The nation’s first yachtsman

County Rouser 09-08-13
County Rouser 09-08-13
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Francis Lord Dacre of Herstmonceux Castle (1619-1662) had the distinction of being the first practising yachtsman in Britain - a pastime he pursued with huge energy.

He had his own dock at Pevensey Harbour.

And his story is being featured this year in the maritime section of Pevensey Museum.

Dacre’s castle accounts book records: ‘1645: Paid G. Richardson for making a dock at Pemsie for my Lord’s yacht.’

This is believed to be the first use of the word ‘yacht’ in the English language. The word is of Dutch origin.

Another document contains this interesting entry: ‘The Lord Dacre hath also a Fishynge in the haven of Pemsy, amongst others for drawyng and taking eels.’

Peter Harrison, musuem curator, told Rouser: ‘Lord Dacre was by all accounts a most enterprising person who was possibly the first landowner/farmer to grow turnips for export, also from the same harbour.’

Other port records at Pevensey reveal:

1683: 24 cargoes handled, mainly of Sussex iron.

1686: Stacks of beech timber at Pevensey Quay for making dray wheels in London. Also timber felled from the Ashburnham Estate, being mainly shipped to London.

n Pictured, an early engraving of Dacre.