Extract from the England's Grievance Discovered
Henry Harrison Master of a ship upon oath said, that in April 1646, a ship sailing into Tinmouth Harbour, by storm was cast upon the rocks near Tinmouth Castle. The Master got a shore with all expedition, and obtained the present help of an ancient ship-carpenter, by name Thomas Cliff of North Shields, with three of his men to save the said ship from perishing, which ship had been quite lost, if the said Master should have run to Newcastle to have agreed with the free carpenters, whose excessive rates and demands, often surmounts the value of the ship in distress; and their tediousness in coming and going that distance, that often the ships in distress are quite lost.
The said Cliff and his men saved the ship and got her off, and brought her to the lower end of the North Shields and laid her upon the sands to mend her. Where the three carpenters were at work and Ann the wife of Thomas Cliff and Ann Wallice his daughter standing to see their servants work near unto the ship.
The Mayor and Burgesses of Newcastle sent Thomas Rutter and John Hall, two sergeants, with Thomas Osway, Richard Tiderick and other free carpenters of Newcastle to Shields, to seize upon all the aforesaid workmen for daring to save any ship from sinking in that River, with command to carry them to prison.
The two women seeing their servants trailing away, railed against their evil practices, for which Thomas Rutter with club, by several blows upon Ann Cliff's body and head knocking her down to the ground; the other sergeant John Hall, by several blows with a rule-or-trunchion broke Ann Wallice's arm, and then perceiving soldiers coming form Tynemouth Castle, both the said sergeants fled to Newcastle, where they were protected from the hand of Justice.
The said Ann Cliff was taken up, carried home, got to bed, and in a few weeks died thereon. For which the said Rutter was indicted, and found by the jury guilty, yet did not suffer. The said woman required her friends, as they would answer it at the last day, they should require her blood at the hands of Rutter, he being her death. The men kept in prison, and Cliff kept in suit at law for his working by Newcastle, and his men, and they were forced to give bond never to work again."
Copyright © North Tyneside Libraries 2007-8