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Statement by James Machary, sailor with the Spanish Armada (detail). 29 December 1588. Cat ref: SP 63/139 no 25 f 82. Crown copyright

Detail from statement

Document 3: Examination of James Machary, 29 December 1588.

(Catalogue reference: SP 63/139 no 25 f. 82)

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About this document

This document is the examinationGlossary - opens in a new window of James Machary regarding his enforced service with the Spanish ArmadaGlossary - opens in a new window, dated 29 December 1588.

Machary's statement was made before the Lord Deputy of Ireland, William FitzwilliamGlossary - opens in a new window, in December 1588. Fitzwilliam then included the statement in one of his despatches to Sir Francis WalsinghamGlossary - opens in a new window, the Secretary of State in England.

Machary, an Irishman, was press-ganged onto a ship in Portugal and was therefore present at the invasion of the Armada, on the Spanish side. Machary was left behind on the coast of Ireland by the Spanish when they departed. He would have been a very useful source of information for the Lord Deputy, as he was able to provide information about the Spanish ships and in particular about Don Alonso de LevaGlossary - opens in a new window.

The document is mainly written in secretary handGlossary - opens in a new window. This style of writing was used for business purposes, and was the main hand used in Britain in the Tudor and Jacobean periods. The italic hand, which we saw in document 1 (the letter from Princess Elizabeth), existed alongside secretary hand, and writers of secretary hand would sometimes write certain words in italic hand to make them stand out. An example of this can be seen in this document, which has the names of the Spaniards written in italic.