Thomas was the first holder of the position of Clerk of the King’s Ships, a position which existed from 1335 until the end of the fifteenth century. His accounts, kept in basic clerkly Latin, can be found in the National Archives. This example gives a clear view of his responsibilities. The most notable items listed are the purchase of hour glasses needed to time tacks and the like and ‘12 stones called adamantz called sailstones’. These are lodestones (magnetised iron) an essential component of a compass and the earliest evidence that instruments like this were used on royal ships. The illustration shown is the earliest representation of a mariner using a compass.
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