THE HONOURABLE EAST INDIA COMPANY SERVICE

~ GLOSSARY ~
of abreviations and terms and detailed description of the ship's structure.

Cable's length (distance): tenth of a nautical mile (approx 101 fathoms).
1 Fathom: 6 Feet (1.8 metres).
1 league: 3 statute miles (4.828032 km) on land or 3 Nautical miles = 3.45 land miles, (5.556 km at sea). On land it was the distance one could walk in about an hour.
Nautical miles: 1.151 miles approx. The nautical mile is based on the circumference of the Earth and is equal to one minute of latitude.


After Swifters: ropes or stays set on the outside of the main rigging to give support, especially to the masts during heavy weather.
Arrack: distilled alcoholic drink made from the sap of coconut flowers.
Alee: to the lee side of.
Bales: of cloth.
Bankshall: is a warehouse in the East Indies.
Bar: of sand etc., across river mouth.
Bateing: lowering, letting down, depressing.
Beating: sailing as close as possible towards the wind (perhaps only about 60°) in a zig-zag course to attain an upwind direction to which it is impossible to sail directly; also known as tacking.
Bend, bent, bending: to tie, fasten or attach two ropes or lines. Also a chock on the bowsprit.
Billet wood: wood for living quarters.
Bitts: another term for a wooden or iron cleat or fastener used in securing the sail.
Bobstay: a stay which holds the bowsprit downwards, counteracting the effect of the forestay. Usually made of wire or chain to eliminate stretch.
Boheas: an area in China where black tea was obtained.
Bowsprit Shrouds: ropes extending from the head of the Bowsprit to the bow & sides of the vessel.
Bulwark: planking or wood-work round a vessel above her deck.
Bumkin: sometimes Bumpkin - an iron bar or spar projecting from the ship’s side.
Butter nut: probably butternut squash for drinking.
C&D: course & distance.
Called to quarters: called to action stations.
Can/Cann: Indian hemp.
Cant: the cant line is a groove between the strands of a rope or a piece of wood used in a tight space to add leveridge.
Capstan: a mechanical circular device set into the forward deck to enable a hawser, rope often attached to an ancher.
Careened: cleaning the underside of the ship of barnacles etc.
Carronade: a short smoothbore, cast iron cannon, which was used by the Royal Navy and first produced by the Carron Company in the 1770s.
Catharpins/Catharpinning: short ropes or iron clamps used to brace in the shrouds toward the masts.
Cathead:  to prepare an anchor, after raising it by lifting it with a tackle to the cat head, prior to securing it alongside for sea. An anchor raised to the cat head is said to be catted.
Caulk: sealing crevices in deck etc.
Caulker: a filler and sealer.
Chains: chains or channels; broad planks attached to the sides of a ship, projecting out to produce small platforms to spread the shrouds to a more advantageous angle and thereby giving a greater power to secure the mast.
Chaldron: bushels = 8 gallons.
Cheeks: projections at the throat-end of a gaff which embraces the mast or pieces of timber in any situation which are double and perfectly corresponding to each other. There are also other meanings.
Chist: a bag or chest containing items belonging to a sailer.
Chokey/chokee: an east Indian guard-house and prison.
Chops: [of tea] sealed boxes.
Chow chow chop: last boat with small & personal items.
Cleat (Clete): a T shaped piece of metal or wood to which ropes are attached..
Cloathing the lower yards: clothing, as in securing the collars in clothing a bowsprit, and strops in rigging a lower or topsail-yard.
Clues: fastening of a small loop of rope used in attaching a sail to the masts.
Cockets: Seals belonging to the King’s Custom House or a sealed document with certificates showing that duty had been paid on the merchandise.
Coiar [coir]: a rope made from the fibre of the Coconut in Malaysia.
Comprador(e): a person who acts as an agent for foreign organizations engaged in investment, trade, or economic or political exploitation.
Congo: "chops of congo tea" were loaded onto East Indiamen at Whampoa, China for export to England.
Conn: position for directing a ships steerage, helm etc. (Hence modern: Conning-tower on a submarine).
Cordage: rope.
Counter: the part of the stern above the waterline that extends beyond the rudder stock culminating in a small transom.
Country ship: Honourable East India Company's ships that plied between ports in the Eastern seas.
Courses down: all sails attached to lowest yards.
Crossjack: a square yard used to spread the foot of a topsail where no course is set, e.g. on the foremast of a topsail or above the driver on the mizzen mast of a ship rigged vessel.
Crosstrees: timbers supported by the cheeks and trestle-trees at the upper ends of the lower and top masts.
Cuddy: a small cabin in a boat.
Cutter: small boat fitted for rowing or sailing.
D'ft: draft, depth of boat or ship.
Dawk boat: an old postal system used in Pakistan.
Dead wood: certain blocks of timber, fayed on the upper side of the keel, particular at the extremes before and abaft.
Dials: sense not known.
Disrate: to reduce in rank or rating; demote.
Divisions: parade of Ships Crew.
Dolphin striker: a short near vertical spar under the bowsprit.
Dunnage: packing to protect cargo.
F'ms: fathoms.
Extra ships: ships built in India and hired by the HEICS for a particular voyage. These were often made from better materials than those made in Britain and were considered to be longer lasting.
Factory stores: these are stores for the Company’s Factories in their overseas settlements.
False Fire: Used for signalling at sea at night. A composition which burned with a blue flame was packed into a wooden tube and when ignited would burn for several minutes.
Fearnought: a thick heavy overcoating made of wool often mixed with shoddy and that has a rough shaggy face; also a garment made of this material — called also dreadnought.
Fidded: small wooden bar attached to a small mast in the upper rigging.
Filled: a ship that is forced backward and forward by 'shivering' the sail.
Fishing/fish pieces: to repair a mast or spar with a fillet of wood.
Fleeting: fleeting: changing the situation of a tackle by placing the blocks further asunder.
Flints: hard stone.
Fluted the fore rigging: meaning not sure, perhaps a form of tying and folding the rigging.
F'ded: folded.
F'wd: forward, front of ship.
Frapping: to frap, the use of rope to bind.
Furl: to roll or gather a sail against its main or spar.
Futtocks: middle timbers of a ship's frame, between the floor and the top timbers.
Gaff: repair a mast or spar with a fillet of wood.
Gall't: gallant, a top sail.
Gammoned: the lashing of ropes.
Gang cask: a gang is a narrow platform on a deep-waisted ship leading from the quarter-deck to the forecastle. Presumably these casks were set on this gang.
Gauntlet: to run the gauntlet is to take part in a form of corporal punishment in which the party judged guilty is forced to run between two rows of men who strike at him.
Garboard strake: The garboard plank (strake) is fitted next to and rebated into the keel.
Gaff: a spar to which the head of a fore-and-aft sail is bent, a four sided fore & aft mounted sail.
Gig: captain's gig: A light narrow ship’s boat generally rowed, at the disposal of the ship's captain for his use in transportation to other ships or to the shore.
Giggar: see Jigger.
Grapnals: a small anchor with several flukes.
Grog: rum and water.
Ground service: believed to be tackle attached to bower ankers to strengthen either them or their movement.
Guess warp: a strong line leading from well forward of the ship out through a block in the end of a boom and ends in a metal thimble through which boats reeve their bow lines.
Gunter: the gunter is defined as a wire that leads from one point near the end of a gaff to a point near the other end. A vessel with a gunter rigged mainsail is called a gunter rig.
Gunwale: Gun Whale - upper edge of side of ship.
Haff: a pool or lake of water that is fresh situated at the mouth of a river.
Halse/Hawse: the shaft or hole in the side of a vessel's bow through which the anchor chain passes.
Hand/handed: to furl a sail/furled as sail.
Haul head: a term for the head of a capstan where one places poles to winding in a hawser.
Head knees: pieces of moulded compass timber fayed edgeways to the cut-water and stem, to steady the former, these are also cheek-knees.
H C'ys: Honourable Company.
Hoppo: Chinese Customhouse Officers - overseers.
Hoy: a type of wherry, barge, bark, lighter, under the general description of river craft, used for transporting cargo to and from ship etc.
Hull down: ship almost beyond the horizon, only showing the sails.
Inclinable: favourable.
Jib: a small rectangular sail attached to a jib boom attached to the front of the ship.
Jiggermast & sails: a jiggermast is a fourth mast set at the stern of the ship and carrying triangular sails.
Jolly boat: a type of small ship's boat used to ferry personnel & small items to & from the ship.
Junk: old ropes, cables, oakum etc.
Junk: a type of slanting sail.
Jury: a temporary sail or mast, often used in an emergency.
Kedge: anchor used for warping.
Kentledge: pig-iron etc. used for ballast - "so as to avoid tilts and shifts".
Knight-heads: two large timbers, one on each side of the stem, rising up sufficiently above to support the bowsprit.
Lanyard/laniard/lanniers: a short pierce of rope made fast to anything to secure it.
Launch: shallow draft boat.
Lazeretto: a small stowage locker at the aft end of a boat, sometimes used as a quarantine.
Leadsman: a sailor who takes soundings with a lead.
Leech lining: a side cloth of a topsail cut obliquely, or lining of a topsail, called by sailmakers the leech-lining.
Letters of Marque: a Government licence given to the owners of private ships during the time of war, commissioning them to attack and seize the ships or property of the enemy.
Lights: lightning.
Lighters: flat bottomed boats used for transporting cargo to a wharf, see under 'Hoy'.
Limber: detachable gun carriage.
Lumber: timber sawn into planks.
Lumper: labourer for unloading cargo.
Maritime signalling: see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maritime_flag_signalling.
Manned-the-yards: crew standing in a line to give salute.
Martingale: lower stay of rope used to sustain strain of the forestays.
Masting-fall: not clear but concerned with the replacing of a mast - "reeving the masting-fall and preparing for getting the foremast in".
Mats, Matts: a thick web of rope yarn used to protect the standing rigging from the friction of other ropes.
Mechanics: Tradesmen.
Messenger: an endless rope or chain passing from the capstan to the cable to haul it in or a light line with with a heavier line attached which may then be hauled e.g. from the deck of a ship to the pier.
Miz: mizzen; the third and smallest mast.
Mizzen Channel: the channel is the plank that forms the horizontal part of the chains.
Mizzling: thick mist or fine rain.
Muller: used for grinding paint colours.
Mungeet: the Bengal Madder or Munjeet, a plant whose roots are used for dyeing.
Nankeen: also called Nankeen cloth, is a kind of pale yellowish cloth, originally made at Nanjing, China from a yellow variety of cottoncloth.
Native Infantry (NI): native regiments under the control of the Honourable East India Company.
Nipper: short rope used to bind a cable to the moving line propelled by the capstan.
Oakum: used for sealing crevices in deck etc.
Offing: a position at a distance from shore.
Owers Light: off Selsley Bill.
Paddy: rice with the husk or in the Straw.
Parrel: a rope loop or sliding collar by which a yard or spar is held to a mast.
Partners: a framework of thick plank, fitted round the several scuttles or holes in a ship's decks, through which the masts, captans &c pass.
Paying: filling a seam with caulking or pitch.
Pendante: a length of wire or rope secured at one end to a mast or spar and having a block or other fitting at the lower end.
People: a description given to the crew by the Captain.
Pipes: casks or Butts.
Preventer: a rope used for additional support as in brace.
Private trade: can mean several things but in essence it is – non Company Trade or other authorised merchants outside of the Company, Crew etc.
Proas or flying proa: a small and fast sailing boat with unequal hulls used in the seas around the Ladrone Islands in the Pacific and Far Esstern waters, see: http://www.pacificproa.com/micronesia/flying_proas_of_the_Ladrone_Islands.html for a full description of these remarkable boats.
Protection: a document held by the Captain as a protection against the Royal Navy impressing crew members but often ignored.
Pulo/Pulao: an island.
Puddening: fibres of old rope packed between spars, protecting the rings of the anchors by wrapping them or used as fender.
Quoins: Tapered blocks, probably used to prevent guns and barrels from moving.
Raft: a flat structure, normally stored on deck. It was made up of an assortment of casks, planks etc., fastioned together and used for transferring material to the shore. An image of one is to be seen in the painting of the Bridgewater.
Rafting: coneying goods by floating, as by raft-chains, lashings, &c.
Rattan: tough stems of palms used for wickerwork, canes, sticks etc.
Rattlin/rattling: ratlines pronounced Rattlins - found on all square rigged ships to aid in repairs aloft.
Reeving: threading a line through blocks (& tackle).
Requisite: required by circumstances.
Riders: timbers used to secure part of a vessel which has become weak.
Roads: the term Roads (short for roadstead) indicates the safety of a port; as applied to a body of water, it is a partly sheltered area of water near a shore in which vessels may ride at anchor".
Ropeband: small plaited lines rove through the eyelet holes with a running eye used to fasten the head of the sail to the spar.
Rounding: the act of wrapping the cable around a spar or hawser.
Rouse: haul by force.
Rowed/row/road guard: communicating by flag.
Salt petre, beating of: meaning not known.
Scuttle: a small opening, or lid thereof, in a ship's deck or hull.
Seizing: fastening any two ropes together with turns of small stuff.
Serang: a native captain of a crew of sailors in the East Indies.
Shears: a lifting device for raising spars etc.
Shift: change or alter.
Shivering: to trim a ship's yards so that the wind strikes on the edges of the sails making them flutter in the wind.
Shockbury: shoeburyness.
Shotted: target practicing, in this case with the cannon.
S'l/Sig'l: signal.
Sinnet & Spun yarn: to do with rope making.
Skysails: a sail set very high, above the royals. Only carried by a few ships.
Smoaked: as in "cleaned and smoaked the gun deck = fumigating gun deck.
Spanker: a full-rigged ship has a spanker sail aft but not a spanker-mast.
Spoke: an action - not sure of context in this case.
Spring, sprung: split or cracked.
Spritsail: is a four sided sail usually laced on to the mast along its luff. It can range from almost square to having a pronounced peak. It may or may not have a boom, but it will always have a sprit. A sprit is a spar which supports the peak of the sail.
Spun-yarn: a small line, formed of two or more old rope yarns twisted together.
Srapped: the spare topmasts, yards &c. are secured by being srapped and belayed to prevent the booms shifting.
Standing: the fixed part of rigging that support the masts.
Stave: a narrow strip of wood forming part of the sides of a barrel.
Stayed: secure with stays.
Steerage: section of a ship for inexpensive accommodation with no individual cabins.
Stem: the extension of keel at the forward end of a ship.
Stilt: not known in this sense.
Stou: an old form of stow - "stou, make fast & belay".
Stream 'anchor': a light anchor for use with a bower in narrow waterways.
Strop: a piece of rope, spliced into a circular wreath and used to surround the body of a block so that the latter can be hung from the masts, yards or rigging.
Studding Gear / Sails: long and narrow sails, used only in fine weather, on the outside of the large square sails.
Stuff: a term used for any composition laid on to ships spars, bottom &c.
Sun: Sunn-hemp – Indian Hemp.
Supra Cargoes: A company official or committee in charge of the distribution of goods from ship arriving and departing from ports such as Penang and Canton.
Sway: to move or hoist.
Swayed: moved.
Sweep: part of the curvature or mould of the ship or a semi circular frame on which the tiller traverses.
Swifters: a pair of shrouds fixed above the other shrouds for swifting or stiffening a mast.
Syrang: An official in India, someone in charge of a harbour craft.
Tierces: casks or crates.
Tindal: a petty officer among lascars, or native East Indian sailors; a boatswain's mate.
Traveller: a small sliding fitting for inboard end of main sheet.
Trimming: preparation for sailing.
Trestle-tree: two pieces of timber, horizontally fore & aft on opposite sides of the mast-head to support the cross-trees & the top and heel of a top mast above.
Trussel: a furled sail.
Trussel trees: timbers of varying lengths attached to the tops of masts.
Trysail: a reduced sail used by craft in lieu of their mainsail.
Turned: the action, in this case, of punishment such as being tied to the mast.
Twanky Tea: an inferior grade of green tea.
Trow: a small river sailing craft, much used on the river Severn.
Twined: the act of tying a man of object to the mast.
Unbent: detached.
Under bare poles: with all sails furled because of high winds.
V'ble: variable.
Wads: made from old cloth or rope in barrel of cannon.
Waist: the central deck of a ship between the forecastle and the quarterdeck.
Waist anchors: spare anchors for use in emergency.
warp/Warping: moving ship from one place to another using a hawser.
Waughers: meaning not traced but in this case may be a variant of wafer as in wafer-thin Mother of Pearl.
Water Ways: certain deck-planks which are wrought next to timbers; they serve to connect the sides of a ship to her decks.
W'r: weather.
Wearing ship: tacking away from the wind in a square-rigged vessel.
Weigh: raise anchor before sailing.
Well: the lower part or well-end of a ships pump.
Whiskers: spreaders from the bows to spread the bowsprit.
Woolding: the act of winding a rope or wrapping anything, such as a mast or yard, to support it.
Wore ship: is a past tense form of "wear ship": to turn away from the wind.
Yawl: A rowboat on davits at the stern of the ship.


DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE SHIP'S STRUCTURE.
The Ship's Log contains the Sea Log where entries are from noon the day before to noon on the date of entry. The Harbour Log contains the normal 24 hours from midnight. It also seems that hour by hour events are put on the left side of the Log form as they happen and then the Captain sits down after midday to write up the highlights of the previous 24 hours on the right side.

  • Diagram of timbers that make up the stern of an Indiaman. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stern#/media/File:Illustrated_marine_encyclopedia_341.jpg


    Diagram of stern
  • Details of ships hull and rigging of an Indiaman from the Reader's Digest Great Encyclopaedic Dictionary.


    Description of hull, rigging and sails

  • Details of ships sails of an Indiaman.


    Description of the sails