The second voyage of M. Laurence Aldersey, to the Cities of Alexandria, and Cayro in Ægypt. Anno 1586.
I EMBARKED my selfe at Bristoll, in the Hercules, a good
ship of London, and set saile the 21 day of Februarie,
about ten of the clocke in the morning, having a merry
winde: but the 23 day, there arose a very great storme,
and in the mids of it we descried a small boate of the
burden of ten tunnes, with foure men in her, in very
great danger, who called a maine for our helpe. Whereupon our Master made towardes them, and tooke them
into our ship, and let the boate, which was laden with
timber, and appertained to Chepstow
, to runne a drift.
The same night about midnight arose another great
storme, but the winde was large with us, untill the 27
of the same moneth, which then grew somewhat contrary:
yet notwithstanding we held on our course, and the tenth
day of March, we descried a saile about Cape Sprat
which is a litle on this side the streight of Gibraltare,
but we spake not with her. The next day we descried
twelve sayle more, with whom we thought to have spoken,
to have learned what they were, but they made very fast
away, and we gave them over.
Thursday the 16 of March, we had sight of the
streights, and of the coast of Barbary. The 18 day we
passed them, and sailed towards Patras
. Upon the 23
of March, we met with the Centurion of London which
came from Genoa
, by whom we sent letters to England,
and the foure men also which we tooke in, upon the
coast of England, beforementioned.
The 29 of March we came to Goleta a small Iland,
and had sight of two shippes, which we judged to be
Tuesday the fourth of Aprill, we were before Malta
and being there becalmed, our Maister caused the two
ship boates to be had out, and they towed the ship,
till we were out of sight of the Castle of Malta. The
9 day of Aprill we came to Zante
, and being before the
towne, William Aldridge, servant to Master Thomas
Cordall of London, came aboord us, with whom our
Master and twelve more of our company, thought to
have gone on shoare, but they could not be permitted:
so we all came aboord againe, and went to Patras
we arrived upon good Friday, and lay there with good
entertainement at the English house, where was the
Consull Master Grimes, Ralph Ashley, and John Doddington, who very kindly went with us, and shewed us the
pleasures of the towne.
They brought us to the house of the Cady, who was
made then to understand of the 20 Turks that wee had
aboord, which were to goe to Constantinople, being
redeemed out of captivitie, by sir Francis Drake in the
West Indies, and brought with him into England, and
by order of the Queenes Majestie sent now into their
Countrey. Whereupon the Cady commaunded them to
be brought before him, that he might see them: and when
he had talked with them, and understood howe strangely
they were delivered, hee marvelled much, and admired
the Queenes Majestie of England, who being but a
woman, is notwithstanding of such power and renowne
amongst all the princes of Christendome, with many other
honourable wordes of commending her Majestie. So he
tooke the names of those 20. Turkes, and recorded them
in their great bookes, to remaine in perpetuall memory.
After this, our foresaid countreymen brought mee to the
Chappel of S. Andrew where his tombe or sepulchre is,
and the boord upon which he was beheaded, which boord
is now so rotten, that if any man offer to cut it, it falleth
to powder, yet I brought some of it away with me.
Upon Tuesday in Easter weeke, wee set out towards
againe, and the 24. of April with much adoe, wee
were all permitted to come on shoare, and I was caried
to the English house in Zante
, where I was very well
entertained. The commodities of Zante
are Currans and
oyle: the situation of the Towne is under a very great
hill, upon which standeth a very strong Castle, which
commaundeth the Towne. At Zante
we tooke in a Captaine and 16. soldiers, with other passengers. Wee
departed from Zante
upon Tuesday the 15. of April, and
the next day we ankered at a small Island, called
Strivalaia, which is desolate of people, saving a fewe
religious men, who entertained us well, without taking
any money: but of courtesie we bestowed somewhat upon
them for their maintenance, and then they gave us a
couple of leane sheepe, which we caried aboord. The
last day of Aprill, wee arrived at Candie, at a Castle,
called Sowday, where wee set the Captaine, Souldiers,
and Mariners ashoare, which wee tooke in at Zante
all their carriage.
The second day of May wee set saile againe, and the
fourth day came to the Islands of Milo
, where we ankered,
and found the people there very courteous, and tooke
in such necessaries as we wanted. The Islands are in
my judgement a hundred in number, and all within the
compasse of a hundred miles.
The 11. day, the Chaus, which is the greatest man
there in authoritie, for certaine offences done in a little
Chappell by the water side, which they saide one of our
shippe had done, and imputed it to mee, because I was
seene goe into it three dayes before, came to us, and made
much a doe, so that we were faine to come out of our
shippe armed: but by three pieces of golde the brabling
was ended, and we came to our shippe. This day wee
also set saile, and the next day passed by the Castle of
Serpeto, which is an old ruinated thing, and standeth
under a hils side.
The 13. day we passed by the Island of Paris
, and the
Island of the bankes of Helicon, and the Island called
Ditter, where are many boares, and the women bee
witches. The same day also wee passed by the Castle
of Tino, standing upon a very high mountaine, and neere
unto it is the Island of Diana
The 15. of May, wee came to Sio, where I stayed
thirtie and three dayes. In it is a very proper Towne,
after the building of that Countrey, and the people are
civil: and while we were here, there came in sixe Gallies,
which had bene at Alexandria, and one of them which
was the Admiral, had a Prince of the Moores prisoner,
whom they tooke about Alexandria, and they meant to
present him to the Turke. The towne standeth in a
valley, and a long the water side pleasantly. There are
about 26. winde-mills about it, and the commodities of
it are cotton wooll, cotton yarne, mastike, and some other
As we remained at Sio
, there grew a great controversie
betweene the mariners of the Hercules, and the Greekes
of the Towne of Sio, about the bringing home of the
Turkes, which the Greekes tooke in ill part, and the
boyes cried out, Vive el Re Philippe: whereupon our
men beate the boyes, and threwe stones, and so a broile
beganne, and some of our men were hurt: but the Greekes
were fetcht out of their houses, and manacled together
with yrons, and threatned to the Gallies: about fourtie
of them were sent to the prison, and what became of
them, when we were gone, we know not, for we went
thence within two dayes after, which was the 19. of June.
The 20. day wee passed by the Island of Singonina
an Island risen by the casting of stones in that place:
the substance of the ground there is brimstone, and
burneth sometimes so much that it bloweth up the rockes.
The 24. of June wee came to Cyprus
, and had sight
in the way of the aforesaide sixe Gallies, that came from
Alexandria, one whereof came unto us, and required a
present for himselfe, and for two of the other Gallies,
which we for quietnesse sake gave them.
The 27. of June, wee came to Tripolie, where I stayed
till the fift of July, and then tooke passage in a smal
barke called a Caramusalin, which was a passage boat,
and was bound for Bichieri, thirteene miles on this side
Alexandria, which boate was fraighted with Turkes,
Moores, and Jewes.
The 20. day of July, this barke which I passed in ranne
upon a rocke, and was in very great danger, so that we
all began some to be ready to swimme, some to leape
into the shippe boate, but it pleased God to set us quickly
off the rocke, and without much harme.
The 28. of July I came to Bichieri, where I was well
entertained of a Jewe which was the Customer there,
giving me Muskadine, and drinking water himself:
having broken my fast with him, he provided mee a
Camell for my carriage, and a Mule for mee to ride upon,
and a Moore
to runne by me to the City of Alexandria
who had charge to see mee safe in the English house,
whither I came, but found no Englishmen there: but
then my guide brought mee aboord a ship of Alderman
Martins, called the Tyger of London, where I was well
received of the Master of the said ship, whose name was
Thomas Rickman, and of all the company.
The said Master having made me good cheere, and
made me also to drinke of the water of Nilus, having
the keyes of the English house, went thither with me
himselfe, & appointed mee a faire chamber, and left a man
with me to provide me all things that I needed, and every
day came himselfe to me, and caried me into the City,
and shewed me the monuments thereof, which be these.
Hee brought mee first to Pompey his pillar, which is
a mighty thing of gray marble, and all of one stone, in
height by estimation above 52. yards, and the compasse
about sixe fadome.
The City hath three gates, one called the gate of Barbaria, the other of Merina, and the thirde of Rossetto.
He brought me to a stone in the streete of the Citie,
whereupon S. Marke was beheaded: to the place where
S. Katherine died, having there hid herselfe, because she
would not marry: also to the Bath of S. Katherine.
I saw there also Pharaos needle, which is a thing in
height almost equall with Pompeys pillar, and is in compasse five fadome, and a halfe, and all of one stone.
I was brought also to a most brave and daintie Bath,
where we washed our selves: the Bath being of marble,
and of very curious workemanship.
The Citie standeth upon great arches, or vawtes, like
unto Churches, with mightie pillars of marble, to holde
up the foundation: which arches are built to receive the
water of the river of Nilus, which is for the use of the
Citie. It hath three Castles, and a hundred Churches:
but the part that is destroyed of it, is sixe times more
then that part which standeth.
The last day of July, I departed from Alexandria
towards Cayro in a passage boate, wherein first I went
to Rossetto, standing by the river side, having 13. or
14. great churches in it, their building there is of stone
and bricke, but as for lodging, there is litle, except we
bring it with us.
From Rossetto wee passed along the river of Nilus,
which is so famous in the world, twise as broad as the
at London: on both sides grow date trees in
great abundance. The people be rude, insomuch that
a man cannot traveile without a Janizary to conduct
The time that I stayed in Ægypt was the Turkes and
Moores Lent, in all which time they burne lamps in their
churches, as many as may hang in them: their Lent
endureth 40. dayes, and they have three Lents in the
yere: during which time they neither eate nor drink in
the day time, but all the night they do nothing else.
Betwixt Rossetto and Cayro there are along the water
side three hundred cities and townes, and the length of
the way is not above three hundred miles.
To this famous Citie of Cayro I came the fift day of
August, where I found M. William Alday, and William
Caesar, who intertained me in very good sort. M. Caesar
brought mee to see the Pyramides which are three in
number, one whereof king Pharao made for his owne
tombe, the tombe it selfe is almost in the top of it: the
monuments bee high and in forme 4. square, and every
of the squares is as long as a man may shoote a roving
arrowe, and as high as a Church, I sawe also the ruines
of the Citie of Memphis hard by those Pyramides.
The house of Joseph is yet standing in Cayro, which
is a sumptuous thing, having a place to walke in of 56.
mighty pillars, all gilt with gold, but I saw it not, being
The 11. day of August the lande was cut at Cayro,
to let in the water of the river of Nilus, which was done
with great joy and triumph.
The 12. of August I set from Cayro towards Alexandria
againe, and came thither the 14. of August. The 26.
day there was kept a great feast of the Turkes and
Moores, which lasted two dayes, and for a day they never
ceased shooting off of great Ordinance.
From Alexandria I sailed to Argier, where I lay with
M. Typton Consull of the English nation, who used me
most kindly, and at his owne charge. Hee brought mee
to the kings Court, and into the presence of the King,
to see him, and the maners of the Court: the King doeth
onely beare the name of a King, but the greatest government is in the hands of the souldiers.
The king of Potanca is prisoner in Argier, who comming to Constantinople, to acknowledge a duety to the
great Turke, was betrayed by his owne nephew, who
wrote to the Turke, that hee went onely as a spy, by
that meanes to get his kingdome. I heard at Argier
of seven Gallies that were at that time cast away at a
towne called Formentera
: three of them were of Argier,
the other foure were the Christians.
We found here also 13. Englishmen, which were by
force of weather put into the bay of Tunis
, where they
were very ill used by the Moores, who forced them to
leave their barke: whereupon they went to the Councell
of Argier, to require a redresse and remedy for the injurie.
They were all belonging to the shippe, called the Golden
Noble of London, whereof Master Birde is owner. The
Master was Stephen Haselwood, and the Captaine
The thirde day of December, the pinnesse called the
Mooneshine of London, came to Argier with a prize,
which they tooke upon the coast of Spaine, laden with
sugar, hides, and ginger: the pinnesse also belonging
to the Golden Noble: and at Argier they made sale both
of shippe and goods, where wee left them at our comming
away, which was the seventh day of Januarie, and the
first day of February, I landed at Dartmouth
, and the
seventh day came to London, with humble thankes to
Almightie God, for my safe arrivall.