Capt. Cook’s Monument and Aireyholme Farm

The familiar sight of Capt. Cook’s Monument on Easby Moor appearing as the low cloud dissipates. It wouldn’t have been familiar to the young James Cook who lived as a young boy at Aireyholme Farm (centre of photograph). His father was employed there as a hind or skilled farm hand.

However problematic Cook is in the 21st century, his journal provide a fascinating insight into the life aboard 18th-century ships.

On this day in 1768, Cook was on board the HMS Endeavour on the first of his three voyages to the Pacific. The ship had departed Plymouth the previous day and was sailing towards Madeira. His journal entry says1Gutenberg.org. (2012). Captain Cook’s Journal During the First Voyage Round the World. [online] Available at: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/8106/8106-h/8106-h.htm#ch1 [Accessed 27 Aug. 2021].:

First part Light Airs and Clear weather, remainder fresh breezes and Cloudy. Berthed the Ship’s Company, Mustered the Chests and Stove all that were unnecessary. Wind North-West, North-East, South-East; course South-West; distance 77 miles; latitude 48 degrees 42 minutes North, longitude 6 degrees 49 minutes West; at noon, Lizard North 29 degrees East, 80 miles.

The chests included the sailors’ personal wooden chests. As there was insufficient room for each sailor to have his own berth to sling his hammock with his chest nearby, chests had to be stowed away in the depths of the hold.

Joseph Banks, the botanist on the voyage also kept a journal, in which, on the same day, he wrote2Sir Joseph Banks Society. (2011). Endeavour journal – Sir Joseph Banks Society. [online] Available at: https://www.joseph-banks.org.uk/news-events/endeavour-journal/ [Accessed 27 Aug. 2021].:

Wind fair and a fine Breeze; found the ship to be but a heavy sailer, indeed we could not Expect her to be any other from her built, so are obligd to set down with this Inconvenience, as a nescessary consequence of her form; which is much more calculated for stowage, than for sailing.

It sounds like Banks wasn’t impressed with the ship.

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