William Plaisted Medd was born in 1758 in Stretton Parva in Leicestershire, the only child of George Medd and Sarah (née Plaisted), who had married at St. Andrew, Holborn, on 4 August 1757.
The family lived for some years at Benefield, between Corby and Oundle in Northamptonshire, before moving about 1765 to Malton in the North Riding of Yorkshire. It is possible George Medd was originally from Malton, as Medd is a common surname in that area.
Medd joined Resolution on 10 February 1776 as an AB for Cook’s Third Voyage. He became a midshipman on 16 March, and remained one until 23 March 1778 when he reverted to being an AB. He is not mentioned in the narratives of the voyage.
William probably left the navy soon after the voyage as he never became a lieutenant.
He is mentioned in a codicil to his mother’s will, written in 1771. Sarah Medd’s will was proven in 1785, and she had made no further amendments to it, suggesting William was still alive then.
It has been suggested (without proper evidence that I have seen) that in 1786 Medd was a co-owner, listed as a mariner, of Union, a 281-ton bark, built in Whitby in 1779. The proximity of Whitby to Malton and Pickering offers the possibility of other William Medds, thereby making this suggestion unlikely.
William’s uncle, Bartholomew Plaisted, was a surveyor with the East India Company, and was master attendant at Calcutta from where he made charts of the Bay of Bengal. He also made a land crossing from India to Europe and published an account in 1758: A Journal From Calcutta... to England, in the Year, 1750. to Which Are Added, Directions by E. Eliot, for Passing Over the Little Desart From Busserah. With a Journal of the Proceedings of the Doddington East-Indiaman.
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 2, volume 36, number 1 (2013).
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