Evan Nepean

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Evan Nepean
Governor of Bombay
In office
Preceded byGeorge Brown
Succeeded byMountstuart Elphinstone
Personal details
Born(1752-07-09)9 July 1752
St Stephens by Saltash, Cornwall, England
Died2 October 1822(1822-10-02) (aged 70)
Loders, Dorset, England
SpouseMargaret Skinner
ParentNicholas Nepean
  • Politician
  • colonial administrator

Sir Evan Nepean, 1st Baronet, PC FRS (9 July 1752 – 2 October 1822)[1] was a British politician and colonial administrator. He was the first of the Nepean Baronets.


Nepean was born at St. Stephens near Saltash, Cornwall, the second of three sons of Nicholas Nepean, an innkeeper, and his second wife, Margaret Jones. His father was Cornish and his mother was from South Wales.[1] The name "Nepean" is thought to come from the village of Nanpean ("the head of the valley"), in Cornwall.

Nepean married Margaret Skinner, the only daughter of Capt. William Skinner, on 6 June 1782 at the Garrison Church at Greenwich. They had eight children,[1] including Sir Molyneux Hyde Nepean, 2nd Bt., and Maj.-Gen. William Nepean, whose daughter Anna Maria Nepean married General Sir William Parke. Their youngest child, Rev. Canon Evan Nepean, became the Canon of Westminster and a Chaplain in Ordinary to Queen Victoria. His grandson Charles was a Middlesex county cricketer who also played football.[2]


Nepean entered the Royal Navy on 28 December 1773, serving on HMS Boyne as a clerk to Capt. Hartwell. He was promoted to purser in 1775. During the American Revolutionary War he served as secretary to Admiral Molyneux Shuldham, in Boston in 1776 and again at Plymouth (1777–78). From 1780 to 1782 he was Purser on HMS Foudroyant for Captain John Jervis (later Lord St. Vincent).[1]

On 3 March 1782 (aged 29) he was appointed Permanent Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department. In this position, he came to have responsibility for naval and political intelligence which led to him running a network of spies across Europe. [3] He served there until December 1791, when he became Under-Secretary of State for War in 1794, Secretary to the Board of Admiralty 1795–1804, Chief Secretary for Ireland 1804–1805, Commissioner of the Admiralty, and then Governor of Bombay 1812–1819.

He was Member of Parliament for Queenborough from 1796 till 1802, then moving to Bridport where he remained until 1812. The Bridport Town Hall, designed by architect William Tyler RA, was given a clock tower with cupola, in about 1805, by Sir Evan.[4][5] He was made a baronet in 1802 and was admitted to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom in 1804.[1]

In 1820 he was made a member of the Royal Society. In 1822 he was appointed Sheriff of Dorset but died in office the same year at his estate at Loders.[1][6]


Places named after Evan Nepean include:


Coat of arms of Evan Nepean
On a mount Vert a goat passant Sable charged on the side with two Ermine spots in fesse Or collared and horned Gold
Gules a fesse wavy Erminois between three mullets Argent.
Respice (Look Back) [9]



  1. ^ a b c d e f Sparrow (n.d.)
  2. ^ "The Association Challenge Cup". The Times. No. 27951. London. 16 March 1874. col E, p. 5.
  3. ^ Knight 2013, p. 6-13.
  4. ^ "The baronet who gave Bridport one of its most famous landmarks – The Bridge". 8 May 2023.
  5. ^ Historic England. "Town Hall (450130)". Research records (formerly PastScape). Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  6. ^ "Nepean, Evan (1752–1822)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  7. ^ "Courageous settlers first located in Carleton back in 1818". Ottawa Citizen. 28 April 1953. pp. A20. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  8. ^ "Nepean...Who's Nepean?". Ottawa Citizen. 17 August 1967. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  9. ^ Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage and Companionage. 1896.


External links[edit]

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Queenborough
With: John Sargent
Succeeded by
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Member of Parliament for Queenborough
With: John Sargent
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Bridport
With: George Barclay 1802–1807
Sir Samuel Hood 1807–1812
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department
Succeeded by
Preceded by
John Bell
Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Under-Secretary of State for War
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Philip Stephens
First Secretary to the Admiralty
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chief Secretary for Ireland
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of Bombay
Succeeded by
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baronet
(of Bothenhampton)
Succeeded by