Admiral of the West

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Office of the Admiral of the West
Animated-Flag-England.gif
Western Admiralty
Member ofRoyal Council of England, Great Council of England
Reports toHigh Admiral of England,
NominatorMonarch of England
AppointerMonarch of England
Subject to formal approval by the King-in-Council
Term lengthNot fixed (usually for life)
Inaugural holderSir William de Leybourne, Baron de Leybourne
Formation1294–1406

The Admiral of the West,[1] also known as Admiral of the Western Seas[2] or Admiral of the Western Fleet,[1] was formerly a senior appointment of the English Navy from 1294 to 1406.

The post holder was chiefly responsible for the control and direction of naval affairs of the Western Admiralty and the command of the English navy's Western Fleet based at Portsmouth, which operated in the English Channel, Irish Sea and Atlantic Ocean.[3]

History

The origin of the office of Admiral of the West[4] dates back to 1294, with the appointment of Sir William, Baron de Leybourne, originally styled Admiral of the West and Irish Sea. He also jointly held the title of Admiral of the South until 1306, when that post was left vacant; it resumed very briefly in 1325. In 1326, the post of Admiral of the South and its command duties were merged with that of Admiral of the West. The office was styled by different names from its establishment, such as Admiral of the West and Irish Sea and Admiral on the Western Station (1294-1306),[5] Admiral of the Western Squadron and Admiral West, of the mouth of the Thames (1306-1406). With the exception of the periods for the creation of the offices of the Admiral of the North and West from 18 July 1360 to 16 January 1361, and the office of Admiral of all the Fleets about England from 16 January 1361 to 28 April 1362, no further official appointments were made.[5] The office resumed again until the creation of the office of the Admiral of England from April 1385 to 18 March 1388,[5] when once more appointments ceased. The post was revived in 1388, and lasted until the creation of the office of Admiral of England, Ireland and Aquitaine some time between 1406 and 1412.[6] The first royal commission as Admiral to a naval officer was granted in 1303. By 1344 it was only used as a rank at sea for a captain in charge of a fleet or fleets.[7]

This command, along with that of Admiral of the North, was regarded as one of the most senior posts in the English navy from the end of the 13th century until the beginning of the 15th century.[8]

Rank and Role

The naval defence of England from the end of the 13th century was divided into regional commands or 'admiralties' until the end of the fourteenth Century.[9] The appointment of an admiral was not regarded by the English government at the time as an honourary post subordinate to a military rank, their importance attached to their office can be confirmed by the recording of their allowances paid recorded in the Calendar of Patent Rolls.[10] In the fourteenth Century Admirals were paid a respectable salary which was only granted because the position was viewed as substantially important. In addition the rank of admiral was only granted to men of high prestige within feudal hierarchy, most recipients of the office were usually knights but more often earls.[11] The Admirals duties usually consisted of assembling fleets for naval expeditions undertaken by the monarch on campaign, maintaining order and discipline and supervising the work of the Admiralty Courts for each region. On major military expeditions the Admiral would go to sea with their fleets and accompany the overall Commander-in-Chief of both sea and land forces usually the King himself but sometimes a nobleman of higher rank than the admiral. Their role was to observe and direct naval battles but not necessarily taking part in them, themselves.[12] However from 1344 onward their role was moving from primarily administrative one to that of a seagoing command.[13]

In 1337 the first known record of the appointment of a "vice-admiral' was granted to a Nicholas Ususmaris, a Genoese, he was made Vice-Admiral of the King's fleet of galleys, and all other ships of Aquitaine. However these appointments were far and few between. There was two further instances of the appointment of Vice-Admirals to Sir Thomas Drayton as Vice-Admiral of the Northern Fleet and Sir Peter Bard Vice-Admiral of the Western Fleet both on 28 July 1338.[14]

Special assistants were appointed to handle two important sub-divisions of the admirals powers. The first was the admiral's lieutenant, or deputy, refereed to as sub-admirals, who handled administrative and legal duties and each of these admirals had one and often retained more knowledge than the Admiral himself in relation to the sea and coastal communities.[15] It would not be until the early 15th century that they would appointed on a more regular basis however they were referred to at this time as the admirals Lieutenant-General this office eventually became known as the Lieutenant of the Admiralty.[16]

The second was the Wardens of the Coast for each region who were responsible for the direction and co-ordination of the fleet, the equipping of boats and processing payments to sailors and superintendence of the Sea Guard Militia assigned to each coastal county.[17]. From the mid fourteenth century there was move to centralise these regional naval authority's as seen with the appointment of the Admiral of the Southern, Northern and Western fleets sometimes refereed to as Admiral of the Fleet or Admiral of England and the Admiral of the North and West this tendency towards unifying regional naval authorities under one admiral eventually led to the creation of the office of the Lord-Admiral of England[18]

The Admirals were logistically supported by the Clerk of the Kings Ships who looked after all the navy's finances whilst victualling of the navy was handled by another one of Kings Clerks.[19]

Office Holders

Notes:The British Naval Historian Nicholas A. M. Rodger in his book the Safeguard of the Sea (2004) lists only men that were not only appointed to this office, but also took part in particular campaigns. He has omitted those persons that were appointed Admiral of the North, but those appointments were cancelled at the start of a particular campaign.[20] Post holders included:[21][5]

See Admiral of the North, South and West, 1360 -1369.[20]
See Admiral of the North and West, 1387 -1389.[20]
See Admiral of the North and West, 1407 -1408.[20]

Notes

Other men were appointed this office but their appointments were cancelled before the start of a military campaign.

  1. Appointments cancelled 1306-1325.[20]
  2. Appointments cancelled 1326-1333.[20]
  3. Appointments cancelled 1334-1335.[20]
  4. Appointments cancelled 1346-1347.[20]
  5. Appointments cancelled 1352-1353.[20]
  6. Appointments cancelled 1354-1355.[20]
  7. Appointments cancelled 1357-1360.[20]
  8. Appointments cancelled 1373-1376.[20]
  9. Appointments cancelled 1379-1380.[20]
  10. Appointments cancelled 1381-1382.[20]
  11. Appointments cancelled 1379-1380.[20]
  12. Appointments cancelled 1383-1384.[20]
  13. Appointments cancelled 1402-1403.[20]
  14. Appointments cancelled 1405-1406.[20]

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Bothwell, J.S. (2004). Edward III and the English peerage : royal patronage, social mobility and political control in fourteenth-century England. Woodbridge: Boydell Press. p. 97. ISBN 9781843830474.
  2. authors, Various (2015). The Nautical Magazine for 1872. Cambridge University Press. p. 782. ISBN 9781108056519.
  3. Bell, Adrian R.; Curry, Anne; King, Andy; Simpkin, David (2013). The Soldier in Later Medieval England. OUP Oxford. p. 45. ISBN 9780199680825.
  4. Exton, John (2004). The Maritime Dicaeologie, Or, Sea-jurisdiction of England: In Three Books : the First Setting Forth the Antiquity of the Admiralty in England, the Second Proving the Ports, Havens, and Creeks of the Sea to be Within the Jurisdiction of the Admiralty, the Third Shewing that All Contracts Concerning Maritime Affairs are Within the Jurisdiction of the Admiralty, and There Cognoscible. The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. p. 56. ISBN 9781584774808.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 Houbraken, Jacobus; Thoyras, Paul de Rapin; Vertue, George (1747). The History of England, A List of Admirals of England, 1228-1745. J. and P. Knapton. pp. 271–273.
  6. Ehrman, John (2012). The Navy in the War of William III 1689-1697: Its State and Direction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 189–190. ISBN 9781107645110.
  7. "History of Naval Ranks and Rates". www.navymuseum.co.nz. National Museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy. 10 November 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  8. Ehrman, John (2012). The Navy in the War of William III 1689-1697: Its State and Direction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 189–190. ISBN 9781107645110.
  9. Rodger, N.A.M. (1997). "Captains and Admirals: Social History 1204 to 1455". The safeguard of the sea : a naval history of Britain. Vol 1., 660-1649. London: Penguin. pp. 131–142. ISBN 9780140297249.
  10. Bell, Adrian R.; Curry, Anne; King, Andy; Simpkin, David (2013). The Soldier in Later Medieval England. Oxford: OUP Oxford. p. 45. ISBN 9780199680825.
  11. Rodger pp. 131-142
  12. Rodger pp. 131-142
  13. National Museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy
  14. Tucker, St George (2004). "Introduction". Blackstone's commentaries : with notes of reference to the constitution and laws, of the federal government of the United States, and of the Commonwealth of Virginia; with an appendix to each volume, containing short tracts upon such subjects as appeared necessary to form a connected view of the laws of Virginia as a member of the federal union. Vol. 1 (5 ed.). Clark, New Jersey, United States: Lawbook Exchange Ltd. p. xxxii. ISBN 9781886363168.
  15. Gorski, Richard (2012). "The Admirals". Roles of the Sea in Medieval England. Woodbridge, Engalnd: Boydell Press. p. 82. ISBN 9781843837015.
  16. Blomfield, R. Massie (January 1912). "NAVAL EXECUTIVE RANKS". The Mariner's Mirror. 2 (4): 106–112. doi:10.1080/00253359.1912.10654589.
  17. Rodger pp. 131-142
  18. Rodger pp. 131-142
  19. Rodger pp. 131-142
  20. 20.00 20.01 20.02 20.03 20.04 20.05 20.06 20.07 20.08 20.09 20.10 20.11 20.12 20.13 20.14 20.15 20.16 20.17 20.18 20.19 20.20 20.21 20.22 20.23 20.24 20.25 20.26 20.27 20.28 20.29 20.30 20.31 20.32 20.33 20.34 20.35 20.36 20.37 20.38 20.39 20.40 20.41 20.42 20.43 20.44 20.45 20.46 20.47 20.48 20.49 20.50 20.51 20.52 20.53 20.54 20.55 20.56 Rodger, N.A.M. (2004). The safeguard of the sea : a naval history of Britain. 660 to 1649. New York: W.W. Norton. pp. 504–506. ISBN 9780140297249.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 21.5 21.6 21.7 21.8 21.9 Godolphin, John (1661). Synēgoros thalassios, A view of the admiral jurisdiction wherein the most material points concerning that jurisdiction are fairly and submissively discussed : as also divers of the laws, customes, rights, and priviledges of the high admiralty of England by ancient records, and other arguments of law asserted : whereunto is added by way of appendix an extract of the ancient laws of Oleron / by John Godolphin ... University of Michigan, An Arbour, MI, USA: W. Godbid for Edmund Paxton and John Sherley. pp. 197–207.

Bibliography

  • Bothwell, J.S. (2004). Edward III and the English peerage : royal patronage, social mobility and political control in fourteenth-century England. Woodbridge: Boydell Press.ISBN 9781843830474
  • Ehrman, John (2012). The Navy in the war of William III, 1689-1697 : its state and direction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107645110.
  • Godolphin, John (1661). Synēgoros thalassios, A view of the admiral jurisdiction where in the most material points concerning that jurisdiction are fairly and submissively discussed: as also divers of the laws, customs, rights, and privileges of the high admiralty of England by ancient records, and other arguments of law asserted : where unto is added by way of appendix an extract of the ancient laws of Oleron / by John Godolphin ... University of Michigan, An Arbour, MI, USA: W. Godbid for Edmund Paxton and John Sherley.http://quod.lib.umich.edu/Full text: Godolphin, John, 1617-1678: Synēgoros Thalassios.
  • Houbraken, Jacobus; Rapin-Thoyras, Paul de; Vertue, George (1747). "A List of Admirals of England, 1228–1745". The History of England. London: J. and P. Knapton.