Emmanuel Noble: A Ropemaker at Chatham Dockyard, Kent

Emmanuel Noble was born 13th April 1855 in Dorking, Surrey (according to his Continuous Service Record)  and died 1923 in Medway. Although all the records I’ve found give his place of birth as Dorking in Surrey – frustratingly, I can’t find a birth or baptism record for him.

Chatham Dockyard Ropemaker service recordEmmanuel Noble, ropemaker and rigger, Chatham Dockyard

He married Emma Julia French 5th October 1879 at the Parish Church (St Mary’s) in the Parish of Chatham, Kent:

Information given on the marriage certificate is as follows:
Emmanuel Noble: Age 24, Bachelor, Sailor HMN.
Residence: Chatham.
Fathers name: John Noble.
Fathers profession: Machinist?? (NB Hard to read the entry).
Spouse: Emma Julia French, Age 21, Spinster.
Residence: Chatham.
Fathers name: John French.
Fathers profession: Sailor.
Both signed their names.
Marriage after banns.
Marriage Witnesses: John Thomas Taylor and Sophia Ann Taylor.
Copy of Marriage cert.

Click here for Emmanuel and Emma’s children and census records

Military history:
A Continuous Service Engagement record for the period: 13th April 1873 – 13 April 1883 gives his military Official Number as: 6 5147. He worked as a rigger and ropemaker in the Navy at Chatham Dockyard and was described as:

Height: 5ft 4 inches
Hair: light
Eyes: blue
Complexion: Fair
Wounds, scars or marks: Deeply pitted with small pox
Trade: None
Character: Described from ‘good’ to ‘V good’ to ‘excellent’.

Between 1st Jan 1873 and 1893 he served in the following ships/barracks at Chatham:
(He also had a few stints at the hospital in Malta in 1870, 1873)

Shearwater: 1st Jan 1873 to 3rd April 1873; 4th April 1873 to 12th April 1873; 13th April 1873 to 22nd April 1873:
Under George Strong Nares and later William Wharton (later Hydrographer of the Navy) HMS Shearwater surveyed around the Mediterranean and the East coast of Africa. In 1873 the ship was determining the meridian distance between Gibraltar and Malta. (Reference page 47).

Duke of Wellington: 23rd July 1873 to 25th July 1873; 25th April 1879 to 2nd May 1879; 1st April 1883 to 3rd April 1883:
From 1863 onwards HMS Duke of Wellington served as the receiving, depot and barracks ship at Portsmouth, remaining as such until scrapped in 1904.

Photo of HMS Duke of Wellington
Print of HMS Duke of Wellington in 1872
www.battleships-cruisers.co.uk
www.militaryfactory.com
www.pdavis.nl
www.ajbrown.me.uk
www.globalsecurity.org

Naval Barracks: 26th July 1873 to 31st August 1873; 21st Dec 1873; 4th Feb 1874 to 30th June 1874.

Buncan (or possibly Duncan – hard to read the record): 1st Sept 1873 to 20th Dec 1873; 9th Aug 1874 to 11th Aug 1874.

Flying Fish: 1st July 1874 to 8th Aug 1874. 18th June 1874:
HMS Flying Fish commissioned at Chatham, building costs amounted to £39.445. In 1874 she then sailed for a four-and-a-half year commission on the East Indies Station, and engaged in suppression of the slave trade on the east coast of Africa. The ship was at Madagascar when all the slaves who had been taken to the island were given their freedom. (ref: www.worldnavalships.com) (www.shipstamps.co.uk).

W Barracks: 12th Aug 1874 to 20th Oct 1874.

Audacious: 21st Oct 1874 to (doesn’t give a date); 1st Aug 1878 to 22nd Feb 1879:
(further info) When Emmanuel worked on this boat HMS Audacious was a guardship at Hull 1871/4. The Audacious paid off for re- commissioning as flagship on the China Station (1874/8) during which time she was involved in a collision at Yokohama during a typhoon. She then paid off at Chatham in 1878 and went back to Hull as guardship See also: www.worldnavalships.com / (Print of the ship in 1869).

Excellent: 23rd Feb 1879 to 24th April 1879:
H.M.S. Excellent, also known as Portsmouth Gunnery School or Whale Island. This was the British Royal Navy’s main gunnery training establishment.

N Barracks: 3rd May 1879 to (doesn’t give a date); 11th Aug 1880 to (doesn’t give a date); 24th Sept 1880 to 30th Sept 1880.

Pembroke: 1st Oct 1880 to 4th Oct 1880; 4th April 1883 to 15th Dec 1884; 2nd April 1889 to 19th April 1893; 20th April 1893 to 8th Oct 1893; 23rd Oct 1893 to (doesn’t give a date):
History of HMS Pembroke and the Drill Shed
HMS Pembroke
Kent’s Historical Sites (Facebook Group)
www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk

Superb: 5th Oct 1880 to 19th March 1883:
HMS Superb was commissioned at Chatham for service in the Mediterranean on 4 October 1880, and remained on station for seven years. She took part in the bombardment of Alexandria 11–13 July 1882, where she fired 310 shells of 10-inch calibre at the Egyptian forts; she received ten hits in return, seven of them on her armour, with no casualties.

Recla?? It’s difficult to read the record, possibly reads HMS Hecla a depot ship (thanks for the info Martin Brown) 20th March 1883 to 31st March 1883.

Boscawen: 16th Dec 1884 to 19th March 1886:
Commanded by Commander George Bruce Evans, training ship for boys, Portland.

Asis?? (hard to read the record): 20th March 1886 to 5th April 1886.

Comus: 6th April 1886 to 1st April 1889:
After a refit HMS Comus recommissioned 6 April 1886 for service on the North American and West Indies Station. In 1889 the ship transported scientists to observe the total eclipse of the sun off western Africa. Noted astronomer Stephen Joseph Perry died aboard the vessel from dysentery contracted ashore.

From the 1891 Census I know that Emmanuel was working from HMS Pembroke as a ‘Roper’
In the 1901 census his profession was given as ‘Rigger, HM Dockyard’ and in 1911 he was a ‘Naval Pensioner’.

History of the ropery
Rope Making: Stranded ghosts of a bygone age
Chatham, Kent: genealogy, local and family history resources

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