Northern Admiralty

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Northern Admiralty
Coat of Arms Henry IV and Government of the Kingdom of England 1399 to 1413.jpg
Coat of Arms Henry IV and Government of the Kingdom of England 1399 to 1413
Admiralty overview
Superseding department
JurisdictionEngland Kingdom of England
Admiralty executives
Parent AdmiraltyOffice of the High Admiral of England

The Northern Admiralty was a regional command of the English Navy established in 1295 that was administered by the Admiral of the North from until 1406 when it was unified with the Western Admiralty to create the Northern and Western Admiralty. [1] It's main component naval force was known as the Northern Fleet or Northern Squadron

Historical Overview

From the end of the 13th century until the beginning of the 15th century naval defence and operations of the the Kingdom of England were defined on the basis of geographical location an Admiral was appointed for the civil administration, legal jurisdiction and naval operations of a particular area of England. The Northern Admiralty controlled the East Coast of England from the river Thames, London to Scotland and the North Sea. Within each admiralty a deputy commander or sub-admiral called the Lieutenant or Vice-Admiral appointed to each commanding Admiral and assigned responsibly for enforcing admiralty law in that jurisdiction as well as superintending the Wardens of the Coast who controlled stretches of coast line in the maritime counties that were part of their particular region by the 16th century these were known as the Vice-Admiralties of the Coast. Each region had a local defence force called the Sea-Guard Militia an early forerunner of the Sea-Fencibles. The admiralty existed until 1406 when it was unified with the Western Admiralty to create the Northern and Western Admiralty.

In Command

Admiral of the North

The Northern Admiralty was controlled and directed by the office of the Admiral of the North the first incumbent was Admiral Sir John de Botetourt, 1st Baron Botetourt and the final office holder was Admiral Thomas Beaufort, 1st Duke of Exeter. In all forty seven officers served as Admiral of the North.

Lieutenant Admiral of the North

Vice-Admiral of the North

Naval Forces

The Northern Fleet also known as the Northern Squadron was a series of temporary naval formations that were raised for particular campaigns and expeditions of the Kingdom of England from the late 13th century until the end of the 15th century. The Northern Fleet was controlled and directed by the Admiral of the Northern Fleet. He was assisted by a Lieutenant or Deputy Admiral.

Shore Support

The Wardens of the Coast [2] originally called the Keeper's of the Coast[3] or Keepers of the Sea[4], were officials assigned to each regional admiralty's jurisdiction on behalf of the King who were responsible for the direction and co-ordination of the fleet, the equipping of boats and processing payments to sailors and the superintendence of the Sea Guard Militia assigned to each coastal maritime county during the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries.[5]


  1. Hattendorf, John B.; King, Ernest J.; Unger, Richard W. (2002). War at Sea in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Woodbridge: Boydell Press. p. 64. ISBN 9780851159034.
  2. 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.
  3. Galloway, Andrew (2011). The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Culture. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. p. 35. ISBN 9780521856898.
  4. Given-Wilson, Chris (2005). The Parliament rolls of medieval England 1275-1504. Woodbridge, United Kingdom: Boydell Press. p. 268. ISBN 9781843831617.
  5. Rodger, N.A.M. pp.131-142.

See Also