Leycester Ship Logbooks Collection

Scope and Content

The collection consists of logbooks compiled by Charles Hugh Leycester, being accounts of his service aboard several Royal Navy vessels for a continuous period from 17 April 1862 to 30 June 1867. Leycester tables the official shipping information, namely the date, the ships' position, the sea state and meteorological conditions, but he also provides additional remarks, usually describing his own work aboard ship, and sometimes documenting deaths and incidents. Leycester seems to have been based in Portsmouth, travelling from the port across to the Americas, on HMS Tribune, HMS Topaze, HMS Sutlej and HMS Bellerophon. The logbooks also contain a small number of sketches, presumably drawn by Leycester, of local scenes at Valparaiso, Esquinalt, and Mazatlan.

Administrative / Biographical History

Charles Hugh Leycester was born in Cheshire on 20 April 1847, the second son of Ralph Gerard Leycester of Toft and his wife Emily Elizabeth. In the 1860s he worked on ships travelling from Portsmouth to the Americas. By 1881 Leycester was living at Gwynfe House, Llangadock, Wales.

Access Information

The collection is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Presented to the John Rylands Library by Dr Moses Tyson (Keeper of Western Manuscripts) in 1931, to whom they had been given by J.D. Hughes.


Description compiled by Henry Sullivan and Jo Klett, project archivists, with reference to George Ormerod, The history of the county palatine and city of Chester, 2nd edition revised and enlarged by Thomas Helsby, 3 vols (London: G. Routledge, 1882).

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1928-35 (English MSS 526-529).

Related Material

The Leycester of Toft Muniments also held by the JRUL contain family correspondence and estate records (ref.: GB 133 LEY ).

The National Maritime Museum holds a number of logbooks written by midshipman (later Admiral) John Harvey Rainier (1847-1915), including logbooks for HMS Tribune, April-September 1862, HMS Topaze, September 1862-June 1863, HMS Sutlej June 1864, and other papers relating to HMS Topaze (ref.: GB 0064 RAI/301-311 ).

Rice University, Houston, Texas, Woodson Research Center, holds a logbook recording a voyage of HMS Topaze from England to the Far East and back, 1874-7 (ref.: 230 ). The National Archives of Scotland holds two journals of HMS Topaze, 1866-9 (ref.: GB 0234 GD35/289-91 ).

Plymouth and West Devon Record Office holds a journal of HMS Bellerophon, 1886-9 (ref.: GB 0028 140 ). McGill University, Montreal, McLennan Library and Archives, holds the log of a voyage of HMS Bellerophon from Spithead to Italy and the Aegean, 1848-50 (ref.: MS 39 ). The Royal Naval Museum holds a logbook of HMS Bellerophon, 1868-72 (ref.: GB 1070 1982/11 ). The National Maritime Museum, Caird Library, holds a diary, night order book and private journals from Bellerophon, 1838-41 (ref.: GB 0064 AUS/140-149 ).

British Columbia Archives and Records Service holds a logbook from HMS Tribune, 1862-6 (ref.: O/A/20.5/T732N ). Yale University, Sterling Memorial Library, holds a logbook of HMS Tribune, 1838-9 (ref.: Robert Neeser Collection Mss 366 ).

Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic, Connecticut, holds a logbook of HMS Sutlej, 1863-5.