George Legge, 1st Baron Dartmouth

Admiral of the Fleet George Legge, 1st Baron Dartmouth PC (c. 1647 – 1691) was an English naval commander who gave distinguished service to both Charles II and James II.

George Legge, 1st Baron Dartmouth
George Legge, 1st Baron Dartmouth by John Riley.jpg
George Legge, 1st Baron Dartmouth, by John Riley
Died25 October 1691
Tower of London
BuriedHoly Trinity, Minories, London
Noble familyLegge
Spouse(s)Barbara Archbold
FatherWilliam Legge
MotherElizabeth Washington

Early lifeEdit

George Legge was the eldest son of the royalist Colonel William Legge by Elizabeth Washington (c.1616–1688). His maternal grandfather, Sir William Washington (1590–1648),[1] was the elder brother of Lawrence Washington, great-great grandfather of George Washington,[2] while his maternal grandmother, Anne Villiers, was a half-sister of James I's favourite, George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham.[3] He was educated at Westminster School and King's College, Cambridge.[3]

Naval careerEdit

Legge's naval career began in the Second Anglo-Dutch War of 1665–1667, where he served under his cousin Admiral Sir Edward Spragge; at the end of the war Legge was captain of HMS Pembroke, a 28-gun fifth-rate.[3]

In March 1672, now in command of HMS Fairfax, he took part in the attack, on the Dutch Smyrna fleet lying off the Isle of Wight, that was the immediate cause of the Third Anglo-Dutch War. In June he fought in the Battle of Sole Bay.[3] The following year he commanded HMS Royal Katherine under Prince Rupert of the Rhine in the Battle of Schooneveld.[3]

By 1683 Legge had risen to be Admiral and he was sent out to Tangier with Samuel Pepys to oversee the evacuation and destruction of the ill-fated English colony there. His last naval appointment was to the command of a fleet in the channel which unsuccessfully attempted to intercept the invasion force led by William III of Orange that landed in 1688 at the beginning of the Glorious Revolution. The same year he was appointed the first Admiral of the Fleet.[4]


Following the abdication of James II, Dartmouth was dismissed by the triumphant William III, and imprisoned in the Tower of London in July 1691. He died in the Tower a few months later, on 25 October,[3] without having been brought to trial, and was buried, as his father had been, in the church of the Holy Trinity, Minories, in London.[3] He was succeeded as Baron Dartmouth by his only son, William Legge, 1st Earl of Dartmouth (1672–1750).[5]

Appointments and honoursEdit

Engraved portrait of Lord Dartmouth by Peter Vandrebanc.

As a close supporter of the House of Stuart he held numerous royal appointments and honours:

In 1682, he was elevated to the peerage by Charles II as the first Baron Dartmouth.[3]

Marriage and issueEdit

Dartmouth married, in November 1667, Barbara Archbold (1649/50–1718), the daughter of Sir Henry Archbold of Abbots Bromley, Staffordshire, by whom he had a single son, William Legge, 1st Earl of Dartmouth, born in 1672, and seven daughters.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Roy 2004.
  2. ^ E. K. Vyhmeister, "Lord Sherborne", page 113.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Davies 2004.
  4. ^ "Naval Ranks NMRN Portsmouth". The National Museum Royal Navy Portsmouth England. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  5. ^   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainBarker, George Fisher Russell (1892). "Legge, William (1672-1750)". In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 32. London: Smith, Elder & Co.


Parliament of England
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Ludgershall
With: William Ashburnham
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Portsmouth
With: Sir John Kempthorne 1679
Richard Norton 1679–1685
Succeeded by
Military offices
Preceded by Governor of Portsmouth
Succeeded by
Preceded by Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance
Succeeded by
Preceded by
In Commission
Master-General of the Ordnance
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of Tangier
Succeeded by
(re-incorporated into Morocco)
New regiment Colonel of The Ordnance Regiment
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Master of the Horse
Succeeded by
Honorary titles
Preceded by Constable of the Tower
Lord Lieutenant of the Tower Hamlets

Succeeded by
Peerage of England
New title Baron Dartmouth
Succeeded by