Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
Per L&M Companion:
(c. 1640 - 91), [A Cambridgeshire family settled in Wimpole since Henry IV's reign. Henry Chichele the 15th. century Archbishop of Canterbury was a member.]
Second son of Sir Thomas (1614-99), -- no friend of Sandwich -- was counted 'the best of the young seamen' by Coventry. He served with distinction in the war of 1665-7 and was knighted after his first campaign. He was Vice-Admiral of the squadron sent to the Mediterranean in 1670, and he flew his flag as rear admiral throughout most of the war of 1672-4. He was briefly a prisoner of war after the Battle of Sole Bay, 1672. He later served as a Commissioner on the Navy Board, 1675-80, the Admiralty, 1682-4 and 1689-90, and the Ordinance 1682-90. He was M.P. for Newton, March 1679-91, voted against exclusion and accepted the Glorious Revolution unwillingly.
CHICHELY, Sir John.—We cannot be at a loss for the rank and quality of this gentleman's family, his name sufficiently declares him a descendant of the bishop Chichely, founder of All Souls College, Oxford. Having entered into the navy, he was appointed lieutenant of the Swiftsure; and, in the following year, was promoted to be commander of the Milford. In 1664 he was captain of the Bristol; and of the Antelope, a fourth rate, in 1665. His behaviour in the action between the duke of York and Opdam procured him to be promoted, in 1666, to the command of the Fairfax, a third rate, as successor to sir Christopher Myngs. We have not been able to learn how long he continued captain of this ship, but we find him appointed to the Rupert of sixty-four guns in 1668, and soon afterwards sent to the Mediterranean, his, being one of the ships put under the command of sir Thomas Allen for that service. On the return of sir Thomas to England, in 1670, and sir Edward Spragge becoming commander-in-chief on that station, sir John was appointed vice-admiral of his majesty's fleet in the Streights, nothing being a more common practice, at this time, in the navy, than that of giving officers local rank. In 1671 he removed into the Dreadnought, and being taken very ill at Majorca, was prevented from returning to England in company with sir Edward Spragge, who arrived in March; but following him as soon, as he was a little recovered, he was, on his arrival, appointed to command the Royal Catherine, of seventy-six guns. The fate of this ship, in the Solebay fight, is too singular to pass unnoticed. She had joined the fleet on the very eve of the action with a raw, undisciplined crew; and, from the confusion that must unavoidably reign on board, under such circumstances, in a condition totally unfit for immediate service; thus situated, she was, about ten o'clock, boarded, and taken possession of by the enemy. Her commander, sir John, and the principal officers, were shifted, and the crew put down, as is customary, below. But the Dutch having incautiously, or, perhaps, through necessity, left but a small number of men to take charge of her, the English discovering this to be the case, rose upon their enemy, and not only redeemed both themselves and the ship from captivity, but, in return, made prisoners of the Dutch, whose captives they had, themselves, the moment before, been. This being accomplished, they brought their ship safe into harbour. This accident was so far from being thought disgraceful to sir John, that, soon after his return, he was promoted to be rear-admiral of the red, and hoisted his flag on board the Royal Charles of eighty-two guns.---Biographia navalis. J. Charnock, 1793.
Sir John Chicheley was a rear-admiral under prince Rupert in the last Dutch war. When Sir Edward Spragge was like to be overpowered by the enemy, sir John, together with the prince, bore down to his assistance: but notwithstanding the efforts of his friends, and his own invincible courage, that great man had soon after the misfortune to lose his life. Sir John Chicheley was one of the commissioners of the admiralty, and member of parliament for Newton in Lancashire, in the reign of William III.---A Biographical History of England. J. Granger, 1779.
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