Molyneux Shuldham, 1st Baron Shuldham
|Molyneux Shuldham, 1st Baron Shuldham|
|Died||30 September 1798|
|Allegiance||Kingdom of Great Britain|
|Commands held||HMS Sheerness
HMS Royal Oak
|Battles/wars||Seven Years' War|
Family and early life
Molyneux Shuldham was born in Ireland circa 1717, and was the second son of the Reverend Samuel Shuldham, by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Daniel Molyneux of Ballymulvy, of County Longford. Molyneux entered the navy in 1732 as captain's servant on board HMS Cornwall, with Captain George Forbes (afterwards Earl of Granard and governor of County Longford). He afterwards served in HMS Solebay with Captain Charles Fanshawe, and for upwards of four years in HMS Falkland with Fitzroy Henry Lee. He passed his examination on 25 January 1739, being then described on his certificate as ‘near twenty-two.’ According to the statement in Charnock, he was not seventeen.
On 31 August 1739, he was promoted to be lieutenant of HMS Tilbury, one of the ships which went out to the West Indies with Sir Chaloner Ogle, and took part in the unsuccessful attack on Cartagena in 1741. In 1742 he was first lieutenant of her when, on 21 September, she was set on fire in a drunken squabble between a marine and the purser's boy and burnt, with a large proportion of the ship's company. Shuldham, with the captain and other officers, was tried by court-martial on 15 October, but was acquitted of all blame.
On 12 May 1746, he was promoted to be captain of HMS Sheerness, then employed on the coast of Scotland; in December 1748, he was appointed to HMS Queenborough, and in March 1749, to HMS Unicorn. In October 1754, he was appointed to HMS Seaford, from which, in March 1755, he was moved to the 60-gun HMS Warwick, going out to the West Indies, where, near Martinique on 11 March 1756, she fell in with a French 74-gun ship and two frigates, which overpowered and captured her.
Seven Years' War
War had not then been declared, but hostilities had been going on for several months, as Shuldham very well knew, and the story that he mistook the enemy's ships of war for merchantmen would be but little to his credit if there was any reason to suppose it true. He, with the crew of the Warwick, was sent to France, kept a prisoner at large at Poitiers for nearly two years, and returned to England in a cartel on 16 March 1758. A court-martial acquitted him of all blame for the loss of the ship, and on 25 July 1758 he was appointed to HMS Panther, in which he joined Commodore Sir John Moore in the West Indies and took part in the reduction of Guadeloupe and its dependent islands, March to May 1759 under Commodore Moore.
In July, he was moved by Moore into HMS Raisonnable, which was lost on a reef of rocks at Fort Royal off Martinique as she was standing in to engage a battery on 8 January 1762, when the island was attacked and reduced by Rear-Admiral Rodney. In April, Rodney appointed Shuldham to HMS Marlborough, from which a few days later he was moved by Sir George Pocock to HMS Rochester, and again by Rodney after a few weeks to the Foudroyant, in which he returned to England at the peace. In December 1766, he was appointed to HMS Cornwall, the guardship at Plymouth, and in November 1770, to HMS Royal Oak, then commissioned in consequence of the expected rupture with Spain.
Governor of Newfoundland
On 14 February 1772, he was appointed commodore and commander-in-chief on the Newfoundland station, which office he held for three years. He was responsible for the construction of Fort Townshend, which was completed in 1780. Shuldham visited Chateau Bay on the Labrador coast and sent his lieutenant, Roger Curtis, to inspect the northern coast and the Moravian missionaries.
On 31 March 1775 he was promoted to be rear-admiral of the white. At the general election in the following autumn he was returned to the House of Commons as member for Fowey, and on 29 September, was appointed commander-in-chief on the coast of North America from the river St. Lawrence to Cape Florida. He went out with his flag in the 50-gun HMS Chatham, arriving at Boston on 30 December after a passage of sixty-one days, having been promoted, on 7 December while on the way out, to be vice-admiral of the blue. His work was limited to covering the operations of the troops, and preventing the colonial trade. In July 1776, He escorted Admiral Howe into New York Harbor. He was replaced by Lord Howe, and on 31 July, was created a peer of Ireland by the title of Baron Shuldham. Early in 1777 he returned to England, and from 1778 to 1783 was Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1777.  He was promoted on 24 September 1787 to be admiral of the blue, and on 1 February 1793 to be admiral of the white.
He died at Lisbon in the autumn of 1798. His body was transported back to England aboard HMS Colossus, which was also carrying many of the antique vases collected by Sir William Hamilton. Colossus was wrecked in a gale on the Isles of Scilly, but while many of Sir William's vases were lost, Shuldham's body was recovered through 'heroic efforts'. He had married Margaret Irene, widow of John Harcourt of Ankerwycke Park but left no issue, and thus the title became extinct.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "Shuldham, Molyneux". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
- Biography at Government House The Governorship of Newfoundland and Labrador
- "Molyneux Shuldham, 1st Baron Shuldham". Dictionary of Canadian Biography (online ed.). University of Toronto Press. 1979–2005.
|Parliament of Great Britain|
James Modyford Heywood
|Member of Parliament for Fowey
With: Philip Rashleigh
|Commodore Governor of Newfoundland
|Peerage of Ireland|
|New creation||Baron Shuldham