The Travels of Peter Mundy in Europe and Asia, 1608-1667, Volume IV

About this text

Introductory notes

Peter Mundy was an East India Company factor and the son of a Cornish pilchard merchant from Penryn. He arrived in Surat on 30 Sept. 1628, and was sent to Agra in November 1630, where he remained until 17 Dec. 1631. He then proceeded to Puttana on the borders of Bengal, returning to Agra and Surat before returning to Dover on 9 Sept. 1634. He undertook further voyages to India, China, and Japan in April 1636. His travels are recorded in journals whose manuscripts are held in the Bodleian Library (Rawlinson A315) and the British Library (Harleian 2286, Add.19278-81). The Bodleian Library MS continues his narrative, including journeys to Denmark, Prussia, and Russia, from 1639 to 1648. It is written possibly by a clerk, with corrections by Mundy, including his own drawings and tracings of some of his routes. It ends in 1667 and contains miscellaneous notes made after his final return home about comets, sea-fights, accidents, and political events in London and Cornwall. The standard printed text of Mundy’s travels is Richard Carnac Temple’s edition (see below) which contains some of Mundy’s illustrations. Our selections from this text focus on his account of travelling through Gujarat and Malwa during the notorious Gujarat famine of 1630-32. But they also include sections from his other travels which deal with food, dearth of provisions during travel, encounters with plenty or excess, accounts of weather disturbances, and observations on the transport of goods and provisions. Primary Sources The Travels of Peter Mundy, in Europe and Asia, 1608-1667, 5 vols, ed. Richard Carnac Temple (Cambridge: Printed for the Hakluyt Society, 1907-1925) Suggested Reading R E Pritchard, Peter Mundy, Merchant Adventurer (Oxford: Bodleian Library, 2011). Palmira Johnson Brummett, The “Book” of Travels: Genre, Ethnology, and Pilgrimage, 1250-1700 (Leiden: Brill, 2009). Daniel Carey and Claire Jowitt, eds., Richard Hakluyt and Travel Writing in Early Modern Europe, Hakluyt Society, extra series, v. 47 (Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2012).



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The 19th June Anno 1639 All the Voyages, Joumeies,etts., Mentioned in the 30 severall Relationes afforegoing were perfformed in the service and att the cost off others, my superiours, as my calling or trade off living: the Following voluntary, which I undertooke partly to Follow my habituall disposition off travelling, and partly (to Free my sellffe off some inconveniences I Found by living att home in the Country) to seeke some other residence.

Every particuler daies Joumey is Nott here sett, only places and Matters Most Notable hapning in my way, directing my course First towards Bristoll. The day abovesaid I departed from Penryn in Cornwall. The Next day I came to Stratton, an Auntient towne off that County, Noted to have the best garlicke in all those parts.

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Biddifford : a large stone bridge I passed through Biddifford, where to comes a Creeke, over which is a stone bridge off aboutt 25 arches, the largest I have yett seene in England; there bee smalle vessells beetonguing to this place.

Barnestable. I lay att Bamestable, a bigge towne and Neatt, a sea port, a Creeke comming to the towne; many vessells beelonguing to itt, For att a weekes daies Morning prayer there were above 30 perticulerly named and prayed for, absent in sundry voyages.

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Tiverton: Ex River. Tiverton, twice burned by accidentt; a large towne; a Capacious Church , and therin was the greatest audience att one sermon thatt yett I ever saw to my remembrance. The River of Ex runneth by itt, who hath his head in Exmore, where I was told thatt within these 3 or 4 daies ther Fell soe much snow thatt itt lay 2 or 3 Foote deepe, soe thatt Many sheepe perished thereby: straunge att this tyme off the yeare.

Taunton. A Fine towne with a very Faire 4 square tower or steeple with 4 very curious artifficial pinacles, the best I have yett seene5

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Bridgewater. A greatt towne with a very Faire high stone spire

Glacenbury. Here were the Ruines off a Famous Abby, Most part downe, the rest dayly decaying. It appears to have bin a Magnifficentt Fabricke. Among the Ruines, as they Now digge For stones For other buildings, there are many tombes, it seemes thatt beeing the Floore off the Church. Among the rest one side off a tombe or Coffin appeared, either off toutchstone or excellent shining polished blacke Marble with ancient Charactars round aboutt; a Ritch peece, though plaine. The kitchin aperteyning to this abby is yett entire, offhewen stone, No timber att all, beeing off a stately Forme, 8 square, drawing Narrow towards the toppe, off a great heightt, making a very Faire shew, built as it is said, made on this occasion.

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The holy Thorne. About [...] Miles From this place is a 'thorne tree off a straunge property, thatt contrary to all other, itt Flowrisheth aboutt Middewinter by some straunge operation in Nature. This I beeleive, itt beeing affirmed by Many thereaboutts, off whome I enquired.

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Welles: Bath and Wells, allthough two citties 10 Miles asunder, yett accompted but one. Welles, allthough a little Citty, yett thus gives the tenne, The Citty off Bathe and Wells, the Bishoppe living here, allthough Bath hath the preheminence. This hath a very Faire Cathedrall Church and an excellent diall within itt, shewing Not only the whole bowers, halffe and quarters, butt allsoe every Minutt off the bower, The age off the Moone allsoe, demonstrating her proportion as shee increases and decreases by a sphericall Figure.

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Bathe: The hotte Bath. From thence I came to Bathe, a pretty little citty and a Fine Markett house. Butt off all Englands wonders the kings bathe there deserves the First place, Found and Founded by king Bladud, having continued soe Many ages in the same temper off heatt, itt beeing all most as Much as a Man can well suffer att the springs. I saw Men and weomen goe in togeather, and those thatt will May have guides. No incivility permitted under paine off punishmentt. At thatt tyme was there the Earle off Northumberland, and washed, where one off his guides to make him sport, lay uppon the water on his backe and on each side with both his hands under his head, as if hee lay on the ground; the Manner pretty, and I thinck difficult. This place much Frequented by gentry, especially att the spring and Fall off the leaffe. [Page 8] In the greatt Church is a pretty passionate Monumentt off the Lady Mary Walles [sic], wife to Sir [William] Wales, knight, hee yett alive.

Bristol. The 27th off June [1639]. I came to the Citty off Bristoll. There is a straunge Narrow creeke commeth From the sea uppe to the Citty, sufficientt For smalle vessells, the greater shippes taking in their lading at Hungroade and Crocke and Pill, adjoyning together, and when they are redy to sett saile, the[y] ride outt in Kingroade, a Mile or two lower. The Citty is very deane and dry by reason they say every or Most off their houses have vaulted sincks which convey the water and Filth to other greater, and soe into the River.


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A warme spring. Aboutt 2 Mile downe the Creeke is a warme spring comming Forth under the hill att halffe sea Marck, accompted Midicinable and resorted unto. It is aboutt Milkewarme. Right over against it on the other side off the Creeke was the greatest spring off water came gushing Forth From under the rocks thatt yett I ever saw.

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The 16th off July [1639]. I came to the Citty off Gloucester. It is a reasonable, handsome, quiett and cleanly place; no great trafficking For land nor Sea. A Faire Cathedrall Churche And the fairest, highest, largest Foursquare steeple thatt yett I have seene, with 4 suteable pinacles.

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A JOURNEY FROM GLOSTER INTO WALES. Rosse: Abergayny. Beeing Now att Gloster, and Wales soe Neare, I had a desire to see some of thatt Country allsoe, Soe tooke my journey thitherwards. First I came to Rosse, then to Abergayny, where one Rice Morgan or Rice a gant, a Welsh harper , with his excellent playing on thatt Instrumentt and my own plying Welsh Ale, I was att length soe Charmed thatt allmost all my Mony (which was Not Much), with divers things were gon outt off my pockett.

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I came to Munmouth where stands the Ruines off a Castle in which Henry the Fifft was borne. Near this place is the worst hill to bee travelled over thatt yett I ever wentt. [Page 16] And then I made accomptt I came into Wales indeed, For Few off the common or poorer sort understand any English att all; the Country very Mountaynous, allthough little wast land (excepting the very toppes off the said hills); the rest fulle off woodes, Rivers, pasture and tillage. Here my Inne was None of the Richest, Nor my hostesse None off the yonguest, being 108 yeares off age, starke [utterly] blinde, halffe deaffe, with Never a word off English, the govemement off the house in the ordring off a yong kinsman off hers. With my white bread I had oaten cakes which I did rather eat For a raritie, and savoured very well. Our drincking in little hooped cuppes like tubbes, as it is all hereaboutts3 ; My bed off good Fresh straw, on which I slept as well as on Feathers.

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Next Morning I came to Brecknocke, where I heard service in Welsh, having the bible and booke of common prayer printed in the said language, though the lettres bee such as wee use.

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Herefford. I came to the Citty off Herefford. Itts is [sic] Neither soe greatt, handsome, Nor cleanly as either Bristoll or Glocester. There is a greatt Cathedrall Church and good voices, especially the boies (when they sang alltogether with the rest off the quire), very loud and steddy [...] [Page 20] The first off August 1639. I sett outt From Glocester towards Worcester. Thatt Night I lay att Tewkesbury. The Mustard off this place (For want off other Matter) is much spoken off, Made upp in balles as bigge as henns egges, att [...] [Page 22] 3d and 4d each, allthough a Farthing worth off the ordinary sort will give better content in my opinion, this beeing in sight and tast Much like the old dried thicke scurffe thatt sticks by the sides off a Mustard pott, but you May see whatt opinion [favourable estimate] will doe. Att this place is a double sluce (such as are betweene Venice and Padoa) To Convey vessells outt off Seveme upp into Avon [...]

The 2d ditto [August 1639]. I came to the Citty off Worcester. Itt is about the bignesse off Glocester: Faire and well paved streetes, high into the Middle with kennells on both sides: Many Cloathiers: A Faire Cathedrall Church, especially From the Chauncell or quire inwards, where I was told are 1230 grey Marble pillars, beesides other [...]

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The Tide head in the River off Severne aboutt Glocester. Moreover, here in the River off Severne att the New and Full off the Moone, there is thatt which is called the tide head, which is a sodaine swifftt and violentt rushing Forward off the Flood, in Manner off a billow turning the Currantt which First ran downe instantly backe againe upward, running with thatt rising and swifftly rowling Forward (like a sea over a Flatte or shoald) Many miles uppe in the Country about Glocester. Itt happens only att the First of the Flood and is presently [quickly] overpast, occasioned, it seemes, through the striving beetweene the tide off Floud From the Sea and the currant From the River, the water rising in this contention att their Meeting place, till att length the Sea [Page 25] ovennaistring the River maketh his passage perforce, driveth it backe againe beffore him. Itt is said there is such a one att Bridgewater, though nott soe greatt, having Not hitherto seene any other in England; butt att Roane in Normandy there is one Farre greater, which is called the Boare, and I heard say att my beeing att Suratt, there is one in the River off Cambayett in East India.

The River Isis: Oxfford. From Burfford wee came to Ensame Ferry , 9 Miles, where wee crossed over the River Isis, which nott Farre From hence joyneth with the River Tame, making both together the River Tamisis or Thames.

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Sturbridge Faire: Comodities and accomodation. The 12th September [1639]. I wentt downe the River Grauntt [Granta] in a tilted boate, and aboutt a Mile distantt From the Citty came to the place where Sturbridge Faire is keptt on a playne in tentts and boothes, Making Streetes and lanes with their particular Names, plentifully Furnished with all Manner off Comodities, especially hoppes, off which I thinck there were Nott Jesse then 2000 bagges lying on the Feild; allsoe woolle, Cloath, salt Fish, tarre, plate, brasse ware, wodden ware, all Manner off Necessaries, even to shoppes off old bootes and shooes, and Near 40 wyne tavemes. Soe having eaten some off their oysters, which were excellentt, and tasted some off their wyne and good Lynne beere outt off their boates which come From thence, I lefft the Faire and came backe to Cambridge thatt evening by land. I had Forgotte the Multitude off Alehouses, victualling houses, etts.

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Jillingame: The greatt shippe Royall Soveraigne. A Mile below thatt Againe is Jillingame [Gillingham], beeffore which rode the great Royall Sovereigne, which shippe I saw on the stockes in Aprill 1636 when wee wentt Forth our China voyage, Her head, wast, quarter and sterne soe largely inritched with Carved worcke overlaid with golde thatt itt appeares Most glorious even From a Farre, especially her spatious loffty stately sterne, Wheron is expressed all thatt art and cost can doe in Carving and guilding; her beakehead about 28 Foote over, where it is joyned to her howes; her inside as admirably contrived For strength, comelinesse, nett spatious Cabins, roomes, etts.; steered by takles on the Tiller, as Carrickes, directed From aloft by a truncke, wherein the voice is conveyed to them below; her Cookroome in hold, the worcke therein don by Candlelightt. Shee is said to have carried 92 brasse peeces off Ordnance. Shee hath 5 greatt lanthornes. In the biggest may stand 12 or [Page 36] 13 Men. Her [blank] was cutt in brasse by thatt excellentt graver and painter, Mr John Paine, and a large discription of her sett Forth in a book by [...].

The Bucintoro att Venice For carving and guilding may bee compared to her, butt For greattnesse as a Frigatt to a Galleon. [Page 37] The 27th September [1639]. Taking my Journey towards Deale, I passed through Canterbury, in whose Cathedrall Church is the Fairest ritchest and Neatest Font that ever I saw, off Marble both white and blacke [...]

Deale: The greatt Fleet in the Downes. Beeing come to Deale, I saw there a greatt Fleete riding all along beeffore the Beach, extending in all Near 3 miles, in Number about 160, wherof 52 or 53 Spanish, aboutt 80 or 90 Hollanders, the rest English, all seeming to bee butt one Fleete.

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Maidstone: Medway River. The 29th ditto. I came to Maidstone, beetweene which and Sittingbourne is a wild woddy stony way; butt For the towne itt selffe I am off opinion thatt For Many Miles aboutt London there is Not a handsomer and cleanlier place, standing by the River Medway, which here runneth in his owne bignesse, very smalle.

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The Destruction off the Spanish Fleete. The 14th ditto. Uppon the rumour off the Fightt to bee beegun beetweene the Hollander and the Spaniard, I returned to the Downes in company offe another Freind, where beeffore our arrivall, all was over. There saw wee some reliques off the ruined Spanish Fleete, viz., ashoare, wherof one burned, the rest bulged and utterly lost; the Country people att worck aboutt some in breakin them uppe For the tymber and Iron worcke. One off the suncke shippes is a greatt galleon [the Santa Teresa] with 2 galleries. Aboutt 14 More were yett riding att Anchor, butt how they may gett away is uncertaine.


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And if wee make bould with Scottland, there are Ilands in certaine lakes said to Floate and drive to and Fro with the winde with cattle and trees on them Allsoe a Fowle to breed off trees, growing out off them as Fruite outt off others, which I partly beeleive, having heard itt conffirmed by some; butt it is to bee understood they are such trees as lie within the wash off the sea, a certaine shell Fish growing theron, as oysters on rockes, or barnacles on shippes sides, which in tyme open, the yong Fowle droppe outt, groweth bigger, Flyeth abroad, and by the Country people are called Clawgeese. This requires Farther triall

The Cheiffest end off traveille. In Conclusion. More to bee enjoyed, More to bee seene at home in [our] owne land (take itt in the generall) then in any one country beesides in the whole world, both For conveniency and delightt. Butt the Almighty hath enordred thatt there should bee mutuall Comerce among all Nationes thatt the one Might participate with the other off such

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A good oportunity overslipt. The 16th March 1639 [1639/40]. Beeing bound over For Holland, I determined to have taken my passage For Rotterdam on a smalle Catche wheron wentt some Few passengers, butt Finding another conveyaunce on a bigger shippe, named the Contentt, to bee gon 2 daies after, I neglected and refused the Former.

The 20th [March 1639/40]. I came to Gravesend, having gotten a passe From the Custom house Thatt Nightt came the shippe Contentt, and here I understood thatt the Catch afforesaid was 2 daies since gon From thence, and by all mens Judgementt by this tyme mightt bee saffely arrived in Hollande, having had extraordinary Faire weather and as good a winde.

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The Towne [Queenborough]. This towne off Quinburrough consists off one smalle streete, accompted auntientt, having a Mayor and certaine priviledges extraordinary , somwhatt to bee compared to our towne of Michell [Mount St Michael] in Cornewall, only thatt lives by the land and this by the sea, beeing Most part Fishermen. It lies on the Ile off Shepey.

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Putt to Sea: beat backe againe. The 28th off Marche [1640]. Wee sett to sea, and thatt evening wee anchored att the boy [buoy] of the red sands butt the winds lessning arid the tide increasing, wee putt nott through For thatt tyme. Beeffore Morning the winde came contrary with such vehemency thatt itt grew More and More to a Storme, Soe thatt wee returned, thincking to putt in For Quinburrow againe.

In Daunger of Shippewracke with losse off lives and goods. Wee had not Rode long ere our cable brake a sunder. Wee lett Fall another Anchor, and by and by shee strucke with her keele on the sands in a violentt manner, [and] so continued beating [there], and wee expecting when shee would have splitt in sunder and suncke; then had there bin butt little hope off saving our lives, itt beeing Near It Miles From the shoare, extreame Foule cold weather, a deep hollow short sea. No small boat able to brooke itt, Neither was ours Capable off 1/4 off our company, wee beeing Near aboutt 6o persons. Butt itt pleased God to deliver us outt off this daunger by the Flowing off the water. Had itt Fallen away, wee had surely perished. Our shipp beeing strong and New was Nott much the worse, Allthough by the Masters owne conffession, who was allsoe Master off a vessell cast away aboutt 3 Monthes [since], the said shippe strucke not halffe as Much as this erre shee brake all to peeces. Wee thincking [Page 59] itt nott saffe to abide here another low water, Cutt our other cable in the hause, our men not able to wey [weigh] itt.

Another greatt daunger. Neer uppon Full sea sett saile, steering towards the shoare over sundry Flattes and shoulds att all adventures [at random] ; no man knowing the ground, the keele of the shippe very Neare itt Many tymes. Here the Master wrung his hands againe, lamenting his hard happe, this 2d daunger as greatt as the Former, For if shee had bin strucke with thatt Fresh way and a hollow sea, the water now ebbing, there had bin little hope off us. Butt God be praised, who delivered us allsoe this 2d tyme. Att last wee putt in to Feversham att the other Mouth thatt Maketh Shepey an Iland.

The 4th off April 1640. Wee sett Forth From Feversham and with the helpe off a pilate wee came to the North Forland. A 3d daunger. The 5th off April. In the Afternoone wee putt over For the Coast off Holland, and sayling all thatt Nightt with a Faire winde, Next Morning, the 6th, wee Found our selves by sounding to bee among shelves and shoalds to 5, 6 and 7 Fathom water, as wee thought on the banckes offe Flanders, the Morning prooving soe dusky, hazy and Misty thatt wee could not discerne Farre From us, otherwise wee made accompt to have seene the land; soe putt to seaward againe, and then in againe, and thus sundry tymes, Not knowing where wee were; only by sounding, wee Found our selves againe in daunger, having shoalds within and bancks withoutt. Att last the Mist brake uppe and wee saw the land Faire by, with steeples, butt amongst us all No man knew whatt to Make off itt. Some said it was Ostende in Flaunders, others thatt itt was Gouree [Goeree] in Holland, near the Maze [Maas], 2 places 20 leagues asunder.

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Rotterdam. This is a place off Much shipping and Trade [...]

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Here on the [Groote Markt] stands the statue off Erasmus Rotterdamus, excellently well cast in Brasse.

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Much low and drowned land beetweene Rotterdam and Amsterdam. By the way, our boatte and lading was with a Capstan drawne over Routers outt off one water into another , the latter lowermost by 1/2 a Foote, the other Not lett run into itt For overfflowing the lower ground. In all the way nott a towne off any quallity; the ground generally all low and Marish.

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Harleim. Within few daies I wentt to Harlem [ ? ] miles distantt, aboutt which is some rising ground, many pretty groves and woodes, Faire long rancks of Trees with pleasauntt walkes betweene, allso Nurseries off smalle trees, For From hence, they say, Amsterdam and divers other places are supplied with them to Furnish their streetes. A little beyond the towne are certaine Sandhills called dounes, where breed store of Cunnies, off which many are brought to Amsterdam, etts.

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Scarcity of good water: foundation of houses. Rivers, Fountaines off good Water very scarce in this part off the Country, by reason off the Marshy lownesse and Muddinesse off the soile, For att Amsterdam att the building off a house they Must drive in certaine timbers or Masts 42 or 43 Foote deepe beeffore they Meet with any Fast ground, which is a sand att last, on which is laid the Foundation. These tymbers are said to continue hundreds off yeares sound, as long as they ly in the Moist earth From the Ayre. They are Forced in by a certaine engine, beeing a greatt waightt, whereunto is Fastned a Maine rope, and unto that againe aboutt 40 other smaller, there beeing soe many severall Men which pull att them in the same Manner and with the same Action, as sometimes Many Men doe at the Ringuing of some greatt bell. The waight, by the helpe off a large pully, is Forced uppe, and with his Fall driveth the piles till they Meet with the Sand, as afforesaid. Allsoe I have seene a whole house off bricke, etts., sundry stories high, standing [Page 67] alltogether uppon screwes , as on stilts, the Foundation beeing deane taken away. With these, by report, they will remove large buildings From one place to another. Also sundry other engenious devices with which they abound, as wind sawing Mills, windmills For dreyning off water, etts., the yong Following the old, as by Many pretty windmills and shippes, etts., to goe and saile with the wind, wanting only greatnesse.

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The 17th August Anno 1640. Wee sett saile from Amsterdam in the Hope, of Vlieland, Skipper William Tiebbes, beeing Mondaie Morning, and thatt afternoone wee were aground on the Pampos, a greatt Flatte of oaze lying att the entrance of the Snider Sea , a little sea on this coast, bounded to the Eastwardt with sundry smalle Hands, as the Texell, the Vlie, der Skelling, Ameland, etts.; many places off Noate lying round about on the inside, viz., Campen, Staverne, Harlingen, Enckhuisen, Horne, etts. Wee came off againe. Wee passed beetweene Enchuusen and. Staverne, both in sightt, and Anchored thereaboutts thatt Nightt.

The 18th ditto. Wee came to the Vlie, where wee Found riding aboutt 200 saile, bound all to the Northward, this beeing the ordinary outtlett For such, as the Texell is For Southward bound Men

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Wild duckes: Tame geese: A comparison beetweene Flocks of geese and Flocks of sheepe. I never in my liffe att once saw greater quantity off any sort off Fowle as here were of wild ducks alongst the shoare by the Naring afforesaid, Their seeming to Fill the aire and cover the sea thereaboutts. From whence, itt seemes, in winter, this place and all ponds in these parts beeing Frozen uppe, they repaire to warmer Countries, as England, etts. For a season, and soe returne againe. Allsoe a wonderfull Number of Tame geese beetweene Dantzig and Elbing, it beeing a trade, by report, in these Countries For many to keepe thousands of them For their proffitt, as with us Flockes of sheepe, as the one For their Flesh and wooll, soe the other For Food and Feathers, both having keepers and both Feeding on grasse. Soe Farre they may bee compared together, butt nott any way in the beneffitt and service For the use of Man, the Former not to bee regarded in respect of the latter.

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The Haffe: Proffitable water. The 7th [October 1640]. Wee sailed backe through the Haffel and came to one off the Mouthes off the Weesell [Weichsel, Vistula], som 54 Miles. This Haffe, by report, For the quantity off itts extentt affoards More beneffitt by Fish then any other peece off land off the like dimension in the Country can yeild otherwise (buildings exc[epted]). Som 10 or 12 Miles uppe the River [mouth of the Weichsel] is deepe water For a good space, where att the Spring of the yeare is Much sturgeon taken. That night wee lay in a Crew (inn] after the accustomed Manner.

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Woods and Lakes. The first halffe of the way betweene Dantzigk and Thorun plaine arable or tillage land, the other halffe in like Manner, butt with some woods and ponds or lakes, with which by report this Country abounds, From whence accrewes greate beneffitt to the Lords or some perticuler great ones off the Land, As by timber, tarre, pottashes, etts., From the Former, And by Fish From the Latter.

Extreame Cold. The 25tt afforementioned [December 1640]. Wee were on our way aboutt 6 houres before day, when I Feltt the greatest [Page 98] cold thatt ever I did in my liffe. Wee then travelled against the winde, which caused my eies to water (teares are brinish), which soe congealed thatt I had lscicles hung on my eielids as bigge as pease. I tied a cloath over my Face, butt within a little space itt beecame as hard as pastboard. The cold Meeting with my moist breath caused it to Freese in thatt Manner thatt itt stucke to my beard, upper and Neither [above and below], having Much adoe to keepe itt Free, which hanguing full of lsicles, as allsoe Many under my Chynne Nere my throate, off which I felt the paine long after. My nose was soe benummed For awhile thatt I could Nott well tell whither I had one or Noe; butt itt came to itts selffe againe, allthough in 5 or 6 daies after the skynne came quite offe. I mightt have had a Mischance [injury, mutilation] (perhapps), had not it beene prevented in tyme. It was a Month ere I had the rightt use of one off My Fingers. Another experiment allsoe I tried, [but] beecause hardly to bee beleived withoutt triall, I will here omitt. Some may say itt was Nott such cold weather as att other tymes happens. I graunt it. But itt was my owne Faultt. Beeing unexperienced with the Nature off these sorts [of] colds, I Made No provision For prevention, thincking if I could endure the sharpenesse therof (which I did strive to doe), itt were enough. Another tyme, should it bee Farr colder, itt should Not soe much Trouble Mee, beecause I would rather seeke to avoide and shroud my selff from itts rigor then thincke to outtface itt as I did. On the way, Horses Noses and mens beards hang dangling with lsicles; our Meat and Drinck Frozen in the wagon. Itt was the coldest day thatt had bin yett this year. Greatt difference beetweene travelling here in winter and in East India in summer; allthough contrary, yett both bad, the one for Cold and Frost, the other For heatt and dust.

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A greatt Faire. In this place and now att this tyme is kept the greatest Mart or Faire thatt is held in all these partts, resorted unto From Farre, as Germany, Turkey, Italy, etts. Itt lasteth aboutt 15 daies. Here were many ritche and wellffurnished shoppes of Scotts, There beeing Many 100 (I may say 1000) Families off that Nation inhabitants off this land.

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The Manner of Fishing in Frozen waters. Att Brandenburg, aboutt 1 1/2 Mile From the shoare, were many companies off Fishers att worcke on the Ice, which commonly is in this manner: First the[y] Make 2 large holes through the Ice and beetween them com passe other lesser. Then att one of the great holes, Lettere a, they putt downe one end off their Nett, which with a pole, or Many Fastned together, Near 40 yards long, they convey From hole to hole on the side lettere B, till itt com to the other great opening at lettere c. And soe they doe with the other end off the Nett, viz., letting itt down by letter a, conveying it aboutt by letter D, till itt com to letter c afforesaid, where they [sic, the] Nett is drawen uppe, which takes a great Compasse, it beeing aboutt [blank] Fathom in length and [blank] broad (as per the Figure below).

[Fishing in frozen water]
[Page 112]








The 3d dicto. Wee sett saile, the wind contrary. Wee plied to windward untill the 5tt, when wee bore backe (by reason itt overblew) and anchored by Hele, a smalle towne aboutt 6 leagues From Dantzigk afforesaid. This place somwhatt to bee compared to Quinsburrough [Queenborough] in Kentt For itts Forme and condition off inhabitants; generally Fishers.

Att tymes are seales here killed, wherof some Milke white while they are yong, and growing elder, beecome dappled or spotted like unto Leopards; here beeing some of their skynnes.

[Page 119]

Gluckstad: The kings gardein. The 19th [June 1641]. Wee came and againe Anchored before Geluckstade [Gliickstadt], a Fortiffied place where the king of Denmarcke takes I per cent Custom off shippes thatt passe to and Fro, having a garrison in the towne and some shippes of warre lying beffore itt; among the rest a gaily. Att the entraunce is a Finely contrived Fort, builtt aboutt 3 yeares since A little Farther is the kings house, a Faire building, and adjoyming [sic] to the towne on the other side is his garden and house of pleasure, in my opinion worth Notice, especially the house. The gardein stands in a square plott off ground, emcompassed with a quicksett hedge or wall, the best thatt I have seen, making Most delightsome walkes, within which ly Many compartmentts, knotts, etts., all Finely contrived and clean and neatly kept. In the very Middest off all stands the house, builtt 4 square, and outt of every side againe Issues another, as by the First Figure , which representts the Foundation covered over with Lead on the toppe, and in the Middest a high spire composed off 4 Snakes twyning one with the other, as 4 strands in a Cord, their tailes Making the uppermost and sharpest point, their heads lowermost to the very roofe. On the 4 outtletts [wings] on the 4 sides are 4 greatt winged dragons all off lead, the underpart off the said squares supported with pillars, excepting where doore or entrance.

The banquetting house therin. Itt consists off severall roomes, 2 principall in the middle, [Page 120] viz, the banquetting roome and the kitchin under itt, there beeing a seller [cellar] under thatt againe. From the banquetting roome they goe into 4 smaller, which stand on pillars on the 4 outtletts [wings], in one off which is the kings bed; the Cheiff roomes paved with white and blacke Marble Chequered, with sundry ritch pictures. In my Minde itt is nott soe greatt, as pretty and Finely contrived; builtt aboutt the same tyme the Fort was; the said Fort resembling a gentlemans house, as the Castle att Elsanour doth a kings pallace. The king himselff often here, affecting the place, repayring, building and Furnishing his house etts., More and More, as allso in Fortiffication.

[Page 129]

A poore Countrie: hard living. The land From the Cape hither off a good Forme, like our English coast aboutt Cornewall and Devonshire; much snow over all, as well on the lower ground as on the higher land, disabled therby From producing any Corne or other greene thing wee could perceave, For From the Cape hither, beeing about 120 Miles, there was not a tree or bush to bee seene. I thincke itt to bee the uncomffortablest country and most inconvenientt For the liffe of Man off any other part off the world thatt is inhabited, yeilding little or Nothing Fitting For his sustenance or Comffortt; only the sea affoards them plenty off Fish, off which, dried and beaten smalle, they use For bread, and the Fatte For butter and oyle; this For the Most part by report. Yett, beeing bred and accustomed to the Country, they are contented with thatt Manner off living and kind off fare, and itt seemes itt prooves as well with them as others with all variety and ease with us. Att leastwise those thatt came to us wear Fatt, Fresh and healthy to see to.

Most off the Fish wee had From them were Helebutts [halibut], off which they had in their boate (thatt they would nott spare us) some above 6 Foot long. Itt is in Forme like a plaice, broad and Flatte, rather like a sole. About 4 in the evening wee were within 4 or 4 [sic] Mile off the Iland Warouse or Wardhouse [Vardo] afforesaid. The wind beeing contrary, wee putt off to Sea.

[Page 134]

Mosqueetos. The 26th July [1641]. I came uppe the River Dwyna [Dvina] in an English boate. By [on] the way they putt a shore to cutt a Mast For their boate, butt coming aboarde From the wood, they broughtt with them a Multitude off Mosqueetos etts. [and other] Flies. Buttby and by with a gale off wind wee were cleared, which blew them quite away. Here in the River wee saw a Fish much bigger then a grampus, milk white. Some say, beecause these kind off Fishes Frequentt this Sea, thatt thereffore itt is called the White Sea, For otherwise itt mightt bee called the blacke or [Page 135] Red Sea by the coullor off the water, the River beeing of the same, beetween blacke and red, as beforesaid. Itt may bee conceaved thatt the Many Rivers comming From Marish lands, with which this country abounds, and runing into this Sea, thatt water beeing of a darcke reddish coullour allters the coullour off this, itt beeing butt a narrow Sea. All the way uppe the River, low land Full off woods, Marishes and Bushes ; Few habitations.

[Page 149]

Plenty of provision. Some gardeins off the common sort were aboutt the towne, butt[I] could not perceave other then cole, etts., to grow there. In the Markett were sould severall sorts off berries, herbs, roots, etts. Butt For Flesh provision, itt wantts Nott, as Oxen, sheepe, poultry, wild Foule of sundry sortts, as duckes, geese, swannes, partridges, Mooehens [sic], herons, etts., here beeing plenty and cheape. Of wild swannes wee saw many hundred in Flightts and in Flockes on the banckes off the River as wee came downe. I saw in a Dutchmans house a peacocke and a peahen as white as Milke, butt I conceave brought here From some other part and reserved For a presentt, allsoe some dear [reindeer] boughtt off the Samoyeds. They were Fedd with hard dry Mosse. More, a bigge Fowle, allmost as greatt as the Saros in East India, which are here by the Dutch called Cranes; and those which wee in Spaine and Turky call Cranes are by them called Owffares.

[Page 167]







DantZigk: itts comparison with London. The Citty of Dantzigk is in the Province of Pommerella, reckoned under the Crowne of Poland, reckoned allso in Prussia , And according to the computation Formerly made beetween Amsterdam and London, this place with suburbes may conteyn 1/4 as many people as London with itts suburbs, and 1/2 as many as Amsterdam : For in a healthy tyme, voide off any contagion or Noted sicknesse, there dye in London about 200 persons ; att Amsterdam aboutt 100; and here about so: somwhatt More or lesse. Itt lyeth in the latitude of 541/2 degrees [54° 21'] North: very hard winters (allthough [Page 168] the colder and harder accompted the better and wholesomer) and very hott som part off the summer.

[Page 187]

Fish. Here is a Fish called Spittsgarres, somwhatt like a lamprey, smaller and wanting holes aboutt his head. These will live a yeare or two or More in a bottle off water and will grow bigger therin, beeing Fedd: after the Nature off those in China.

[Page 188]

A Comparison beetweene Prusse and India. These partts in som perticulers may bee compared to some parts off India, allthough Farre distantt and much differing in temperature off the aire, conditiones off the people, etts. For as there, if shippes take nott their opportunity to com away with the Monsoone are deteyned certayne Monthes, Soe here likewise, if shippes gett nott away in tyme are Frozen uppe untill spring, in which interim No trading by Sea by reason off Ice, as att Suratt [and] thereaboutts in tyme off Raynes, For stormes and currantts. As there the Trees are greene all the Yeare, soe here in many parts are greatt Forrests, woods and willdemesses off many Miles in length and breadth, off Pine or Firre trees, which continue greene winter and summer. The Fruite or pine-apple , no bigger then an egge, comes to No perffection as in Spaine, where they are very large and have under every Scale a Smalle nutt called Piniones, esteemed better then almonds. Moreover, as there some tyme off the yeare, in Many places, Cattle can hardly com by Fodder in the Feilds by reason off heatt and droughtt; Soe here, through cold weather, Frost and Snow, Scarce any Cattle lefft outt all winter long, either covered with Snow or Frozen allsoe [by] the sharpnesse and bittemesse off the weather.

[Mundy's Journeys Inland]


[Page 203]

A strange water worcke. The Gardners servauntt shewed mee a house in a garden Near the pallace, which by wheele worckes drew water outt of a well of it selffe, which hee gave mee to understand after this Manner, viz: , among other is one great principall wheele unto which are fastned a greatt Number of pottts. This wheele, having once Motion given itt, Forceth upp a quantity of water through pipes by the helpe of pumpe holes, leathers, etts., as I have seene in other water worckes. Of this water, part runneth to the pallace and the rest runneth back in to the vessells fastned on the greatt wheele, which beeing of a greatt compasse, a little waight on the Circumference causeth itt to goe aboutt (as wee see in our common cranes where Man will wey upp Near [blank] waight). Having once Motion, itt forceth upp Soe much water thatt supplies the kings house and itt selff againe to continue the said Motion of itt selffe, Soe thatt if this bee true, as I thinck itt is, Itt may bee rightly called a perpetual Motion: the water in the well supplyed by his owne springs. Itt was contrived by an Italian, who dying and the worck comming out of frame, there hath bin none since can bee found thatt can bring itt into order againe, soe thatt att presentt there must bee 12 Tartar slaves to supply the worcke which the wheele alone [Page 204] performed of itt selffe. (This is to bee farther examined.) There are many other Tartar slaves aboutt the pallace imployed in drudgery, in Chaines aboutt their legges Another [garden].

In another garden was another device Intended and beegun by an Italian allsoe, butt remayned uneffectuall, which was a hart or dear of wood to run to and Fro perpetually by water worck; perhapps after the Nature of the Former. The wooden hart with some other devices were there yett to bee seene, yett new.

[Page 208]

Pilot boates. They have allwaies a very little narrow boate, or trough rather, wherin one thatt is nott accustomed would hardly adventure to Sitt in, worse to stand upp in. These little pilatt boates, with one man in them, are sentt a pretty [considerable] distance before, who with one oare paddles his boat forth as those thatt [go] downe the River From the Country to Bayon in France. I say these sound the depth with their paddle as they goe forth, and [with] their said paddle Make a signe to the Cane, weaving [waving] them to the Rightt or left hand, etts., whichever followes the little prow. Hard cold wether 8 daies after Easter. Att our arrivall att Dantzigk, beeing the 3/13th Aprill, was such a hard Frost that some of our hollandish guests wentt over the Ice on the Motlaw with shrittshooes by the Citty where shipps use to lye.

[Page 222]

A strange Manner of Fishing. The 19th [August]. Itt prooving calme, they beeing on the bancke or riffe [reef] of Schagen, they wentt to fish for Coddalau or [blank] after a way I saw not. Yett they have a peece of lead cast in the forme of a herring on the stemme of a double hooke, which beeing let downe to the bottome, they sodainely and violently snatche uppe againe. This they do continually, letting downe and snatching uppe, not thatt the fish doth then bite, butt itt seemes the living fish comming about the Counterfaict herring are hitched or hooked on the outtside in head, backe, belly or taile ; butt wee then caught None of them, only pretty store of Mackrell since wee came into the North Sea, which are commonly caught in a gale of wynde when the shippe or boate hath fresh waie.

[Page 223]

that Severall sorts of fish require severall sorts of fishing, as allsoe places and seasons.

The 21th [August]. Since the 19th variable windes and weather; to day much wind and a great sea against us, beeing on Dubbers bancke.

[Page 224]

A faire shore: A dangerous Coast. Hardly a sea shore to bee seene better stored with townes, trees, tillage, etts., and pleasanter to looke on then was this From Yarmouth to Albrough, butt on the other side [hand] not a More dangerous coast For shoalds, bancks, etts., passing by many boies, beacons, wracks of shipps, etts. Wee anchored to Nightt a little above Lee.

The 26th of August 1647. Wee came a little shortt of Gravesend and anchored there by reason of Contrary windes. The 27th [August]. Wee came to Gravesend where wee tooke boate For London and landed att Billingsgate, I beeing then Just 50 years of age .Here wee found a greatt and strange Alteration in Citty and Country, in the Religion, government, Customes, conditiones and affections of the people of whatt it was when I last left these parts (being Near 7 yeares), The perticuler proceeding and occasion of all these confusions I am not able to Judge off, so leave it to wiser heads and proceed yett a little further to Make an end of this voyage.

This is a selection from the original text


climate, fish, flood, house, river, settlement, trade, travel

Source text

Title: The Travels of Peter Mundy in Europe and Asia, 1608-1667, Volume IV

Author: Peter Mundy

Editor(s): Lt.-Col. Sir Richard Carnac Temple

Publisher: The Hakluyt Society

Publication date: 1925

Original compiled c.1628-1667

Edition: 1st Edition

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Internet Archive: Original compiled c.1628-1667

Digital edition

Original author(s): Peter Mundy

Original editor(s): Lt.-Col. Sir Richard Carnac Temple

Language: English


Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: India > non-fiction prose > travel narratives and reports

For more information about the project, contact Dr Ayesha Mukherjee at the University of Exeter.