Who is Molly Joyful?

Miss Molly Joyful

You’re a curious one, aren’t you?

There’s not much to say about me; I use wordpress mainly as an inventory of information about the Royal Navy, British history, art, music, politics, daily life and fashion in the 18th century. I do this because I’m a geek.

WordPress is not really an encouraging format for discussions, so if you’d like to have a chat with me, please feel free to say hello over on my LiveJournal.

Please note: all comments left in this blog are moderated.

43 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Stuart Duncan  |  29 January, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    V. interested in history of Admiral Sir Graham Moore, who captained the Royal Navy Fleet that escorted the Portuguese Royal family to Brasil in 1808.

  • 2. joyfulmolly  |  29 January, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    To Stuart: that would have been him as a commodore, on the HMS Marlborough, yes? You probably already know it, but if not, Moore’s biography on Google books might be of interest (you can find the direct link in my “Molly Joyful’s Useful Resources” link. I hope you found some helpful information here. 🙂

  • 3. Liz368  |  27 February, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    Do you know of any pre 20th century Naval uniform insignia or ribbon that includes an insect of any kind?

  • 4. joyfulmolly  |  28 February, 2008 at 12:38 am

    I don’t think I’ve ever come across such an insignia, I’m afraid. But my special field of interest is the RN in the 18th century, so it’s very much possible that such an insignia existed in the later 19th century. I’m not really a costume expert… if you shouldn’t find any information online, maybe you could inquire at the NMM? I’ve flipped through Amy Miller’s “Dressed to Kill” book and didn’t find anything there, but I could imagine she or somebody else working there would know.

    Here’s the link for enquiries:


    I hope that will help! 🙂

  • 5. Liz368  |  28 February, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    I knew this would take a bit of research, but I thought I had lucked out when I came across your website. The art club I’m in is always throwing out these crazy kind of challenges.
    Thanks for your help.

  • 6. Anna Knowles  |  2 March, 2008 at 11:55 am

    Hi –

    This is a a great, great site with an amazing list of resources. I wonder if you’d like to add my new website http://www.nelsonandhisworld.co.uk to your links. We’re a mixed bunch of enthusiasts, some hands-on sailors, some with a more general interest in Nelson and his world (including his colourful love life!).
    We’d welcome a visit from anyone who wants to join in the discussion or to ask or answer questions on Nelson and his world.


    Anna (username: tycho)

  • 7. joyfulmolly  |  2 March, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Thanks a lot for the link, looks good to me! I’ve added it to my list and will be happy to include it. The next update should be very soon.

    For now, I’ll post the link to my LJ; there should be quite a few people who’d be interested in a discussion forum.


    PS: It’s good to know that I’m not the only unpaid servant to demanding cats!

  • 8. Sue Newstead  |  14 October, 2008 at 8:30 am

    I am writing a book in the U.K. about dummy board figures ( please see http://www.pastmastery.com – for an explanation if you are unfamiliar with this art form ) and have acquired an illustration of a soldier/ naval man from the 18th c.
    I wonder if I sent you a photo you might be able to tell me, if you can as it’s quite weathered,
    1. Is the uniform British?
    2. If so is it naval?
    3. if it is naval…what is it?

    Of course I will give you any credit you wish in my book.

    I am really stumped by this figure and don’t seem to be able to find it anywhere.
    Of course it might just be a imaginary one… they are known to exist but they usually have something about them that is real and tangible.

    I would value any help you might be able to give. If you feel you might be able to help I will forward a photo in an e mail.

    Thank you

    Dr. Sue Newstead

  • 9. joyfulmolly  |  14 October, 2008 at 9:52 am

    Hello Sue,

    Sounds interesting! Yes, please mail me the picture. If I shouldn’t be able to answer your questions, I could tell you who would. 🙂


    emma at emmacollingwood.com

  • 10. zoe hatch  |  21 January, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    hello my name is zoe and im horatia nelson

  • 11. zoe hatch  |  21 January, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    let me start again hello im zoe and im a 12 year old girl and verry small! i love the 18th centy like you and love the history of the navy

  • 12. Tom Grundner  |  7 June, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    In rummaging around the Internet this morning I came across your remarks about Mary Lacy.

    We know there were numerous women who served in the Royal Navy, at least as early as 1860. There were only three, however, who left written accounts of their experiences serving as men: Mary Lacy, Hanna Snell, and Mary Ann Talbot.

    We (I am the senior editor at Fireship Press) have collected the autobiographies of all three into one book – THE LADY TARS: The Autobiographies of Hannah Snell, Mary Lacy and Mary Anne Talbot (ISBN: 978-1-934757-35-2).

    It’s part of a series we’re doing called “The Lady Warrior Series.” For example, if you are a US Civil War buff, we’ve done Lady Rebel: The Story of Loreta Velazsquez who served as a Confederate officer as a man. Other similar titles will be coming out in the future.

    Anyway I thought your readers might want to know about “Lady Tars.” It can be obtained from all the major outlets, amazon.com, etc. as well as our website. Also, we now have printing facilities in the UK, so books can be printed and shipped directly from there.

    If anyone wants more info on Lady Tars (or any of our other books about this era) you can go to our website at http://www.FireshipPress.com


    • 13. joyfulmolly  |  19 June, 2009 at 12:17 pm

      Thanks a lot for the link, Tom. I’ll catch up with your recs as soon as I find the time; if I like the books, I’ll be happy to recommend them. Right now, my reading list is longer than the Simplon tunnel… cheers!

  • 14. Bernice  |  22 August, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    I’m a geek too, and now I’m going to have to spend a hundred years getting through your blog. I’ve decided the inspiration for my next jewellery line will be 18th Century (although maybe French) Naval inspired, and I’m looking for an inspiring story, I’m sure you have a few so I’ll keep on reading,

    • 15. joyfulmolly  |  23 August, 2009 at 11:22 pm

      Sounds good to me, and I hope you’ll find some inspiration on the blog. Don’t forget to post a link to your new collection once it’s finished, I’m always happy to promote the work of fellow geeks. 🙂

  • 16. robert astle  |  31 October, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    My question is on the HMS Vicotry; “claiments applicatoin letters”. of those requesting eligibilty from the ads on June 1 & 4 1847. Records indicate that they were destroyed, save “ONE’.

    How do I find out that “ONE” saved letter?

    Who it was from?

    Where was it from?
    Thank you very much for your time and effort in asswering.

  • 17. joyfulmolly  |  31 October, 2009 at 9:15 pm


    I’m afraid I can’t help you there; I’ve never seen this letter or a copy of it. I’d suggest you either ask here


    or here


    If anybody knows, it’s them.

    Good luck!


  • 18. Sally  |  28 December, 2009 at 1:11 am

    Just came across your website whilst looking for a couple of screencaps of Garrow’s Law. I love it – your website. I too share a great passion for the 18th century. I shall be adding your website to my favourites, and I see that you enjoyed Garrow’s Law as much as and for the same reasons that I did! Thank you very much ^_^

    x x x

    • 19. joyfulmolly  |  29 December, 2009 at 1:16 am

      Thanks a lot for your kind words! It’s always good to hear people have fun with the blog. I just added my review for “Cranford”, and there are some screencaps of “Mr. Garrow” as well.

      “Garrow’s Law” was a great series, and I hope we’ll see a second one. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!


  • 20. Sally  |  23 January, 2010 at 12:01 am

    Sorry, back again.

    I was just wondering if you knew anything about tattoos on sailors in the 18th century? I’ve tried looking online and there’s lots about the history of tattoos but not really anything on the types of designs that they got. Particularly I want to give a pirate I am writing about a tattoo, but I’m not sure what he would have, really. I’d imagine sailors and pirates got different kinds of tattoos…

    Anyway, if you know anything at all I would really appreciate the help. If not, don’t worry 🙂

    x x x

    • 21. Molly Joyful  |  23 January, 2010 at 12:37 am

      Sailors are sailors, I don’t think there was much difference (well, aside from a sailor on a ship of the Royal Navy might NOT have had “I love pirates” tattooed across his chest…) 😉

      I’d go for something very, very simple. Tattoos back then – unless your pirate got his one in a place like Japan or Polynesia – weren’t “beautiful”. There’s the good old “H.O.L.D. F.A.S.T.” tattooed on the knuckles, simple things like crosses or other religious symbols, hearts, animals… and of course tons of rude sex-themed tattoos (especially popular among the aristocracy!) Here’s a screencap from Master and Commander, and I think it catches both motifs and method very well:

      Hope that helps. 🙂

    • 22. Molly Joyful  |  23 January, 2010 at 12:38 am

      Hm. That doesn’t look right – here’s the direct link:

      Click here.


      • 23. Sally  |  23 January, 2010 at 1:15 pm

        Ah, you star. That really helps. Thanks!

        x x x

        P.S. Ouch!

  • 24. dennita  |  29 October, 2011 at 1:39 am

    my father sang a nursery rhyme to me that started out “When i was traveling through France and Spain and the Hanky Panky sea, this was what a sailor said as it was told to me . . .” He is 85 now and can’t remember the rest and neither can i. Does anyone recognize it? i would be so greatful to know.

    • 25. Molly Joyful  |  17 November, 2011 at 3:46 pm

      Sorry for the delay in replying. I’ve went through all my books, asked my friends and checked all available online resources, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to track that nursery rhyme down. Have you already contacted the V&A? Maybe one of their experts can help you:


      Good luck!

  • 26. David Porter  |  4 January, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    I came across your blog while looking for references to fog and heritage. The power of google! I know Sheerness very well, its a shame what might happen to the dockyard, but that’s nothing compared to Convoys Wharf in Deptford, the site of the former Royal Dockyard where Pepys worked sometimes. He was the Master of Trinity House which was founded in Deptford.

    • 27. Molly Joyful  |  7 January, 2012 at 8:24 pm

      Thank you! Convoys Wharf – what’s going on there? Do you have any links? I’m always happy to write about heritage crimes (well, not “happy” because they are happening, of course…)

  • 28. David Porter  |  4 January, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    By the way the nursery rhyme sounds as if it may be a variation on ‘Inky pinky parlez-vous…’

  • 29. Jemweb  |  15 June, 2012 at 5:12 pm


    Do you know how tall Admiral Collingwood

    Hope you can help



    • 30. Molly Joyful  |  15 June, 2012 at 7:46 pm

      If I remember correctly, he was 5’7″, but I can’t find the conversation right now. Average height back then for men was about 5″5’/6″, and I know that he was above average, so 5’7″ can’t be too far off.

      Hope that helps!

  • 31. Susan Ardelie  |  13 December, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Dear Molly Joyful,

    I wanted to thank you for keeping such a lovely blog on naval history and the 18th century. Your posts have been a joy to read, and I’d like to show my appreciation by awarding you with the ‘One Lovely Blog Award’. You can get the graphic at the following shortlink and read the details about the award here: http://wp.me/pzjun-1jv

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