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Duncan Melville's Scratchpad

Duncan Melville

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The Lords of Trade and Plantations

In 1660 the Council of Trade and the Council of Plantations were instituted by the King. Their general powers and relationship to the Privy Council was "to advise, order, settle and dispose of all matters relating to the good government, improvement and management of <the Council's purview>, with your utmost skill, direction and prudence, and in all cases wherein you shall judge that further power and assistance shall be necessary you are to address yourselves to Us or Our Privy Council for Our further pleasure, resolution, and direction therein".

In 1672, after the death of the Earl of Sandwich, the councils were reorganized and merged into one commission. This commission was short-lived, and in 1675 their duties were assigned to a committee of the Privy Council. Twenty persons were named to perform the duties of the late Council and ten of them were named as an inner committee because of their experience. Nine of those ten were:

- Arthur Annesley, 1st Earl of Anglesey, Lord Privy Seal.

- John Egerton, 2nd Earl of Bridgewater.

- Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Carlisle.

- William Craven, 1st Earl of Craven.

- Thomas Belasyse, 2nd Viscount Fauconberg.

- George Savile, 1st Viscount Halifax.

- John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton (deceased on 26 August, 1678).

- Sir John Ernle, 1st Baron Fosbury, Chancellor of the Exchequer.

- Sir George Carteret, 1st Baronet, Vice-Chamberlain of the Royal Household.

In 1675, due to the Committee having stopped meeting regularly, it was reconstituted by Royal Warrant. Its members in the fall of 1678 were:

- Thomas Osborne, 1st Earl of Danby, Attained.

- Arthur Annesley, 1st Earl of Anglesey, Lord Privy Seal.

John Maitland, 1st Duke of Lauderdale, Secretary of State for Scotland.

- Thomas Butler, 2st Duke of Ormond, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

- Henry Somerset, 3rd Marquess of Worcester, Lord President of the Council of Wales and the Marches.

Henry Bennet, 1st Earl of Arlington, Lord Chamberlain of the King's Household.

- John Egerton, 2nd Earl of Bridgewater.

Arthur Capell, 1st Earl of Essex.

- Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Carlisle.

- William Craven, 1st Earl of Craven.

George Compton, 4th Earl of Northampton, Constable of the Tower of London.

- Henry Compton, Lord Bishop of London.

- Thomas Belasyse, 2nd Viscount Fauconberg.

- George Savile, 1st Viscount Halifax.

- John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton (deceased on 26 August, 1678).

Denzil Holles, 1st Baron Holles, Custos Rotulorum of Dorset.

- Sir Robert Carr, 3rd Baronet, MP.

- Sir Joseph Williamson, MP, prisoner in the Tower.

- Sir J. Duncombe.

- H. Saville.

- E. Seymour.

- Honourable H. Coventry.

The King had in the past appointed honorary members for the various committees that were given the right ex-oficio to represent the King and His interest in them. They were:

- James, Duke of York.

- Prince Rupert, Duke of Cumberland.

- George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham.

Thomas Colepeper, 2nd Baron Colepeper, Governor of Virginia.

Note: three posts are currently vacant, one of them may be temporary. The Earl of Danby has been attained, the Baron Berkeley of Stratton has died, and Sir Joseph Williamson is in the Tower.


Edited by Duncan Melville
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Painting by Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch, depicting a fantastical painting of a pyramid with symbols carved in the pyramid.

Bought for 1500 chips at widow Lucinda Wyatt's estate auction.

The painting was dominated by the pyramid. It had an eye on the top and unusual symbols on the base. The background behind the pyramid was dreamlike, or perhaps a vision of horrors in the shadows. Creatures that were not human, though some were humanoid, lurked in a fuzzy backdrop. Symbols or hieroglyphs could be seen in the distance as well.

A Latin phrase was etched in a bronze plate on the base of the frame. It stated "nos es vigilo vos."* The frame was remarkably battered and made of wood. It looked to have been broken in pieces at one time.

The back of the canvas, in charcoal, contained three numbers: 3, 33, and 9 stacked one upon the other inside a square.

By examining the frame closely, Duncan might ascertain that the frame had been broken into pieces before. Perhaps someone else had thought to look beneath the frame. Yet, someone had replaced the pieces of the frame in such a way as to prove that they were in need of a skilled framer. They had nailed the pieces back into place with carpenter tacks. If someone thought a viewer would be fooled into thinking the frame was intact, they would be fooling themselves.

Beneath the damaged old frame, the two men [Chichester & Melville] would see something disappointing perhaps. Ordinarily, a good framer does not cover a portion of a painting. Instead, she adds a mat to the painting and places the frame on the mat. This was not the case here. The frame covered perhaps an inch or so of the painting's boundaries. The boundaries beneath the frame were covered in hastily and inexpertly applied white paint. It was as if the owner of the painting had sought to cover something. If either man were to inspect closely, they might find evidence that, beneath the coat of white paint, there may have been symbols or numbers. None could be made out properly. Someone had been effective enough to cloak the message they might have conveyed.


With care exercised by both Duncan and George, most of the offending white paint was removed, though not without some damage to the letters underneath. The effort was tedious and time consuming. In the end, the two lords would be rewarded with a view. Along the top of the painting, in an elegant script was the English word Colllgiate. The left edge had four letters vertically YHVH. The right edge held no lettering, but revealed only a Templar cross. The bottom edge had two symbols: 1) the symbol on the left had crossed keys; 2) the symbol on the right was of three purses within a shield. Each purse had a symbol on it. As best as the two men could tell, the symbol appeared to be a square standing on its corner with an X through the middle.

The Duke of Buckingham's initial observations on the painting: "Bosch paints a dream. There are references here to alchemy and the Philosopher's Stone. There is the dream of the Knights Templar. St. Matthew could be a reference to Templar gold or to a location, likely in Scotland. The reference to watching is also one of a dream I should think. That is why the painting is so surreal I think. It is intended to portray a different reality. If Bosch had been an Englishman, surely the grail would be depicted as well." Later, Buckingham added: "It may be that I shall have clues to offer, but I shall need further study of the work before I can venture one".


Note: Colllgiate is in the original post. I do not know if it is a typo, though.

Edited by Duncan Melville
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The Office of Ordnance

In 1671, the Office of Ordnance took over the work of the Office of Armoury at the Tower. At this time, the Ordnance Office also began to conduct oversight of the nation's forts and fortifications. The Master was assisted by five 'Principal Officers' who later went on to form the Board, which thus consisted of:

Two overseers:
Master of the Ordnance (head of the board and commander-in-chief of the corps)
Lieutenant  of the Ordnance (deputy to the Master and second-in-command of the corps)

And four heads of department:
Surveyor of the Ordnance (in charge of quality)
Clerk of the Ordnance (in charge of purchasing)
Storekeeper of the Ordnance (in charge of storage)
Clerk of the Deliveries of the Ordnance (in charge of issuing)

Two appointments stand out, as they (like the six Board members) were appointed by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm:
- The Master Gunner of England
- The Chief Engineer
These were the senior technicians on the staff. The appointment of Master Gunner was first made as early as 1485, though it ceased after the establishment of the Regiment of Artillery; that of Chief Engineer was instituted in 1660.

The Treasurer of the Ordnance was another important officer of the department, although he did not sit on the board. This office was instituted in 1670.
The Master of Naval Ordnance was a specific office established in 1546 who was assigned to the Council of the Marine and acted as a liaison between both boards.

The Board also had a network of officers in place in key forts, ordnance yards and other installations throughout the Realm (including overseas). The senior Ordnance officer in these locations was usually termed the Storekeeper, and he was responsible directly to the Board. Prior to the Union of the Crowns there was a Master of the Ordnance in the North (with oversight of Berwick, Newcastle and the nearby coastal forts) who had greater autonomy, though he was reliant on the London office for most supplies. Moreover, a Master of the Ordnance in Dublin oversaw a largely independent Irish Board of Ordnance until the unification.

The broad arrow was the Office's mark. Stamped on guns, papers, buildings and all kinds of equipment, it signified royal ownership.

The Constable of the Tower of London routinely exercised his right (as ex-officio Lord Lieutenant of the Tower Hamlets) to summon local citizens to form a garrison to guard the Tower; by the early 17th century this had been formalised into a standing militia. During the reign of Charles II, the Tower was consistently being guarded by two garrison companies of militia.

Edited by Duncan Melville
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Fortune Teller

  • You will eventually meet somebody that you knew in the past.


  • Your sorrows will be balanced by blessings.
  • A secret may be revealed to you that could lead to a new opportunity.
  • A smart decision might lead to more prosperity.
  • A friend may ask you to keep a confidence against your better judgment. Fiona.
  • You will be drawn into the affairs of those you care about.
  • There is marriage in your future as well.
Edited by Duncan Melville
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