavily armoured cavalry such as demi-lancers and cuirassiers. The petronel was succeeded by a similarly armed cavalryman called the harquebusier.

Illustration from "The Preparations in Somerset Against the Spanish Armada A.D. 1558-1588" by Emanuel Green (1888)

Image of a Petronel from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London

A very handsome weapon. William Shattock must have been strong and a good rider to carry and fire such a weapon mounted on a horse!

In an archive of British "Border Papers" dated in the year 1600, there is an interesting correspondence about a soldier with the name of Shattock or Shadock. Apparently he was a career soldier who was eligible for promotion into the ranks. But there seems to be two vastly different opinions about his character. The incident they speak of occurred at a military garrison in Berwick-Upon-Tweed, near the Scottish border. The garrison at Berwick was crucial to the defense of England, and it had passed back and forth between the Scottish and English in previous wars.

  • Oct. 13. Entery 1251. Willoughby TO Cecil. This gentleman [Shattock] recommended by the lord Gray from you and of my own knowledge, a man of good desert in sundry place's and foreign services I thought him fit for the vacant office of Captain Selby's lieutenant having these precedents. Captain Seiby's own step over others' heads and ray predecessor's appointment of one Lyndley and othenj—shunnins that dangerous practice of serving men who hive bought such places being put in. But I found great opposition : " first is the party himself," who has never seen service, yet " did not stick to answer me in my chamber," that if I denied him the place, he would have it otherwise. And since then, he is violently seconded by others, whom I need not name" for their mediations will discover them. He has also " most mutinously '' drawn his sword and fought with his captain, and menaces any man's life who gets the place—a most dangerous consequence in a town of war. This affronts my reputation, as I think the like has seldom been heard of and if they find any favour against me, it were better I resign the place than suffer such contempt. I mnst not omit to let you know that they practiced with the captains of the town to accost me in my chamber at 1 1 o'clock at night and expostulate ; bat I refused to see them at such unseasonable time, even had there been cause. I am sorry to trouble you, yet have offered in all reason to justify myself by the establishment, propounding to them by the mayor, that he and the chief preacher of the town should decide, whether my construction or theirs were the better : but they passed it over, and I could hardly " persuade " that my lord Admiral and yourself should determine the cause : such are the humours of some set to assist me, who oppose me in every way, though treated with all courtesy. Berwick. Signed : P. Willoughby. Upp. Addressed. Indorsed. Wax signet : a quartered shield: over all a bend dexter charged mith o fishes (?)
  • Oct. 14. 1600 Entry 1255. "William Selby [.junior] to Cecil. Soon after my Lord Governor came hither, I sued him that my brother captain .John Selby might by the laudable custom here, appoint to the place of his lieutenant, dead a year and cpiarter since, one if Shattock his " enseigne bearer."' He replied he could not, having promised your honor the place for another. I said, if your honor had known Shattick's valour and worth, you would not have prejudiced him. and begged his lordship to stay proceedings till I might sue your honor with his good leave for Shattock. He said I might, and he would write al.-o, but wiietlier for or against Shattock, I did not understand.
  • I beg your honor to believe I would not be unthankful, or cross any wish of yours here, but knowing your desire to do every man right without other respect, I will state the case and leave it to your consideration. When my brother's lieutenant died, the Governor asked the place for one Marshall his servant, said never to have served in war. My brother showed Shattock's loug service of I8 years, his worth, and the reproach he would receive by being passed over. My lord desired my brother to stay it till he was made " privy therewith" : and though my brother has done so this year and a quarter, attended his lordship to London, and was with him till near the time of his coming down, yet neither my lord nor John Parker, for whom your honor intreated, told him thereof, nor was it known here till I moved my lord as aforesaid. Lord Gray on asking my brother for Parker, and hearing Shattock's sufficiency, desisted : if my brother had known your privity with it, he would have in his duty waited on and informed your honor of the cause. My lord alleges Shattock's undutiful behaviour to him self, and his " affray " on Parker. Shattock says he only intreated his lordship's favour as best he could : and confesses the affray, as he heard Parker sought his place, but no harm was done, and such are punished by 8 days' prison. This is the second interference by a lord governor with a lieutenant's place, since her Majesty's reign began : the other was by my lord Chamberlain to prefer a brother of Sir Henry Lynlaes, at thefrequest of the Earle of Essex, " which bredd much speache among the souldiers." Here they think it as wrong to take away the places they have served for, as if their inheritance were taken without suit of law ! Beseeching your honor to pardon my long letter, in a matter of so small moment. Berwick. Signed : Will'm Selby.
  • If I may speak without offence, his lordship had " a farder reache" than " pleasuring " Parker: for being grieved at the refusal of his man Marshall, and desiring absolute power to give all places hereafter, which he well knows would not be yielded without express authority, got your honor to request for Parker, knowing that to me and mine that would be as a commandment: and so Parker, being placed without the captain's privity, would afford a precedent in future. Closely written. Addressed. Indorsed.

Obviously this Shattock was no ordinary soldier. I suspect he came from a good family in Staplegrove, and a wealthy one to boot. He would have been born around the middle of the 16th century to have served in the army for 18 years. But not everybody thought him a great soldier.

  • Nov. 22. Entry 1290. Willoughby to Cecil. I have written more largely than I shall need here, in answer to my Lord Admiral's and your letter: but I only take leave to acquaint you with my letter in my own justifying to her Majesty : since I see she is acquainted with the case, which I leave to your honorable favor. I will follow your order in Parker's matter: I have deprived no captain of his rights, "unless the denying of such a lewd fellow, as said he would have the place whether I would or noe, be of that nature? . . . For this Shadock can no more be tearmed a soldier for his 20 yearss service here, then a mumbler of mattins in Queen Maries tyme, a learned doctor in this florishing agge : havin' never donr any thing singular in his life, but swagering, as Sir John Carey can witness, during the wars here." Though in general captains ought to choose their own officers, yet when a governor has charge of a town "for his life and head," the chief officers and keepers of gates should be of special trust with him: lest being mean poor men, they might be practised with: "as I have known some in my own time at Bergis * . . . Yfycly in my power to doe for Parker (who deserves well in himself) or the meanest spaniell that comes from you, he lives not that shall be ready to perform yt then I." Berwick. Signed : P. Wyllughby.
  1. 1 p. Addressed to Cecil. Indorsed by Cecil : " My L. Willoghbv to my L. Ad. and me. Remember to write to the mayor of Berwick, and send Gr. writing." Fragment of wax signet.
  • There is actually a coat of arms for the family of Shattocks in the book "Fairbank's Crests of the Leading Families In Great Britain and Ireland" by James Fairbarn (New York, 1911) plate 94 crest 13. The hand rising from a rope like wreath of twisted silk is very common in heraldry. Apparently a wreath of silk was used on the helmet of a knight to fasten the coat of arms so that in battle he was not struck down by his fellow soldiers, mistaking him for the enemy. If he was wearing such a coat of arms, it suggests he was a knight. At the very least this is clearly evidence of the stature of our family back then. Here is another oddity. It is attributed to a Wilshire family of Shattocks. I have no records of Shattocks in Wiltshire...but then this crest may be very, very old.There is a record of the men called to arms in the defense of England against the Spanish enemy. It is called "The West County Muster Rolls for Somerset 1569." The list of able bodied men and the equipment they will bring to battle provides us with a glimpse of where Shattocks lived at this time and what kind of soldiers they were.Tithing of Withycombe – John Shattock. Armour – One tithing corslet furnished, one almain rivet finished. ij pairs of almain rivets furnished.
  • Tithing of Theale – Robt. Shatocke. Ableman – Archer.
  • Tithing of Buckland & Ilbeare? - John Shattocke. Ableman – Pekeman (pikeman)

In fact there are records of a "Sir John Shattock."