Admiralty And Marine Affairs Office (1546-1599)
Admiralty and Marine Affairs Office
Type Government Office and Military Command
Preceding Five Regional Admiralties
Country Kingdom of England
Founded 1546
Abolished 1707
Headquarters London, England
Commander Lord High Admiral of the England
Deputy commander Vice-Admiral of England
Role Naval Administration, Law and Operations
Affiliations English Navy
Parent command Armed Forces of England
Sub-component Navy Office
Succeeding Department of Admiralty

The Admiralty and Marine Affairs oversaw the creation of standing Navy Royal, during the 16th century with its own secretariat, dockyards and a permanent core of purpose-built warships, originated in the early 16th century during the reign of Henry VIII. Under Elizabeth I England became involved in a war with Spain, which saw privately owned ships combining with the Royal Navy in highly profitable raids against Spanish commerce and colonies.

2. History

The English experiment of different types of government began to develop during this period. The monarch's leading advisers became the Privy Council of England , the central body of the government of the House of Tudor and the House of Stuart. (Perry 2015 )Originally, this was a select group of the full royal council, but in time, the full council became too large for effective government. The monarch's principal private secretary (would be later known as the Secretary of State (1558–1603) during the 16th Century) he was responsible for all Administrative Functions of the crown and was in effect its Chief Executive Officer whilst the Lord High Treasurer was in effect its Chief Financial Officer and responsible for all functions of finance relating to accounting and auditing.

The Admiralty and Marine Affairs oversaw the creation of standing Navy Royal, during the 16th century with its own secretariat, dockyards and a permanent core of purpose-built warships, originated in the early 16th century during the reign of Henry VIII. Under Elizabeth I England became involved in a war with Spain, which saw privately owned ships combining with the Royal Navy in highly profitable raids against Spanish commerce and colonies.

In 1546 as the English Navy was expanding there was at this point no official body set up the manage it effectively this led to the creation of council of advisers to the Lord Admiral of England known as the 'Council of the Marine' formed by group of court officials with the consent of King Henry VIII of England that would act as an advisory committee, this council would evolve into the Navy Board. This new Navy Office would be the first permanent attempt to establish effective naval administration the board's remit was the construction of ships, the maintenance of ships including repairs and the control and administering the Royal Dockyards

The origins of the Navy Office also known as the Navy Board really date in the first quarter of the 16th century when the Clerk of the Ships the predecessor then later subordinate office of the Lord Admiral of England was joined by a Comptroller of the Navy. As management of the navy began to expand he was joined by a third officer the Treasurer of the Navy. In 1545 a fourth officer was created Surveyor of the Navy about this time the group worked as a body called the Council of the Marine. The Navy Board was officially appointed by letters patent by [[Henry VIII]] on the 24 April 1546 that was initially directed by the [[Lieutenant of the Admiralty]] until 1557. The board was charged with overseeing the administrative affairs of the navy (while directive, executive and operational duties of the Lord High Admiral remained with the Admiralty Office. It was also referred to as the ''Navy Office''. In 1550 there was a creation of a fifth officer the Surveyor of Marine Victuals who was responsible for supplying the fleet with food and drink supplies.

There was also during this period a creation of a Board of Ordnance though essentially independent supplied the Navy Royal with weapons, which was directed by a Master of the Ordnance later known as the Master-General of the Ordnance, this board was responsible for the storing and issuing of weapons, maintaining gunpowder stores and running the ordinance wharf's at the main various Naval Bases. This board however was autonomous of both the Admiralty and Navy Offices. From the 1550s onward for the next six decades, this system of Naval administration did not change.

In 1557 the Lieutenant of the Admiralty ceased to direct the Navy Board that role was now given to the Treasurer of the Navy . In the earlier part of its history, it remained independent until 1628 when it became a subsidiary body of the Board of Admiralty. The Navy Board’s formation would influence the modernization of the Lord Admiral's office itself the Treasurer an original member of the board, however, developed independently (reporting to the [[Lord High Treasurer]]), they effectively would provide the money for the Royal Navy, however financial spending and financial administration would remain the responsibility of the Navy Board.

In 1588, Philip II of Spain sent the Spanish Armada against England to end English support for Dutch rebels, to stop English corsair activity and to depose the Protestant Elizabeth I and restore Catholicism to England. The Spaniards sailed from Lisbon, planning to escort an invasion force from the Spanish Netherlands but the scheme failed due to poor planning, English harrying, blocking action by the Dutch, and severe storms. A Counter Armada, known as the English Armada, was dispatched to the Iberian coast in 1589, but failed to drive home the advantage England had won upon the dispersal of the Spanish Armada in the previous year.

2) Organization

2.1) Operations and Policy Departments

Senior Leadership during this period included a single naval lord of England the Lord Admiral he was responsible for formulating naval policy, directing the navy and operations. Below him were his two deputy's the Vice-Admiral of England responsible for naval operations and judicial administration together with the Lieutenant of the Admiralty in charge of civil administration of the navy. Below them sat the various operational commanders, the shore based commanders, the offices of the clerks of the kings marine, then later the council of the marine, the high court of the admiralty, the vice-admiralty courts and admiralty law system.

2.2) Office of the High Admiral/Lord Admiral of England

  1. Office of the Lord Admiral of England, (1513-1610)

Immediately below the High/Lord Admiral of England initially were the four admirals commanding regional admiralties until their offices were unified with his office to create a single centralized command in 1414, In 1410 preempting the abolition of the regional admirals a deputy commander-in-chief was created the Vice-Admiral of England.

2.2.1) Office of the Vice-Admiral of England

  1. Office of the Vice-Admiral of England, (1410-1707)
2.3.1) Operational Commands
  1. Admiral Vice -Admiral Commanding, Narrow Seas Station, (1412-1688)
  2. Admiral/Vice-Admiral Commanding, Channel Station. (1512-1657)
  3. Admiral Vice -Admiral Commanding, North Sea Station, (1543–1815)
2.4.1) Shore commands

The Vice-Admiralties of the Coast were official posts established in maritime counties of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales . The officer holders, designated as "Vice-Admirals", were chiefly responsible for naval and judicial administration for their county and including defence of their county, they were deputy shore commanders of the Lord High Admiral . There were twenty six Vice-Admiralties responsible for England , five Vice-Admiralties responsible for Ireland, three Vice-Admiralties responsible for Scotland and six Vice-Admiralties responsible for Wales.

  1. Office's of the Vice-Admiralties of the Coast, (1536-1890)

3) Civil Departments

Civil administration finance and logistical support of the Navy lay with two organisations first the Council of the Marine from 1545 to 1574 this was renamed and expanded to create the Navy Office. A seperate Navy Pay Office was also established that was semi-autonomous of the Navy Office.

3.1) Council of the Marine

The Council of the Marine or Council of the Marine Causes formally called the King's Majesty's Council of His Marine was the organisation was established on 24 April 1546 by King Henry VIII. it was responsible for the civil administration of the naval service from 1545 to 1574. when it was renamed the Navy Office.

  1. Council of the Marine, (1546-1576)

3.2) Navy Office

The Navy Office and previously known as the Council of the Marine or Council of the Marine Causes was the government office charged with responsibility for day-to-day civil administration of the Navy Royal, (1578-1707) and then Royal Navy, (1707-1832). It was administered by the Navy Board.

  1. Navy Office
3.2.1) Dockyards and shore facilities

The main naval dockyards constructed during the period the admiralty office was in operation included. Management of the various yards was the responsibility of the various Master-Shipwrights until the introduction of resident Commissioners of the Navy in the early seventeenth century, the Master Shipwright then became their deputy.

  1. Portsmouth Dockyard (1496 – present)
  2. Woolwich Dockyard (1512 – 1869)
  3. Deptford Dockyard (1513 – 1869)
  4. Erith Dockyard (1514 – 1521), failed yard: due to persistent flooding
  5. Chatham Dockyard (1567-1983)

3.3) Navy Pay Office

The Navy Pay Office was established in 1545 it was administered by the Treasurer of Marine Causes later known as the Treasurer of the Navy the pay office was autonomous of the council of the marine and later Navy Office it existed until 1832 when along with the Navy Office it was abolished its functions were absorbed into the Department of the Accountant-General of the Navy.

3.4) Office of Ordnance

The Office of Ordnance was created in 1460 headed by the Master of Ordnance it later became known as the Board of Ordnance it was autonomous of the Admiralty Office but was responsible for managing ordnance stores and supplying the navy with weapons and gunpowder, it was replaced by the Board of Ordnance in 1597.

3.5) Board of Ordnance

The Board of Ordnance was established in 1597 that consisted of principle officers headed by the Master-General of the Ordnance. Autonomous of the Admiralty Office it became a civil department of state in 1683. Below the board sat the various ordnance yards, gunpowder and magazine stores that were usually alongside the major naval dockyards

3.5.1) Ordnance Yards and Stores

Home ordinance yards

  1. HM Gunwharf Portsmouth (1496 – present)
  2. HM Gunwharf Woolwich (1512 – 1869)
  3. HM Gunwharf Deptford (1513 – 1869)
  4. HM Gunwharf Erith (1514 – 1521)

Gunpowder magazines stores

  1. Tower of London, London (1461 – 1855)

3.6) Armoury Office

The Armoury Office was established in 1423 it was part of the supply chain of armour and edged weapons to the armed forces but was autonomous from the Office of Ordnance. In 1671 the Armoury Office was abolished and its duties transferred to the Board of Ordnance.

4) Judicial Departments

At first there were three separate Admiralty courts (each with a presiding admiral) for three different sections of the country each responsible for judicial administration of the navy, but these were merged into one high Admiralty court in 1360 the court was initially administered by the High Admiral of England until the creation of the office of the Vice-Admiral of England in 1410 who became the High Admiral's deputy he then presided over the court system directly until 1483 when a Chief Judge of the high court was appointed responsible for the day-today proceedings of the court. The Vice-Admiral of England remained responsible for the direction of the high court and the chief judge and for all future appointments of the judge.

4.1) High Court of the Admiralty

The High Court of the Admiralty consisted of the office of the Chief Judge who was supported by various officials known as officers of the High Court of the Admiralty they included the Admiralty Advocate, the Marshall, the Notary Public, the Proctor, the Receiver of Droits and the Registrar.

  1. High Court of the Admiralty
4.1.1) Vice Admiralty Courts

Until 1835 there were local courts of admiralty in the maritime counties of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. In addition there were also Vice-Admiralty Courts established in colonial possessions these Vice Admiralty Courts were juryless courts located in British colonies that were granted jurisdiction over local legal matters related to maritime activities, such as disputes between merchants and seamen.

  1. Vice-Admiralty Courts

5) Footnotes

  1. Knighton, C. S.; Loades, David; Loades, Professor of History David (Apr 29, 2016). Elizabethan Naval Administration. Routledge. p. 8. ISBN 9781317145035.
  2. Tittler, Robert; Jones, Norman L. (Apr 15, 2008). A Companion to Tudor Britain. John Wiley & Sons. p. 193. ISBN 9781405137409.
  3. Rodger, Safeguard, pp. 221–37
  4. Rodger, Safeguard, pp. 238–53, 281–6, 292–6
  5. Rodger, Safeguard, pp. 253–71
  6. Perry, Marvin (2015). Western Civilization: A Brief History. Cengage Learning. p. 213. ISBN 9781305537750.
  7. Ehrman, John (2012). The Navy in the war of William III, 1689-1697: its state and direction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 179. ISBN 9781107645110.
  8. "MOD historical summary" (PDF).
  9. Baugh, Daniel A. (Dec 8, 2015). British Naval Administration in the Age of Walpole. Princeton University Press. p. 2. ISBN 9781400874637.
  10. Senior, W. (1924). "The Mace of the Admiralty Court". The Mariner's Mirror. 10 (1): 52. doi:10.1080/00253359.1924.10655256.
  11. Jordan
  12. Baker, Sherston (Dec 20, 2010). Office of vice-admiral of the coast : being some account of that ancient office. [S.l.]: Gale Ecco, Making Of Mode. pp. 1–153. ISBN 9781240154067.
  13. Knighton, Dr C. S.; Loades, Professor David. The Navy of Edward VI and Mary I. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 573. ISBN 9781409482406.
  14. Bothwell, J.S. (2004). Edward III and the English peerage : royal patronage, social mobility and political control in fourteenth-century England. Woodbridge: Boydell Press. p. 97. ISBN 9781843830474.
  15. Nelson, Arthur (2001). The Tudor navy : the ships, men and organisation 1485 - 1603. London: Conway Maritime Press. p. 134. ISBN 9780851777856.
  16. Salmon, Nathaniel (2 Apr 2013). A Short View of the Families of the present English Nobility … Third edition, etc. William Owen. p. 79.
  17. Childs, David (Sep 17, 2009). Tudor Sea Power: The Foundation of Greatness. Seaforth Publishing. p. 104. ISBN 9781473819924.
  18. Puddefoot, Geoff (2010). Ready for anything : the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, 1905-1950. Barnsley: Seaforth. p. 4. ISBN 9781848320741.
  19. Sainty, Sir John. "Office-Holders in Modern Britain | Institute of Historical Research". University of London, Historical Research Institute. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  20. Knighton, C. S.; Loades, David; Loades, Professor of History David (Apr 29, 2016). Elizabethan Naval Administration. Routledge. p. 9. ISBN 9781317145035.
  21. Sainty, J. C. "Navy Treasurer c. 1546-1836, A provisional list compiled by J C Sainty, January 2003". The Institute of Historical Research, University of London, 2003. Retrieved 9 November 2016.

6) Sources

  1. Ehrman, John. (2012), The Navy in the War of William III 1689-1697: . Its State and Direction, Cambridge,: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9781107645110.
  2. Hamilton, Admiral Sir. R. Vesey, G.C.B. (1896). Naval Administration: The Constitution, Character, and Functions of the Board of Admiralty, and of the Civil Departments it Directs. London: George Bell and Sons.
  3. Knighton, C. S.; Loades, David; Loades, Professor of History David (Apr 29, 2016). Elizabethan Naval Administration. Routledge. ISBN 9781317145035.
  4. Logan, Karen Dale (1976). The Admiralty: Reforms and Re-organization, 1868-1892. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. University of Oxford.
  5. Miller, Francis H. (1884). The Origin and Constitution of the Admiralty and Navy Boards, to which is added an Account of the various Buildings in which the Business of the Navy has been transacted from time to time. London: For Her Majesty's Stationery Office. Copy in Greene Papers. National Maritime Museum. GEE/19.
  6. Perry, Marvin (2015). Western Civilization: A Brief History. Cengage Learning. ISBN 9781305537750.
  7. Rodger. N.A.M., (1979) The Admiralty (offices of state), T. Dalton, Lavenham, ISBN 978-0900963940.
  8. Rodger, NAM. (2004) The safeguard of the sea: A naval history of Britain 660 to 1649, New York,: W.W. Norton, ISBN 9780140297249
  9. The Statutes of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, 3 George IV. 1822. London: By His Majesty's Statute and Law Printer. 1822.

7) Attribution

  1. A brief history of the Royal Navy: Information sheet no 060: The National Museum of the Royal Navy
  2. for use of the Royal Standard of England.
  3. Operational commands Tudor navy 16th century
  4. the authors kindly acknowledge the Wikipedia article Admiralty in 16th century
  5. Flag of the 1st Admiralty of England image by image by Martin Grieve, 23 August 2006, article by Rob Raeside 11 November 2013.
  6. Royal Standard of England (1406-1603)
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