Sir Josias Rowley, Bt
Admiral Sir Josias Rowley
|Died||10 January 1842|
|Commands held||HMS Lark|
Cape of Good Hope Station
|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 Baronet, 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.
Birth and family
Rowley was born in 1765 the second son of Clotworthy Rowley and Letitia (née Campbell), of Mountcampbell, Drumsna, County Leitrim, in the West of Ireland. His father was Barrister and MP for Downpatrick in the Irish Parliament. His paternal grandfather was Admiral of the Fleet Sir William Rowley, KCB.
Promoted to post captain in 1795, age 30, 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 1798 he became the Member of the Irish House of Commons for Downpatrick.
In 1808 he became commander-in-chief, Cape of Good Hope Station. In 1809, as commodore of a small squadron off Mauritius, working with the commander of the East India Company troops at Rodrigues, he successfully raided the island of Réunion.
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 by 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.
In the summer of 1815, age 50, 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 Cork Station. 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.
Death at home
He died on 10 January 1842, about age 76, in the Mount Campbell family estate at Drumsna in County Leitrim. He was buried and commemorated at the nearby Annaduff Parish Church. He was unmarried, without heir to his titles. He was survived by his younger brothers Vice Admiral Samuel Rowley (also commemorated within Annaduff Parish Church) and The Reverend John Rowley, incumbent rector at Virginia in County Cavan.
The 1809-1810 campaign was used by author Patrick O'Brian as the setting for the fourth in the series of Aubrey–Maturin series books, The Mauritius Command. The fictional Captain Jack Aubrey takes the place of Rowley in the novel.
- Burkes Peerages
- Laughton, J. K.; Lambert, Andrew (2004). "Rowley, Sir Josias, baronet (1765–1842), naval officer". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
- Hiscocks, Richard. "Cape Commander-in-Chief 1795-1852". morethannelson.com. morethannelson.com. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
- Josias Rowley's service record and Last Will and Testament are held in the British National Archives
- Leigh Rayment's list of baronets
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs
- 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
| Commander-in-Chief, Cape of Good Hope Station
Sir Albemarle Bertie
| Commander-in-Chief, Cork Station
Sir Pulteney Malcolm
| Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet
Sir Robert Stopford
George St Vincent Wilson
| High Sheriff of Suffolk
|Baronetage of the United Kingdom|
|New creation|| Baronet
(of the Navy)
1813 – 1842