Re-enactment offers insight into the perils of the sea

5 July 2011

A fascinating Council meeting, which was held on 02 July 1593, to discuss the dreadful experiences of merchant seamen of the time, will be re-enacted on Saturday 09 July at The Tolbooth Museum, Castle Street, Aberdeen. 

The emergency meeting was held so the survivors of the Aberdeen merchant ship The Susanna could tell of the disasters they had experienced during their travels.

The Susanna had set sail from Aberdeen on 6 July 1588 with a cargo of salmon to go to Dieppe, France. After trading at different ports the ship landed in Sanlucar de Barrameda in Spain, a town in Andalucia; a port from both Columbus and Magellan had set sail previously.

During their time at the port the captain and crew of The Susanna fell foul of a captain of a French ship, who accused them of being heretics and Lutherans. The crew was arrested, interrogated and many put to death. Only a few managed to return to Aberdeen 5 years later in 1593.

Chris Croly, historian said: "This re-enactment is a chance to discover the adventures and perils of being a merchant adventurer in the 16th century, set against the background of the great religious change and upheaval of the reformation."

The free re-enactment will be held at 12noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.