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"Earl of Warwick, Robert Rich, 1587-1658
The eldest son of Robert Rich, 1st Earl of Warwick and of his wife Penelope Rich. He succeeded to the earldom of Warwick in 1619 and was active in colonial ventures in New England and the West Indies during the 1620s and '30s. Warwick also financed and sometimes took part in unofficial privateering expeditions against the Spaniards. A staunch Puritan, he became increasingly alienated from Court life and was associated with the opposition to the King's policies led by Lord Saye and Sele at Broughton Castle.
In March 1642, Parliament appointed Warwick Admiral of the Fleet against the King's wishes. His appointment ensured Parliament's control of the Navy. Even before the First Civil War broke out, Warwick's ships transferred arms and ammunition from the northern arsenal at Hull to London. Realising the strategic importance of control of the sea, the King attempted to dismiss Warwick from command but, with dissent from only two captains, the fleet accepted Warwick as Admiral and declared for Parliament in July 1642. Under Warwick's command, the Navy intercepted ships carrying supplies to the Royalists and supported military operations on land, notably at the siege of Hull in 1643 and Lyme 1644. In April 1645, however, Parliament decided to extend the Self-Denying Ordinance to include naval officers, and Warwick stepped down from his command. He was appointed chairman of the 12-man Admiralty Commission which replaced the office of Lord High Admiral.
In May 1648, just as the Second Civil War was erupting, the Fleet mutinied against the appointment of the Leveller Thomas Rainsborough as Admiral, and a number of warships defected to the Royalists. Warwick was re-appointed Admiral of the Fleet and sent to ensure the loyalty of the remaining ships. In August 1648, Warwick confronted a Royalist fleet commanded by the Prince of Wales in the shallow waters of the Thames estuary. The Prince avoided a battle and sailed back to Holland, with Warwick in pursuit. He blockaded the Royalists in the neutral Dutch port of Helvoetsluys, where Prince Rupert took over command. Unable to attack in neutral waters, Warwick maintained the blockade for several months, during which three of the Royalist ships defected back to Parliament. Reluctant to spend the winter off Helvoetsluys, Warwick returned to England with his entire fleet in November 1648. This allowed Rupert's fleet to escape to Kinsale in southern Ireland and begin raiding Commonwealth shipping.
The new republican government in England regarded Warwick's actions against the Royalists as over-cautious. His brother the Earl of Holland was at this time facing trial for fighting against Parliament in the Second Civil War. It was impossible to allow Warwick to retain control of the Navy. In February 1649, his commission was revoked and he was replaced by the three Generals-at-Sea Popham, Blake and Deane. Thereafter, Warwick retired from public life."
David Plant, British Civil Wars and Commonwealth website
A bill passed by the House of Commons on 19 December 1644 stipulating that no member of the House of Commons or the House of Lords could hold any command in the army or navy. Since this meant that nobles were automatically debarred from military command (whereas members of the House of Commons could resign and retain their commands), the House of Lords hesitated, but finally passed the bill on 3 April 1645.
See http://www.british-civil-wars.co.uk/glossary/se... for further information.
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.