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Ship’s log of the Diepenheim

Peter Swart - 12th March 2022 - 0 comments

A ship’s log of the Diepenheim is kept in the Utrecht Archives.(1) Like the frigate Huis te Warmelo, this Amsterdam warship sailed to the Baltic Sea in 1715. The two ships were part of the same Anglo-Dutch squadron.
The log of the Diepenheim recently came into focus. It is the only preserved journal of a Dutch warship in the squadron. What does it say about the voyage to the Baltic Sea and the sinking of the Huis te Warmelo?


Ship and captain

The Diepenheim was a ship of similar class to the Huis te Warmelo. Both ships were armed with 44 guns and had a crew of 200. Even in naming, the two warships bear a strong resemblance. Diepenheim refers to Diepenheim Castle, a manor house found a stone’s throw from Warmelo Castle. The two houses are in the Overijssel town of Diepenheim.
The ship’s log in the Utrecht Archives was kept by Jacob van Reede (1681-1724). He was captain at the Amsterdam admiralty and a scion of an influential noble family. His full name was Jacob, Baron of Reede, Lord of Elst. His father Godard van Reede led Stadholder-King William III’s army in Ireland in 1691 and was later promoted to commander-in-chief of the entire Dutch States Army. Several brothers of Jacob van Reede also served as army officers.
His aristocratic background undoubtedly opened many doors. After an appointment as lieutenant on Admiral Philip van Almonde’s ship, Jacob van Reede was appointed a naval captain in 1706 and went on to command several Amsterdam warships including the Diepenheim. (2)


Figure: Portrait of a naval officer, possibly Jacob van Reede. (Collection Stichting Kasteel Amerongen)



The Diepenheim’s log begins on 29th April 1715. At that time, the warship was still in Amsterdam and crew members were being hired. In the evening, a pilot came on board to guide the ship safely across the shallow waters of the Zuiderzee. A notorious obstacle for ships from Amsterdam was the Pampus sandbank. According to the ship’s log, on 3rd May, the Diepenheim was towed across these shallows by six fishing vessels. In the process, the tow rope went to pieces.
Via the isle of Urk, the warship reached the Vlieter near Wieringen where the frigate Huis te Warmelo from Medemblik arrived simultaneously.(3) Provisions and artillery were brought on board in this deeper water. After the stopover at the Vlieter, the warships continued towards the isle of Texel.
On 20th May, the Diepenheim dropped its anchors off Den Helder. There, the last provisions were taken aboard, and the muster commissioner inspected the crew.
In late May, the ships waited for favourable winds to set sail. After two unsuccessful attempts to reach open sea, the Diepenheim, the Huis te Warmelo and ten other Dutch warships sailed out on 1st June. In their wake followed 170 merchantmen.



The Dutch convoy sailed around the northern tip of Danish Jutland on 6th June 1715 and reached the Sound. In the Sound, merchant ships had to pay tolls and the planned joining with the English fleet took place.
On Wednesday 12th June, the journey continued. Jacob van Reede wrote in his log that the Queen of Denmark came to Kronborg Castle. She wanted to see the spectacle of hundreds of ships. However, the fleet was already too far away to salute her.
The Diepenheim’s destination was shorter than that of the other Dutch warships. On 24th June, Jacob van Reede and the commander of an English warship were given the signal to split off from the main force. They were tasked with escorting merchant ships bound for Gdansk and Kaliningrad. As soon as the Gdansk roads were reached, the Dutch captain had to take immediate action. He sent armed crew members to a merchantman threatened by a Danish privateer. The merchantman’s cargo was destined for a Dutch merchant in Gdansk.


The Huis te Warmelo

Apart from a short voyage to Baltiysk, formerly named Pillau, the Diepenheim was at anchor off Gdansk in July and August 1715. Jacob van Reede was informed about the fatal accident with the frigate Huis te Warmelo on 31st August when the main force of the Anglo-Dutch fleet arrived at the Gdansk roads. In the Diepenheim’s log, he wrote that the Huis te Warmelo was lost on a sunken rock, below the isle of Hogland. According to him, ‘only 69 men came from it with boats’. Other sources mention (about) 70 survivors, the captain of the Diepenheim gave an apparently exact number.
On Thursday 5th September, the joined fleet left from the Gdansk roads. In the Sound, all warships honoured the Queen of Denmark with gun salutes. The Diepenheim’s return voyage was far from straightforward . Due to heavy weather, she lost all three masts on 14th October. At the height of the storm one crew member broke his lower back and both legs. As a result of the damage the warship made its way to the Norwegian port of Arendal for repairs.(4) It was not until late November 1715 that the battered Diepenheim returned home from the Baltic Sea.

Look here for the transcription of the ship’s log of the Diepenheim (NL).

Look here for the ship’s log of the Diepenheim in the collection of the Utrecht Archives. It starts at scan number 130.


Figure: Two of the 39 pages from the ship’s log of the Diepenheim. The right page reports the sinking of the frigate Huis te Warmelo. Originally, the journal was kept in Amerongen Castle, the ancestral home of the Van Reedes and repository of the family archives. In 1988, the family papers were transferred to the Utrecht Archives. (Het Utrechts Archief)


(1) Het Utrechts Archief (HUA), Huis Amerongen (HA), no. 3431.
(2) HUA, HA, nos. 3429 and 3420.
(3) HUA, HA, no. 3431. According to the ship’s log, the Diepenheim entered the Vlieter on 6th May. A letter from Michiel de Clercq to the Amsterdam admiralty mentions the arrival of several warships in the Vlieter including that of Captain Van Elst and one from Medemblik. Nationaal Archief, Archief Admiraliteitscolleges, no. 1656, 7th May 1715.
(4) HUA, HA, no. 3437. This concerns a note of the short masts bought in Arendal.