Edward Russell, 1st Earl of Orford

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For other people named Edward Russell, see Edward Russell (disambiguation).
Edward Russell, 1st Earl of Orford
Gibson, Edward Russell.jpg
Admiral Edward Russell, 1st Earl of Orford by Thomas Gibson, painted c. 1715
Born 1653
Chiswick, London
Died 26 November 1727 (aged 73–74)
Allegiance  Kingdom of England
 Kingdom of Great Britain
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Rank Admiral of the Fleet
Commands held HMS Phoenix
HMS Reserve
HMS Defiance
HMS Swiftsure
HMS Newcastle
Other work MP for Launceston, for Portsmouth and for Cambridgeshire

Admiral of the Fleet Edward Russell, 1st Earl of Orford, PC (1653 – 26 November 1727) was the First Lord of the Admiralty under King William III.

Early career[edit]

Born the son of the Hon. Edward Russell, a younger son of the 4th Earl of Bedford and Penelope Russell (née Hill), Russell briefly attended St John's College, Cambridge and then joined the Royal Navy in 1666.[1] Promoted to lieutenant in 1671, he was appointed to the fourth-rate HMS Advice and then transferred to the third-rate HMS Rupert and saw action at the Battle of Solebay in May 1672 during the Third Anglo-Dutch War.[1]

Promoted to captain on 10 June 1672, Russell was given command of the fifth-rate HMS Phoenix and then transferred to the command of the fourth-rate HMS Reserve in the Mediterranean in operations against the Barbary pirates in February 1675 and then the to the command of the third-rate HMS Defiance in December 1677. He then move to the third-rate HMS Swiftsure in March 1678 and then to the fourth-rate HMS Newcastle in August 1680.[1]In 1683 he ceased to be employed, as all of the members of the Russell family had fallen into disfavour with the King after the discovery of Lord Russell's connection with the Rye House Plot.[1]

Senior command[edit]

Russell was one of the Immortal Seven, a group of English noblemen who issued the Invitation to William, a document asking Prince William of Orange to depose King James II in June 1688. Based in the Netherlands, he served as Prince William’s secretary during the planning phase for William’s invasion of England and subsequent Glorious Revolution in November 1688.[1]

Russell was elected Whig Member of Parliament for Launceston and appointed Treasurer of the Navy in 1689.[2] In the general election in 1690 he was elected Member of Parliament for Portsmouth. Promoted directly to full admiral in May 1689, Russell took command in the Channel, with his flag in the second-rate HMS Duke, in 1689 and enforced a blockade of France.[1]

Russell conveyed Maria Anna of Neuburg, Charles II of Spain's future consort, from Flushing to Coruna in Spring 1690.[1] He became a Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty on the Admiralty board led by the Earl of Pembroke in June 1690[3] and, having been promoted to Admiral of the Fleet, he became Commander-in-Chief of the Navy in December 1690. He was fully engaged in providing naval support for the Williamite War in Ireland until the War ended in October 1691 and he stood down as a Lord Commissioner in January 1691.[3] Flying his flag in the first-rate HMS Britannia, he was Commander-in-Chief of the Anglo-Dutch force that fought the French fleet at Battle of Barfleur in May 1692 and destroyed much of it in a night attack at the Battle of La Hougue in June 1692 during Nine Years' War.[1]

Russell became First Lord of the Admiralty in the First Whig Junto in May 1694 and was elected Member of Parliament for Cambridgeshire in 1695. He was created Baron Shingay, Viscount Barfleur, and Earl of Orford in 1697.[1]


In November 1691 Russell married his cousin, Lady Margaret Russell, youngest daughter of the 5th Earl of Bedford (later the 1st Duke of Bedford); they had no children.[1]

Painting by Godfrey Kneller showing Orford (left) with Admiral John Benbow and Admiral Ralph Delaval


Russell lived at Chippenham Park in Cambridgeshire from 1689 until his death. Russell remodelled the manor house and greatly extended Chippenham Park which now dominates the parish to the south of the village.[4] He also commissioned the building of Orford House in the village of Ugley, Essex.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Edward Russell". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "Edward Russell". History of Parliament. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Sainty, J. C., Lord High Admiral and Commissioners of the Admiralty 1660-1870', Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 4: Admiralty Officials 1660-1870 (1975), pp. 18-31.". Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  4. ^ A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely 10. 2002. pp. 370–374. 
  5. ^ "Name: Orford House List entry Number: 1221630". English Heritage. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of England
Preceded by
Sir Hugh Piper
John Granville
Member of Parliament for Launceston
1689 – 1690
With: William Harbord
Succeeded by
William Harbord
Bernard Granville
Preceded by
Henry Slingsby
Richard Norton
Member of Parliament for Portsmouth
1690 – 1695
With: Nicholas Hedger
Succeeded by
Nicholas Hedger
Matthew Aylmer
Preceded by
Sir Robert Cotton
The Lord Cutts
Member of Parliament for Cambridgeshire
1695 – 1697
With: The Lord Cutts
Succeeded by
The Lord Cutts
Sir Rushout Cullen, Bt
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Chicheley
Custos Rotulorum of Cambridgeshire
1689 – 1727
Succeeded by
The Earl of Lincoln
Preceded by
The Lord North
Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire
1715 – 1727
Political offices
Preceded by
The Viscount Falkland
Treasurer of the Navy
1689 – 1699
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Littleton
First Lord of the Admiralty
1694 – 1699
Succeeded by
The Earl of Bridgewater
Preceded by
The Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery
(Lord High Admiral)
First Lord of the Admiralty
1709 – 1710
Succeeded by
Sir John Leake
Preceded by
The Earl of Strafford
First Lord of the Admiralty
1714 – 1717
Succeeded by
The Earl of Berkeley
Peerage of England
New creation Earl of Orford
1697 – 1727