THIRKILL, LANCELOT, explorer and ship-owner, who sailed with John Cabot in 1498; fl. 1498–1501.
Most probably a London merchant, he is described as “of London,” and as receiving payments for the victualling of his ship. King Henry VII, after Cabot’s return from his 1497 voyage, decided to subsidize a further voyage in 1498. Accordingly, between 22 and 27 March 1498, £20 were advanced “to Lanslot Thirkill of London . . . for his Shipp going towardes the new Ilande,” a further £20 on 31 March “to Launcelot Thirkill going towardes the new Ile”; a third payment of £30, between 1 and 3 April, was made to “Launce” Thirkill and Thomas Bradley described as “going to the new Isle,” and a fourth, of £43 0s. 8d. between 4 and 6 April, to them jointly. These payments made up a total of £113 8s., a sum sufficient to victual a moderate-sized vessel. Other evidence indicates that John Cabot sailed as “chief patron” on the vessel which the king had manned and victualled for him at Bristol. This is likely to have been Thirkill’s ship. That the ship on which Thirkill sailed returned from the voyage may be presumed from a bond which he made on 6 June 1501, referred to in a royal document of 1505.