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Glossary

Anker - a wooden barrel capable of holding about 8 gallons.

Ballast – heavy material placed in a ship’s hold to prevent it capsizing.

Batman – a smuggler who carried a long wooden pole or bat to
defend contraband.

Bilges – the lowest part inside the hull of a ship, the very bottom of a ship.

Bohea – black tea from China drunk by the poor.

Broadside – the side of a ship, sideways.

Coastguard – an organisation formed in 1822 to guard the coast against smugglers and assist shipwreck victims. 

Contraband – smuggled goods on which no tax has been paid.

Coxswain – a ship’s officer.

Customs Officer – a person responsible for making sure tax was paid on goods coming in or out of the country.

Cutter – a boat with only one mast.

East Indiaman – a large ship used for trading with the East Indies, belonging to the East India Company.

Excisemen – similar to a customs officer.  Excise duty was a tax payable on goods made and sold in Britain.

Geneva – another name for gin.

Half-anker – a small wooden barrel capable of holding about 4 gallons widely used by smugglers.

Hawse holes – holes cut in the sides of a ship for anchor cables to pass through.

Hogshead – a large wooden barrel capable of holding about 54 gallons.

Hollands – another name for gin.

Hysson (also spelt Hyson) – a coarse green tea from China.

Kentledge (spelt kenltidge in ship’s log) – permanent ballast, often lumps of pig iron.

Lander - person in charge of organising gangs of smugglers to land the contraband and distribute it inland.

Lerret - a boat used by Portland fishermen specially designed for working in the dangerous conditions of the Chesil Beach.

Lugger – a boat with two or three masts.

Merchant ship – a ship carrying merchandise, a trading ship.

Mizzen mast – the mast at the rear of a three masted ship.

Peeler – policeman.

Port – the left side of a ship.

Revenue men – the Revenue Service was started in 1698 to prevent smuggling.  Their work was later taken over by the Coast Guard Service.

Riding officer – someone who patrolled on horseback looking for smugglers and/or contraband.

Salvage – goods rescued from a shipwreck.  The original owner might pay a lot of money to have a valuable cargo salvaged.

Sloop – a boat with one mast.  Might carry guns on deck.

Souchong – better quality black tea originally from China.

Spy glass – telescope.

Starboard – the right side of a ship.

Strong waters – watered down brandy.

Tub man – a smuggler who carried tubs, small wooden barrels.

Venturers – people who provided money to fund a smuggling operation.

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