Thomas Babb, Mariner (1675) is a man of few documents. His life in the Limehouse/Stepney area is virtually unknown to us. Yet, his will survives and provides some great information for us.
The lack of documents could in part be a result of the Great London fire. The Great Fire of London in 1666 destroyed an estimated 13,200 houses and 87 out of 109 churches1. The original St Paul’s Cathedral was also lost to the flames2. Unfortunately, there is no record of which historical documents were destroyed in the fire3. It is likely that the parish records were destroyed along with the 87 churches and St. Paul’s, so the fire left an indelible mark on the city.
Cover Image: Painted in 1675, by an unknown artist. The vantage point would have been from a dingy sitting in the Thames River.
The Great Fire of London was caused by a small fire that started in a bakery on Pudding Lane in the early hours of Sunday, September 2, 1666. The fire spread quickly due to strong winds and the fact that many of the buildings in London were made of wood.
Pudding Lane was just west of the White Tower of London and the areas where our Babbs lived were to the East of the White Tower. Had the winds blown differently, we would not have this document at all.
What follows is a transcript of Thomas Babb, Mariner (1575, which is really 1577, but I’ll get to that in my next post).