Bravebenbow Admiral John Benbow, biography, mutiny, script, screen play, art, documentary

March 1, 2010


Filed under: — W.A.Benbow @ 9:32 am

Colonel Richard Kirkby; Artist: Josephine Kirby Clay Black: source – Lewis Kirkby, Claremont Manor, Surry County, Virginia


Richard Kirkby, (i)

Cooper Wade, (ii)

John Constable, (iii)

Thomas Hudson. (iv)

Laughton in the DNB makes the mistaken observation that “Kirkby and the others were officers of good repute“.(v) This was definitely not so for Kirkby and Constable in particular. Indeed, the personal history of the four mutinous captains suggests that they must have had individual reasons for their alienation with their superior.

Richard Kirkby

Kirkby had ample reason to resent Benbow,(vi) who was just a few months senior to him. Benbow had been kept in constant employ, was in favour with the Admiralty and other Lords and had advanced to Vice Admiral rank. As Burne indicates in Queen Anne’s Navy, there is much evidence in Kirkby’s letters to the Admiralty of his strong feeling of having been unjustly passed over for ships and promotion.

Much of what we know of Richard Kirkby was published in an anonymous pamphlet in 1705, shortly after his death, probably by his friend Secretary of the Admiralty Burchett. Richard Kirkby was of the landed gentry of Kirkby Ireleth, in Furness in the County of Lancaster. He was born around 1657. His father was also Richard Kirkby while his mother Isabel was the daughter of Sir William Huddleston of Millum in the County of Cumberland. Both the Kirkby’s and the Huddleston’s had suffered for their support of the Royalist Cause in the Civil War. After the Restoration family members regained some of their influence. Richard Sr. was Member of Parliament and Justice of the Peace and his son Roger, our Richard’s older brother, was Governor of the City and Castle of Chester, High Sheriff of Lancashire, and later also a member of Parliament. (VII) N.A.M.Rodger in Command of the Ocean underlines how actively involved Parliament was in the administration of the Navy during this era. Richard Kirkby Jr. was related through his grandmother to Sir John Lowther, Earl of Lonsdale, a Tory, who was a Lord of the Admiralty and Lord Privy Seal. Through marriage he was also related to Sir Daniel Fleming, another prominent gentleman and Sheriff of Cumberland. Young Richard went to sea as a Volunteer when he was fourteen around 1671 and was involved in two bloody engagements of the last Dutch War (1672-4).

Kirkby’s early career would have been advanced by these relatives in high places. However, his temperment and personality appear to have caused him much grief. In 1687 he engaged in an imprudent duel and killed a prominent follower of the Duke of Berwick, the illegitimate son of James II and Arabella Churchill.(viii) His fortunes picked up with James removal and William’s declaration of war with France in 1689. The Dictionary of National Biography records that he eventually passed the exam for the rank of lieutenant on March 28, 1689, which would have been at approximately 32 years of age,eighteen years after first entering the navy as a ‘volunteer’. Kirkby achieved Post Captain rank in February 1690 as commander of the hired ship Success in the squadron under Captain Lawrence Wright which was sent to the West Indies. He had also purchased the rank of Colonel of Marines. He must have performed satisfactorily for he was given the Ship of the Line Southampton in June 1693, and commanded that ship for a number of years in the West Indies and the Mediterranean. Unfortunately he ran afoul of the Earl of Orford, Admiral Edward Russell.

On January 7, 1695, while captain of the Southampton, Kirkby was in a squadron of 6 ships patrolling the Mediterranean under Captain James Killigrew of the Plymouth , 60. The squadron included John Norris in the Carlisle 60, Charles Cornwall in the Adventure 44, Caleb Grantham in the Falmouth 42, and Charles Wager in the Newcastle 54. The squadron was between Sicily and Cape Bon, off Pantelleria, when the Plymouth , far ahead of her consorts, sighted and engaged two French men-of-war, the Content , 60 under Captain du Chalart and the Trident, 50 under Captain d’Aulnai. Killigrew and fifty others were killed but the Plymouth managed to disable the enemy ships. When the English squadron appeared the French ships fled. The English divided with three ships pursuing one Frenchman and two the other. The following day, after a running fight, both the Content and the Trident struck their colours. The Southampton must have arrived late for Kirkby was denied a portion of the spoils by Russell who granted the prize money only to the four ships that had actually captured the enemy.(ix) Russell must have believed Kirkby had lagged considerably behind and made no contribution to the capture. This lagging behind incident would have contributed to his poor reputation and was probably behind the 1702 Coxswain’s accusation of cowardice.

In addition, Richard Kirkby, had a history of cruelty: in this 1694-5 service in the Mediterranean he court-martialled his boatswain and sentenced him to be broken and flogged for disobedience and insolence. Apparently Kirkby had ordered him to do some painting, which was typically the carpenters chore. The Boatswain had dared to dispute the matter and later sued Kirkby in civil court. Although we have no more details of the outcome, Charnock described this incident as a violent dispute and quarrel and added that Kirkby’s “own character rather suffered in this civil encounter.” (x) This incident with the Boatswain may well have become an embarrassment to the naval authorities, once it became a civil action. In addition, Kirkby fell out with his Chaplain and dismissed him during this 1695 Mediterranean voyage. He also ordered a seaman to be flogged and towed ashore for ‘scandalous actions, to the great corruption of good manners’.(xi) This may well have been a reference to unhygienic practices such as fouling the lower decks rather than using the ‘head’.

In 1696 he was sent back to the West Indies. His successful prize taking in that theatre was marred by the charges upon his return to England of cruelty, plundering and embezzlement.(xii) Kirkby was charged with cruelty for crucifying a man in the rigging for straggling. Kirkby had the man suspended by his right arm and left leg for several hours. His defence was that he had allowed the man to rest one foot on the deck. Interestingly, two of Benbow’s 1702 captain’s sat on the Court martial that acquitted him: Cooper Wade and Benbow’s Flagship captain Christopher Fogg. He was also acquitted of the charge of plundering and embezzlement. Tradition allowed that when a prize was taken, the crew were allowed to plunder all that was above decks, while the officers sacked the cabins. Anything stowed in the hold was assessed by the Prize Court. Some of Kirkby’s seamen on the Southampton complained that he had embezzled their ‘plunder’. He assured the court that he had intended to make a dividend amongst all the men who were employed in the expeditions on shore against the enemy, and was in fact proceeding to do this. The court accepted this and acquitted him.(xiii) From his portion of the pillage, Kirkby donated a silver paten to his home church at Kirkby Ireleth in 1698. It is inscribed “taken from ye French who had [just before] plundered Carthagena in New Spaine“.

He was decommissioned and placed on half pay in August 1698 following the Peace of Ryswick. While the years dragged on he peppered the Admiralty with appeals for a new command. On June 2nd, 1699 Kirkby pointed out that he had never been convicted of any of the charges brought against him, and so should not be penalised. No doubt he suspected he was being ‘black listed’ as happened to captains with convictions against their name.

“And since their said Lordships have supplied the said ships with officers without respect to seniority or circumstance, there not being nine of the thirty one that are elder in command than I, and the rest being my junior officers, have most of them, if not all been paid off a considerable time, since the ship I lately commanded was discharged. Therefore My Lords, I humbly request in consideration of my service in command, between nine and ten years, in all which time I have not proved guilty of any miscarriage to the detriment of his Majesty’s service, but have on the contrary been especially instrumental in several actions in the late war contributing to his Majesty’s and Country’s service, that your Lordships will please to allow my title to seniority, that I may be no longer oppressed by the advancement of my juniors to my prejudice.” (xiv)

On June 26, 1699 Kirkby was foolish enough to complain of being wronged by Lord Russell, the Earl of Orford, a Commissioner of the Admiralty.

Your Lordship’s declaration that I should be considered according to my seniority gave me hopes of the command of the Weymouth which I understood ye Lordships intend for Capt. Wyatt, who (tho a good man), has been advanced from a warranted employ in a fifth rate, a considerable time since I had the honour to command a fourth rate. Therefore I humbly beg ye Lordships consideration of my case, who having been wronged by the great power…of my Lord of Orford in advancing twenty three junior officers (at least) in the one and thirty sail lately fitted“. (xv)

Evidently, Kirkby was particularly chagrined that warrant officers were being given commissions while he remained on half pay. It was not until 1701, and the mobilization for renewed conflict with France, that he was commissioned to the Ruby as part of Benbow’s Caribbean squadron.

Kirby’s history and reputation for excessive punishments may also have been a factor in his being passed over. He may have been seen by the naval authorities as an inefficient and incompetent officer. A tainted reputation would certainly have led to a low regard for Kirkby on Benbow’s part. This could account for Benbow’s reluctance to use him as his second in command or to send him on independent patrols. When Benbow lost his second in command, Henry Martin, in February 1702, he initially gave the Defiance to one of his ‘clients’, Philip Boyce, who had been with him on his previous West Indian expedition. However, Kirkby managed to displace Boyce by arguing his seniority. This must have caused no little strain between Benbow and Kirkby. On April 13, 1702 Kirkby wrote to his friend and patron, Josiah Burchett, Secretary of the Navy:

The times are soe dull here yet that I can find you nothing but what you’d have from every hand: therefore I only acquaint you, that I am the eldest officer (under the flagg) in the squadron, & request you to remember our old friendship as occasion offers. Mr. Hutchinson & I remember you as often as wee meet…”(xvi)

It is noteworthy that even after Rear Admiral Whetstone arrived in May of 1702, Kirkby continued to plead his seniority as others received the plum assignments. He must have felt it necessary to reach beyond Benbow to remind the authorities back home of his status. On July 7, 1702 he again wrote to Burchett:

“I referr you for news to the admiralls Account: tho that brings you little of Moment. Wee are upon the brink of an Expedition. God find it proppitious & you shall know the contents of our success. Poore Charles Hutchingson has been severall times severely afflicted with sickness, but I hope is now sufficiently season’d. Since Reare Admirall Whetstone has hoisted his flagg here, I must request you to make My Lord high Admirall senciable I am the next officer & recommend me as a friend to his Memory which addition to your many favours I shall heartily acknowledge…”(xvii)

For his action`s in the battle of Santa Marta, Kirkby was court-martialled, found guilty of breach of orders, of cowardice, of neglect of duty, and of mutinjous actions. Kirkby was sentenced to death, and was executed at Plymouth on April 16, 1703.

Despite his behaviour during the Mutiny, accounts of his execution indicate that at the time of his death, he behaved with dignity and perhaps even remorse, clearly with a concern for the effect of his death upon his family. The 1705 pamphlet quotes from a letter to his relations in which Kirkby suggests that he continued to hope that his view of events would eventually prevail:

“I have met with the letter from you all three, and thank you all and the rest of my friends, who us’d any endeavour to save my life; I cannot be sorry you went to the wrong port, tho I should have been glad to have seen my dear sisters… I question not but God will bring the Truth of Light, and disburden my Relations of the weight of my disgrace.” (xviii)

Cowper refers to an earlier account of Kirkby’s execution published in 1703 which records Kirkby’s speech to the gathered company just before his death:

He devoted it with something of a Resolution and Presence of Mind, to a modest and becoming submission & expressed himself in such words as were proper to Deter others of his countrymen from Cowardice for the future. (xix)

Captain Acton of the Bristol, who had brought Kirkby back to England and had carried out the execution described his death in a letter to Secretary Burchett:

Captain Kirkby, during the time of his being in prison, he behaved himself mannerly and very much like a Christian by continued prayer and reading of good books, and upon receiving notice of his approaching death seemed very easy, desiring of God to strengthen him and the night before his execution I sat up late with him and found him very calm and easy, not railing or reviling, but forgiving all the world and praying, for the Queen health and prosperity…and after prayers spoke a quarter of an hour to all the people in general to forbear swearing and debauchery and be obedient to their superiors, but did not rail at his hard fate or any such thing to arraign his judges or the like…I delivered their bodies as desired to their friends to be privately interred.” (Adm.1/1436)

His final resting place is just before the altar of Charles’ Church Plymouth, the bombed out shell of which remains as a war memorial. In 1873 Llewellynn Jewitt recorded in his History of Plymouth that in 1816:

“On removing the pulpit in Charles’ Church during alterations, the leaden coffins containing the bodies of Capt. Richard Kerby and Captain Cooper Wade, who were shot in Plymouth Sound for cowardice in the action between Benbow and Du Casse, in 1702, were discovered.”

Richard Worth, in 1890, in his History of Plymouth, confirmed that in Charles’ Church “buried near the altar lie Captains Kerby and Cooper Wade, shot for cowardice in Benbow’s action with Du Casse.”

His will probated June 18, 1703, is dated the day of his death, April 16, 1703. In it he refers to himself as Esquire, and leaves his estate to his sister Elizabeth.

Kirkby Courtmartial

Kirkby Courtmartial 1702 by Yoko Gaydos on Mammoth Ivory

Cooper Wade

Kirkby’s main supporter in the mutiny, Cooper Wade, may have had an even more personal reason for resenting Benbow. On December 10, 1701, William Berry, a boy belonging to Wade’s ship the Greenwich, brought a complaint against Peeter Amorin “that the said Peeter Amorin did commit upon the body of him the said William Berry that unnatural and detestable sin of Sodomy.” Amorin was Wade’s Steward. He confessed and was sentenced to death by hanging.(xx) On December 16, the sentence was carried out on board the Greenwich.

In addition to possibly resenting Benbow for the death of his Steward, Wade may also have been influenced by his experiences as a survivor of earlier expeditions to the West Indies. He had served on an earlier ill-fated voyage. In 1693 he had been the Second Lieutenant on the Resolution under Sir Francis Wheeler, then commander in chief of naval forces in the West Indies. Wheeler’s squadron was decimated by disease and accomplished little. On May 17, 1693, as the squadron limped northward to Boston, Commander Wheeler made Cooper Wade captain of the Bomb vessel Phoenix, and on May 23, captain of the fireship Owner’s Love.(xxi) Wade learned the cruel lesson that the quickest way to prosper was through the death of one’s superiors.

Still, he must have been a respected professional, given that bomb vessels and fireships were particularly technical and specialised, requiring expert handling. Indeed, having experience in the West Indies probably accounted for his appointment to Benbow’s squadron. Christopher Fogg, Benbow’s flagship captain, on the 1701 West Indian expedition, had indicated in a letter to the Admiralty, that Benbow preferred officers who had previously served on that station.(xxii)

In the summer of 1695 Wade was in a small squadron under Peregrine, Marquis of Carmarthen (formerly Earl of Danby and later second Duke of Leeds). Carmarthen was tasked with protecting the trade at the mouth of the Channel. He mistook a fleet of homeward-bound merchantmen for the French Brest fleet and vacated his station. As a result a number of vessels from Barbados and the East Indies fell into the hands of the enemy. Some controversy resulted. Burnet blamed him outright as a man extravagant in his pleasures and humours. Charnock defended him and states that this failure was independent of the noble marquis. Clowes suggests that his behaviour was one of the causes that led to the abandonment of the practice of putting raw officers into commands of great responsibility merely because they were influential noblemen. Wade was witness to this controvery and benefited from Carmarthen’s attempt to displace blame. Captain Thomas Coall (Cole) of the Dreadnaught was an old tarpaulin captain, senior captain of Carmarthen’s squadron, and took the brunt of Carmarthen’s fury. He relates in a report to the Admiralty that Carmarthen assaulted him on his own ship, calling him a dog, punching him and pulling him about the ship by his cheeks till he confined him in the First Lieutenant’s cabin, and replacing him with Captain Wade. In the end Coall was reinstated, but shortly thereafter shelved on half pay. The Admiralty refrained from dealing with the noble born agressor. Wade saw that a gentleman officer with connections could prevail over a tarpaulin with impunity. (Edward Fraser, 1910, The Fighting Fame of the King’s Ships)

Wade also learned that officers disgruntled with their commanders did have recourse to Parliament. In July 1697 he was part of a fleet of thirteen ships stationed in St. John’s Newfoundland under Captain John Norris. They learned that five French men of war had put into Conception Bay, less than twenty miles away. They were able to confirm that this was the remnant of Pointis’ fleet, which had just sacked Carthagena and was overflowing with gold and silver. A council of war was called, which included eleven land officers, responsible for St. John’s. Eight of the thirteen sea officers, including Cooper Wade, voted to attack Pointis. The other five and all the land officers outvoted them, arguing that the defence of St. John’s was their priority. So Pointis escaped. The House of Lords chastised Norris for including the land officers in his council of war and for failing to attack the French. Wade remembered the Lords’ willingness to investigate naval commanders. During his Court Martial he was quoted as having threatened on several occasions “this will be another Parliament Business“. Wade must have had cause to hope that a dispute with Benbow would receive a favourable hearing when referred to the Government.(xxxiii)

Testimony at the Court-Martial by Robert Thompson, 1st Lieutenant of the Bredah, indicates that Wade was clearly a follower, and under Kirkby’s influence. Lieutenant Thompson testified that during the captain’s consultation on the final day of the battle, he took the captains to task for their timidity in the face of such a good opportunity to attack the enemy. He asked Wade “Is this not a shame?” When Wade tried to agree that it was and to add some further words, “Kirkby taxed him with not being a man fit to sit at a consult that would give ear to every single man’s words.” (xxiv)

Although we do not know who Wade’s great relations were, that Campbell had referenced, we do know that he left a considerable estate. His will, probated June 16, 1703, was dated August 18, 1701, and gives his residence as Portsmouth. In it he left his estate to his wife Elizabeth (Payne). It consisted of messuages, lands, tenements, heriditements, and in particular, property in the parish of St. Matthew Ipswich, where he was christened May 1, 1660.

Accounts of his execution indicate that he was unprepared, having expected his case to be reviewed by Parliament. Unlike Kirkby he protested loudly against his fate and had to be forcibly quieted in the hours leading up to his death. In the end he was described as very timorous and of a low spirit.(xxv)

His body was laid to rest with Kirkby’s near the altar of Charles’ Church, Plymouth.

John Constable

John Constable, another of the mutineers had his own troubled history with Benbow. Like Benbow, he served for many years in the Channel fleet. He was 1st Lieutenant of the Bredah at the battle of Barfleur in May 1692, when Benbow was Master of the fleet. He must have performed well for in November 1692 he was made Captain of the Katherine storeship. It is likely that Benbow assisted Carmarthen in the fiasco at Brest in 1694, in which Constable in the Shoreham and others suffered terrible enemy fire while trapped by the tides. On September 12, 1697, as Captain of the Lowestoffe, he joined Rear Admiral Benbow’s squadron near the Gunfleet at the mouth of the Thames. On October 3rd, he and the Roebuck fire ship gave chase to a Dunkirk privateer. At one o’clock Constable called off the chase, when just one mile from the Frenchman. Constable stated that the enemy had his boat over board, indicating that the wind had died and they were towing their ship in order to escape. Benbow had court martialled Captain Henry Tourville for similar ineffectiveness in 1693. In the Roebuck incident Benbow may well have made known his displeasure to both Constable and his superiors. Shortly after this incident, on November 8, 1697, Admiralty records indicate another complaint was lodged against Constable.

“A letter without name read complaining of Capt. Constable’s irregular proceedings towards some people of Yarmouth. Resolved that the Bailiff of that place be desired to enquire into the same, and that Mr. Lucey be directed to give an account of what he knows of this matter.” (xxvi)

These complaints were sufficient to see Constable suspended and removed from his ship. As Rear Admiral, responsible for Constable, it is likely that Benbow influenced his removal, as he had done with Tourville. At the very least, Constable would have resented his flag officer for not supporting him in his dispute with the Admiralty. Constable was left unemployed until his appointment in April 1701 to the Windsor in Benbow’s ill-fated Caribbean squadron. At his court martial Constable’s resistance was judged to have been less severe then Kirkby and Wade’s. He escaped the death penalty, and was sentenced to imprisonment.

Following the mutiny, Constable was able to use his patrons to receive a pardon from his imprisonment. He received a Royal Pardon in June of 1703 just two months after being imprisoned in the Marshalsea.(xxvii) Correspondence the following year shows his connection to a very prominent politician, Charles Montague, 1st Earl of Halifax. His nephew, Edward Lawton, had served as a volunteer under Constable, on the Windsor. The Earl had recently been Lord of the Treasury. Constable wrote to Secretary Burchett in May of 1704 certifying Lawton’s service.(xxviii) Halifax’s patronage would have been extremely helpful to Constable. The paybook for the Windsor shows his outstanding pay went to his wife Dorothy in 1704.

Despite his pardon prohibiting him from further service in the Royal Navy, letters written by Constable in May 1709 indicate that he was able to find employment as Captain of the Leake. This was a merchant ship acting as a victualler to naval ships under the command of Sir John Leake, Rear Admiral of Great Britain.(xxix)

A will of John Constable, probated Nov.6, 1719, is possibly that of our Captain John Constable, although his wife at the time of this will is given as Sarah. In this case, his first wife Dorothy would be deceased. He refers to himself as a Gentleman of Etchingham, Sussex. This small village is on the main road between London and Hastings, and is about 70 miles east of Portsmouth. His considerable estate went to his wife Sarah and his son William who lived in nearby Burwash. It included messuages, lands, tenements and premises.

Thomas Hudson

The fourth mutineer, Thomas Hudson, was the First Lieutenant on Benbow’s flagship, the Bredah, when the squadron set out for the West Indies in September 1701. As such he was ideally situated to be next in line for promotion to Post Captain. No doubt he was chosen for this position because of his considerable experience, particularly in the West Indies. Hudson had served with Cooper Wade in Wheeler’s 1693 West Indian expedition. In fact he had succeeded Wade as Captain of the Bomb vessel Phoenix on May 25, 1693. As comrades in arms who had survived that disasterous voyage they must have forged a lasting relationship. This may well have been the cement that bound him to the other mutineers. As Captain of the Bomb vessel he must certainly have been technically proficient and a good seaman. Following his return to home waters in October 1693, he remained captain of the Phoenix until December 1694. He likely served in the Channel squadron of bomb ships under Benbow during the latter part of 93 and throughout 94 when Benbow as Commander in Chief was charged with bombarding the French Channel ports. From December 1694 till February 1700 Hudson served as captain of small vessels including the Kitchen yacht and the Postboy brig, probably delivering vital messages between the Admiralty and ships on distant stations. He had clearly put in his time and was due for promotion to a ship of the line. If Benbow did not personally choose him, he certainly would have concurred, given Hudson’s experience. Benbow appointed Hudson to post captain in December 1701 when the Scarbrough lost her captain to illness. Shortly after he was moved to the Pendennis.

Despite Benbow’s patronage, it is conceivable that Hudson harboured some ill feelings towards Benbow stemming from his service under Benbow in the Channel. Hudson would be well aware of the Touville incident and Benbow’s harsh expectations. In addition Hudson and Wade were long time comrades in arms and would have had much in common as old hands in the Caribbean. By the summer of 1702, Hudson had begun to enjoy the fruits of his new command as he was assigned lucrative scouting missions. In early July the Pendennis in company with the Experiment had captured two valuable prizes. Shortly after news of the declaration of war reached Jamaica and Benbow took his squadron, including the Pendennis, on the hunt for Du Casse’s convoy of French warships. Hudson may have resented being pulled away from the more lucrative action of taking poorly defended merchant prizes. Certainly he must have been influenced by his old comrade Wade.

During the battle the Pendennis was the ship most distant from the action over the whole course of the battle. It is not surprising that Hudson took his own life rather than suffer the ignominy of the court martial. His shame must have been all the greater for having betrayed his patron.(xxx) Hudson’s 1695 will was probated in September 1703. He gave his residence as St. Margaret’s Parish Westminster, and left his considerable estate to his “honourable” parents, John and Elizabeth Hudgison. His estate included his home and other messuages, lands, tenements and hereditements. The Bredah pay book indicates he left a widow Mary.


i. Naval Biographical Database, Charnock, Commissioned Sea Officers, DNB.

Richard Kirkby:

1689, March 28 – passed exam for Lieutenant; 2nd Lieutenant St. Michael.

1690, Feb. 7 – 1692, Apr.25: Captain Success (Hired)

1690, June – Colonel of Marines

1693, June 10 – 1698, Aug.23: Captain Southampton

1694-6: With Russell to Mediterranean

1696 – 1697, Oct: West Indies. Commander-in-Chief.

1698, Aug.24 – 1701, Feb. 18: decommissioned and on half pay.

1698: Court Martial – acquitted of embezzling, plunder, cruelty and oppression.

1701, Feb. 19 – 1702, Mar.10: Captain Ruby;

1702, Mar.11 – 1702, Aug.31: Captain Defiance.

1702, Oct. 8: Court Martial – guilty of mutiny.

1703, April 16: executed on board Bristol at Plymouth

Buried Charles Church, Plymouth.

ii. Naval Biographical Database, Charnock, Commissioned Sea Officers.

Cooper Wade:

1692/93: 2nd Lieutenant, Resolution, Flag ship of Francis Wheeler

1693, May 17 – 1693, May 23:L Captain Phoenix (Bomb)

1693, May 24 – 1693, June 22: Captain fireship Owner’s Love.

1693, June 23 – 1695, Sep.2: Captain Hawk Fireship

1695, –interim Captain Dreadnaught while Captain Thomas Coall under investigation

1695, Sep. 3 – Oct. 26, 1698: Commander Crown, cruising in Irish Sea

1697: on Newfoundland station under Norris

1698, Oct. 27: decommissioned and on half pay

1699, May and Sept: letters to Admiralty requesting a ship.

1701, March 24 – Aug. 30, 1702: Captain Greenwich. West Indies

1702, October: Port Royal, Jamaica, Court Martialled and found guilty.

1703, April 16: executed in Plymouth on board Bristol.

Buried Charles’ Church, Plymouth

iii. Naval Biographical Database, Charnock, Commissioned Sea Officers, CSP.

John Constable:

1692, March 15 – 1692, Nov.13: First Lieutenant Bredah

1692, Oct.14 – 1693, Sept. 11: Captain Katherine Storeship

1694, jan. 16 – 1696, Dec. 9: Captain Shoreham

1696, Dec.11 – 1697, Jan.27: Captain Sunderland

1697, Aug.3 – 1698 Jan. 17: Lowestoffe –launched at Chatham Aug. 7.

1698, Jan.1: dismissed, suspension, forfeited half pay.

1699, Oct. 25, reinstated with half pay restored

1701, April 3 – 1702, Aug.30: Captain Windsor

1702, Aug: Court martial: dismissed and imprisoned April 1703 Marshalsea.

1703: June, Royal Pardon; not to be reemployed by Navy

1709: Captain of Leake victualler

iv. Naval Biographical Database, Charnock, Commissioned Sea Officers.

Thomas Hudson:

1693, May 25 – 1694, Oct.25: Captain, Phoenix (Bomb)

1694, Dec.5 – 1696, Sep.24: Captain Kitchen (Yacht)

1695: 3rd Lieutenant Restoration with George Walton as 1st.

1699, June 26 – 1700, Feb.3: Master and Commander Post Boy (Brigantine)

1701, Feb.25 – 1701, Dec.20: 1ST Lieutenant Benbow’s flag ship Bredah

1701, Dec.21 – 1702, Mar.27: Captain Scarbrough.

1702, Mar.28 – 1702, Sep.25: Captain Pendennis

1702, Sept.25: Suicide.

v. Laughton, “John Benbow”, 210.

vi. Christopher Donnithorne; Dictionary of National Biography; Charnock.

John Benbow:

1678, Apr.30: Master’s Mate, Rupert

1679, Jun.15 – 1681, Nov.: Master, Nonsuch

1681, Nov. paid off; joined Merchant ship.

1689, June: 3rd Lieutenant, Elizabeth

1689, Sept.20 – 1689, Oct.20: Captain York

1689, Oct.29 – 1689, Nov.12: Captain Bonadventure

1690, Apr.2: Master of the Fleet, Royal Sovereign

1692: Master of the Fleet, Britannia

1694/5, Mar.16: Commander-in-Chief, France (coast of)

1695, June 11: Captain, Northumberland

1696, May 1: RAB

1697/8, Mar.16: Commander-in-Chief, West Indies

1701, Apr.14: RAR

1701, May 29: Commander-in-Chief, West Indies

1701, Jun.30: VAB

1702, Nov.4: died.

1702/3, Jan.19: VAW

vii. Cowper, Transactions of the Cumberland & Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society, (1916, VI) For Kirkby family history see also the biographies of Members of Parliament Richard and Roger Kirkby, father and son in History of Parliament, The Commons 1660-90 and The Commons 1690-1715.

viii. Cowper, Transactions of the Cumberland & Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society, (1906, VI) p.126.

ix. John Laughton, Dictionary of National Biography, “James Killigrew”, p.110.

x. Charnock, Biographia Navalis, “Richard Kirkby”, 330.

xi. PRO, Adm.1/5256.

xii. PRO.Adm.1/5260.

xiii. PRO, Adm.1/5260.

xiv. PRO.Adm.1/2004

xv. PRO.Adm.1/2004.

xvi. PRO.Adm.1/2004.

xvii. PRO.ADM.1/2004

xviii. An Account of the Transaction between Admiral Benbow and Monsieur Du Cass, Anonymous, (London, 1705), p. vii.

xix. Cowper, (Transactions of the Cumberland & Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society, XVI-New Series, 1916), p. 235.

xx. PRO.Adm1/5262. As a Ship’s boy probably placed as a volunteer by his family for a career at sea, this William Berry may well have been of the family of Admiral Sir John Berry. Berry had served in the Mediterranean in 1680 at the same time as Benbow. In terms of this complaint, there was little choice of outcome once the decision was made that it merited a full Court martial. The XXXII Article of War allowed no leeway. “If any person or persons, in or belonging to the fleet, shall commit the unnatural and detestable sin of buggery or sodomy with man or beast, he shall be punished with death without mercy.” Davies points out that there is virtually no evidence of homosexual activity in the navy based on the incomplete evidence of courts-martial in the Restoration period. (Davies, 93) A court-martial under this Article was extremely rare. In his statement Peeter begged “to be left in private to prevent people coming in to disturb me.”

xxi. Naval Biographical Database; MSS247/1.

xxii. PRO. Adm.1/1776.

xxiii. PRO. Adm.1/5263 folio 198.

xxiv. PRO. Adm.1/5263 folio 41

xxv. PRO. Adm.1/1436 (letter from Captain Acton to Secretary Burchett)

xxvi. PRO. Adm.3/13.

xxii. Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, 1704, p. 105.

xxiii. Adm. 1/1591.

xxix. Adm. 1/1594.

xxx. The Commissioned Sea Officers: In the Pitcairn Jones Sea Officers List at the PRO Kew his death is listed as ‘suicide’

Charles’ Church, Plymouth: Kirkby and Wade burial site

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