Sussex Cammock, English Puritan Privateer

“Sussex Camock or Sussex Cammock (1600–1659) was an English privateer who was involved in establishing the Providence Island colony, a Puritan colony on what is now Isla de Providencia in the western Caribbean. Sussex Camock was the brother of Captain Thomas Cammock.

Sussex Camock was born in Maldon, Essex, England in 1600. As a young man he served as ensign under the command of Sir Charles Riche, a relative of his mother, and participated in the unsuccessful Cádiz Expedition of 1625 led by Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex. In 1627 he was given command of the Little Neptune, part of the private fleet of Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick. The next year he was given command of the Warwick.[1]

In December 1629 two ships funded by the Earl of Warwick discovered the islands of San Andreas and Santa Catalina in the western Caribbean off the coast of what is now Nicaragua. Camock with his bark Warwicke & Somer Islands remained on San Andreas, while Daniel Elfrith returned to England via Bermuda to report the discovery.[2] At Bermuda, Elfrith’s son in law Philip Bell was governor. Bell wrote a letter to Sir Nathaniel Rich, the Earl of Warwick’s cousin, making the case for colonizing Santa Caterina. He described the island as “lying in the heart of the Indies & the mouth of the Spaniards.” Thus it was an excellent base for privateering against the Spanish ships.[3] Bell’s letter led to the formation of the Providence Island Company to organize the settlement.[4]

In April 1633. Camock was ordered by the Providence Island Company to bring a pinnace he had recently purchased for the company into the Thames and prepare her for a voyage as quickly as possible.[5] On 1 July he was instructed to sail to Cabo Gracias a Dios, on the Mosquito Coast, by way of the Providence Island colony. He was to leave disorderly persons at Providence and take anyone from Providence who was willing to accompany him. At the Cape he was to contact the Indians and trade with them. He should preserve the true worship of God and repress sin. He was also authorized to buy negroes from the Dutch for the Governor of Providence to dispose of.[6] Camock found the Dutch brothers Abraham and Willem Albertzoon Blauvelt at Providence, and they piloted him across to Cape Gracias a Dios on the mainland.[7]

On 30 July 1634 the company wrote to Captain Sussex Camock saying they were glad to hear of his safe arrival at the cape, and his good reception by the Indians. They approved of his actions in building a fort and said that the commodities he had sent back were all valuable, especially the “silk grass” flax, which they were calling “Camock’s grass”.[8] This grass was found superior to ordinary flax. An independent company was given a fourteen-year monopoly on trading Camock’s flax and other new materials that might be found in the region.[9] The company noted that there was discontent in Providence, caused by so many men having been taken from it, and that the island needed strengthening. They hoped that Camock could allow Captain Samuel Axe to return to Providence to work on the fortifications there.[8] On 20 April 1635 the Company appointed Camock to the position of Governor of Cape Gratia de Dios.[10] However, the trading station on the cape was abandoned by June 1635.[7]

During the English Civil War (1642–1651) Camock was Captain of Landguard Fort, Harwich.[11] Sussex Camock died in 1659 at Boreham, Essex, England.[1] John Masefield used his character for the old Pirate Captain Cammock in his 1933 book Captain Margaret.[11]”
From – Wikipedia, “Sussex Camock”

From Email from my Aunt Judy (Pepper) Clark:
“Sussex Cammock, Gent., and Captain, was baptized 1600, at All Saints Church, Maldon, County Essex, England, to Thomas Cammock and Miss Rich.. Married (1) unknown woman; (2) Mary Warde. Sussex Cammock was appointed as an Ensign in 1625, under the command of Sir. Charles Riche, one of his mother’s relatives, taking part in the unsuccessful expedition of Robert Devereux against the Spaniards at Cadiz in 1625. That same year Sussex Cammock discovered the Islands of Providence (a) and San Andreas when he sailed together with Captian Daniel Elfrith in 1625 on a privateering commission. During that voyage, Cammock cammanded the bark “Warwicke & Somer Islands” and Elfrith the ship Robert.

He then took command of Lord Warwick’s ship the Little Neptune, which was in the Lord’s private fleet in 1627, with some 20 guns. That year he was badly wounded during a battle while commanding the Little Neptune as part of a fleet that attacked the Portuguese part of Spain in the West Indies.
In 1628, Sussex Cammock was appointed captian of the Warwick by John Dilke. This was a profitless raid and Captain Cammock had been left with 30 men on the island of San Andreas. They were rescued by a Dutch ship.
Captain Sussex Cammock was ordered April 10, 1633 to purchase Lord Paulet’s pinnace (light boat without sails) for the Company. He purchased it for 405 pounds. This boat was outfitted and named the Golden Falcon. It was ordered May 22nd, 1633 that Sussex was to be commander of the passengers in the Golden Falcon and to serve as director of trade of Cape Garatia de Dios and was granted an allowance. The Company of Providence Island ordered on July 1, 1633 in London tht when the pinnace the Golden Falcon was unladen she was to be at the complete disposal of Capt. Cammock. The company further gave a connission to Captain Cammock which appointed him “commander of all persons on board the Golden Falcon, bound to Providence or Cape Gratia de Dios, and Director General of Trade discovered in the Cape or elsewhere”.
The specific instructions dated July 1, 1633 which were given to Captain Cammock were that he was to land his company upon Cape Gratia de Dios to “discover and maintain a trade with the natives.” he was to install the worship of God within the natives and to repress sin. He had authority to employ the ship Elizabeth at the Cape. Sussex was further instructed to inquire about merchantable commodities and discuss with two advisors sent along regarding matters of trade. He was given permission to purchase slaves from the Dutch. No sailors on his ship were allowed to trade privately with the natives and Sussex had the responsibility of searching their chests before embarking on the Cape. Finally, Sussex Cammock needed to find a suitable place to establish a colony for trade.
Captain Sussex Cammock sailed the ship Golden Falcon to the pirate colony at Providence Island, arriving June 3, 1633, after a voyage of 23 days, at the instruction of the Council and set up a trading post at Cape Gracias a Dio, on the Nicaragua-Honduras border. Captain Cammock operated from this base for the Providence Island Copany (b) His little band built a stronghold as a shelter from the natives who lived in the West Indies and the Spanish main. In their storehouse they collected a quantity of the native produce, among the most valuable was a silken flax found growing there. They filled their ship with this cargo and Captain Cammock was encouraged to call the flax “Camock’s Grass.”
A shallop (small sailing vessel) was built for Capt. Cammock in 1634. The following message was sent to Captain Cammock on July 30, 1634 from London:
The Company of Providence Island to Capt. Sussex Camock: Are glad to hear of his safe arrival at the Cape, and good entertainment amonst the Natives. Approve his having erected a place of defence. Commend to his care the good usage of the Indians, and by all means to restrain offensive or wanton carriage towards the women. Commodities received are all of value, especially the silk grass, which they will have called Cammock’s, (I didn’t copy any more jmpc)
Combs &c. Families of
Old Rappahannock Co, VA

14. vi. Sussex CAMMOCK, Gent. and Capt. (Thomas2, Robert1), baptized All Saints’ Church, Maldon, Essex, EN, 1600, d testate 1659, Boreham, Essex, En (Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) book of wills 1657-1660 Vol VIII, Will, 1659, Folio 369); m (1) Unknown; m (2) Mary UNKNOWN, widow of WARDE (No Issue 2nd Marriage).
Researcher Louise Davis wrote in 1973 (abstracted): “When still a young man, Capt. Sussex CAMOCK (I), served as ensign under the command of his mother’s kinsman, Sir Charles RICHE, taking part in Robert DEVEREUX’S unsuccessful expedition against the Spaniards at Cadiz in 1625. He then assumed command of Lord Warwick’s ship, the Little Neptune, which formed one of that nobleman’s private fleet (1627). Next year, John DILKE appointed him captain of the Warwick, and some time after, upon the formation of the Company of Providence Island, that worthy merchant became deputy governor, taking a considerable interest therein. When, in 1633, the Council determined to dispatch another trading venture to those parts, they instructed Captain CAMOCK to assume supreme command, and about mid-summer, all being ready, the good ship Golden Falcon weighed anchor and put to sea. Captain Sussex CAMOCK I was sent by Lord RICHE, the High Admiral, to Providence Island in Bahamas and Cape Gracios a Dios. He was also in Central America.”
(Boreham, Essex, item 3) Sale. Henry WARD, grocer, cousin and h (heir) of Wm WARD late of Boreham, brother & h of Andrew WARD eldest brother of said William sells to Sussex CAMOCKE esq a cottage called ‘Beadles’ & 2 ac. near ‘Red deer Park’ belonging to New Hall for 100 pds. on 16th December 1657. (Abstracted by English Researcher Brian Higgins for Mary Gregg)
Issue of Capt. Sussex CAMMOCK I by Unknown 1st wife:
20. i. Warwick CAMMOCK, b 1636-1639, d 1666 per Memoirs; but believed to be the same found in the records of Old Rappa. Co VA as early as 1663
21. ii. Susan CAMMOCK m James DENCHER (a.k.a. DENSHER)
22. iii. Mary CAMMOCK.
23. iv. Sussex CAMMOCK II, b c1645, d 1705, m (1) Alice HILL, widow of Edward SAMES.
Note: Another Edward SAMMES m ca 1617, Essex, England, Bennett WRIGHT, d/o Lord John WRIGHT (b abt 1544, Wrightsbridge, Essex) & Bennett GREENE, d/o Lawrence GREEN (Undocumented Anon. Gedcom)
Note: Seeking Transcript/Abstract of Sussex CAMMOCK I’s will.”


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