Secretary to the Admiralty

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United Kingdom
Office of the Secretary to the Admiralty
Royal Arms as used by His Majesty's Government
Department of Admiralty
StyleThe Right Honourable
(Formal prefix)
Secretary to the Board of Admiralty and
Secretary to the Marine
Member ofBritish Cabinet
Board of Admiralty
SeatWestminster, London
AppointerThe British Monarch
on advice of the Prime Minister
Term lengthNo fixed term
First holderSecretary, Sir William Coventry
Final holderSecretary, John Clevland

The Secretary to the Admiralty was a position on the Board of Admiralty and civil officer of the British Royal Navy. It was usually filled by a Member of Parliament although he attended Board of Admiralty meetings informally he was not made a full member of that Board until 1929. He usually served as the deputy to the First Lord of the Admiralty in Parliament, he was mainly responsible for all Naval Accounts, Estimates, Expenditure, Finance and Spending proposals from 1625 until 1763.


The office was originally created in 1625 with the post holders holding titles under various names such as Secretaries to the Lords Admiral, Admiralty, Committees and Commissions. In July 1660 the post of Secretary to the Admiralty was formally created. In 1755 the Secretary to the Admiralty then later First Secretary to the Admiralty was given additional responsibilities and an additional title of Secretary of the Marine as a consequence of the creation of the Corps of the Royal Marines to administer the Marine Department a civilian secretariat. On 18 June 1763 this office ceased and was renamed First Secretary to the Admiralty additionally he his former joint title was restyled as First Secretary of the Marine until 1809 when his role and functions were transferred to the new Marine Pay Department.


  1. Responsible for all naval finance generally.
  2. Responsible for the preparation of all naval estimates
  3. Responsible for parliamentary business in relation to the Department of Admiralty.

Office Holders


  1. Sir William Coventry, July 1660–September 1667
  2. Matthew Wren, September 1667–July 1672
  3. Sir John Werden, July 1672 1667–June 1673
  4. Samuel Pepys, June 1673–May 1679
  5. Thomas Hayter May 1679–February 1680
  6. John Brisbane, February 1680–May 1684
  7. Samuel Pepys, May 1684–March 1689
  8. Phineas Bowles, March 1689–January 1690
  9. James Southerne, January 1690–August 1694
  10. William Bridgeman, August 1694–26 September 1698 joint with Josiah Burchett until 24th June 1698
  11. Josiah Burchett,26 September 1698 – 20 May 1702
  12. George Clarke,20 May 1702– 25 October 1705 joint with Josiah Burchett
  13. Josiah Burchett, 25 October 1705 – 29 April 1741
  14. Thomas Corbett, 1741–1751 joint with Josiah Burchett until 14 October 1742
  15. John Clevland, 30 April 1751 – 18 June 1763


  1. Rodger, N.A.M. (1979). The Admiralty. Lavenham: T. Dalton. p. 34. ISBN 0900963948.
  2. Rodger, N.A.M. (1979). The Admiralty. Lavenham: T. Dalton. p. 69. ISBN 0900963948.
  3. Rodger, N.A.M. (1979). The Admiralty. Lavenham: T. Dalton. p. 91. ISBN 0900963948.


  1. Archives, National (1688–1983). "Records of Royal Marines". London, England: The National Archives. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  2. Rodger, N.A.M. (1979). The Admiralty. Lavenham: Terence Dalton Ltd, Suffolk, England, ISBN 0900963948.
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