Sir Josias Rowley, 1st Baronet
|Sir Josias Rowley|
Admiral Sir Josias Rowley
|Died||10 January 1842|
|Commands held||HMS Lark
|Awards||Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George
Admiral Sir Josias Rowley, 1st Bt., GCB, GCMG (1765 – 10 January 1842), known as "The Sweeper of the Seas", was an Anglo-Irish naval officer who commanded the campaign that captured the French Indian Ocean islands of Réunion and Mauritius in 1810.
Rowley was born the second son of Clotworthy Rowley, Barrister and MP for Downpatrick in the Irish Parliament, and Letitia (née Campbell), of Mountcampbell, Drumsna, County Leitrim, in the West of Ireland. Josias' grandfather was Admiral of the Fleet Sir William Rowley, KCB.
He joined the Royal Navy in 1778 in HMS Suffolk in the West Indies. Promoted to post captain in 1795, he commanded HMS Braave (40 guns) at the Cape of Good Hope and then HMS Impérieuse (38 guns) in the East Indies. He also commanded HMS Raisonnable (64 guns) and took part in the Battle of Cape Finisterre in 1805.
In March 1810 he moved into HMS Boadicea (38 guns) and transported a larger landing party which arrived on Réunion and captured the island. Meanwhile a force led Captain Samuel Pym RN was being out-flanked by French frigates attacking Grand Port, Mauritius. HMS Africaine was captured by the French frigates Iphigénie and Astrée in the engagement. Rowley then re-captured Africaine the same day. Vice-Admiral Albemarle Bertie arrived on 29 November and took the surrender of Mauritius on 3 December 1810. This campaign was used by author Patrick O'Brian as the setting for one of his Aubrey–Maturin series books, The Mauritius Command. His hero, Jack Aubrey, takes the place of Rowley in the novel.
In the summer of 1815 with his flagship Impregnable (98 guns), under Lord Exmouth) he sailed once more to the Mediterranean. In 1818 he was appointed commander-in-chief on the coast of Ireland and in 1821 he became MP for Kinsale, County Cork. Promoted to vice-admiral in 1825, he was made Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet in 1833.
He died unmarried and without heir to his titles in the Mount Campbell family estate at Drumsna in County Leitrim and was buried and commemorated at the nearby Annaduff Parish Church. He was survived by his younger brothers Vice Admiral Samuel Rowley (also commemorated within Annaduff Parish Church) and The Rev. John Rowley, incumbent rector at Virginia in County Cavan.
- Burkes Peerages
- Josias Rowley at Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
- Josias Rowley's service record and Last Will and Testament are held in the British National Archives
- Leigh Rayment's list of baronets [self-published source][better source needed]
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs [self-published source][better source needed]
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Josias Rowley
|Parliament of Ireland|
|Member of Parliament for Downpatrick
1798 – 1801
With: Clotworthy Rowley
Parliament of the United Kingdom
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Kinsale
1821 – 1826
Sir Pulteney Malcolm
|Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet
Sir Robert Stopford
George St Vincent Wilson
|High Sheriff of Suffolk
|Baronetage of the United Kingdom|
(of the Navy)
1813 – 1842