There were 10 Whelps built in the 1600's
The Lion's Whelp of 1628 was built at the Duke of Buckingham's expense
by William Castell of St. Saviour's, Southwark in 1628 and was used to
prey on French shipping (with the proceeds going to the Duke's war-chest)
before joining the rest of the English fleet for the final attempt to
relieve the siege of La Rochelle. She was taken into the Royal Navy after
the Duke was assassinated and in 1632 the Crown reimbursed his estate.
It was the usual custom at this period for a vessel, on her completion, to be furnished with as many pieces of ordnance as her owner deemed necessary for her defence, and for this purpose, warrants, known as Trinity House Certificates, were issued. They are known to have been granted in respect of the following ships, built by Tranekmore at Shoreham. Five of them were of 300 tons-a fair size for those days-four of 200, and one each of 180, 150, and 140 tons. The dates given are those of the certificates.
27th September, 1625, the " Thomas Bonaventure " ; 4th January, 1626, the " Garland," of London ; 28th October, 1627, a ship on the stocks unfinished; 15th July, 1629, the "Mary and John," of London; 14th October, 1629, a ship unnamed; 25th Noveinber, 1629, the "Content," of London; 5th June, 1630, the "Charles," of London ; 27th July, 1631, the "Joan Bonaventure " ; 5th May, 1632, the " Confident " ; 6th July, 1633, the " Joseph," of London ; 28th September, 1633, the " Thomas and John," of London, which vessel was " furnished with 18 pieces of cast-iron ordnance, from the usual market in Smithfield " ; 7th May, 1636, the " Blessing," of Dover ; 25th June, 1636, the " Ann and Sarah."
In February, 1628, Robert Tranckinore obtained the contract to build one of ten pinnaces for the Government. These were ,small craft of about 185 tons and were provided with sweeps as well as sails. They were three-mashed and square-rigged, carrying ten guns on two decks and were built after the model of a ship ,called the " Lion," and so were named " Lion's Whelps," being numbered from one to ten. Tranekmore built the "Tenth Lion's Whelp " at a cost of £596 17s. 9d. His receipts for payment are preserved in the Record Office. On June 11th, 1628, Capt John Pennington wrote to Sir Edward Nicholas, Secretary to the Admiralty, requesting a warrant for John Tranekmore to take charge as master of the " Tenth Lion's Whelp," built by his brother. -Nicholas Tranekmore was appointed carpenter, and John More, a native of Shoreham, boatswain, a warrant being issued by the Lord High Admiral to press seamen for her. It is curious to learn that her master-cook, after holding that office for a year, sold it to Robert Swainson " for life."
A John Tranekmore is mentioned as master of the " Shoreham " in 1634, when ten lasts of powder were delivered to him to be transported to Ireland. In the Record Office is preserved a Certificate bearing the signature of Inigo Jones, the celebrated architect. It is dated " May ye 6, 1637," and from it we learn that the " Indeavor," of Shoreham, a barque, was to be " emploied for ye space of nine rnonths for the carriage and transportation of stone from the Isle of Portland to London for the repair of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul." Thomas Clearke was the master of this vessel ,and the Cathedral mentioned in the certificate was, of course, Old St. Paul's, which was totally destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. During the Commonwealth and subsequently, the shipbuilders of Shoreham came into prominence as providers of vessels for the service of the State. The war-ships built here were fourth, fifth and sixth rates, sloops and fire-ships ; fourth rates were 105ft., long by 32ft. beam, and were two-deckers, costing about £9,000 each ; fifth rates had all their guns on one whole deck and the quarter-deck ; sixth rates on one deck only.