Lieutenant Gabriel Bray R.N. (1749 -1823)


Amongst the many memorials and grave stones in and around St. Andrews Church in Charmouth are those residents who made their mark at a national level. This was the case with Gabriel Bray, who though he  never succeeded above the rank of Lieutenant, left us with a unique record of life on board ships of the Royal Navy in Georgian times. The painting shown here is a self portrait of him at work filling his Album on board HMS Pallas in 1774.

It is this collection that has come down to us and is now treasured in the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich. If you visit the Museum today you will see that a number of the paintings are displayed in cabinets. The same images are continually being used in naval reference books due to their importance and rarity. I have used these throughout the Presentation and also additional paintings by him that have come to light.
Gabriel was to lead a very eventful life travelling to distant corners of the known world at that time in the Royal Navy and  was later to have a further career in the Customs Service catching smugglers along the southern coast. Towards the end of his life he retired with his wife Mary to Charmouth, where again he was to make his mark as we shall see.

We are fortunate in Charmouth in having a magnificent marble memorial above the Church entrance to the great man and his wife, which we show here. Their grave sadly is just a shadow of what it must have once been at the corner of the church yard. It would have been a Chest Tomb, with four sides which have since disappeared as has the iron railings that would have adorned it. These would no doubt have been cut off during the last war as part of a drive all over the country for the war effort. The inscription on the top of the tomb, which can still be seen,  is the same as that as the memorial recording their deaths in 1823 and 1835,respectively.

Gabriel Bray was baptised on the 29th June 1749 at St. Leonards Church in Upper Deal, which had formerly been the town`s only church until St. Georges was built at the beginning of the 18th century. His father, John had himself been baptised in the same church in 1716. The building has changed very little as can be seen by the comparable print above, except that it is now next to a busy crossroads. The records for the church show his parents as John and Margaret Bray. His mother, Margaret  Boughton had originated from the village of Sholden in East Kent and had married her husband in 1746. They had lost their first child, baptised as John Gabriel, within a year of his birth and were to go on to have four children.

The painting shown here by J.M.W. Turner depicts Deal during a raging storm . The town was to be Gabriel Brays family home until his marriage in 1780 aged 30. A Will of 1757 by his father, John, details the family living in a house in Lower Street. This was to stay in the family until the death of his daughter Mary in 1850, aged 96. Her Will records it as being no. 20 Lower Street, which is now the High Street.

Among the many paintings that Gabriel produced was this one of his father which was sketched ashore in mid 1774, when he would have been aged 48.
John entered the Navy in 1735, rose from lieutenant in 1743 to captain in 1758 and his two commands in that rank were the 'Princess Amelia' from that year followed by the 'Newark' in 1761. He appears to have been a regulating captain, raising men at Dover, at the start of the French Revolutionary War and he was a superannuated rear-admiral at the time of his death at Deal, where he and his wife Margaret are buried. The painting is a scene from the Battle of Louisberg in America, where the “Princess Amelia” saw action.

This fascinating account of the naval life of John Bray on the left and written out on the right gives us an insight into his rise through the ranks from Midshipman in 1735  to Rear Admiral in 1789.
It briefly records “Captain John Bray entered into the service in the year 1735, was a lieutenant twenty two years, and in 1757, was made master and commander of the “Adventure” armed ship, which was attacked on the 1st of January, 1758, by the “Mashault”, Privateer, of Dunkirk, carrying 14 nine pounders, and 182 men, whereas the Adventure only had only 16 six pounders, and 98 men, but the French commander having given Captain Bray an opportunity of laying him athwart hawse, by this manoeuvre he took his superiority from him, and after an action of one hour and twenty minutes( during which the French attempted boarding him three times, and were as often repulsed) they were obliged to submit - by the position the Adventure Kay in, her men were so screened from the musketry of the enemy, that Captain Bray had the happiness to find that he had only one man killed, and two wounded, whereas the French had sixty three killed and wounded.
Such was the opinion entertained by Lord Anson, the Command of the Princess Amelia, of 80 guns, and he went out in her to North America, under the command of Admiral Boscawen, and was at the reduction of Louisburg and Quebec, and other services, under the same gallant commander.
Below it is an extract from a letter dated July 6th 1789 which announces his being appointed a Rear Admiral.

Gabriel Bray`s father, John, was to spend his whole life, when not on board ships, living in Deal in Kent. Initially he had a house at 20 Lower Street in the centre of the town. He was to do well with Prize Money from his Naval actions and in 1775 moved with his family to the impressive mansion shown in this slide. It was the largest property in the nearby village of Great Mongeham and had formerly belonged to Samuel Shepherd, who after the sale moved to Faversham to found the brewery, Shepherd Neame, which is still operating today and famous for it`s  “Master Brew” and “Spitfire” Ale. At the rear of the property was a Malthouse and Farm, still to be seen, which was later to be run by his son, John Raven Bray and then his granddaughter, Margaret, until her death in 1892, aged 95.

An Extract from John Bray, father of Gabriel Bray, Will of 1796:
I John Bray of the Town and Borough of Deal in Kent, Gentleman give my two messuages or tenements in Lower Street in Deal which I lately purchased of John Webber to my wife, Margaret Bray for her natural life and then unto my children, Gabriel Bray, Margaret Bray, John Raven Bray and Mary Bray.
A Codicil to last Will. Where’s my daughter, late Margaret Bray but now the wife of John Coles of the City of London, Malt factor. On the day of her marriage receive a £1000 instead of her forth part. I bequeath to my daughter, Mary, Spinster, the house now in the occupation of Lieutenant Thomas Levine.
Margaret Bray Will
Being almost blind make this my Will
I Give all my freehold farm situated at Smeeth called Stone and my third part or share of 13 acres of marshland at Dymchurch in the occupation of Jeremiah Wraight and many other fields to Gabriel Bray, John Raven Bray, and Mary Bray. My gold watch to son, Gabriel Bray, all other effects to daughter, Mary, dated 1801. The mark of Margaret Bray. Will proved in 1805.
John Bray died in 1795 he left his house in Lower Street to his daughter, Mary. His farm and Malthouse went to his son, John Raven Bray. The remainder seems to have been auctioned off in the same year and the advertisement for the sale is shown on the right. The proceeds no doubt were divided between his four surviving children, including Gabriel.
Freehold Estate 41 acres, more or less, with the appurtenances; situate, lying and being in the several parishes of Great Mongeham and Sholden, in the occupation of John Bray, Esq. Also all that freehold Messuage or Tenement, with the barns, stables, buildings, courts, yards 

27 March 1795 - Kentish Gazette - Canterbury, Kent, England

The map shown here was one of the first Ordnance Survey Maps which was published in 1801. It is helpful in placing the sites associated with the Brays. Gabriel’s mother, Margaret Boughton originated from the village of Sholdon, to the north of Mongeham where she was later to live. The impressive Castles of Deal, Sandown and Walmer, built by King Henry VIII to defend the coast are still standing. When John Bray died in 1795 he left his house in Lower Street to his daughter, Mary. His farm and Malthouse went to his son, John Raven Bray. The remainder seems to have been auctioned off in the same year and the advertisement for the sale is shown on the right. The proceeds no doubt were divided between his four surviving children, including Gabriel.
Deal at that time was a rapidly expanding new town, but the Customs were in Deal early enough to establish an office at the corner of Customs House Lane and Middle Street with up to 6 watch towers along the seafront, one being at the top of Customs House Lane. This office was in use until 1814 when they moved to bigger premises in Lower Street.
1792 Directory
Here is a custom-house, consisting of a collector, comptroller, surveyor, land-waiter, 2 riding officers, 10 boatmen & 10 tide-waiters, with a naval storehouse under the direction of the store-keeper, who is clerk to the cheque.
Durban, John jnr Landing Waiter to the customs.
Ferrier, Soloman Surveyer of Customs
Lawrence, George Naval Storekeeper
Sayer, Benj. Collector of Customs
Friend, Jacob Comptroller of the Navy
Knocker, Richard Inn-Keeper & Excise Office Keeper
Sayer, Joshua Clerk to the Naval Store-keeper
In 1783 newspaper report (Morning Herald) says the Army was called in to help the Excise officers and in a battle at the north end of Deal, seven soldiers were killed and many wounded.

This early engraving is of Kings School in Canterbury, Kent, which accordingly the Guinness Book of Records is the oldest in the country. It’s historic records are kept in the school Archives. The School entry book still exists and show Gabriel being admitted on the 23rd of November 1759. A later entry for 29th September, 1761 is for his brother, John Raven Bray. Of the 20 boys admitted to King’s in 1759, it is astonishing that seven were from Deal and may well have been friends of Gabriel. The records are especially important as supplying both brothers date of birth and where they were baptised, which in both cases was St. Leonard’s in Deal.

Gabriel would have been just 10 years of age when he entered Kings School and was to be educated there until his departure in 1764, aged 15. It was no doubt where his talent for painting was encouraged. Just ten years later he was to return to the City and record the view from St. Augustine's Abbey with the Cathedral in the distance, where his old school stood in the precincts. It is a fascinating painting as he has depicted himself with his sketch pad in the foreground with a friend. The original painting is now in the British Museum. According to the long inscription attached to the original mount of this drawing, it was presented to the young writer George Monck Berkeley (1763-1793) by Miss Anson as a keepsake when he was about to leave Canterbury. This must have been in 1775 when he left Kings School for Eton.

Whilst going through the extensive series of documents relating to both John and Gabriel Bray held in the Public Record Office at Kew I was very exited to find this sheet towards the end. It is described as a “ Memorandum of the Services of Lieutenant Gabriel Bray”. Up until then I was finding it difficult to complete the various ships and dates of service for him. This was to be a revelation for me as it actually written by him in 1817 and supplied all I wanted to know. There were a few dates missing that I was able to fill in and the updated sheet can be seen on the right. The first entry for 1763, is as a Volunteer on “HMS Aquilon” under Captain Philip Perceval as it patrolled the English Channel. It must have been the equivalent of a Summer job as he was still at school. Aged just 14 in that year.
Official Naval Records have the following for Gabriel Bray :
25 June 1773 Lieutenant.
September 1778 to 1780 “Sprightly”
September 1780 to April 1781 “Sprightly”
July 1781 to October 1786 “Nimble”

Again we have to look at his Memorandum to find his first posting after leaving school. This was to be as a sailor on HMS Launceston where he would hold the junior position of Midshipman. It is astonishing to think that at just 17 years of age he would be sailing to North America, where he would spend the next three years under the command of Captain John Gell, whose portrait and plans of the ship are shown in this slide.

Gabriel’s memorandum records that his next destination was to return to North America, this time he was to spend two years off Newfoundland. Initially under Commodore John Byron, shown here, on HMS Antelope and the following year on HMS Panther under Captain George Gaston. He notes that he took on the position of Mate on the latter. It is in the year 1770, aged 21, that he passes his Lieutenant exams and awaits promotion.

This fine length portrait is of Admiral Clark Gayton, whom  Gabriel Bray served under.  In the background to the left, behind Gayton's right arm, is the 'Antelope'. Another indeterminate vessel flying a red ensign is on the right. Gayton's right hand holds a rolled up chart and rests on a table full of charts.

At the close In the year 1773 there was to be a Royal Fleet Review at Spithead off the coast of Portsmouth. King George III was to be on board the Royal Yacht Augusta” whilst the Fleet sailed by. Gabriel Bray was very fortunate to be a member of the crew for this historic event on June 22nd of that year. He showed tremendous foresight to paint the fleet from his vantage point on board the ship which is shown here with the King standing by the flag.

The following day, his Captain was so impressed with the painting that he showed it to the King. A newspaper report shortly afterwards informs its readers that “Mr. Bray of Deal, midshipman of the Augusta yacht, being ordered on duty at Portsmouth during the late review, made a draught of the whole fleet, with a prospect of the Isle of Wight. The Captain presented it to his Majesty, who ordered a copy of it to be drawn, with the Draughtsman’s name affixed to it, which being executed, Mr Bray, had the honour of being introduced to the Royal Presence, kissed his Majesty’s hand, and was made a Lieutenant of the Augusta”.
The original painting, which is shown at the top, which is 5 feet long, is still to be seen at Windsor Castle. The painting below depicts the crowds looking on to the Review from the shore at Portsmouth by John Cleveley .
Gabriel was to spend a further year on “HMS Princess Augusta”, under Sir Richard Bickerton where he records on his Memorandum that they “visited the Naval Arrivals”.

After his time at Sea on board Augusta, Gabriel returned back to his home town of Deal in June 1774 on half pay . It was here that he was to begin painting watercolours of what he saw around him in an Album which he was to add to over the next two years in what was to become an exiting and eventful period of his life. We are fortunate today that it has survived virtually complete and provides a window on his life. The majority of the paintings are dated and briefly described. I have as best as I can placed them in chronological order with further information where available. He was able to record what others ignored and possess the quality of snapshots of what he saw around him. The famous marine painters of the time ignored the everyday and depicted ships and battles instead which are relatively common. Many of the drawings were made directly and sometimes rapidly into Bray`s sketchbook, on board Pallas, or away on a mission.
This is the first one dated June of that year and is described as being “ a small cottage at Middle Deal in Kent” by him. Until their move to Great Mongeham in 1776, John Gabriel and his family are shown as living in Middle Street, which is now the High Street. His daughter, Mary was still living there until her death in 1850, aged 96. The Street runs inland parallel to the Beach and still contains a number of historic houses and shops.

Gabriel`s father, John, bought up a number of properties and farms from the Prize money he received from the Navy. This scene may well depict a harvesting scene on his farm which is described by him as “Taking in New Hay and stacking in June 1774”. Alongside is another reminder of this with a characterful painting of a “Harvest Man” painted in August of that year. It shows the reaper with his sickle and a small keg, probably for ale as necessary refreshment in the hot and dusty work of summer harvesting. It is  signed 'AdVprGB' (to the life by Gabriel Bray) as are many in the Album showing his skill at depicting a scene as he saw it straight onto the page.

I have grouped these three paintings together. The large one is describes at as “a view up a river with wooded banks painted in August 1774”. The other sketches  are of a riding horse (from the docked tail) a long-horned cow resting by a bush was probably done near where he lived in Kent, 

This interesting painting is described as “A Close View in a Chalk Pit as Upper Deal in Kent”. Research has shown that there was a large field there on the Tithe Map called Chalk Pit Field with a Lime Kiln on it, which is probably what he has depicted here.

The area of coast from Dover to the Thames estuary was known as “The Downs”. Gabriel's  drawing here  shows a British naval two-decker of at least 64-guns, with a cutter to the left firing a salute off the coast of Deal in June 1774.

This is another of the drawings that Gabriel was to add to his sketch book whilst in Deal. It depicts a military figure , possibly a sentry leaning on a pile of bales, with a seaman carrying kegs in the background. The main figure clearly belongs to a corps which remains to be identified and, given the beach location, it has been suggested he may be connected with anti-smuggling operations at that time, which Gabriel was later to be part of.

A drawing signed 'AdVprGB July 74' (to the life by Gabriel Bray) showing two men working on a jolly boat (the smallest boat warships generally carried), which has been propped up on its starboard gunwale for convenience. Many of the Navy's boats were built at Deal in Kent, where it had a boatyard for the purpose and where Bray and his family lived.

This is an extremely detailed proposal, to a scale measuring 120 feet and with a lettered key, for a small tidal dockyard in Deal. Its evident purpose is the maintenance and minor repair of small naval vessels on the two sloping 'slips' flanking the central channel that runs back from the dock gate. Two smaller slips for boats lie beneath the Superintendent's House at the landward end. The other two views are transverse sections at right angles, on the axis of the channel and across it. Deal  already had a small yard where the Navy built and repaired ships' boats, of which his proposal is a logical development. Whether he ever submitted it to the Admiralty for consideration is not yet known.

A close up of the previous slide to show the proposed buildings as Gabriel envisaged them if they were ever built against the Old Town of Deal today.

By October of 1774, Gabriel had received a commission  to sail on HMS Pallas” and was to make his way from  Deal to London and then to Portsmouth. He has left us with a number of Watercolours of what he saw en route.
The first of these is described as “'A Sticker-up of Bills on Tower Hill at the Rendezvous at the King's Arms’.  This  was the City naval rendezvous, most significantly for the local impress service, which included both voluntary recruitment and the 'press gang' when emergency required this.  He no doubt had the job of sticking up Royal Navy recruiting bills.
The other painting is of a Man having his shoes polished with the same date. An every day scene, which would have been so common that few would have bothered to paint it.

“ Manning the Navy” by Collins depicts a naval press gang rounding up men of pretty poor quality by the look of them on Tower Hill, London. Such methods were the only way to ensure that ships were adequately, if not well manned. Genuine volunteers accounted for as little as a quarter of the ships company.The Impress Service, which was the normal land-based naval recruitment arm usually just seeking volunteers, would in times of emergency organize gangs to roam the streets of towns and villages forcefully taking (pressing) men for the fleet. The London impress was based at Tower Hill, with the naval receiving ship into which men were first placed for taking out by river, moored close by off the Tower.

A caricature drawing of two men, the dandified one in the hat apparently of higher social status than the other with his tongue partly out to the side of his mouth.

Two further  every day sketches of London Street Life observed by Gabriel.

The woman is probably a street vendor. The two gentlemen strolling past on the left give the impression of being complicit in the urchins' pilfering of fruit from the barrow.

Gabriel appears to have arrived in Portsmouth in November of 1774 and has left us with some sketches of what he saw.
This is a wonderfully well observed record of a greengrocer's shop on old Portsmouth Point, drawn while the 'Pallas' was fitting out to sail for Africa in December 1774. The neatly dressed female proprietor sits 'at the receipt of custom' inside the door. Autumn fruit is stacked in baskets outside an open casement window to the left, with baskets of vegetables on a bench below. Others lie to the right on a smaller bench below a bay display window. The shop also sells tobacco, since bundles of clay pipes lie on the top shelf in the window to the right.

The view appears to be along the Dockyard wall towards the Hard in Portsmouth, with one of the waterfront taverns on the left, stall-holders selling produce and two men possibly playing knucklebones on the paved street surface in the foreground.

This is a famous engraving by Thomas Rowlandson of a similar view of the harbour at Portsmouth to that depicted by Bray. It shows an old clothes shop at left with a sign that reads, "Moses Levy Money Lent." At right is the "Ship Tavern." People are bustling to depart in the foreground: baggage is carried, casks are rolled, sailors and women embrace or fight.

Gabriel would often paint characters he saw as he went along from life. Here are two paintings of Watermen in Portsmouth, before his departure.

The Painting on the right is of the forty four gun frigate “HMS Pallas”. It was on board this ship that Gabriel Bray was to take up the position of second  Lieutenant for the next two years, under Admiral William Cornwallis, shown here.  In his Sketchbook he was to capture the ordinary and everyday moments of Royal Navy life during his time on board in a series of paintings. The voyage took him to Tenerife and a number of West African destinations - to support British commercial interests there, including the slave trade - before making for Barbados and finally Jamaica.
When duties permitted, Bray used these months to observe and record the people and circumstances that surrounded him. The results are remarkably unconfined by artistic convention, picturesque sensibility or indeed, by his own social position. He painted ordinary sailors, Royal Marines and servants as much as his brother officers.

 Gabriel wasted no time in adding more watercolours of life on board HMS Pallas to his Album. This is the first, whilst still in Portsmouth and described by him as “The Sailmaker ticketing the Hammocks on board the Pallas, November 1774”. Men were issued with hammocks which bore a number indicating their place in the ship. The head of the capstan indicates this is an upper-deck scene. The drawing also shows the working dress of a sailmaker. He was required to inspect all of the sails taken onboard ship and to attend all surveys and conversions of the sails and rigging and to keep all of the sails in good repair. He was also expected to assist with hammocks as depicted here by Bray.

This is another scene painted in November before HMS Pallas sailed of four fully uniformed marines below an upper deck hatchway. The two visibly eating are seated on sea chests and the meal could be pease pottage (or pudding) - a porridge of dried split peas baked with water and seasoning.

A drawing of a young man, possibly one of the 'Pallas's' midshipmen or master's mates.

The first drawing of a steward  was probably done at Portsmouth when the 'Pallas' was on the point of sailing for Africa in December 1774 or at least early in the voyage, since the meat appears to be fresh rather than salted. Ships did carry livestock, but probably delayed slaughtering it until well into the voyage.
The other painting is probably a seaman bringing his hammock up to air from below on the 'Pallas' early in Bray's voyage to Africa. The hammock is clearly ticketed 'CD No. 4' referring to the man's place and number in the ship.

The scene is probably what the log of the 'Pallas' calls the Dutch fort of Anzer, one of at least three between Fort Appollonia and Cape Coast Castle - Like all such forts it would have been a trading (and slaving) station.

The Desertas are four small rocky islands in the Atlantic Ocean. They are situated S. E. of Madeira and are called Bugio, Chao, Deserta Grande and Sail Rock. Uninhabited, they are visited only by fishermen and herdsmen.' Bray's view appears to be of most of Deserta Grande and the northern tip of Bugio, seen from the north-north-west looking down the chain. This is a very rare view of these remote islets, taken as the 'Pallas' sailed south from Funchal, Madeira, for West Africa in December 1774

south-east of Madeira, as viewed by Bray from the 'Pallas', on a bearing of south by east and a half east. Today they are a restricted area of natural conservation interest.

 A drawing showing a British brig called 'Expedition' aground, with salvage in progress, on the western point of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Boats are in attendance and men on deck are apparently recovering cargo from the hold with a tackle rigged to the mainstay. The upper masts and yards have already been removed. It was presumably seen by Bray as his ship ran into the harbour at Santa Cruz.

This is a still-life study aft on the 'Pallas, with Marines' drums and leather buckets hoisted up out of the way and a gun and a water cask secured for sea.
The other watercolour  shows a view of the fountain in front of the fortress at Tenerife, taken when the 'Pallas' called there en route for Africa, 6 - 18 January 1775. The discrepancy with Bray's inscribed date suggests he added it and the title later, from slightly inaccurate recollection. While Britain remained at peace with Spain, Santa Cruz was a regular supply point - for water and fresh provisions - to vessels sailing south and west on the transatlantic trade winds.

The drawing  shows the Peak of Tenerife, bearing west and half a point south at a distance of nine leagues (nine sea-miles), probably as the 'Pallas' was approaching the island, where she called en route to Africa. 

A drawing of two marines on the Pallas gangway. One of the Marines, is apparently trying to take something out of the other's eye, probably while the 'Pallas' was at Tenerife. A cutter is on the horizon to the left.
The other watercolour shows a midshipman, apparently dozing in a slightly precarious position on the ship's taffrail. Her stern lantern and red ensign are seen behind. The discolouring is from a coat of varnish that was later applied to some of the paintings.

A fully uniformed Marine on sentry duty while the 'Pallas' probably at Tenerife from the date. A cutter is on the horizon to the left. 
 The other view on the 'Pallas's' fo'c'sle at sea, looking forward over one of her chase guns, with the starboard clew of her fore-course visible above her bowsprit. It is possible the seaman is a forward lookout.  The name 'Pallas' is carved or painted on the gun. 

The two drawings are of  a sailor fishing, possibly at anchor in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

The date can be fairly closely identified as 29-30 January from the ship's log. The men are apparently sitting on the port anchor. There are in fact two anchors, a main bower with a smaller stream anchor on top of it, to which the buoy on which the seaman is sitting is probably attached. The ship is clearly lying off the mouth of the Senegal River, presumably only to single anchor using her starboard bower.

A view taken probably in the harbour at Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The men are using a launch, the largest boat ships normally carried, to recover a ship's bower or stream anchor - both large and heavy.
The view below is of the British fort at the mouth of the Senegal River was the first place of call specified in the ship's orders for the 'Pallas' voyage in 1775, and she arrived there on 28 January, sailing again on the 31st for the Gambia River: Bray's inscribed date is therefore slightly adrift, probably due to faulty memory. Three small vessels are present on the right, probably merchantmen or small slavers, or others attached to the fort. On the left behind the fort is another brig in seagoing condition, presumably the one which Captain Cornwallis's log noted as for the use of Governor O'Hara at the fort, at whose request he supplied her with a small consignment of gunpowder on 31 January, just before the 'Pallas' sailed.

A view taken probably in the harbour at Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The men are using a launch, the largest boat ships normally carried, to recover a ship's bower or stream anchor - both large and heavy.
The view below is of the British fort at the mouth of the Senegal River was the first place of call specified in the ship's orders for the 'Pallas' voyage in 1775, and she arrived there on 28 January, sailing again on the 31st for the Gambia River: Bray's inscribed date is therefore slightly adrift, probably due to faulty memory. Three small vessels are present on the right, probably merchantmen or small slavers, or others attached to the fort. On the left behind the fort is another brig in seagoing condition, presumably the one which Captain Cornwallis's log noted as for the use of Governor O'Hara at the fort, at whose request he supplied her with a small consignment of gunpowder on 31 January, just before the 'Pallas' sailed.

These fascinating watercolours depict African native heads from tribes that Gabriel Bray saw when the “Pallas” called at Senegal on the way down the African coast in March 1775. They show the head dress of the Wappo negroes of the Ivory Coast, The Joliffes of the Gum Coast and the Fantyman of the Gold Coast showing their tufted hair style. 
Bray's ship, the 'Pallas' , was running along the coast of Ghana from about 19 March 1775 and reached Accra on the 30th.

A drawing of Fort Apolonia, It shows a scene in West Africa, on Bray's first 'Pallas' voyage. Having first called at the River Senegal and River Gambia, the 'Pallas' was instructed to call at Cape Appolonia where the Africa Company were constructing this fort, 'consequent to an Act of Parliament', before continuing to Cape Coast Castle. The 'Pallas' in fact only sent a boat with an officer ashore here as they passed on 17 March 1775, while the ship stayed in the offing. The British fort - which was undoubtedly protecting traffic including, if not mainly, the slave trade - is in the centre, flanked on either side by stockades enclosing African huts under the shade of palm trees. The view is from the ship, showing the boat - a local canoe - carrying the officer ashore with a waving figure on the bow and others waving from the shore

While the sitter is unidentified, he is clearly a lieutenant of the 'Pallas' and the drawing shows how officers must have looked much of the time in working 'undress' uniform.
The painting on the right is of James Cornwallis, who was probably a cousin of 'Pallas's' captain, the Hon. William Cornwallis. He was rated as a master's mate on this voyage on which two other aristocratic Cornwallis connections also served; the Hon. Thomas Pakenham, rated as able seaman, and Lord Charles Fitzgerald, a brother of the Duke of Leinster, who was rated midshipman. James Cornwallis became 'Pallas's' second lieutenant in 1776, a captain in 1781 and died in 1790 This drawing shows him looking at Bray's sketchbook, specifically at a drawing of a seaman carrying a hammock, which appears on an earlier slide, before watercolour was applied.

This drawing presumably shows a young seaman of the 'Pallas’ practising contortion, his left leg raised behind his head.
The other drawing of a  slightly caricatured figure must be someone seen on Bray's first African voyage. The dress is not that of an officer of the Marines, or necessarily military. The tasselled cocked hat and rather theatrical 'hand to heart' gesture suggest it may be a Portuguese official from some point along the 'slave coast'.

These are two self-portraits in the Bray album, probably using the same  folded mirror. Both also show the long hair which men of the time could favour, usually tied back into a pigtail with ribbon among sailors (and soldiers) and powdered white in formal circumstances.
The one on the right is a good illustration of the equipment of a watercolourist of the period. with its box of pigments and ceramic palettes, which may well be those introduced by Reeves at that time.  The scene of both is likely to be the ship's wardroom.

The ships  are small frigates of about 26-28 guns.. A naval longboat is in the foreground. It may be a scene Bray  observed off Africa during the 'Pallas' voyage. The ship on the left flies the red ensign often signifying one on independent commission, while the white one suggests the frigate on the right is from a command under a flag officer of the white squadron.

The Africans are likely to be Fante or Krumen, depending on the exact location. Landing at points on the Africa coast could be dangerous because of the surf: an early attempt by the 'Pallas' to send a boat ashore resulted in the boat being overset on reaching it and several men drowning. Local canoes such as this were more skilled and suited to the conditions. On 3 April 1775 while anchored off Whydah, the 'Pallas' sent a seine net for fishing ashore in a canoe and it was lost when the canoe capsized in the surf. 

This may have been drawn on the 'Pallas's transatlantic leg from Africa (whence they sailed on 4 April 1775) to Barbados. The view is almost certainly on the starboard side of the main-deck forward hatch, under the companionway, with the starboard anchor cable going down to the tier below. From his apparent headgear the seaman shown and the man seated on a sea chest with a tankard in his hand, far right, are probably Marines. The man in the centre is sewing an item of clothing.

This was probably sketched on the 'Pallas's' transatlantic passage from Africa to Barbados, from 4 April to 31 May 1775. The location in the ship is probably on the port side of the main gundeck forward hatch, looking forward, with the port anchor cable snaking out of the lower foreground and temporarily hoisted overhead, out of the way while making passage. The forward companionway rises to the deck above on the right. The seamen on the left is sitting in a sea chest marked 'CDN 17' (probably CD No. 17), his number and place in the ship.

This drawing was done on the 'Pallas's' transatlantic crossing from Africa to Barbados, 4 April - 31 May 1775. The scene is likely to be in the ship's cockpit - a lower-deck space, with little natural light, that was the home of midshipmen and master's mates. There they slept, ate and - as shown here - relaxed and studied by candlelight. One of their hanging cots, with a draw-string bag for personal items suspended at its head, can be seen in the top right corner, hanging parallel to the ship's side, as indicated by the positions of the hanging knee and deck beam, top centre. These were the living conditions that 'young gentlemen' first met when they went to sea and it is likely that one or more of those shown are either the Hon. Thomas Pakenham, or Lord Charles Fitzgerald, two of the aristocratic protégés of the ship's captain, the Hon. William Cornwallis.

I thought I had seen all the wonderful watercolours that Gabriel Bray had produced on HMS Pallas, when I tracked down this additional picture, which is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. It is a superb informal scene below deck of the Officers enjoying a pot of tea. The young boys in the background appear in an earlier sketch by Gabriel. I feel quite confident, judging from his self portraits, that he included himself sitting in the centre foreground.

These are three further  Drawings in the Victoria & Albert Museum Collection which are signed by Gabriel Bray and contemporary with the Tea Party scene below decks on HMS Pallas in 1774. They depict every day scenes that he would have seen on shore.

The National Maritime Museum has separate from the Album, this oil painting described as “ A ship Hove Down and Burning off” by Gabriel Bray. The vessel is probably naval, since a number of guns have been landed on the quay prior to her being hove down for breaming, which is what is being shown. A small naval sloop appears to the right, with a further vessel beyond with only lower masts standing. This therefore appears to be a fairly substantial repair facility and it may be a scene in the West Indies, to which Bray made two voyages via the West African coast when second lieutenant of HMS ‘Pallas’ in 1774 and 1775.

Alongside this painting of HMS Pallas are various newspaper  reports of some of the actions she was involved with in the years 1775 and 1776 in which Gabriel Bray would have participated.
It was only slightly more than a year before the need to protect England’s commercial interests abroad compelled Pallas’ return to service. The frigate was re-commissioned on October 5th 1774 and spent the next five weeks moored in Portsmouth harbor working up, where a new captain, William Cornwallis, took command.40 It is also worth noting that Gabriel Bray,the new senior Lieutenant joined Pallas’ crew at this time. Over the course of the next several voyages, Bray would create a series of amazing and useful watercolours of life aboard Pallas On December 12, 1774 she sailed in company with Weasel sloop with orders to patrol down the Atlantic coast of West Africa. Presumably, the British government intended to prevent American colonial smugglers from doing business with, and acquiring arms from, sympathetic European nations through West African trading posts. Pallas worked down the coasts of Portugal and Morocco, passing the island of Palma in the Canaries on New Year’s Day 1775, and arriving at Santa Cruz Bay in the Canaries on January 6th. On January 18th Pallas and Weasel sailed south from Tenerife, running down the Senegal Bar. On January 28th the two vessels anchored off the Senegal fort and Pallas sent 25 half barrels of powder ashore to the fort at the request of the Governor there. The following day Pallas and Weasel continued south, taking two French prizes before coming to anchor on February 4th in the Gambia River off James Island where they delivered 15 half barrels of powder to Fort James. On February 10th they ran down the Gambia River and continued south down the West African coast. On February 17th they moored in Frenchman’s Bay on the Sierra Leone River and on March 2nd continued south arriving at the English fort at Whydah on April 3rd. There they found numerous ships of all nationalities.
On April 5, 1775, Pallas parted company with Weasel and began her first trans-Atlantic crossing and on April 18th she passed south of the equator for the first time in her career. She remained in the southern hemisphere for the next two weeks as she sailed west but at no point did she venture more than two degrees south. On May 31st, 55 days after sailing from Whydah, Pallas arrived at Barbados and dropped anchor in Carlisle Bay the following day. There are few comments in the logbooks regarding this passage other than the decks were washed regularly with vinegar and the guns were exercised more frequently than usual. However, it is known that the crew was suffering from scurvy upon Pallas’ arrival in the Caribbean. On June 1, 1775 Pallas sailed from Barbados for Port Royal, Jamaica. She spent several weeks at Port Royal taking on provisions and undergoing a general overhaul. It was probably there that the crew of Pallas learned that war had broken out with the American colonies. On July 13th she sailed from Port Royal, patrolled around Jamaica and the Caribbean and then returned to England arriving at Spithead on August 28th. During the next two months, Pallas took on provisions, had her rigging overhauled, received a new bowsprit, new gammoning, and new shrouds and spent two and a half weeks in dry dock. On November 16, 1775, she sailed with orders to once again patrol down the Atlantic coast of Africa supporting England’s commercial interests and suppressing smuggling and gunrunning ventures by the American rebels. Pallas called at Madeira and Santa Cruz Bay in the Canary Islands before arriving at Goree on January 8, 1776. The following day she continued south past the mouth of the Gambia River and down the African coast, arriving at Whydah on March 31st. Between January 22nd and 30th, Pallas was in Frenchman’s Bay at the mouth of the Sierra Leone River investigating rumours of an American ships hiding up the river. Unable to take Pallas into the shallow river, Captain Cornwallis exceeded his authority by acquiring the St.John sloop from the local proprietors of the Bence Island plantation. The St. John was fitted out and armed with eight guns and small contingent of officers and men were transferred from Pallas under the overall command of Lieutenant Alexander Agnew. Cornwallis ordered Agnew to patrol around Cape Coast interdicting American ships attempting to buy arms and ammunition. Agnew was immediately successful, taking a schooner belonging to South Carolina. Also during this period Weasel sloop captured an American brig with the assistance of First Lieutenant Gabriel Bray of Pallas who had taken command of a prize ship, presumably the schooner captured by St. John. Bray was then ordered to sail the prize to Antigua in the Caribbean.
On May 3, 1776 Pallas began her second transatlantic crossing, arriving at Port Royal, Jamaica on June 21st without notable incident. She remained moored in Port Royal harbour until July 6th when she sailed with the frigate Maidstone, and 22 sail of merchant vessels bound north up the American coast but the convoy was forced to return to Port Royal. By July 10th, the fleet had grown to include Pallas, Maidstone, the West Florida packet, and 105 merchant vessels. Further delayed by a shortage of water, the convoy did not sail until late September. On October 1st Pallas liberated the Anne, an English vessel bound from Dominica to London that had been taken by an American privateer. On October 3rd Pallas and Maidstone chased off what appeared to be an American privateer and on October 12th the convoy entered St. Lawrence harbour, Newfoundland, and came to anchor. On October 29th they sailed with a convoy bound for England arriving at Spithead on November 17th without any notable incidents being recorded in the logbooks. However, other documents make it clear that the crossing was anything but uneventful. They were plagued by poor weather, hounded by American privateers and Captain Cornwallis complained bitterly of the poor discipline of the convoy. Only 44 of the merchantmen arrived in England in convoy with Pallas.
There is a gap in the logbooks from November 17th until December 28, 1776 but it is reasonable to assume that Pallas remained moored at Spithead for that period. On December 28th, Pallas was moved into Portsmouth harbour where she remained for a month receiving a refit, general maintenance, and provisioning. At some point during this layover, Captain Cornwallis was reassigned and Captain Rowland Cotton took command of Pallas. On January 24, 1777, Pallas was moved back to Spithead where she remained moored through the following month. March 1st Pallas sailed with orders to escort a convoy to Tenerife and Grand Canary. They arrived at Tenerife on March 20th and patrolled the African coast until June 2nd when she again headed across the Atlantic arriving at Carlisle Bay, Barbados, without incident on July 26th. On November 10th Pallas, the hired armed ship Bute, and Nancy sloop, with a convoy of 17 merchant vessels, sailed north up the American coast. The following week Pallas and Bute liberated an unidentified schooner that had been taken by an American privateer. On November 29th, Bute started taking on water and a carpenter from Pallas was sent aboard to assist. By December 3rd Bute was determined to be beyond saving and was scuttled by her captain. There is no record of the Atlantic crossing, but Pallas came to anchor at Spithead on January 14, 1778 without apparent incident.

After Gabriel`s adventures in west Africa and the West Indies he returned home to Deal in 1778 and may well have stayed with his father at his magnificent new house and farm  in Great Mongeham which he had recently bought. In September of that year he received his next commission nearer home on HMS Sprightly patrolling the Downs for the Customs service in pursuit of smugglers.
We are fortunate again that Gabriel recorded first hand one of the many events he was witness too. Two paintings by him came up for auction in 2018, described as “ G BRAY The Charlotte off Dunkirk & 'Le Prince de Habengen Taken by His Majesty's Cutter the Griffon...' A pair of naval action oils” 
With some detective work I was able to tie the paintings in with two separate newspaper reports. The first paining shown here relates to an incident in May 1779, which Gabriel must have witnessed.  It announces:
Notice is hereby given to the Officers and Company of his Majesty’s Cutters, Sprightly, Gabriel Bray, Esq, Commander and flying Fifth, John McDougal, Esq, Commander, ( In Company with his Majesty’s ship, Amphitrite, and Fairy Sloop, and Griffin and Wells Cutter) who were actually on Board on the 24th My 1779, at taking the Dunkerque and Prince de Robecque, Two French Privateers with Eight Ransomers on board, that they will be paid their respective Shares of the Produce of the said Privateers, and head Money, together with Salvage for the eight Ransomers, on board the Sprightly and Flying Fifth, at Deal, on Saturday the 22nd of April instant, or so soon as they come into Port, and such shares as are not then demanded will be recalled the first Thursday in every Month for Three Years to come, at the House of Albert Innes, Crutched-friars, London. Albert Innes of London, Agent.
Obviously the inscription on the back of the paintings needs correcting in that “Le Prince de Habengen” should have read “ Le Prince de Robecque” and Dunkirk was the name of the French Privateer “Dunkerque” If you look carefully you can see name” Griffin” on the bow of nearest ship, which had previously been the captured French “Le Griffon”.

Gabriel Bray commanded HMS Sprightly from 1779 until 1780. The letter is one of many  that was sent by him to the Commissioner of the Royal Navy whilst in Dover on the 8th October 1779  “His boat has had several repairs in the last year and has had to avoid boarding several vessels because of her condition. Asks for Mr. Lawrence, Naval Storekeeper at Deal, to be ordered to supply another boat”.
Another letter dated  Oct 18 informs them that he has drawn a bill, payable to Lewis Miol, for carrying on the impress service under his regulation. Lieutenant Lawrie has returned from duty on the impress service in the Downs, having one of the boats with him that are employed on that service but she was lost in a gale. Impress Service was better known as the notorious  Press Gang, used to recruit sailors.

The companion to the earlier painting by Gabriel Bray is described as “The Charlotte off Dunkirk”.  Again a little research shows this to be the French Privateer “Le Charlotte” which was captured on the 15th September 1780 and later renamed “Royal Charlotte” and served in  the British Navy for another 3 years.  The “Scourge” is seen here commanded by  Captain Chichester Fortescue. Gabriel Bray must have witnessed this event on board “HMS Sprightly” at the time.  The report of the action appeared in the Newcastle Courant on the 23 September 1780. as follows:
Admiralty Office, September 18th 1780
Captain Fortescue of his Majesty’s Sloop Scourge, in the Downs, in his letter to Mr. Stephens of the 16th instant, gives an account, that on the 15th, at ten in the morning, he discovered a sail bearing down upon him, that at four o’ clock, being within hail, and received no answer, he concluded her to be an enemy, therefore fired a broadside into her, when she hoisted French colours, and returned the fire. After an engagement of half and hour, she struck and proved to be the Charlotte privateer of Dunkirk, of 16 six pounders and 120 men, commanded by Monsieur Du Casso, who was dangerously wounded in the action. The First Lieutenant and ten men were also wounded and four killed. She is a new ship having been only three months off the stocks, and eighteen hours from Dunkirk, from whence she had sailed to intercept trade blind to Ostend and Flushing.
N.B. The Scourge carries 16 guns and 80 men. It does not appear she had any men killed or wounded.

In 1780 Gabriel Bray of the parish of Deal married Mary Cartwright of the parish of St. Andrews, Holborn in London, a record of which is shown here. Mary would have been just 18 and Gabriel 31 years of age. The Witnesses are Robert Perry and Albert Innes, who appears as his agent in London in contemporary adverts  as below.  His address was Crutched Friars, the site of The Navy Office  which was where  the Governmentoffice was charged with responsibility for the day-to-day civil administration of the British Royal Navy from (1576-1832). It contained all the members of the Navy Board and various other departments and offices. Little is known about his wife`s family apart from the fact she was baptised with a twin sister, Ann, in Islington in 1762  which would have been rare in those days.

The 'Sprightly', built in 1778, was a typical rigged revenue cutter with 12 guns and 60 men. It was commissioned in September under Lieutenant Gabriel Bray for the Downs until1780. It was then  recommissioned under Bray in September of that year. In  April 1781 under Lieutenant Swan paid off 1783 recommissioned May 1782 for Mounts Bay. Still under Swan until 1785.
The 18th and early 19th century were the heyday of smuggling. At sea the revenue cutter was the first line of defence against the smuggler. With their vast sail area and long bow spit, they were built for speed, strength and fire power.
Cutters were heavily armed, as they often encountered violent opposition from smugglers. Guns were placed along the sides of the deck. Swivel guns were found on the bow and stern. Muskets, bayonets, cutlasses, tuck sticks and small hatchets were issued to the crew.
The Contemporary Newspaper cuttings are some of the many relating to the capture of French Privateers by Gabriel.
“Notice is hereby given to the Officers and Company of His Majesty’s Cutter Resolution, John Douglas, Esq, Commander, Sprightly, Gabriel Bray, Esq, Commander, and hired armed Cutter Union , ... Taylor, Commander, who were actually on board at the taking of the Susanna that they will be paid their respective Shares of Prize-money, on board the said ships, on Tuesday the 16th January, instant, or as soon as they arrive in the Downs, by George Lawrence, Esq, of Deal, and the shares not then demanded will be recalled at the Castle, Mark Lane, on the first Thursday in every Month for Three Years, on the first Thursday in every Month for three years to come. G. Heath Ltd, London Agent, G. Lawrence, Deal, Agent. London, January 8, 1781”.
“Notice is hereby given to the Officers and Company of his Majesty’s Cutter the Sprightly, Gabriel Bray, Esq, Commander, who were actually on Board ( in Company with the Resolution Cutter and Union Tender) at the taking the Susanna Brig, on the 8th of April, 1780, that they will be paid their respective Shares of the said Capture, on Board the said Cutter at Deal, on Friday the 12th Instant, provided she is in Port, or as soon as she arrives at said Port, and the Shares, not then paid will be recalled at the House of Mr. Albert Innes, no.16 Gould Square, Crutched-friars, London, the first Thursday in every month for three years to come. Albert Innes, Agent”.
The Sprightly was commissioned September under Lieutenant Gabriel Bray for the Downs paid off 1780 recommissioned under Bray September 1780. April 1781 under Lieutenant Swan paid off 1783 recommissioned May 1782 for Mounts Bay. Still under Swan until 1785. It had 12 guns and 60 men.

London February 11,1783
Notice is hereby given to the Officers and Company of his Majesty’s Sloop Fortune, John Breton Esq, Commander, who were actually on Board at the taking of the Nordic Star, on the 25th December 1780, ( in Company with his Majesty’s Cutter Sprightly, Lieutenant Gabriel Bray, Commander) that they will be paid their respective Shares of the Hull and Cargo, on Board the Fortune, at Plymouth, on the 18th Instant, and the Shares not then demanded will be recalled, the 2nd April next, and on the first Wednesday in every Month for three years to come at no. 31 Crutched-fryers, London. James Sykes, Agent
London, August 6,1781
Notice is hereby given to the Officers and Company of his Majesty’s Cutter the Sprightly, Lieutenant Bray, Commander, who were actually on Board at the taking of the Princess Carolina, a Dutch Ship of War, ( in Company with several other ships) on the 30th of December, 1780, that they will be paid their respective Shares of the Produce of the said Ship’s Hull and Stores, on Board the said Cutter, so soon as she arrives at Deal, and the Shares not then demanded will be recalled at the French Horn, Crutched-friars, the First Thursday in every Month for three years to come. Albert Innes, of London, Agent.
Later in the year on the 25th December 1780,  Sprightly was in company with the sloop ”Fortune” and  shared in the proceeds of the capture on that day of ”Noord Star”. Just 5 days after it shared in the proceeds of the capture of the Dutch warship ”Princess Caroline” on 30 December.

April 17th 1781 London Gazette.
By authentic letters from Ostend, we learn, that a few days since, as the “Sprightly” Cutter, commanded by Lieutenant Bray, was sailing out of that harbour, one of the crew jumped overboard, with intention, as it was presumed, to desert, but he was immediately fired at by order of the commanding officer, shot through the body, and died in a few seconds.
It is positively asserted, that on arrival of the above Cutter in the Downs, the Lords of the Admiralty sent orders to have the commander of the vessel, suspended, till the unfortunate matter is investigated.
Lieutenant Swan, of the Advice Cutter, stationed at Lynn is appointed to the command of the “Sprightly” Cutter, in the room of Lieutenant Bray.
This awful incident involving the killing of a presumed deserter resulted in Gabriel foregoing his commission to Swan,  who was to remain in command  of the “Sprightly” until 1785.

Although Gabriel was to lose his command of the Sprightly in July 1781, he soon gained a new one as Lieutenant in Command of HMS Nimble where he was to remain until October 1786. She was sent to the Downs off Deal to patrol the English Channel to protect British shipping against attacks by Dutch and French privateers. This contemporary engraving has the Nimble Cutter in Chase of an Enemy.
After she was launched at Folkestone, she was taken to the Royal Dockyard at Sheerness and was coppered as well as being fitted with her guns, her single mast and associated rigging. On completion, HMS Nimble was a tiny vessel of 168 tons. She was 57ft 4in long on her main deck and 27ft 4in wide across her beam. She was armed with 10 4pdr guns on her main deck and 12 half-pounder swivel guns dotted around her bulwarks and in her fighting top. She was manned by a crew of 55 men and boys. 
Lieutenant Bray would have been the only commissioned officer aboard and he would have been assisted by a Midshipman and a Warrant Officer in the position of Clerk-in-Charge. The Clerk-in-Charge combined the role of Purser with that of Commanding Officers Clerk. She would have carried a Masters Mate to assist the officer commanding the vessel in the day to day navigation and sailing of the vessel and a Surgeon's Mate to look after the day to day healthcare needs of the crew.
In May 1783, HMS Nimble underwent a short refit at Sheerness. During this, her firepower was increased by an order of magnitude with the replacement of her 4pdr guns with 10 18pdr carronades. This would have had no effect on the her performance since an 18pdr carronade weighed about the same as a 4pdr long gun and could hurl a ball over a similar distance. With her new guns, she was capable on paper at least, of taking on and defeating enemy vessels much larger than herself.
The war was ended by the Treaty of Paris (1783) on 3rd September. With large numbers of the great ships of the line and frigates being paid off into the Ordinary and with many smaller vessels being sold into merchant service, thousands of sailors of all ranks found themselves out of work. HMS Nimble escaped the post-war drawdown of the fleet and was engaged in the years after the war in supporting the Revenue Service in hunting down smugglers and pirates operating in British coastal waters. 

To the inhabitants of Deal
Whom it may concern
Lieutenant Gabriel Bray, Commander of his Majesty’s Cutter, the Nimble, being ordered on the Downs Station by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, to suppress the illicit Business of running in customer Goods into this kingdom, acquaints the Part of the Town to whom this is addressed, that, when he took the Galley with five chests of Tea, on the Evening of the 22nd past, observing a Number of Galleys, immediately launched by a Set of vain, unthinking people, whom he finds thought of rescuing the Galley and Goods again, he now thinks proper in this public manner to caution them against the like Proceedings, as he is determined in future not to let them go back again unmolested, if ever they a Second time attempt to impede him, or his Officers and Crew, when doing the Kings duty, and further more he most seriously recommends it to their consideration not to attempt ever firing on his Boats from the Town, as has been done to several Kings Boats very lately, as is such cases he shall not consider the Town but in a State of Rebellion, and will support his Officers and Men in his Majesty’s Boats under his Command, by instantly commencing a Cannonading on that Part of the Town from which his Boats are fired on, and that Threats or Bribes are equally despised by him.
Being therefore determined every to do his Duty, and support his Officers and Men, who have entered to serve under his command, he takes this Method of acquainting the Inhabitants of Deal, whom it may concern, with this particular Part of his Intentions, that they may not ignorantly run into danger, doubts not but some of the quiet Inhabitants of property will soon detect and bring to Punishment such Violators of the Laws of the Country, for the future Welfare and Peace of the Town.
Signed Gabriel Bray.

The water guard cutters were particularly disliked among the smuggling community. One of these vessels successfully chased a smuggling galley into the Deal beach in August 1771, but as soon as two of the revenue men went on shore to examine the vessel, “ they were respectively stoned, beat, bruised and much hurt by the people on Shore”. The rest of the crew on the cruiser came ashore to help, but were greeted” by the Mob with Cricket bats, stones and Staves”, while a further three men were abducted away. According to the commander of the Nimble, it was not infrequent for smugglers to fire upon the revenue boats. Meanwhile, in Deal, shore-based artillery was used to defend smuggling runs. These carriage guns were strategically placed in the avenues and streets of the town within easy range of the beach. The parliamentary report of 1783 investigating illicit activities highlighted Deal as an ”emporium “ of duty free goods, with the whole of its population, including the mayor, seemingly aiding smugglers with their work. In April 1784 a number of lives were lost when a galley and two other boats from the Nimble encountered a large Lugger near the Deal coast. The crew of the Lugger opened fire with Muskets and Blunderbusses. The air became rich with the smell of gunpowder and the sound of men shouting and screaming. The revenue vessels eventually reached their target and attempted to board. In the violent frenzy that followed, two smugglers and one revenue officer were killed, and a further tow were so badly injured that the captain of the revenue cruisers did not expect them to live. The Lugger had a cargo of 419 casks of Geneva(Gin) and Brandy. The revenue commissioners awarded Captain Bray and his men £200.

Thomas Brown, a local smuggler, assaulted the Deal Customs officers three times in the space of eighteen months, either resisting seizures or rescuing contraband. Richard Baxter was lucky to escape serious injury when Brown tried to brain him with a tiller. The next year, when Baxter was shot dead in the course of a pursuit after a smuggling boat, Brown was named as the murderer and a £200 reward was offered for information leading to his capture. Brown was later reported operating as a privateer, accompanying Daniel Faux in his cruises off the east coast, but he remained at liberty. In fact he was never tried for the murder; Brown was killed when a boarding party from Gabiel Bray's cutter, Nimble captured the Juliet Lugger in 1784.
Hereford Journal 13 May 1784. Extract of a letter from Deal May 2nd
“ a desperate contest took place on Friday evening past, between Captain Bray, of one of his majesty’s Cutters stationed here to watch the smugglers, and the noted Brown, who committed so many depredations during the last war and had been outlawed. He being a native of Deal, there was not one who would be bold enough to apprehend him. Since the war he had carried on the practice of smuggling, and on Friday morning last he sailed out of Dunkirk with a cargo of contraband goods, Captain Gabriel Bray had watched him very narrowly, and about ten o’. clock on Friday evening a terrible firing was heard in the Downs, which was occasioned by an attack made by Captain Bray in a row boat on Brown, who was also in a row boat. Captain Bray boarded him, and though Brown presented a blunderbuss, both of them not being half a yard distance from each other, the Captain was not daunted, one of his men seeing his brave master in this situation, with a cutlass, cut Brown’s cheek clean off, Bray seconded the stroke, and with his cutlass nearly severed his head from his body, and put a period to the existence of this pirate’s life. Bray lost one man, and had one wounded, Brown has, with himself, three killed, two wounded, and two taken prisoners. Too much praise cannot be given to Captain Bray for his spirited behaviour, not only on this, but every other occasion in his Majesty’s service, and were another Cutter or two stationed in the Downs, commanded by officers as spirited as himself, there is no doubt but the swarms of smugglers at Deal, would be soon extirpated.”

By the King
A Proclamation for Discovering and apprehending any of the Persons who on the 16th July last, and on the 2nd of August were concerned in unlawfully opposing, resisting, and firing at the Officers employed in his Majesty’s Revenue, whilst in the execution of their Duty, at Deal, in the county of Kent. George R.
Whereas it has been represented to us, that on the 17th July last, a great number of disorderly persons, armed with firearms, assembled themselves in the North End of Deal in our county of Kent, and being so assembled and armed, forcibly obstructed, resisted, and fired upon the Crews of the Boats acting under the Orders of Lieutenant Bray, in pursuit of a Galley rowed with 6 oars, contrary to the Statute in That case made and provided. Whereas it has also been represented to us, that on the 2nd August last, a great number of disorderly persons, armed with Fire arms, assembled themselves at Deal aforesaid, and forcibly obstructed the Officers and men of the Boats belonging to the Ship Scout, acting under the orders of Captain Lindsay, and endeavouring to seize a Lugger, suspected of carrying on illicit trade, and that William Russell, a seaman belonging to the Scout, was, by some person or persons shot in the execution of his duty.
We hereby promise and declare that if any person or persons concerned in tumultuously and forcibly resisting and obstructing the Officers and men acting under the orders of Lieutenant Bray, or Captain Lindsay on the 16th July or 2nd August shall be in custody for the same. For every person discovered, the Lord Commissioners of our treasury will pay the sum of £200. Given at the court at St. James 13th August 1784 God save the King.

Thursday 11th November 1784
Samuel Harris and John North were indicted, for that they in Company with six other persons whose names are unknown, on the 30th April last, on the high seas near Deal, fired into a boat belonging to his Majesty’s cutter, the Nimble, under the command of Lieutenant Bray and killed John McNear, one of the seamen on board the said Cutter.
Lieutenant Bray was the first witness examined. From his testimony it appeared, that on the 30th April least, about half last eight in the evening. (It being moonlight) they saw a vessel at some distance which appeared to be a Lugger. Mr. Bray immediately ordered all his people upon deck, and manned two boats, in order to discover what vessel she was. Upon coming near, Mr Bray hailed her, the Lugger’s people then enquired who he was, and what he wanted? And upon his telling them his name, and the vessel he belonged to, they swore at him in a violent manner, and immediately fired a volley of small shot into the boat where Mr. Bray was, when a ball penetrating the right breast of John McNear, he instantly died.
Mr. Bray returned the fire, and immediately with eight or nine men, boarded the Lugger. A violent skirmish ensued, in which all the smugglers ( except Harris and North) were either killed, or so much wounded as to survive but a short time. Two or three of them died while their wounds were dressing. Upon examining the prisoners, they pretended they were only passengers, but upon searching their pockets a quantity of musket balls, cartridges, etc.were found in the pockets of Harris, and North took an opportunity of jumping overboard, and swam towards the shore. He was however presently caught.
There could be no doubt of their having been involved. The vessel had since been condemned. It was armed with blunderbusses and muskets.
James Lane, Thomas Grant, confirmed the evidence of Lieutenant Bray. Mr John Russel, surgeon, spoke only as to the certainty of the wound being the cause of McNears death. Two other persons of the Nimble’s crew were slightly wounded.
The Jury, after being out of Court for about ten minutes, brought both the prisoners in Guilty and they immediately received sentence to be executed tomorrow”.

This silver cup was presented to Commander Gabriel Bray, from the cutter 'Nimble' in 1784. It rewarded his efforts in protecting the revenue against smugglers.  The inscription on the cup reads:
For Mr Gabriel Bray
Commander of the Nimble Admiralty Cutter.
Presented by order of the
Commissioners of his Majesty's Customs
in testimony of their approbation of an important service
rendered by him to the Revenue under their management
on 25 December 1784."

London, Saturday, January 8th 1785.
Advice was sent to Mr. Pitt that the severity of the season had occasioned the Smugglers to lay up their craft, and that a fine opportunity offered for the destroying them, if sufficient force could be procured to intimidate the smugglers from attempting a rescue. Mr. Pitt sent to the War Office, and required a regiment of soldiers to be at Deal a certain day. He was told it could not well be complied with. His answer was, it must, and a regiment was immediately marched. But the commanding officer found on his arrival, that the Mayor of the town having some intuition of the business, had advised the public and to pull down their signs, I order that the soldiers might have no quarters. They took the advice and no quarters were to be had. A large barn at a small distance presented itself as an eligible place, and the quarter master rode off to the landlord, who refused to let it on any terms other then for two years certain. The officers took it marches the men in and then with much difficulty procured them some provisions.
The next day Lieutenant Bray received orders to prepare some cutters to hover off the beach, and the soldiers were all drawn out. The inhabitants not imagining what was going to be done, thought the cutters were to embark the soldiers in, but to their surprise, orders were given to the men to burn the boats, and the force being so great, the inhabitants were obliged to remain silent spectators, and dared not attempt a rescue.

A report  about Blanchard`s flight in a Balloon across the Channel to Dover. At the end there is a reference to a King`s Cutter being in the vicinity. This must have been Gabriel Bray`s Cutter and ties in with the painting he later that year exhibited at the Royal Academy (1785). The seventeenth., 1785 no. 259 "A representation of Mons. Blanchard`s balloon off Dover).. Sadly this painting has not come down to us but to give us an idea of how it would have looked we show a similar painting by Edward Cocks.

A Still Life Painting signed by Gabriel Bray which came up for auction recently.

1778 Oct 19 Lieutenant G. Bray, the Sprightly cutter, Deptford. Asks to be supplied with 3 months Surgeon's necessaries for 50 men.

1778 Nov 14 Lieutenant G. Bray, the Sprightly cutter, Galleons. Asks for a Pilot to take him to the Nore and asks for Mr. Slaney.

1779 Mar 22 Philip Stephens. Lieutenant Bray of the Sprightly cutter has asked for 2 more short 3-pounders. Opine the number allowed her is sufficient

1779 June 4 Captain Bray, Regulating Captain at Dover, has presented imprest accounts but we are unsure if he is to be allowed money for the Rendezvous and lodgings. He wants the same allowances as Lieutenants, who have Captains, are allowed.

1779 Oct 2 Lieutenant John Bray, Dover. Today, he has drawn bill, payable to Lewis Miol, for carrying on the impress service under his regulation.

1779 Oct 8 Lieutenant Gabriel Bray, Sprightly cutter, Dover. His boat has had several repairs in the last year and has had to avoid boarding several vessels because of her condition. Asks for Mr. Lawrence, Naval Storekeeper at Deal, to be ordered to supply another.

1779 Oct 18 Captain John Bray, Dover. Today, has drawn a bill, payable to Lewis Miol, for carrying on the impress service under his regulation. Lieutenant Lawrie has returned from duty on the impress service in the Downs, having one of the boats with him that are employed on that service but she was lost in a gale.

1780 Oct 21 Lieutenant Bray, Dover. Has drawn a bill in favour of Lewis Miol, for the impressment services.

1780 Nov 11 Lieutenant John Bray, Dover. Has drawn a bill in favour of Louis Nicol for carrying out the press.

1781 July 25 Lieutenant Bray, the Nimble, Sheerness. Asks for the appointment of Walter Kitchen as the ship's Surgeon.

1781 Aug 9 Lieutenant Bray, the Nimble, Sheerness. The magazine of the cutter was severely affected by damp and asks for it to be made tight to avoid this problem.

1781 Aug 11 Lieutenant Bray, the Nimble, Sheerness. Asks for a supply of Surgeon's necessaries.

1781 Sept 22 Lieutenant Bray, Dover. Has drawn a bill in favour of Mr. Milton for the imprest service.

1781 Dec 3 Lieutenant Bray, the Nimble, Sheerness. Asks for a supply of Surgeon's necessaries.

1783 Jan 2 Lieutenant Bray, the Nimble, Sheerness. Request for permission to cut two further ports.

1783 Jan 12 Lieutenant Gabriel Bray, the Nimble, Sheerness. Gives reasons for the cutting of further ports in the ship's sides.

1783 Jan 26 Captain John Bray, Dover. Request for authority to issue a certificate to Lieutenant John Turner of the Rendezvous at Folkestone following the apprehension of seven men cast ashore from a French privateer.

1783 June 2 Lieutenant Gabriel Bray, the Nimble, Sheerness. Request for the ship to be slipped following her grounding on Northsands Head.

1783 June 4 Lieutenant Gabriel Bray, the Nimble, Sheerness. Request for Mr. Oliphant to be appointed the ship's Master.

1783 June 16 Lieutenant Bray, the Nimble, Sheerness. Request for a direction to Sheerness Yard to make alterations to the ship to avoid the damage to the copper on the bows caused by the anchor being fished.

1784 Aug 16 Lieutenant Bray, the Nimble, Sheerness. Asks for certain accounts to be dispensed with following the loss of stores and equipment in bad weather in the North Sea.

1784 Aug 18 Lieutenant Bray, the Nimble, Sheerness. Asks for a Pilot to assist the docking of the ship.

1784 Sept 7 Lieutenant Bray, the Nimble, Sheerness. Asks for the appointment of John Lambert as the ship's Cook, on his being injured in a fight with smugglers at Deal.

1784 Sept 14 Lieutenant Bray, the Nimble, Margate Roads. Asks for a Pilot.

1784 Sept 28 Lieutenant Bray, the Nimble, the Downs. Asks again for a Pilot to assist in tracking down smugglers.

1784 Sept 29 Lieutenant Bray, the Nimble, the Downs. Asks for directions to be given to the Storekeeper at the Downs to supply a new topmast for the ship.

1785 Mar 20 Lieutenant Gabriel Bray, the Nimble cutter, Margate Road. Thomas Cribben has superseded James Alexander Murray as Master of the Nimble and he is not yet acquainted with this station and asks for a Pilot

1785 July 8 Lieutenant Gabriel Bray, Nimble cutter, Downes. He was refused an eight inch stream cable instead of a six inch one by Mr. Lawrence, Naval officer at Deal, and asks for an order

1786 John Jenkins, boatswain; Paul Hughes, boatswain; Martin Allen, boatswain; Abraham Cressey, carpenter; Charles Morice Pole, Captain; Skeffington Lutwidge, Captain; The Hon. Jonathan Whitmore Chetwynd, Captain; Gabriel Bray, 1st Lieutenant; Robert Pringle, 3rd Lieutenant; Edward Eilbech, purser; Angel Triggs, purser. Warrants or commissions for service at this rank in the Royal Navy

1786 Jan 20 Lieutenant Gabriel Bray, the Nimble cutter, East Swale, Faversham. Lost one of the Cutter's boats last month and has not been able to take on water, as there is only one boat in the port. Asks for a boat to be supplied from either Chatham or Sheerness.

1786 Feb 21 Lieutenant Gabriel Bray, the Nimble cutter, East Swale. Has no objection to Mr. Cribbens going to sick quarters, but he is sorry to lose a good Officer. Mr. Cribben's letter to you was only to inform on the matter as he understands that it is the responsibility of the Commander and Surgeon to make this decision.

1786 Nov 8 Lieutenant Gabriel Bray, Oase near Faversham. Writes in support of John Lambert who, whilst serving with him, lost an arm. He was made Cook on the Nimble cutter, which he had commanded, until she was paid off. He is a young man and asks for a position to be found for him.

Hampshire Chronicle reports  from Portsmouth on the 10th May 1788.
Some few days since was seized near Dungeness, and bought into this Port, by the “Enterprise” Revenue Cutter, Captain Bray, the “Increase”, Arthur Gibbs, Master, a Collier from Newcastle. They had concealed under a cargo of coals, 20 bales of Muslins, Crapes, Cottons, and sundry other contraband articles and is supposed to be very valuable.
After commanding the Nimble Cutter we next find Gabriel Bray, based at Lymington, Hampshire, shown here as commander of “The Enterprise”, a Revenue cutter with 18 men.  This is only briefly before he embarks on a new chapter in his life when he moves to Fowey in Cornwall the following year.

Gabriel Bray and his wife, Mary were to spend almost 20 years of their lives in the pretty Cornish Port of Fowey, where they built a fine house overlooking the beautiful Quay.  The slide is of the Esplanade, where they lived and the Old Customs House which still stands, that played such an important part in Gabriel`s life.  The Directory Listing for Fowey in 1791 shows  Gabriel Bray as well as a number of other Gentry, nearly all associated with the Navy.
Smuggling in Cornwall had been going on almost with impunity throughout the 7 years of war with France. But in 1799 Napoleon seized power, and would soon be preparing to invade Britain. The government would need all the money it could muster to stop him. Two hundred years ago Fowey was the frontline in the government’s fight back against Cornish smugglers. As war against Napoleon raged the smugglers were trading with the French on a huge scale. It was time for the revenue to act. They sent their best man, Gabriel Bray to Fowey to wage war on the smugglers. Bray had already earned a fearsome reputation fighting smugglers elsewhere. Heavily armed and well provisioned with the fastest ships, this new and improved revenue service was a force to be reckoned with. In just five months three smuggling vessels were captured, along with their most successful smuggling ship - The Lottery. The days of smuggling openly with no fear of reprisal were gone forever.

The Hind was one of the newest and largest cutters in service, carrying a crew if 41 men, was stationed in the Channel Between Portland and Lands End. Like other Revenue cutters in service at the term, the Hind was a former smuggling Lugger seized off Plymouth in January 1789 and judged too useful to suffer the usual fate and broken up. Instead, she was converted into a Cutter and taken into service.
Her commander was Gabriel Bray, who  had served aboard Revenue Cutters since 1779 with a zeal and determination that won the admiration of his superiors and gained him a reputation for dealing ruthlessly with smugglers, while in command of the Revenue cutter Scourge off the Kent coast, It was not long before Gabriel Bray made his presence felt in Cornwall where the Revenue officials at Fowey were quick to enlist his help in putting an end to the trade so openly carried on by Smugglers. In the summer of 1789, he announced his appointment to command The Hind by placing a notice in the Sherborne Mercury for five successive weeks.
“Lieutenant Gabriel Bray, Commander of the Hind Revenue Schooner, in the service of his Majesty’s Customs, now repaired and ready for sea, takes this method of acquainting the public, that his station extends from Portland to St. Ives Bay, and that he is desirous for the good of the revenue, to enter into a correspondence with any person at persons, who will give him information of goods about to be illegally landed, or where sunk ready for landing, and will, if the said goods are taken by him, give to the person or persons who informed him thereof, one third of his share of seizure money, besides a present over and above out of his own pocket.
Likewise he promises to conceal all such persons who shall give information, and that they shall never appear in case of law suits in any court. The port he uses chiefly is Fowey, in Cornwall, and should any person residing near there, who cannot write, wish to give him regular information, Lieutenant Bray can shew such person a method of corresponding with him just as clear and intelligible as writing, if the person will only wait on Lieutenant Bray, at his house in Fowey, for a few minutes.
N.B. Correspondents are desired to pay the postage of all letters otherwise no attention will be paid them.
Hind Schooner, June 15th, 1789.

The dramatic painting shown here is of HM brig 'Scourge' capturing the 'Sans Culotte', 13 March 1793 which would have been witnessed by Gabriel Bray, who was among the ships that captured a number of French ships that day.
Admiralty Office, September 18th 1780
Plymouth, March 15.
The Scourge, Captain Brissac, has bought in a French National Sloop of war, called La Dans Culottes, of ten twelve pounders, and 100 men, after a smart engagement of three hours and a half. The French ship had eight men killed and 26 wounded. The Scourge of 14 six pounders, Captain Brissac, had only one man wounded. The Frenchman is terribly mauled.
Also a French brig from Marseilles, laden with wine and brandy, about 160 tons, the Scourge’s prize.
Also a large French ship, with brandy, wines and cotton. A prize to the Edgar.
Also a brig called the Oughton, Andre Lyne, master, sent in by the Hinde, Captain Bray. She was bound to Dunkirk, laden with brandy and wines, from Salo.
Plymouth, August 14.
Arrived the Hind Cutter, in the services of the Customs at Falmouth, Gabriel Bray, from a cruise.
Captain Fortescue of his Majesty’s Sloop Scourge, in the Downs, in his letter to Mr. Stephens of the 16th instant, gives an account, that on the 15th, at ten in the morning, he discovered a sail bearing down upon him, that at four o’ clock, being within hail, and received no answer, he concluded her to be an enemy, therefore fired a broadside into her, when she hoisted French colours, and returned the fire. After an engagement of half and hour, she struck and proved to be the Charlotte privateer of Dunkirk, of 16 six pounders and 120 men, commanded by Monsieur Du Casso, who was dangerously wounded in the action. The First Lieutenant and ten men were also wounded and four killed. She is a new ship having been only three months off the stocks, and eighteen hours from Dunkirk, from whence she had sailed to intercept trade blind to Ostend and Flushing.
N.B. The Scourge carries 16 guns and 80 men. It does not appear she had any men killed or wounded.
HM brig 'Scourge' capturing the 'Sans Culotte', 13 March 1793
On 1 February 1793 France declared war on Britain and Holland and by 11 February Britain had also declared war on France.On 9 March, the 16-gun naval brig 'Scourge' sailed from Spithead under the command of George Brisac to cruise for a month in the Channel. Having been dispatched in a great hurry, after receiving somewhat extensive repairs at the dockyard, she was not fully prepared. Not all her guns were mounted, she did not have her full complement of crew and some of those she did have were inexperienced; but in the circumstances captains were glad to get hold of almost any class of men for their ships, provided that they were strong and able-bodied. On 13 March 1793, west of Scilly, and with a crew of only 70 men and boys instead the usual 90, 'Scourge' fell in with the French privateer ‘Sans Culotte’, which had considerably more guns and a larger crew. After a fight that lasted three hours and in which the French boarded the ‘Scourge’ but were repelled, the English ship was victorious and captured the privateer. The French lost nine men with 20 wounded but the ‘Scourge’ lost only one man with one wounded. 'Scourge' took her prize into Plymouth the following day. The painting shows the action between the two ships. The ‘Sans Culotte’ is shown firing into the 'Scourge' and flying the early naval ensign of the French Revolution, in use from 1790 to May 1794 (after which the standard French tricoleur took over). The painting is shown from the perspective of the ‘Scourge’ by concentrating on her struggle over the larger and more powerful French ship.

Letter from Lt. Gabriel Bray to Evan Nepean request  instructions about what was to be done with the arms and powder which he had remaining, and also the pilot for the French coast. 26/1-2. 1794, September 9. ...
September 9th 1794
Letter from Lt. Gabriel Bray to Evan Nepean request  instructions about what was to be done with the arms and powder which he had remaining, and also the pilot for the French coast
29th November 1794
Gabriel Bray writes to Nepean on the French Royal Officers and Mariners, French Master and their mariners of two small crafts taken and scuttled on the coast of La Vindii and worked on the HIND. Gabriel included a table of payment for the sailors. (letter in National Maritime Museum).
Plymouth June 20th 1795
Came in the Hind, Captain Bray, from a cruise the Betsy of Jersey, Captain Townsend , from Guernsey, with wine for use of the Navy

Plymouth March 5th 1796
Arrived the Hind Revenue Cutter, Captain Bray, from a cruise, and bought in with her the Vigilant, a smuggler Cutter, belonging to Polperro, laden with about 500 ankers of spirits, which she captured early this morning a few leagues west of this port.
July 25th 1797
A French Lugger privateer, by the Hind Revenue Cutter, Lieutenant Bray, who also retook a Sloop which the privateer had before captured.

September 1797 Dispatch from John Warren to Lord Bridport. L’ Incroyable French Privateer, mounting 2 carriage guns and 21 men, by the Hind revenue cutter, Mr Murray acting Commander.
Type: Revenue Cruiser ; Armament 14
BM: 60 tons
Jul 1797 captured the French privateer Incroyable in the Channel.
A report also appeared in the London Gazette :
Copy of a Letter from S. Pellew, Esq; Collector of HM Customs at Falmouth, to Evan Nepean, Esq; dated Falmouth, July 24, 1797. Sir, I Have the Honor to acquaint you, for the Information of their Lordships, that the Hind Revenue Cutter, stationed at this Port, Mr. Murray, acting Commander, has captured and sent into this Port L'Incroyable French Privateer, mounting Two Carriage Guns and Twenty-one Men, out Four Days from St. Maloes; also retaken the Sloop Three Brothers, John Collison, Master, from Neath, laden with Coals, Prize to the said Privateer, the only Capture she had made since she left St. Maloes. I am, &c. S. Pellew.
Jul 1797 captured a French privateer, Name unknown, in the Channel.
The following appeared in the London Gazette :
Copy of a Letter from Sir Edward Pellew, Bart. Captain of HM Ship Indefatigable, to Mr. Nepean, dated Falmouth, 22 July 1797. Sir, you will be pleased to inform their Lordships, that the Duke of York Lugger returned last Night. She fell in with a French Lugger Privateer, and chased her off the Land into the Hands of Lieutenant Bray, commanding the Hind Revenue Cutter, who also retook a Sloop, which the Privateer had before captured : The Lugger mounts 2 Guns, with 25 Men. I have the Honor to be, Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant, Ed. Pellew.
5 Apr 1799 Plymouth, Captain J. Still, late of the Hiram American ship lately retaken and brought in here by one of the cruisers, came passenger in La Fortune French brig, carried into Fowey by the Hind Revenue cutter, Lieutenant Bray.
18 May 1799 Plymouth, arrived, the Hind Revenue Cutter, Lieutenant Bray, with the Dottery, smuggler, having on board 400 ankers of spirits. She threw overboard 200 ankers in the chace.
2 Apr 1800 Plymouth, arrived from a cruise.

Cowes, August 17 1797
Arrived late last night the “Hind” Cutter, of Falmouth, Captain Bray, having chased a smuggling Cutter from Love Island. The chase continued fourteen hours, and Captain Bray having come up with her, so as to be able to send his second mate, and a boats crew on board to take possession of the prize, found himself to close in shore on the French coast of Cherbourg, and his prize being fired on by four frigates and a Lugger off there, to bring her to, and not being able to distinguish whether the frigates were French or English, thought it prudent to haul his wind, and have over the chase, after speaking the “Telemachus” Cutter, the Master of which told him he had made the private signal to the frigates, which they had not answered. We are anxiously expecting to hear the fate of the prize, which Captain Bray is again sailed in quest of. Two smuggling vessels laden with between five and six hundred casks of spirits, the one called the Henry and Jane the other the Three Brothers.

Copy of a Letter from Sir Edward Pellew, Bart. Captain of His Majesty's Ship Indefatigable, to Mr. Nepean, dated Falmouth, July 11,1797. SIR , “you will be pleased to inform their Lordships, * that the Duke of York Lugger returned last Night. She fell in with a French Lugger Privateer, and chased her off the Land into the Hands of Lieutenant Bray, commanding the Hind Revenue Cutter, who also retook a Sloop, which the Privateer had before captured : The Lugger mounts 2 Guns, with 25 Men. I have the Honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant, ED. PELLEW.

Plymouth, April 1 1799
On the 26th Ult. was carried into Fowey by the crew, and taken possession of by Captain Bray, of the Hind Cutter, in the service of the Customs, the French Brig, Fortune, of and from Bordeaux, bound to Dunkirk, laden with wine and oil. By the vessel came passenger, Captain James Stitt, late of the American ship, Hiram, who had been captured by a French privateer, and his vessel afterwards retaken and bought into this point. This gentleman brings an account that eighteen American vessels had been captured by the French cruisers and carried into Bordeaux. The greater part of them condemned, and the remainder are now under trial.
Falmouth, June 12 1799
Captain Bray, of the Hind Cutter, has carried a smuggling vessel laden with 120 ankers of Spirits, into Falmouth.
Deal, September 10th 1799
The Hind Revenue Cutter, Captain Bray, is just arrived in the Downs from Holland. This vessel left the Texel yesterday morning, and Captain Bray supposes that a severe action has taken place previous to his departure, having heard a heavy and constant fire of artillery and mosque try for 9 hours before he started, and which he continued to hear four leagues at sea, but knows not the issue.
For Sale at Brewer’s, the London Inn, Plymouth, on Wednesday the 11th of December next, after the sale of the St. Jacques and cargo.

The good Dogger Somner
Dimensions- length on deck - 51 feet, extreme breadth - 16ft 6ins
admeasures - 60 77-94 tons
French built, takes the ground well, and of an easy draft of water: she would make an excellent timber Hoy, or for the purpose of carrying Beer to the fleet when at Torbay. A prize taken by his Majesty’s Revenue Cutter, Hind, Gabriel Bray, Esq. Commander: now lies in Sutton Pool, and will be there delivered.
And after will be sold, the entire Cargo of the said dogger, consisting of About 1200 Bushels of French Salt.
For inventories and catalogues, application to be made to the said Mr. Bray, at Fowey, or at the office of Thomas Lockyer, Sworn Broker, Plymouth, November 19, 1799.

592. WILLIAM BARRETT , ROBERT MARK , WILLIAM FOSTER , WILLIAM SEARLE , and THOMAS VENTIN were indicted, for that they, on the 14th of May , within four leagues of the coast of this kingdom, that is, within three leagues of the county of Cornwall, by firing a certain gun or swivel, and directing certain other fire-arms, did obstruct Hugh Pearce and Philip Pill , being officers in the service of the Customs ; Hugh Pearce being on board of a certain boat, and Philip Pill being on board of another boat, each in the execution of his duty, in endeavouring to get on board a certain cutter called the Lottery, in order to seize, for our Lord the King, 500 gallons of geneva, and 500 gallons of brandy, by which means the said officers were prevented from seizing the same .

They stood charged, in a second count, with the like offence, varying the manner of charging it.

(The case was opened by Mr. Garrow.)

GABRIEL BRAY sworn. - Examined by Mr. Fielding.

Q. You were captain of the revenue cutter the Hind? - A. I was.

Q. Be so good as tell my Lord and the Jury, what was your situation at sea on the 15th or 14th of May. when you had a view of the Lottery cutter? - A. I will; the wind was westerly; I was cruizing on the 13th of last May, between Dartmouth and the Start Point, for the purpose of intercepting smuggling vessels; when I was informed, by the man at the mast-head, that a sail was seen.

Q. About what time was it? - A. About three in the afternoon; we could not then perceive exactly what she was; about half past three we made her to be a cutter; at four she came in so fast that we discovered her to be the Lottery; she came in directly for the shore; the wind then veering to the northward of west, I stood in under the land, the smuggler still continuing to steer in north, till at six he was within about two leagues and a half of the land called the Bolt, when finding the wind come to the northward, he tacked; the Hind immediately tacked after him, made fail, and chased him all the night, without ever losing fight of him; on the 14th, at five in the morning, we were becalmed, at about the distance of five miles from the smuggling cutter; when I ordered both the Hind's boats to be manned and armed, with an officer in each, to proceed towards that cutter, and take possession of her.

from lm information Thomas Potter, of Polperro, Cornwall, has been apprehended there, and examined at the Guildhall here. The crew of the Lottery, eighteen number, are in clofe confinement, and it is fuppofed that many of them are implicated in the crime 
27 May 1799 - Salisbury and Winchester Journal - Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
Customers Commiusoners Notice 1799
Possibly the most infamous smuggling incident ever in Cornwall happened on Boxing Day 1799, late in the evening a Customs preventative boat from Cassandra near Plymouth was on patrol near Penter Point, when the sitter, Ambrose Bowden sighted a large vessel in the process of landing goods on the beach. Getting to within hailing distance of the vessel shouted that he was a revenue officer. The reply from the smugglers was that the boat should keep away or else she would be fired on. Undeterred the revenue boat went closer, almost to within twenty five yards whereupon the smugglers opened fire and one of the boatman, Humphrey Glynn, was killed instantaneously, the fore part of his skull being shot away. The smuggling vessel slipped its cable and disappeared into the night.
The name of the vessel was known, the Lottery of Polperro, and a reward of £200 was offered for any information of the offenders. So determined were the Customs to find the culprits that members of the Lottery’s crew were forced to disappear, some out of the county and others to the Channel Islands. One of the sadder aspects of the incident was that Glynn left a son aged ten years, who according to the Collector, “had a great impediment in his speech and appears to be of tender constitution”. The Customs Board agreed to pay for the boy to attend a special school at St. Germaine, at a cost of £25 per annum and till he could be apprenticed as a tailor.
Perhaps it is not surprising that a very close community like Polperro, where virtually everybody including the women and children were involved in the smuggling trade, no information was forthcoming on the whereabouts of the Lottery or her crew. However patience was rewarded in May if the following years when the revenue cutter, Hinde, under the command of the redoubtable Gabriel Bray sighted the Lottery off Start Point. The Hinde gave chase which lasted through the night and the morning found booth vessels becalmed off the Lizard. The revenue boats under the command of Hugh Pearce, the mate were dispatched and as they drew near a virtual repeat of the previous incident seemed likely to occur with the smugglers threatening to blow the boats out of the water. Pearce feeling that discretion was the better part of valour, returned to the Cutter. Fortunately at this precise moment a slight breeze sprang up which enabled the Hinde to get into close quarters with the Lottery. The Hinde was one of the newest and largest cutters then in service, she carried sixteen guns and over forty men and obviously the smaller Lottery was no match for her. Seeing all was lost the smugglers struck their colours and attempted to escape by boat. However all were caught and as an added bonus the vessel contained 716 ankers of brandy besides tea and tobacco.

All the crew were arraigned on smuggling charge except for one, Roger Toms, who in an attempt to obtain a pardon for himself, agreed to give evidence on the men responsible for Glynn’s murder. He named three men, two were already in custody and a third man, Tom Potter, who Toms claimed had fired the fatal shot, was still at large. Toms was allowed to go free whilst the Customs searches for Potter and although they attempted to keep their prize witness safe he was spirited away to Guernsey by a band of Polperro men. What is certainly strange is that the smugglers went to this length to hide Toms,they were not normally so circumspect with informers and they usually silenced them forever.
Potter was subsequently caught in his own home in Polperro- he. O doubt felt secure as there was no witness to indict him. However , the arm of the revenue is long. Toms was recaptured just as he was being shipped on a vessel bound for America. The trial finally took place at the Old Bailey in December 1800, almost two years to the day of Glynn’s death. Only Potter was found guilty of the murder, the other two were released and Potter was sentenced to death. The informer Toms was never able to return to Cornwall, thus leaving his wife and family forever. His name for many years was synonymous with informer and traitor. The Lottery was taken into Customs service and served at Plymouth during the absence of the regular cutter.

Cornwall - Borough of Fowey.
To be sold by Private Contract and entered on immediately, All that highly finished and beautifully situate, Newly erected Dwelling House and Premises, with the Garden in front of the same situate a very small distance from the said borough of Fowey and about a quarter of a miles from the entrance of the beautiful little harbour of Fowey, comprising two parlours, a drawing room, four bedrooms, with a kitchen and other offices, and servants rooms in detached wings, and a garden in front.
The whole commanding a most extensive and admirable prospect of the sea, and also the harbour of Fowey and adjacent hills was lately erected by and is now in the occupation of Gabriel Bray, Esq. is from its most beautiful situation the admiration of all travellers, and would be a most eligible and desirable situation for any gentleman fond of the water and of fishing, as the harbour of Fowey and its vicinity abound with all kinds of sea fish.
The above house is held of the corporation of Fowey under a grant, renewable every ten years on the payment of the small fine of £22.
Further particulars may be known on application( by letter post-paid) to the said Gabriel Bray, or William Brown, Attorney, Fowey.
N.B. A purchaser may be accommodated with all or any part of the Genteel Furniture now therein.
Missing from Fowey, on Wednesday the 22nd of this instant October, from house of George Thomas, innkeeper, in the above place, a Man, lately a Danish Captain, about five feet eight inches high, having on when he left Fowey a blue jacket and trousers, a light coloured wig, and more particularly had on the elbows of the jacket cloth of an inferior quality to that of the jacket, supposed to be in a delirious state when he left Fowey. Whosever will give an account of a man of the above description
, so as to prove to be the same, to Gabriel Bray Esq. at Fowey, or to the above mentioned George Thomas, shall receive a reward of one guinea, and any reasonable expense paid.
Dated at Fowey, October 26, 1800.


It is difficult to track Gabriel Brays movements after 1800. He is definitely in London in 1809 when he is shown as living at 10 Newington Place, Newington and in  the 1812 appears in a Poll Book for Hythe In Kent as living at this address and his brother, John Raven Bray in Great Mongeham. It is reported that he leaves the Royal Navy in 1800 as a result of his bad health, when he would have been just over 50. The album of paintings that he gave as a present to his godson, Isaac Swanson, whose images I have used on the earlier slides may give us a clue to his occupation during these missing years.
9TH February 1809 receives a Naval Pension.

In 1806 Swainson was secretary to the commissioners of HM Customs. When Charlotte Elizabeth Swainson was born on 4 July 1843 in Jamaica, her father, Isaac, was 49, and her mother, Charlotte, was 24. She had three sons with Charles Frederick Gray between 1862 and 1868. She died on 17 May 1906 in Saint Andrew, Jamaica, at the age of 62.

Isaac Gabriel Swainson was born on 31 March 1794. He had three sons and four daughters with Charlotte Parker between 1841 and 1850. He died on 11 January 1855 in Hoole, Cheshire, at the age of 60.

In 1991 the Society of Nautical Research presented to the National Maritime Museum an album of 75 drawings by Gabriel Bray. They supply a remarkable insight into life on a naval vessel in the 1770s. Together they establish Gabriel Bray as a naval artist of great significance.

The Album bears the inscription “ Original sketches by G. Bray, RN 1775”. Their provenance, written in a modern hand on a loose sheet of paper, states that “This book was the property ofJ.G. Swainson Esq. Comptroller of Customs, Jamaica, in the early years of 1800- & father of Mrs Charles Gray. Gabriel Bray was Godfather to J.G. Swainson & had names him as his heir - at the age of 80 the old man married, and only the book and the name Gabriel came to J.G. Swainson”. The last details are incorrect as Gabriel married aged 50 and died in 1823, aged 75, with no reference to his godson in his Will.

For in 1794 Gabriel Bray was to be Godfather to the son of John and Betty Swainson whom they were to name Isaac Gabriel in honour of him. He was christened at St. Anne’s Church in Soho in London. The family were living at that time at Dover Place in Newington, where the Brays were to move after leaving Fowey in Cornwall.

John Timothy Swainson was Secretary to the Board of Customs and must have been a good friend of Gabriel as their paths had crossed in the past. For John`s early career had been in the Deal and Dover area. There is also records of him visiting Gabriel whilst he was living in Fowey. As well as a career in the Customs, he was also a famous Naturalist. His eldest son, William was to become an even greater   botanist and illustrator. His artistic skills may well have come from his association with Gabriel in his youth

John Timothy Swainson left Newington in 1806 and took on the important post of Collector of Customs In Liverpool. He died in 1824 and their is a marble memorial to him in the Lady Chapel of All Saints, Edge Hill to him.

Another important link with the Swainson family was with John`s brother Isaac. He was to purchase the formula for a patent medicine called Velno`s Vegetable Syrup and make a fortune advertising in Newspapers of the time. He went on to build a Mansion shown here at Twickenham. Amongst his endorsements was that from Gabriel Bray writing from Fowey in 1794 about how it had changed his life for the better.

In the spring of 1793, a disease made its appearance on both my arms. It increased most rapidly and covered almost every part of my body. I had sores as large as sixpence. I took mercurials and could scarcely move from my room without assistance, and could not put a coat on. I was advised to undergo a regular course of Velnos Syrup which began In December. I felt it’s influence in ten days and every day gave me additional strength and vigour. In the space of two months those persons who saw me in town scarcely knew me, it was to my feelings a complete regeneration. By continuing to take a few bottles Spring and in the Autumn to assure my own mind I will never be troubled so dreadful complaint. Your obliged and sincere friend Gabriel Bray.


The house is now called “Peria” and is next to Luttrell House. The advert for the Auction in June 1817, describes the two properties and a meadow of land. Theirs is  a very desirable Dwelling House adjoining the other, consisting of four good bedrooms, dressing room, closet, parlour, drawing room, vestibule, kitchen, laundry, cellar, with convenient office attached, and a neat walled garden now in the occupation of Captain Ferris.
Captain Abel Ferris may well have been a good friend of the Brays and could even be why they chose to live in the village. He only r

ented from them briefly before moving to Weymouth and was eventually an Admiral.

Gabriel and Mary Bray appear in the Poor Rates Lists for Charmouth in 1815, which no doubt is when they moved from Newington. It is difficult at this stage to puzzle  this out. He would have been 66 and his wife 54 years of age. His brother, John  Raven Bray was  living with his family at Great Mongeham, near Deal in Kent where he had a fine house and farm. He also had an unmarried sister, Mary who still lived in the old family house in Lower Street, Deal. His other sister, Margaret was married to John Coles living in London.
The Brays initially live in the Stone House in The Street in Charmouth. Just two years later the opportunity arises to buy the freehold of a fine house further down the Street when it comes up for auction in 1817

FERRIS. (Rear-Admiral, 1846. f-p., 17; h-p., 37.)

Abel Ferris, born 12 Dec. 1776, is son of the late Abel Ferris, Esq.

This officer entered the Navy, 22 Feb. 1793, as Midshipman, on board the Thalia 36, Capt. Rich. Grindall, whom, after witnessing the Astraea’s capture, 10 April, 1795, of the French frigate La Gloire, he followed, as Master’s Mate, into the Irresistible 74, one of Lord Bridport’s fleet in the ensuing action with the French off Ile de Groix. He next served for short periods in La Nymphe 36, Capt. Geo. Losack, Atlas 98, Capt. Edm. Dod, and Carnatic 74, Capt. R. Grindall; and, then joining the Colossus 74, was present in that ship, under Capt. Geo. Murray, in the battle off Cape St. Vincent, 14 Feb. 1797, and in her boats in various encounters with the Cadiz flotilla. On the Colossus being lost off Scilly, 10 Dec. 1798, Mr. Ferris became attached to the Puissant receiving-ship at Spithead, from which, on 22 April, 1799, he was promoted to a Lieutenancy in the Voltigeur 18, Capt. Thos. Geo. Shortland. Returning home from the Newfoundland station at the peace of Amiens, he subsequently, on 19 April, 1803, rejoined Capt. Grindall on board the Prince 98; and after participating in the battle of Trafalgar, 21 Oct. 1805, he successively accompanied Lord Collingwood into the Queen and Ocean 98’s. In the Wizard sloop, of 16 guns and 95 men, to the command of which he was promoted 10 Oct. 1807, Capt. Ferris fell in with, on 10 May, 1808, and chased for 88 hours, the French brig-corvette Le Requin, of 16 guns [errata 1] and 110 men, until at length the latter vessel, after having run a distance of 369 miles, and been once beaten in a well-fought action of an hour and a half, which cost the Wizard a loss of 1 man killed and 5 wounded, sought refuge in the neutral port of Tunis. Being subsequently stationed off the coast of Italy, in company with the Kent 74, the Wizard within a short period assisted at the capture and destruction of 23 of the enemy’s coasting vessels – nearly annihilated their trade – was in constant action with gun-boats and batteries – and on 1 Aug. towed and judiciously covered the approach of the boats in an attack made upon a convoy at Noli, a service more fully detailed in our memoir of Commander Wm. Chasman.[1] She also, on one occasion, captured a privateer mounting 8 guns, with a complement of 59 men. From 22 Nov. 1809, until confirmed to Post-rank 18 April, 1811, the subject of this sketch acted as Captain, in the Mediterranean, of the Royal Sovereign 100, Tigre 74, Volontaire 38, San Josef 110, flag-ship of Sir Chas. Cotton, and Euryalus 36. He was admitted to the out-pension of Greenwich Hospital 10 Dec. 1825, and awarded his present rank 1 Oct. 1846.

The Rear-Admiral married, 22 June, 1811, Elizabeth, third daughter of Wm. Schollar, Esq., Mayor of Weymouth, co. Dorset.

Gabriel Bray soon makes his mark on the village and shortly afterwards takes up the position of Churchwarden. The building we see today was built in 1836 replacing a much earlier edifice. The congregation had swelled over the years and Gabriel designed and had built a galley in 1817 to accommodate the increase. Sadly the building has gone, but a model was made just before its demolition and it that we can refer to for  how it may have once looked. Gabriel had adorned each panel with paintings of the saints on either side of Christ as shown here.

In 1818 Gabriel Bray Designs a new Lifeboat  and won a Silver Cup. The designs and a picture of two boats fitted according to his plan, ae shown here.

The society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce

In 1818 Mr Gabriel Bray obtained a silver medal for his invention of a boat filled with air- boxes under the seats and along the sides.

Look up spencer life boat Royal Society of Arts

I Gabriel Bray, Lieutenant at the Royal Navy now residing at no. 10 Newington Place in the Parish of St. Mary Newington in the County of Surrey do make this my last Sill and Testament in manner following that is to say I give, devise and bequeaths all my Messuages, Lands and Tenements and all my money in the public funds and all my estate and effects whatsoever and whosever and of what or nature whereof I am or shall be possessed unto my dear wife, Mary Bray forever and I appoint my said wife, Mary Bray, sole executrix of this my Will. 24th January 1810. Signed Gabriel Bray. Witnessed by Edward Stables, Bedford Street, Covent Garden, William Paxton, his Clerk, Elizabeth Linwell, Servant to Mr. stables.

This is a Codicil as part of the last Will. Since then I have purchased the freehold Messuage Dwelling House with the Garden and appurtenances thereunto belonging situate and being in Charmouth aforesaid, now in the occupation of Captain Ferris of the Royal Navy which I give to my wife, Mary Bray. Signed 3rd October 1817. Witnessed by John Ridges of Charmouth, Gentleman, Mary Peyton of the same place, Spinster, John Yard of Crediton, Devon, Attorney at Law.

This is a further Codicil to the Last Will in that he gives his house in Charmouth to his wife, Mary Bray, dated 5th March 1820. Witnessed by John Towgood, Joseph Parkes, Benjamin Skillman, Clerk to Messrs. Amory and Coles, 52 Lothbury, London.

Proved in London with 2 Codicils 3rd February, 1824.


This is the last Will and Testament of me Mary Bray of Charmouth in the County of Dorset, Widow. I give unto Mary Wick Sweeting, the wife of Robert Hallet Sweeting of Charmouth aforesaid, Surgeon all my plate, linen wearing apparel, jewels and trinkets of every description. I give my one forth part of a wood called Blyby Wood in Kent and in the reversion upon the decease of Mary Bray, Spinster in a Messuage situate in Deal in Kent now in the occupation of the same Mary Bray in Deal and all other of my freehold estates in Kent and all my estate unto the use of Margaret Bray of Mongeham near Deal in Kent, Spinster( one of the nieces of my late husband) forever.

I give all my Freehold Messuage situate in Charmouth where I now reside unto the use of Thomas Whitty Hallett of Axminster in the county of Devon, Spirit Merchant and William Elworthy of Wellington in the county of Somerset, Woollen Manufacturer. Shall within a month after my decease absolutely sell and dispose of by public sale my freehold Messuage.

I give and bequeathe my original shared in the Strand Bridge otherwise called the Waterloo Bridge and the Tolls and annuities Theron unto the said Mary Wick Sweeting. Then after her decease to her children namely Mary Ann Sweeting, Sophia Sweeting, Selina Sweeting, Elizabeth ann Sweeting, George Sweeting, Robert Bray Sweeting and Thomas Sweeting.

The proceeds from the sale of her Estate to be invested until the said Mary Ann Sophia Sweeting shall attain the age of 18 years and give her one sixth part of the personal estate. The Will repeats this with all six children receiving a sixth part on the age of 18. She appoints the said Thomas Whitty Hallett and William Slsworthy, Executors of her Will. Dated 8th August 1835. Witnessed by Eliza Henning, Charmouth, Spinster, William Bragg’s, Gentleman, John Bullen Solicitor 3 New Inn, London and Charmouth.

When Gabriel and Mary Bray first move to the village they briefly move into the Stone House in 1815, before buying Peria, two years later. An early Will by Gabriel in 1817  has Mary Peyton, Spinster of Charmouth as a witness. She is born in Devonport in 1795.

In 1820 Gabriel is still renting The Stone House from John Paul and renting Peria to Captain Amos Ferris. The following year he moves 

In 1823 Dr, Robert Hallett Sweeting  marries Mary Wick Peyton in Charmouth Independent Church and is witnessed by Gabriel Bray. Mary Peyton is also a witness on Gabriels Will. They christen their youngest son – Robert  Bray Sweeting in 1832 after them. When Mary Bray dies in 1835 she is to leave the house and its contents to them. 

Mr. Sweeting lived here in 1829 when he was elected Parish Surgeon by the Vestry at a salary of £10 a year for medicine and attendance -not including surgical ...

It is this house that Dr Robert Hallett Sweeting later rents from John Hunt who had bought it from John Paul  In 1832 The Sweetings are living in the Stone House, seen on the left,  which they are renting from John Hunt who had bought it from John Paul in that year. The Tithe Map for 1841 confirms them living there.

1825 Poor Rates for Mrs Bray goes up from 8d to 1s 4d, which may account for work on her house.

“ I give and bequeath all my original shares in the Strand Bridge, otherwise called the Waterloo Bridge and the tolls unto Mary Wick Sweeting and  then to Robert Hallett Sweeting and on her death to the six children now living of the said Robert Hallett Sweeting and Mary Wick Sweeting his wife, namely Mary Ann Sophia Sweeting,Selina Sweeting, Elizabeth Ann Sweeting,George Hallett Sweeting, Robert Bray Sweeting and Thomas Sweeting.
1835 signed Mary Bray”. 

The first bridge on the site was designed in 1807–10 by John Rennie for the Strand Bridge of Life and opened in 1817 as a toll bridge..


Gabriel and Mary Bray were to have no children and their Estate was eventually on the death of Mary go to the four children of Charmouth Doctor, Sweeting. I have produced a Family Tree for all the records I could find to show descendants of the family. It would seem that his brother, John Raven was to have just one daughter, Margaret, who died a spinster in 1892. He had two sisters Mary, who again never married and Margaret who married John Coles and had a son also John, whose descendants are shown as far as I can find them. 

Gabriel`s brother was born in 1754 and was to lead a completely different life to him. He seems to have spent his whole life in the Deal area. He went to Kings school Canterbury shortly after his brother and took up a life as a farmer for his father, John. In 1793 he married aged 41 Mary Wyborn, who was the Widow of Barnabus Tilt from the village of Smeeth. They had one child, Margaret, born in 1797, who never married and died in1892, aged 95. John was to died in 1823 and his wife in 1854. During the Napoleonic Wars he took up a position of Lieutenant in the Walmer Volunteers and  was later promoted to Captain in 1799.  He is described as a Farmer and Maltsters in Directories of the time. He had a large Malthouse at the rear of his Manor House and supplied local breweries. After his death in 1823 , his widow carried on with the business with their daughter, Margaret.

Gabriel`s brother was born in 1754 and was to lead a completely different life to him. He seems to have spent his whole life in the Deal area. He went to Kings school Canterbury shortly after his brother and took up a life as a farmer for his father, John. In 1793 he married aged 41 Mary Wyborn, who was the Widow of Barnabus Tilt from the village of Smeeth. They had one child, Margaret, born in 1797, who never married and died in1892, aged 95. John was to died in 1823 and his wife in 1854. During the Napoleonic Wars he took up a position of Lieutenant in the Walmer Volunteers and  was later promoted to Captain in 1799.  He is described as a Farmer and Maltsters in Directories of the time. He had a large Malthouse at the rear of his Manor House and supplied local breweries. After his death in 1823 , his widow carried on with the business with their daughter, Margaret.

Margaret Bray of Deal being almost blind. I give my freehold farm situated at Smeeth and my one third part of 13 acres of marshland at Dymchurch and one third share of 11 acres of marshland and other land unto my sons, Gabriel Bray, John Raven Bray and my daughter Margaret, the wife of John Coles and my daughter, Mary Bray in four equal portions. The residue to my daughter, Mary Bray whom I appoint sole executrix. Signed Margaret 1801. Proved 1805.

This is an extract from Hasted`s History of Kent published in 1799,which shows Gabriel Bray`s father, Admiral Bray living in a fine house at Mongeham near Deal. There is a foot note after this referring to the house being lived in after his death by his son, John Raven Bray.
The family were all buried at St. Georges Church in Deal where their Grave stone can be seen today. It reads:
John Bray died in 1795, aged 79, John Raven Bray died in 1823, aged 69, Margaret Bray, died in 1892, aged 95, Margaret Bray died in 1805, aged 86, Mary Bray died in 1850, aged 96, Mary Bray died in 1854, aged 89.
Admiral John Bray, appears on the list of principle inhabitants of Deal in 1792.

Will of Mary Bray of the borough of Deal in Kent, Spinster. I appoint William Standerson of Founderland in Kent and John East Dixon of Deal, Surgeon to assign the sum of £1000 annuities. To pay unto John Bray Coles the son of my late nephew, John Coles as soon as he attains the age of 25. If he should not attain the age of 25 to my niece, margaret Bray of Mongeham in Kent, Spinster. April 1844 Mary Bray, proved in 1850.

      If any of Gabriel Brays descendants have survived it would have been on his sister Margaret side of the family. She was born in 1751 in Deal and in 1783 married John Coles, who is described in her fathers Will as being a Malt Factor of London. They have just one son, John who is baptism entry in 1785 is shown here. The family lived in Little Trinity Lane in the centre of London. The Street has survived, although dramatically changed as can be seen by the inset photograph.

Their son, John is to become a Solicitor in partnership with John Amory , based at 52 Lothbury in London. It is this firm that Gabriel uses for his Will of 1820 and must have known his nephew well.

It is a strange coincidence that both John and Margaret Coles died in 1823 within 16 days of each other. This was also the year in which both her brothers - Gabriel and John Raven Bray would die - perhaps there was a family curse!