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The Clerk of the Acts[1] originally known as the Keeper of the King's Ports and Galleys[2][3][4][5] was a civilian officer in the Royal Navy who was also a principle member of the Navy Board as Clerk of the Navy from 1546 to 1660 and Clerk of the Acts from 1660 until 1796, he was responsible for the organisation of Navy Office, processing naval contracts and coordinating the secretarial side of the Navy Board's work, when this post's duties were merged with that of the Second Secretary to the Admiralty later known as the Permanent Secretary to Admiralty.[6]

Office of the Clerk of the Acts
Navy Board Flag 1832 new version.jpg
Flag of the Navy Board
Department of the Admiralty
Member ofNavy Board (1546-1796)
Reports toFirst lord of the Admiralty
NominatorFirst lord of the Admiralty
AppointerPrime Minister
Subject to formal approval by the King-in-Council
Term lengthNot fixed (usually for life)
Inaugural holderSamuel Pepys
Formationc. 1660-1796

Contents

HistoryEdit

The origins of the office, possibly in its original form though not conclusive dates from a very much earlier date, John, King of England who developed a royal fleet and the earliest known administrative structure for the English Navy, through his appointment of William of Wrotham in the early 13th century, William a naval administrator is said by modern historians to have had a "special responsibility for ports, customs, and the navy". Murray (1935), Oppenheim reprint, (1940), Lloyd (1970) and Runyan (1987) support the view that his office was continued down until the creation of the Navy Board in 1546 and the Clerk of the Act's and the Secretary of the Admiralty.[7] However a clear definition of Wrothams office is not conclusive and has been viewed by other sources such as Turner (1994) to be similar to that of the First Lord of the Admiralty.[8] King John's successor Henry III[9] continued refining the naval administration his fleets. However it was during Edward III's reign when a formal naval administration really began to evolve. It was possibly the oldest administrative appointment in connection with the Royal Navy, at first called Keeper of the King's Ports and Galleys during the thirteenth century, later in the fourteenth century known as Clerk of the King's Ships,[10] according to naval historian Nicholas A. M. Rodger in his book the Admiralty (1979) states "Insofar as mediaeval Kings of England possessed a permanent administrator of their navies, he was the 'Clerk of the Kings Ships'. The post first appears in a distinct form under King John with William de Wrotham was Keeper of the Kings Ports and Galleys, the Clerk of the Kings Ships was not a one man department of state but a permanent agent of the crown"[11] this official held, sometimes really and sometimes nominally, for a period of over 300 years the control of naval organisation until the formation of the Navy Board in 1546.[12] During the course of the following centuries the title changed its name. In the fifteenth century the post was known as the Clerk of Marine Causes and during the sixteenth century the office was known as the Clerk of the Navy, in the seventeenth century, Clerk of the Acts.[13][14] Between the years 1673 and 1677 the office was held jointly by two clerks of the acts, and then again from 1702 until 1706. Between 1673 and 1680 the post was held simultaneously with the Secretary of the Admiralty. In the same year the Clerk of the Acts was appointed an assistant to alleviate him of some of his secretarial duties[15] and thus separating those responsibilities from the office of the secretary. In 1796 the offices of Clerk of the Acts and three other offices those of Comptroller of Storekeepers Accounts, Comptroller of Treasurer Accounts and Comptroller of Victualling Accounts[16] were abolished and the Board reconstituted, the function of the Navy Office was then supervised of three Committees, of Correspondence, Accounts and Stores.[17]

ResponsibilitiesEdit

The Clerk of the Acts' official responsibility's were:[18][19]

  • As head of the Navy Office staff
  • Administering and processing of all Naval contracts.
  • Coordinating the secretarial side of the Navy Board's work.
  • Framing and writing answers to letters, orders, and commands from the Board of Admiralty.
  • Management of Navy Board records.
  • Processing of petty cash payments
  • Provision, equipment and victualing of all ships.
  • Superintending and organizing the business of the Navy Board.

The Clerk of the Kings Ships' responsibilities were:[20]

  • Administration of ships of the Crown.
  • Repair of ships of the Crown.
  • Payments to all crews of the Crown's ships
  • Safekeeping of ships of the Crown.
  • Victualling of ships of the Crown.

The Keeper of the Kings Ports and Galleys' responsibilities were:[21]

  • Carrying out the King's orders regarding the Navy.
  • Organization and general conduct on the Navy.
  • Supervision of repairs of ships.
  • Requisition merchant shipping in relation to meet abnormal demands of transport and supply.
  • Process mariners' payments.

List of office holdersEdit

Included:[22][23][24]

Note this an incomplete list

Keeper of the King's Ports and Galleys

Note: The post is assumed to have been left vacant, this is because no official court records have been found after this date listing any other similar office holders until the appearance of the clerk of the kings ships at the beginning of the fourteenth century

Clerks of the Kings Ships (also referred to as Keeper of the Kings Ships or Clerk of the Ships)

  • Alexander le Peyntour, 1320-?[31]
  • William de Clewre, 1336-1358, (at various times individually or jointly with de Torskey and de Snetesham)[32]
  • Thomas de Snetesham, 1336-1358 (at various times individually or jointly with de Torskey and Haytfield)[33]
  • Matthew de Torksey, 1336-1358, (at various times individually or jointly with Snetesham and Haytfield)[34]
  • John de Haytfield, 1358-1378, (at various times individually or jointly with de Crull)[35]
  • Sir Robert de Crull, 1359-1378, (at various times individually or jointly with de Haytfield)
  • John Chamberlyn, 1398-1405[36]

Clerk of Marine Causes (in official court circulars also referred to as Clerk of the Ships)

  • John Elmeton, 1409-1413
  • William Catton, 18 July 1413 – 3 February 1420[37]
  • William Soper, 3 February 1420 – 7 April 1442
  • Richard Clyvedon, 7 April 1442 – 1460
  • Piers Bowman, 1461-1479
  • Thomas Rogers, 12 December 1480 d.1488
  • William C'omersall, 1488-18 May 1495

Clerks of the Navy (in official court circulars also referred to as Clerk of the Ships)

  • Robert Brygandine, 19 May 1495 – 1523
  • Thomas Jermyn, and William Gonson, 1523-1533, (jointly)
  • Leonard Thoreton 1533-1538
  • Sir Thomas Spert, 1538-1543
  • Edmund Wynter, 1544-1545
  • John Wynter 1545- d. 1546
  • Richard Howlett, 24 April 1546- 10 October 1560.
  • George Wynter, 10 October 1560 – 2 June 1567.
  • John Hawkins, 2 June 1567, (appointed but did not succeed).
  • George Wynter, 2 June 1567 – 24 March 1582.
  • William Borough and Benjamin Gonson, 24 March 1582 – 6 July 1596.
  • (Sir) Peter Buck and Benjamin Gonson, 6 July 1596 – 17 April 1604.
  • John Legatt, 17 April 1604, (appointed but did not succeed).
  • Sir Peter Buck and Benjamin Gonson, 17 April 1604 – 24 March 1605.
  • Denis Flemming, 24 March 1605 – 15 February 1639.

From June 1639 to August 1706 two clerks of the acts were occasionally appointed jointly to the office

  • Denis Flemming and Thomas Barlow,[38] 16 February 1639 – 13 July 1660, (jointly)

Note: Title of Clerk of the Navy is changed to Clerk of the Acts in 1660[39]
Clerks of the Acts

  • Samuel Pepys, 13 July 1660 – 19 June 1673
  • Samuel Pepys and T. Hayter, 19 June 1673 – 14 April 1677, (jointly)
  • T. Hayter and James Sotherne. 14 April 1677-May 1679, (jointly)
  • James Southerne, May 1679-5 February 1690.
  • Charles Sergison, 6 February 1690 – 10 February 1702.
  • Charles Sergison and S. Atkins, 11 February 1702 – 24 August 1706, (jointly)
  • Charles Sergison, 25 August 1706 – 20 May 1719.
  • T. Holmes, 21 May 1719 – 10 October 1726.
  • T. Pearse, 11 October 1726 – 14 April 1743.
  • John Clevland, 15 April 1743 – 15 August 1743.
  • R. Osborn, 16 August 1743 – 26 July 1747.
  • Daniel Devert, 27 July 1747 – 2 February 1761.[40]
  • Timothy Brett, 3 February 1761 – 19 March 1761.[41]
  • Edmund Mason, 20 March 1761 – 15 July 1773.
  • George Marsh, 16 July 1773 – 1796.[42]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Ehrman, John (Feb 2, 2012). The Navy in the War of William III 1689-1697: Its State and Direction. Cambridge University Press. p. 181. ISBN 9781107645110.
  2. ^ Runyan, Timothy J. (1987). Ships, Seafaring, and Society: Essays in Maritime History. Wayne State University Press. p. 42. ISBN 0814319912.
  3. ^ Lloyd, Christopher (1970). The British Seaman 1200-1860: A Social Survey. Associated University Presse. p. 17. ISBN 9780838677087.
  4. ^ Oppenheim, Michael (23 February 2014). "The Administration of the Royal Navy before 1509". A History Of The Administration Of The Royal Navy And Of Merchant Shipping In Relation To The Navy, From Mdix To Mdclx, With An Introduction Treating Of The Preceding Period. Original. (1940). Nabu Press. p. 3. ISBN 9781295694860.
  5. ^ "Naval Review (London)". 34. 1946: 339.
  6. ^ Ehrman, John (Feb 2, 2012). The Navy in the War of William III 1689-1697: Its State and Direction. Cambridge University Press. p. 181. ISBN 9781107645110.
  7. ^ Runyan, Timothy J. (1987). Ships, Seafaring, and Society: Essays in Maritime History. Wayne State University Press. p. 42. ISBN 0814319912.
  8. ^ Turner, Ralph V. (1995). King John (Repr. ed.). London [u.a.]: Longman. p. 128. ISBN 9780582067264.
  9. ^ Runyan, Timothy J. (1987). Ships, Seafaring, and Society: Essays in Maritime History. Wayne State University Press. p. 43. ISBN 0814319912.
  10. ^ Knighton, Dr C. S.; Loades, Professor David (Jul 28, 2013). The Navy of Edward VI and Mary I, Introduction. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. xxix. ISBN 9781409482406.
  11. ^ Rodger, N. A. M. (1979). The Admiralty: Offices of State (First ed.). Lavenham: Terence Dalton Ltd. pp. 3–4. ISBN 9780900963940.
  12. ^ Peck, Linda Levy (2003). Court Patronage and Corruption in Early Stuart England. Routledge. p. 112. ISBN 9781134870424.
  13. ^ Weigley, Russell F. (2004). The Age of Battles: The Quest for Decisive Warfare from Breitenfeld to Waterloo. Indiana University Press. p. 179. ISBN 0253217075.
  14. ^ Clowes, Wm. Laird (1897). The Royal Navy : a history from the earliest times to the present, Volume 1 ([Repr.]. ed.). London: Chatham Pub. p. 350. ISBN 1861760108.
  15. ^ Collinge, J.M. "Assistant Clerk of the Acts and Secretary 1680-1832 | British History Online". www.british-history.ac.uk. University of London, 1978. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  16. ^ The present state of the British court, or, An account of the civil and military establishment of England. University of Oxford. 1720. p. 79, (digitized, 23 Oct 2006).
  17. ^ "Navy Board, In-Letters And Orders, 1688-1815 - National Maritime Museum". collections.rmg.co.uk. Royal Museums Greenwich, 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  18. ^ Ehrman, John (Feb 2, 2012). The Navy in the War of William III 1689-1697: Its State and Direction. Cambridge University Press. pp. 180–183. ISBN 9781107645110.
  19. ^ Goldsmiths, Worshipful Company of (1935). "Samuel Pepys and his Goldsmiths". The London Goldsmiths. Cambridge: CUP Archive. p. 13.
  20. ^ Bates, Robin (2008). Shakespeare and the Cultural Colonization of Ireland. Routledge. p. 28. ISBN 9781135905125.
  21. ^ Poole, Austin Lane (1993). "The Development of the Navy". From Domesday Book to Magna Carta, 1087-1216. Oxford University Press. p. 435. ISBN 9780192852878.
  22. ^ Sainty, J.C. "Navy Clerk of the Acts c. 1546 - 1660 | Institute of Historical Research". history.ac.uk. University of London, January 2003. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  23. ^ Collinge, J.M. "Principal officers and commissioners Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 7, Navy Board Officials 1660-1832. Originally published by University of London, London, 1978, British History Online". british-history.ac.uk. University of London, 1978, pp.18-25. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  24. ^ Andrews, M. Oppenheim ; with an introduction by K.R. (1988). A history of the administration of the Royal Navy and of merchant shipping in relation to the Navy from 1509 to 1660 with an introduction treating of the preceding period ([Repr.] ed.). Aldershot, England: Temple Smith. pp. 3–79. ISBN 9780566055720.
  25. ^ Rose, Susan (2013). England's Medieval Navy 1066-1509: Ships, Men & Warfare. Seaforth Publishing. p. 44. ISBN 9781473853720.
  26. ^ Murray, Katherine Maud Elisabeth (1935). The Constitutional History of the Cinque Ports. Manchester University Press. p. 79.
  27. ^ Murray, Katherine Maud Elisabeth (1935). The Constitutional History of the Cinque Ports. Manchester University Press. p. 79.
  28. ^ Murray, Katherine Maud Elisabeth (1935). The Constitutional History of the Cinque Ports. Manchester University Press. p. 79.
  29. ^ Murray, Katherine Maud Elisabeth (1935). The Constitutional History of the Cinque Ports. Manchester University Press. p. 79.
  30. ^ Murray, Katherine Maud Elisabeth (1935). The Constitutional History of the Cinque Ports. Manchester University Press. p. 79.
  31. ^ Rose, Susan (2013). "3:Understanding the Naval Resources of the Crown". England's Medieval Navy 1066-1509: Ships, Men & Warfare. Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 9781473853546.
  32. ^ "Edward III, Patent Rolls, Volume 9, 1351" (PDF). uiowa.edu. University of Iowa, p.129. 2017. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  33. ^ Vale, Brian (2017). The Naval Miscellany: Volume VIII. Taylor & Francis. p. 1. ISBN 9781351730839.
  34. ^ Hewitt, Herbert James (1966). Organization of War under Edward III, 1338-62. Manchester: Manchester University Press. p. 70.
  35. ^ Vale, Brian (2017). The Naval Miscellany: Volume VIII. Taylor & Francis. p. 1. ISBN 9781351730839.
  36. ^ Rose, Susan (2013). England's Medieval Navy 1066-1509: Ships, Men & Warfare. Seaforth Publishing. p. 45. ISBN 9781473853720.
  37. ^ "CATTON, William (d.1431), of Winchelsea, Suss. | History of Parliament Online". historyofparliamentonline.org. The History of Parliament Trust 1964-2017. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  38. ^ Winfield, Rif (2010). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1603-1714: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth Publishing. p. xxii, Introduction. ISBN 9781783469246.
  39. ^ Winfield, Rif (2010). "Introduction". British Warships in the Age of Sail 1603-1714: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth Publishing. p. xxii. ISBN 9781783469246.
  40. ^ Jefferys, Thomas (1759). A Companion to the Almanac M.DCC.LIX. The Eighth Edition... To which is Added, a Map of the World, Neatly Engraved by Thomas Jefferys . The British Library. p. 146.
  41. ^ A Companion to the Almanac M.DCC.LIX. The Eighth Edition. ... To which is Added, a Map of the World, Neatly Engraved by Thomas Jefferys . The British Library. 1759. p. 146.
  42. ^ The Royal Kalendar, Or, Complete and Correct Annual Register for England, Scotland, Ireland, and America. UC Southern Regional Library Facility. 1797. p. 102.

SourcesEdit

  • Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 7, Navy Board Officials 1660-1832, ed. J M Collinge (London, 1978), British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/office-holders/vol7 [accessed 25 March 2017].
  • Navy Clerk of the Acts c. 1546 - 1660. A provisional list compiled by J C Sainty, Institute of Historical Research, University of London, January 2003.

External linksEdit