John Ernle (Royal Navy officer)

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Sir John Ernle, or Ernele (1647 – 25 October 1686), of Burytown, Broad Blunsdon, Wiltshire, served as a Royal Navy captain in the Third Anglo-Dutch War, and was briefly a Member of Parliament for Calne.


The son of Sir John Ernle, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Ernle was educated at Exeter College, Oxford, after which he became a member of Lincoln's Inn.[1] He went on to serve in the Royal Navy, commanding ships of the line.

At the Battle of Solebay of 1672, Ernle commanded HMS Dover, and during the battle he saved Sir John Harman and the Charles from a fire ship.[2] By the summer of 1678, he was in command of the new 64-gun ship of the line HMS Defiance.[3][4] Although he lived chiefly in Herefordshire,[5] he was elected member of Parliament for Calne in 1685, about a year before his death; the property inherited from his father included Whetham House, near Calne.[6]

John Aubrey says of him:

Sir John Ernele, great-grandson of Sir John Ernele above sayd, and eldest son of Sir John Ernele, late Chancellour of the Exchequer, had the command of a flagship, and was eminent in some sea services.

Ernle was knighted in 1673. On 6 December 1674 he married Vincentia Kyrle, co-heir of Sir John Kyrle, 2nd Baronet, of Homme House, Much Marcle, Herefordshire.[5] They had two children: Hester (1676–1723) and John Kyrle Ernle (1682–1725).[6]

He died on 25 October 1686 and was buried at Much Marcle.[5]


  1. ^ Oliver Lawson Dick, note to John Aubrey's Brief Lives (1949 edition): "ERNLE, SIR JOHN (1647-86), of Exeter College, Oxford, and Lincoln's Inn, sat as MP for Calne."
  2. ^ Publications of the Navy Records Society, vol. 34, pp. 19, 24
  3. ^ Thomas Baker, Piracy and diplomacy in seventeenth-century North Africa: the journal of Thomas Baker, ed. C. R. Pennell (1989), pp. 84, 94, 99
  4. ^ Henry Teonge, The Diary of Henry Teonge: Chaplain on Board HM's Ships Assistance, Bristol and Royal Oak 1675-1679 (1927 edition) p. 252
  5. ^ a b c Naylor, Leonard. "ERNLE, Sir John (1647-86), of Whetham House, Calne, Wilts. and The Homme, Much Marcle, Herefs". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  6. ^ a b "Papers of the Money-Kyrle family". The National Archives. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
Parliament of England
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Calne
With: Thomas Richmond Webb
Succeeded by