1893 text

Clarendon describes William Batten as an obscure fellow, and, although unknown to the service, a good seaman, who was in 1642 made Surveyor to the Navy; in which employ he evinced great animosity against the King. The following year, while Vice-Admiral to the Earl of Warwick, he chased a Dutch man-of-war into Burlington Bay, knowing that Queen Henrietta Maria was on board; and then, learning that she had landed and was lodged on the quay, he fired above a hundred shot upon the house, some of which passing through her majesty’s chamber, she was obliged, though indisposed, to retire for safety into the open fields. This act, brutal as it was, found favour with the Parliament. But Batten became afterwards discontented; and, when a portion of the fleet revolted, he carried the “Constant Warwick,” one of the best ships in the Parliament navy, over into Holland, with several seamen of note. For this act of treachery he was knighted and made a Rear-Admiral by Prince Charles. We hear no more of Batten till the Restoration, when he became a Commissioner of the Navy, and was soon after M.P. for Rochester. See an account of his second wife, in note to November 24th, 1660, and of his illness and death, October 5th, 1667. He had a son, Benjamin, and a daughter, Martha, by his first wife.—B.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

10 Annotations

vincent  •  Link

more on This Admiral:
----------------- from the will of Sir W. Batten
"... Mingo - from Servant to Lighthouse Keeper
give and bequeath to my servante Mingoe a Negroe That now dwelleth with mee the somme of Tenne pounds to be paid within Twelve monethes next after my decease And I doe alsoe give unto him the said Mingoe the Custody and keeping of my Light houses Att Harwich, and the somme of Twenty pounds a yeare of lawfull money of England during the Terme of his naturall life for his paines therein ..."

vincent  •  Link

from Paul Brewster on Sat 1 Nov 2003,
Sir W. Batten’s country house
L&M: “The Rectory Manor House, Church Hill, Walthamstow, Essex. Penn later had a house not far away at Wanstead.”


An 1848 Directory

“The nearby Rectory Manor estate was sold as building plots after the demolition of the old manor house facing Church Hill in 1897”


vincent  •  Link

gleened from will: he did have "... my grandchild Mary Leming my Grandchild William Castle
my sister Martha Bradford
PROB 11/325, q. 144
maid servants Rachell Underhill and Martha Peake + Mingo..."

vincent  •  Link

sailing days 1642:William Batten, Vice Admiral :[capt: ] his ship in the 1642 Rainbow [a class 2:] his No 1: Lutten, commanded the following : 260 men, ships wt:721 tons: no of guns 40 was built in 1617, fit for 10 yrs
gleaned from http://www.portsdown.demon.co.uk/sw_g42.htm

vicenzo  •  Link

got his letter of "Sir"
"...That the Letter of the Lord Admiral from Warwick House, of 21 Decembris 1648, and the Indemnity of the Lord Admiral unto Captain Wm. Batten, now called Sir Wm. Batten..."
: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?com... batten
also heavily involved in the capture of the Scilly Isles as vice admiral:
: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?com..., Sir George

more on the formalities of and paper work.
: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?com..., Sir George
he knew first hand about vittals.
A Letter from Captain Wm. Batten, Vice Admiral, of the Twenty-ninth of August; representing the great Necessities of the Navy; was this Day

From: British History Online
Source: House of Commons Journal Volume 3: 29 August 1643. Journal of the House of Commons: volume 3, (1802).
URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?com... batten
Date: 10/03/2005

Pauline  •  Link

from L&M Companion (partial)
kt 1648 (?1601-67)....Son of a Somerset mariner, Andrew Batten, he made the sea his career, serving for a while in merchant ships and as a sailing master in the King's ships....During the Interregnum he retired into private life. In 1660 he was reappointed
Surveyor and in 1661 was elected M.P. for Rochester in the face of opposition from the cathedral interest. He and Pepys were soon on bad terms, quarrelling over the right to draft contracts and competing for the favours of suppliers. Pepys early formed an alliance with Warren the timber merchant, and Batten with William Wood, Warren's closest rival. Relations between them remained hostile or at best uneasy throughout the diary period, despite some efforts---always on Batten's part---to improve them. Pepys believed Batten to be corrupt, and no doubt (like Pepys himself) he feathered his nest, but whether he was seriously corrupt is impossible to determine. The charge of incompetence which Pepys also makes is easier to sustain, thought it should be added that his job was one of great complexity. He was a poor speaker and not at his best with ledgers and memoranda. According to Pepys's notes in his 'Navy White Book' he chose his clerks badly (see Gilsthorpe), and undermined the efficiency of the Navy Office by seconding them to the Ticket Office or Navy Treasury in order to earn extra pay. Coventry criticised his slowness; Middleton, his successor, complained of the state of his papers at his death; and the Chatham Chest under his direction remained as badly run as ever. In 1665 and 1666 Batten spent a lot of time in the yards, where he was probably more at home than at an office desk.

Bob Blair  •  Link

Batten's name appears 4 times in Clarendon's history, books 5 and 6.

In book 5.44, which deals with events in March, 1641/42: "...By this means, the vice-admiralty, which was designed to captain Cartwright, the comptroller of the navy, who hath since sufficiently testified how advantageously to his majesty he would have managed that charge, upon his refusal (which shall be hereafter mentioned) was conferred upon Batten, an obscure fellow, and, though a good seaman, unknown to the navy, till he was, two or three years before [Sept. 1638] for money, made surveyor, who executed it ever since with great animosity against the king's service . . . ."

In 5.378, which deals with June of that year and the disasterously incompetent attempt of the king to put John Pennington back in control of the fleet by coup: "Mr. Villiers hastened to the ships which lay then at anchor, and according to his instructions, delivered his several letters to the captains [July 2]; the greatest part whereof received them with great expressions of duty and submission, expecting only to receive sir John Pennington's orders, for which they staid, and, without doubt, if either the first letters had been sent, or sir John Pennington been present, when these others were delivered, his majesty had been possessed of his whole fleet; the earl of Warwick [the admiral] being at that time, according to his usual licences, with some officers, whose company he liked, on shore making merry; so that there was only his vice-admiral, captain Batten, on board, who was of eminent disaffection to his majesty; the rear-admiral, sir John Mennes, being of unquestionable integrity."

In 5.382, which backs up a bit and talks about the period in late 1641 when the Parliament was asserting control in the Navy: "...The king, looking upon the fleet in a manner taken from him, when another [the earl of Warwick], whose disaffection to his service was very notorious, was, contrary to his express pleasure, presumptuously put into the command of it, and his own minister [Sir John Pennington] displaced for no other reason (his sufficiency and ability for command being by all men confessed) but his zeal and integrity to him, and therefore he would not countenance that fleet, and that admiral, with suffering an officer of his own to command in it under the other, and therefore ordered captain Carteret to decline the employment, which he prudently, and without noise, did; and thereupon, another officer of the navy, even the surveyor general, captain Batten, a man of very different inclinations to his master, and his service, and furious in the new fancies of religion, was substituted in the place: whereas if captain Carteret had been suffered to have taken that charge, his interest and reputation in the navy was so great, and his diligence and dexterity in command so eminent, that I verily believe, he would, against whatsoever the earl of Warwick could have done, have preserved a major part of the fleet in their duty to the king.

Finally, in 6.267, describing the queen's coming over from Holland with arms in February 1642/43: "The second day after the queen's landing, Batten, vice-admiral to the earl of Warwick, (who had waited to intercept her passage,) with four the king's ships, arrived in Burlington Road; and, finding that her majesty was landed, and that she lodged upon the key, bringing his ships to the nearest distance, being very early in the morning [Feb. 23], discharged above a hundred cannon (whereof many were laden with cross-bar-shot) for the space of two hours upon the house where her majesty was lodged, whereupon whe was forced out of her bed, some the shot making way through her own chamber; and to shelter herself under a bank in the open fileds; which barbarous and treasonable act was so much the more odious, in that the parliament never so far took notice of it, as to disavow it."

Cumsalisgrano  •  Link

Captain Batten [Vice Admiral] in his prime when yung Peepes still trying to decode Aristotle:

Articles for the Surrender of the Isle of Scilly to the Parliament's Forces.
1. First, The Castle of St. Marye's, in Silly, and the Islands thereof, together with all the Forts, Fortresses, and other Fortifications, as well in Trescawe as in that Island, belonging to the said Garrison, with all their Arms, Ordnance, Ammunition, and Furniture of War, and Provision, except what shall be allowed in the ensuing Articles, shall be delivered to such Persons as Captain Wm. Batten Vice Admiral and Colonel Richard Fortescue shall appoint to receive the same, for the Use of King and Parliament, without any Spoil or Embezzlement, upon Wednesday the 16th Day of this Instant September, by Two of the Clock in the Afternoon, or at any Time after when it shall be required by the Persons authorized as aforesaid.

From: 'House of Lords Journal Volume 9: 20 March 1647', Journal of the House of Lords: volume 9: 1646 (1802), pp. 90-3. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?com.... Date accessed: 08 June 2007.

Bill  •  Link

On the Restoration Batten was reinstated in his office of surveyor of the navy; in the exercise of its duties his remaining years were passed, during which time, through the pleasant pages of Pepys's Diary, we seem to become almost personally acquainted with him. Pepys was often very much out of humour with Batten, though he continued throughout on good terms with him; and much of what we read in the Diary must be attributed to some passing pique. To say that in an age of almost universal corruption Batten's official hands were not quite clean is unnecessary; but there is something ridiculous in Pepys and Sir W. Warren discoursing on Batten's iniquities for some four hours on end, forgetful even of eating or drinking (4 July 1662); or on another occasion adjourning to a tavern to talk 'of the evils the king suffers in our ordering of business in the navy, as Sir W. Batten now forces us by his knavery' (5 May 1664). The relations of Pepys and Warren to each other were of such a nature as to permit us to suspect that Batten's 'knavery' may have largely shown itself in restraining the greed of the clerk of the acts or in insisting on a just interpretation of the clauses of a contract (e.g. 10 Feb. 1662-3, 2 Feb. 1663-4, 16 Sept. 1664). There is, in fact, no reason to suppose that Batten ever exceeded the bounds of what was then considered fair and right; and the story of Batten's cowardice (4 June 1664) as related to Pepys by Coventry, who said he had it from the king, is probably false (29 Aug. 1648); though it is quite possible that he may have shown marks of agitation, of a spirit torn with conflicting emotions, which the king thought a fitting subject for jest. In 1665 Batten had a serious illness, and lay for four or five days at the point of death. 'I am at a loss,' wrote Pepys (7 Feb. 1664-5), 'whether it will be better for me to have him die, because he is a bad man, or live, for fear a worse should come.' He revived, however, and lived on for another two years and a half. On 4 Oct. 1667 Pepys notes: 'Sir W. Batten is so ill that it is believed he cannot live till to-morrow, which troubles me and my wife mightily, partly out of kindness, he being a good neighbour, and partly because of the money he owes me.' He died on the early morning of 5 Oct., 'having been but two days sick;' and on the 12th 'the body was carried, with a hundred or two of coaches, to Walthamstow, and there buried.' From 1661 he had sat in parliament as member for Rochester, and since June 1663 had held the honourable post of master of the Trinity House. He was twice married, and left a son and daughter both grown up and married.
---Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 3, 1885.

Bill  •  Link

BATTEN, SIR WILLIAM (d.1667), admiral; obtained letters of marque for the Salutation, 1626; surveyor of the Navy, 1638; second in command of Warwick's fleet, 1642; engaged in preventing assistance king by sea, 1643; resigned command, 1647, but resumed it on personal invitation of officers; joined Prince of Wales in Holland, where he was knighted; declined to serve against parliament and returned; reinstated surveyor of navy, 1660; M.P. for Rochester, 1661; master of Trinity House, 1663-7.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.