Admiralty in the 17th century

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Admiralty and Marine Affairs Office
Coat of Arms of England (1558-1603).svg
Office overview
Formed1414
Preceding Office
  • Offices of the Kings Marine
Dissolved1707
Superseding agency
JurisdictionParliament of England
HeadquartersAdmiralty Building
Whitehall
London
Kingdom of England
Office executive
Parent OfficePrivy Council of England

During the early 17th century, England's relative naval power deteriorated, In the course of the rest of the 17th century, The office of the Admiralty and Marine Affairs steered the Navy's transition from a semi-amateur Navy Royal fighting in conjunction with private vessels into a fully professional institution, a Royal Navy. Its financial provisions were gradually regularised, it came to rely on dedicated warships only, and it developed a professional officer corps with a defined career structure, superseding an earlier mix of sailors and socially prominent former soldiers.[1]

Historical overview[edit]

Sovereign of the Seas

After 1603 the English and Scottish fleets were organized together under James I but the efficiency of the Navy declined gradually, while corruption grew until brought under control in an inquiry of 1618. James concluded a peace with Spain and privateering was outlawed. Between 1618 and 1628, a Navy Commission temporarily replaced the Navy Board, due to misappropriation of public funds by board commissioners. After the inquiry was over the office of the Lord High Admiral (held by the Duke of Buckingham) was restored. However, he was murdered and King Charles I put the office into commission. This led to the creation of a new Board of Admiralty which in its early formation was just the Privy Council in another reincarnation. This in turn also led to the removal of the Admiralty Court from direct control of the Lord High Admiral's. His office was temporarily restored again in 1638, but then put in commission once more after 1679 the Lords Commissioners of Admiralty became the permanent officers responsible for administration of the Navy.

Organization in the seventeenth century[edit]

Admiralty of England[edit]

Commander-in-chiefs[edit]

Naval Lords of England[edit]

Civil administration of the Navy[edit]

Notes: the Secretary of State England for the period 1628 to 1679 was responsible for all policy decisions and direction on behalf of the government due to a continued state of war.

Board of Admiralty[edit]

The Board of Admiralty and the Lord's Commissioners executing the office of the Lord High Admiral[2]

First Commissioner and First Lord of the Admiralty

    • First Lord of the Admiralty, and member of the English government
      • Clerk of the Admiralty
        • Messenger of the Admiralty, appointed, 1687[3]
        • Housekeeper of the Admiralty appointed (1687 – 1799)
        • Doorkeeper of the Admiralty, 1687[4]
        • Gardner of the Admiralty appointed (1687 – 1799)

Civil Commissioner

Naval Commissioner

Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty
91 commissioners served during the 17th century.

Notes: Between 1693 and 1830 the commission always included either 1 or 2 additional naval lords accept from 1757 until 1782 when it was just the Senior Naval Lord after 1830 the Naval Lords are titled, First, Second, Third, Fourth until 1904 when they are re-syled Sea Lord. A junior naval lord is introduced in 1868 until 1903 then is re-styled Fifth Sea Lord from 1917.

Naval operations[edit]

Senior leadership[edit]

Naval High Command

Fleet commands[edit]

Flag officers of the fleet

Flag officers commanding fleets and stations[edit]

Flag officer commanding individual fleets and stations

Home commands[edit]

Shore commands[edit]

Overseas commands[edit]

Fleet units[edit]

Composition of the Navy between 1649-1690
Type Number of units [14]
Ships of the Line 1st rate 7
Ships of the Line 2nd rate 11
Ships of the Line 3rd rate 40
Ships of the Line 4th rate 19
Ships of the Line 5th-6th rate 26
Captured ships of the line 10
Sloops 22
Armed merchants 29
Flyboats 28
Galliots & hoys 22
Fireships 111
Bomb vessels 17
Hospital ships 4
Yachts 25
In commission 361

Squadrons [15]

  • Red Squadron
  • White Squadron
  • Blue Squadron

Administrative and logistical support[edit]

Board of ordnance[edit]

Principal officers[edit]

Board of Ordnance [16] (1597 – 1855)

Ordnance yards and stores[edit]

Home ordinance yards

Gunpowder magazines stores

Navy board[edit]

Construction, design, maintenance, supplies

Principal officers[edit]
Subsidiary boards of navy board[edit]
Shore facilities[edit]

Note: Dockyards during this period were managed by the commissioners of the Navy Board.

Home naval base and dockyards[19]

Oversea bases and dockyards

Judicial administration[edit]

Note:Admiralty Courts date to at least the 1360s, during the reign of Edward III. At that time there were three such Courts, appointed by Admirals responsible for waters to the north, south and west of England. In 1483 these local courts were amalgamated into a single High Court of Admiralty, administered by the Lord High Admiral of England.[20] The Deputy Lord High Admiral presided over the High Court.

Admiralty courts[edit]

Legal advisors to the admiralty courts

High court of the admiralty[edit]

Vice admiralty courts[edit]

The Vice-Admiral of the Coast [24] was responsible for the defence of one of the twenty maritime counties of England, the North and South of Wales. As a Vice-Admiral, the post holder was the chief of naval administration for his district. His responsibilities included deciding the outcome of the Prize court (captured by pirate ships), dealing with salvage claims for wrecks, and acting as a judge in relation to maritime issues.

Vice Admiralty jurisdictions and prizes abroad

By appointing Vice-Admirals in the colonies, and by constituting courts as Vice-Admiralty Courts, the terminology recognized the existence and superiority of the "mother" court in the United Kingdom. Thus, the "vice" tag denoted that whilst it was a separate court, it was not equal to the "mother" court. In the case of the courts abroad, a right of appeal lay back to the British Admiralty Court, which further reinforced this superiority. In all respects, the court was an Imperial court rather than a local Colonial court.

North America

West Indies

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rodger, Safeguard, pp. 395–8; Rodger, Command, pp. 33–55, 95–122Ollard, 1984, ch.16;
  2. ^ Sainty, J. C. "Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 4, Admiralty Officials 1660-1870". british-history.ac.uk. British History Online, University of London, Institute of Historical Research,1975. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  3. ^ Davies, J. D. (2008). Pepys's Navy Ships, Men and Warfare 1649-89. Seaforth Publishing. p. 28. ISBN 1783830220.
  4. ^ Davies, J. D. (2008). Pepys's Navy Ships, Men and Warfare 1649-89. Seaforth Publishing. p. 28. ISBN 1783830220.
  5. ^ Ehrman, John (2012). The Navy in the War of William III 1689-1697: Its State and Direction. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. pp. 289–290. ISBN 9781107645110.
  6. ^ Corbett, Sir Julian Sir Julian (2007). England in the Mediterranean: A Study of the Rise and Influence of British Power Within the Straits, 1603-1713. Cosimo, Inc. p. 580. ISBN 9781602062672.
  7. ^ Baugh, Daniel A. (2015). British Naval Administration in the Age of Walpole. Princeton University Press. p. 132. ISBN 9781400874637.
  8. ^ Corbett, Sir Julian Sir Julian (2007). England in the Mediterranean: A Study of the Rise and Influence of British Power Within the Straits, 1603-1713. Cosimo, Inc. p. 580. ISBN 9781602062672.
  9. ^ Baugh, Daniel A. (2015). British Naval Administration in the Age of Walpole. Princeton University Press. p. 132. ISBN 9781400874637.
  10. ^ Corbett, Sir Julian Sir Julian (2007). England in the Mediterranean: A Study of the Rise and Influence of British Power Within the Straits, 1603-1713. Cosimo, Inc. p. 580. ISBN 9781602062672.
  11. ^ Baugh, Daniel A. (2015). British Naval Administration in the Age of Walpole. Princeton University Press. p. 132. ISBN 9781400874637.
  12. ^ Nelson, Arthur (2001). The Tudor navy : the ships, men and organisation 1485 - 1603. London: Conway Maritime Press. p. 134. ISBN 9780851777856.
  13. ^ Stewart, William (2009). Admirals of the World: A Biographical Dictionary, 1500 to the Present. Jefferson, NC, USA: McFarland. p. 181. ISBN 9780786438099.
  14. ^ Davies, J.D. (2008). Pepys's navy : ships, men & warfare, 1649-1689. Barnsley: Seaforth Pub. pp. 49–62. ISBN 9781848320147.
  15. ^ "Information sheet no 055, Squadron colours" (PDF). nmrn-portsmouth.org.uk. National Museum of the Royal Navy, 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  16. ^ Puddefoot, Geoff (2010). Ready for anything : the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, 1905-1950. Barnsley: Seaforth. p. 4. ISBN 9781848320741.
  17. ^ Sainty, J. C. "Navy Treasurer c. 1546-1836, A provisional list compiled by J C Sainty, January 2003". history.ac.uk. The Institute of Historical Research, University of London, 2003. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  18. ^ Sainty, J. C. "Navy Clerk of the Acts 1546 to 1660". history.ac.uk. The Institute of Historical Research, University of London. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  19. ^ Government of the United Kingdom. "Royal Naval dockyard staff". nationalarchives.gov.uk. The National Archives, 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  20. ^ Senior, W. (1924). "The Mace of the Admiralty Court". The Mariner's Mirror. 10 (1): 52. doi:10.1080/00253359.1924.10655256.
  21. ^ The Nautical Magazine: A Technical and Critical Journal for the Officers of the Mercantile Marine (14 ed.). James Brown & Son. 1845. p. 609.
  22. ^ Sainty, J C. "Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 4, Admiralty Officials 1660-1870. Originally published by University of London, London, 1975". british-history.ac.uk. Institute of Historical Research, School of Advanced Studie, University of London, 2015. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  23. ^ Archives, The National. "High Court of Admiralty - The National Archives". The National Archives. The National Archives. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  24. ^ Baker, Sherston (Dec 20, 2010). Office of vice-admiral of the coast : being some account of that ancient office. [S.l.]: Gale Ecco, Making Of Mode. pp. 1–153. ISBN 9781240154067.

Sources[edit]

  • The Statutes of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, 3 George IV. 1822. London: By His Majesty's Statute and Law Printer. 1822.
  • Hamilton, Admiral Sir. R. Vesey, G.C.B. (1896). Naval Administration: The Constitution, Character, and Functions of the Board of Admiralty, and of the Civil Departments it Directs. London: George Bell and Sons.
  • Logan, Karen Dale (1976). The Admiralty: Reforms and Re-organization, 1868-1892. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. University of Oxford.
  • Miller, Francis H. (1884). The Origin and Constitution of the Admiralty and Navy Boards, to which is added an Account of the various Buildings in which the Business of the Navy has been transacted from time to time. London: For Her Majesty's Stationery Office. Copy in Greene Papers. National Maritime Museum. GEE/19.
  • Rodger. N.A.M. (1979), The Admiralty (offices of state), T. Dalton, Lavenham, ISBN 978-0900963940.

External links[edit]