Christopher Hall


The navigational experience and skills Christopher Hall had acquired in service to the Muscovy Company made him a major asset to the Frobisher expeditions.

Hall was assigned a major role in each of Frobisher's three voyages to Meta Incognita. In 1576, he was master of the Gabriel; in 1577, master of the Aid; and in 1578, pilot of the Thomas Allen. Placing Hall on the Thomas Allen - whose crew had not previously journeyed to Meta Incognita - ensured that the two largest ships in the fleet (it and the Aid) had the best, most experienced navigators. This was a sound strategy should the fleet be separated en route.

As proof of the confidence others placed in Hall, he was asked on many occasions - especially the 1578 voyage - to pilot other ships of the fleet through difficult passages. His ships' logs for both the first voyage (known only through a summarized account) and third voyage, which are viewed as both historically and technically accurate, provide further evidence of his superior abilities.

The headstrong risk-taker Frobisher and the cautious but diligent Hall, however, did not always see eye-to-eye. Frobisher probably resented the fact that Hall's judgements were usually sounder, and that Lok had at one point tried to subordinate Frobisher to the counsel of Hall and others. When faced with contrary opinions, Frobisher tended to become bad-tempered and his arguments with Hall occasionally led him to violence. Hall, a professional, probably had little respect for Frobisher and later joined others in accusing him of embezzling funds intended to provision the expeditions.

After he was free of Frobisher, Hall went back to work on Muscovy Company ships, as well as sailing with Edward Fenton to Africa and South America. The failure of that voyage, compounded upon the failure in 1578, however, drove him to alcoholism.