Office of the Assistant Clerk of the Acts and Secretary to the Navy Board
Office of the Assistant Clerk of the Acts & Secretary to the Navy Board
Navy%20Board%20Flag%20actual.gif
Preceded by Chief Clerk to Comptroller of the Navy
Department Navy Office
Reports to Comptroller of the Navy
Nominator First Lord of the Admiralty
Appointee Monarch of the England
Term Length Not fixed
First post holder T. Turner
Final post holder G. Smith
Formation 1680–1832
Succeeded by Board of Admiralty

The Office Assistant Clerk of the Acts, was first established in 1680 the post holder simultaneously held the title of Secretary to the Navy Board until 1796 when the office of Clerk of the Acts was abolished and the office holders role were revised and the office formally separated . The post holder was responsible for presiding over the Secretary's Office and attending the Committee of Correspondence, should attend the Navy Board, take minutes, see to the execution of the Board's orders, carry on the correspondence, take care of the Board's papers, and attend to their registration. In 1832 the office was abolished along with the Navy Board itself who's functions were absorbed by members of the Board of Admiralty.

1) History

The office of Assistant Clerk of the Acts, was first established in 1680 out of the office of the Chief Clerk to the Comptroller of the Navy the post holder assisted the Clerk of the Acts in the discharging of his duties, and attend meetings of the Navy Board the post was discontinued in 1681. In 1686 the office was revived when a secretary was appointed to the Commissioners for Current Business. When the office of the Clerk of the Acts was re-established in 1688 the secretary was Assistant Clerk of the Acts from this date until until 1789 the Assistant Clerkship of the Acts was held continuously by officials who had previously served as Chief Clerks in the Navy Office. Throughout this period the terms 'Assistant Clerk of the Acts' and 'Secretary' were used simultaneously by all office holders. In 1788 the Commissioners on Fees, recognising that the duty of the Assistant Clerk of the Acts was the same as that of Secretary in any other government department, stated that the separation of the Office of Secretary to the Admiralty from that of Clerk of the Acts had become 'absolutely necessary' and recommended that the office of his Assistant should be converted into that of Secretary to the Navy Board. On the death of the then Assistant in 1789, Ambrose Serle, who had not previously served in the Navy Office, was appointed Secretary to the Board. Following his resignation in March 1790, the office of Assistant Clerk of the Acts was revived and was again filled by a Navy Office Clerk, Margetson. On his death in July 1795, Samuel Gambier, who had no previous experience in the Navy Office, was appointed Secretary to the Board. The true conversion of the office of Assistant Clerk of the Acts into that of Secretary to the Navy Board, however, only became possible in 1796 when the Board was reconstituted and the office of Clerk of the Acts was abolished. It was then provided that the Secretary, in addition to presiding over the Secretary's Office and attending the Committee of Correspondence, should attend the Navy Board, take minutes, see to the execution of the Board's orders, carry on the correspondence, take care of the Board's papers, and attend to their registration. In 1832 the office was abolished along with the Navy Board itself who's functions were absorbed by members of the Board of Admiralty.

2) Duties

The duties of the Clerk of the Acts included the taking of minutes and the keeping of records. The development of the office of Secretary to the Navy Board thus came to be intimately connected with the development of the Clerkship and of the Assistant Clerkship of the Acts.

2) Office Holders

2.1) Assistant Clerk of the Acts

  1. 1680-1689, T. Turner
  2. 1689-1690, C. Sergison
  3. 1690-1691, D. Lyddell
  4. 1691-1699 May, W. Dale
  5. 1699-1717, W. Dale
  6. 1717-1740, S. Percival
  7. 1740-1743, T. Pearse
  8. 1743-1758, C. Burley
  9. 1758-1766, G. Jackson
  10. 1766-1780, D. Stow
  11. 1780-1790, J. Thomas
  12. 1790-1796, J. Margetson

2.2) Secretary to the Navy Board

  1. 1686-1690, C. Sergison
  2. 1789, A. Serle
  3. 1795, S. Gambier
  4. 1796-1820, R.A. Nelson
  5. 1820-1832, G. Smith

3) Sources

  1. 'Assistant Clerk of the Acts and Secretary 1680-1832', in Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 7, Navy Board Officials 1660-1832, ed. J M Collinge (London, 1978), pp. 26-27. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/office-holders/vol7/pp26-27 [accessed 5 December 2018].
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License