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Acton, Sir John Francis Edward, sixth baronet (1736–1811), naval officer and administrator in the Neapolitan service, descended from the Actons of Aldenham Hall, Shropshire, was born in Besançon, Franche Comté, France, in 1736 (baptized 3 June). His father, Dr Edward Acton (1709–1775), had settled there and married a local girl, ...

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Sir John Francis Edward Acton, sixth baronet (1736–1811) by Peter Eduard Ströhling, c. 1793 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

Apsley, Sir Allen (1566/7–1630), naval and military administrator, was a younger son of John Apsley of Pulborough, Sussex, and of his wife, Elizabeth (née Shelley). His daughter, Lucy Hutchinson, portrayed him as coming to court as a young man, losing heavily at gaming, and enlisting with the navy victualler in the ...

Article

Atkins, John (bap. 1685, d. 1757), naval surgeon, the son of John and Grace Atkins, was baptized on 26 November 1685 at Plaistow, Essex. He served a professional apprenticeship before commencing a chequered naval career in March 1701 as surgeon's mate of the ...

Article

Baeshe, Edward (c. 1507–1587), naval administrator and politician, appears to have been the son and heir of Robert Baeshe (or Bashe) of Worcester, who is variously described as gentleman and shoemaker, and his wife, Joyce, the daughter of Thomas Bolte of Worcestershire, gentleman. In later life he was styled esquire, and one of his benefactions is adorned with a coat of arms, though he is not known to have received a grant. Nothing is known of his education and upbringing, though a later lampoon describes him as living on his wits. At some time before 1538 he moved to ...

Article

Bagg, Sir James (bap. 1592, d. 1638), naval administrator, was baptized on 23 February 1592 at St Andrew's, Plymouth, the eldest of fourteen children of James Bagg (d. 1624), merchant and MP, and his second wife, Margaret, daughter of John Stone of ...

Article

See Barrow, Sir John, first baronet

Article

Best, Thomas (1570–1639), sea captain and master of Trinity House, was baptized on 8 June 1570 at Merstham, Surrey, the youngest son of Robert Best, an interpreter for the Muscovy Company, and Anne, formerly Bowman. Later, in 1623, Best told Sir William Conway...

Article

Blackborne, Robert (c. 1620–1701), naval official, was described by a herald as belonging to an armigerous family, with a Yorkshire father and Lancashire grandfather. It has been suggested that he was an apprentice in London, possibly the namesake made free of the Merchant Taylors' Company...

Article

Borough, Stephen (1525–1584), explorer and naval administrator, was born on 25 September 1525 at Borough House, Northam Burrows, Northam, Devon, the elder son of Walter Borough (1494–1548) and Mary Dough; his younger brother was William Borough (d. 1598).

With his uncle, John Borough (d. 1570)...

Article

Borough, William (bap. 1536, d. 1598), explorer and naval administrator, was born at Borough House, Northam Burrows, Northam, Devon, to Walter Borough (1494–1548) and Mary (née Dough) and baptized on 18 August 1536 in St Mary's, Northam. His childhood experiences included voyages made with his elder brother, ...

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Bourne, Nehemiah (1611–1691), naval officer and official, was born in Wapping, the eldest son of Robert Bourne (d. 1625), a prosperous shipwright, and his wife, Mary (d. 1630); John Bourne (bap. 1620, d. 1667) was his brother. Though his father had hoped he would be educated at ...

Article

Bowles, Phineas (1647–1714), naval official, was born on 3 May 1647 at Rochester, Kent, the fourth of five children of Charles Bowles (d. 1659) of Chatham, Kent, and his wife, Agnes (d. 1661), daughter of Thomas Cole. He was named after ...

Article

Brady, Sir Antonio (1811–1881), Admiralty official, naturalist, and social reformer, was born at Deptford, London, on 10 November 1811, the eldest son of Anthony Brady of the Deptford victualling yard, then storekeeper at the Royal William victualling yard, Plymouth, and his wife (whom he married on 20 December 1810), ...

Article

J. K. Laughton

revised by Andrew Lambert

Briggs, Sir John Thomas (1781–1865), naval administrator, son of William Briggs, of an old Norfolk family, a direct descendant of the physician William Briggs (c. 1650–1704), and, in a collateral line, of the mathematician Henry Briggs (bap. 1561, d. 1631), was born in ...

Article

Brygandyne [Brickenden], Robert (c. 1465–c. 1525), naval administrator, was born into a substantial yeoman family at Smallhithe near Cranbrook in Kent. Nothing is known about his parents, but the name (usually spelt Brickenden) was common in the region at that time. Exactly how or when he entered the king's service is not known, but he was sufficiently well regarded by 1490 to be granted an annuity of ...

Article

Bryson, Alexander (1802–1869), naval surgeon, began his professional studies at Edinburgh and continued them at Glasgow, where he qualified in 1827 and was admitted to the Royal Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons. In the same year he entered the navy as assistant surgeon; he was promoted surgeon in 1836, deputy inspector-general in 1854, and inspector-general in 1855. In January 1864, on the retirement of ...

Article

Burchett, Josiah (c. 1666–1746), secretary of the Admiralty, was possibly the third son of John Burchett (fl. 1619–1666) of Sandwich, Kent, and his second wife, Katherine (d. 1681). The coat of arms used in George Vertue's 1720 engraved portrait was granted in 1589 to a ...

Article

G. T. Bettany

revised by Claire E. J. Herrick

Burnett, Sir William (1779–1861), naval physician, was born on 16 January 1779 at Montrose. He was educated at Montrose grammar school, and was apprenticed to a local surgeon, Dr Hunter. He then went to Edinburgh to pursue his medical studies but, soon after, entered the ...

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Burton, William (c. 1608–1673), merchant and naval administrator, came from an obscure and probably humble Norfolk family. Nothing is known of his parents. He was apprenticed to a Yarmouth merchant and became a freeman of the town in 1630, a common councillor by 1641, and an alderman in 1649. ...