Michael Baker, b. 1682

An Injured Mariner

Early Life

Michael Baker was the son of John and Ellen Eris Baker of Wind Mill Hill in the parish of Stepney. He was born in 1682 and baptised at St Dunstan's, Stepney on 28th January 1682, aged 10 days.1

Service in the Navy

At the age of 17 he joined the navy, serving on HMS Advice as an ordinary seaman from 13 June to 25 September 1699; then, in the same capacity, from 26 September 1699 until sometime in February 1700 on board HMS Swiftsure. He joined HMS Revenge as an able seaman on 27 February 1700.

On 21st February 1703, when the Revenge was at Portsmouth, Baker was sent on shore for water. On returning, he fell from the quayside into the ship's long boat and "very much fractured his skull". On April 5th, he was admitted to St Bartholomew's Hospital in London at the permission of the Commissioners appointed to take care of sick and wounded seamen. On 7 June 1703, he was discharged from hospital "not being cured". Despite this injury, his naval service continued. From 22 July 1703 until 2 May 1704 he was in service on HMS Cornwall, and from 3 May 1704 until 9 September 1706 on HMS Namur. This appears to have been his last term of naval service, which totalled, according to the Navy Office, 5 years, 10 months, 2 weeks and 5 days.

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A Disability Pension

In 1734 at the age of 52, Baker described himself as "very much reduced and aged and incapable of serving the government or getting subsistence" for himself and his family. He decided to seek financial support. He obtained advice that he might qualify for relief under a statute of 1601, part of which enabled charitable organisations to provide payments outside the parish system. The objects of this relief could be "the maintenance of sick and maimed soldiers and mariners". 2

Such relief might be sought by appeal to the Middlesex sessions, provided the correct certificates were obtained. Baker produced certificates of his naval service from the Navy Office, and of his injuries and uncured discharge from the Sick and Wounded Office of St Bartholomew's. In addition, since he had been advised that a relief charity existed for maimed soldiers and marines in the hundreds of Ossulston Edmonton and Gore in Middlesex, he also produced to the court his baptismal record, showing his familial residence in Stepney in the hundred of Ossulston.

On 11 July 1734, the court ordered that since Michael Baker was "deserving" of a pension as a disabled mariner, the treasurer of the relief fund for these hundreds should pay him £4 a year, in quarterly payments; that these payments should start from 24 June 1734 and should continue until the court ordered to the contrary. Thereafter he disappears from the records in London Lives.

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External Sources


1 Family Search, consulted 15 April 2010.

2 43 Elizabeth I c. 4 (1601), known as the Charitable Uses Act, which sought to reduce obligations on parishes by encouraging charities to support certain categories of people. This act is usefully explained in Alastair Hudson, Equity and Trusts, 3rd edn (2003), p. 791.

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About this Biography

Created by

Deirdre Palk 

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