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George Legge, 1st Baron Dartmouth
George Legge, 1st Baron Dartmouth by John Riley.jpg
George Legge, 1st Baron Dartmouth, by John Riley
Died25 October 1691
Tower of London
BuriedHoly Trinity, Minories, London
Noble familyLegge
Spouse(s)Barbara Archbold
FatherWilliam Legge
MotherElizabeth Washington

Admiral of the Fleet George Legge, 1st Baron Dartmouth PC (c. 1647 – 1691) was an English naval commander who gave distinguished service to both Charles II and James II.

Early life

George Legge was the eldest son of the royalist Colonel William Legge by Elizabeth Washington (c.1616–1688). His maternal grandfather, Sir William Washington (1590–1648),[1] was the elder brother of Lawrence Washington, great-great grandfather of George Washington,[2] while his maternal grandmother, Anne Villiers, was a half-sister of James I's favourite, George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham.[3] He was educated at Westminster School and King's College, Cambridge.[3]

Naval career

Legge's naval career began in the Second Anglo-Dutch War of 1665–1667, where he served under his cousin Admiral Sir Edward Spragge; at the end of the war Legge was captain of HMS Pembroke, a 28-gun fifth-rate.[3]

In March 1672, now in command of HMS Fairfax, he took part in the attack, on the Dutch Smyrna fleet lying off the Isle of Wight, that was the immediate cause of the Third Anglo-Dutch War. In June he fought in the Battle of Sole Bay.[3] The following year he commanded HMS Royal Katherine under Prince Rupert of the Rhine in the Battle of Schooneveld.[3]

By 1683 Legge had risen to be Admiral and he was sent out to Tangier with Samuel Pepys to oversee the evacuation and destruction of the ill-fated English colony there. His last naval appointment was to the command of a fleet in the channel which unsuccessfully attempted to intercept the invasion force led by William III of Orange that landed in 1688 at the beginning of the Glorious Revolution. The same year he was appointed the first Admiral of the Fleet.[4]


Following the abdication of James II, Dartmouth was dismissed by the triumphant William III, and imprisoned in the Tower of London in July 1691. He died in the Tower a few months later, on 25 October,[3] without having been brought to trial, and was buried, as his father had been, in the church of the Holy Trinity, Minories, in London.[3] He was succeeded as Baron Dartmouth by his only son, William Legge, 1st Earl of Dartmouth (1672–1750).[5]

Appointments and honours

Engraved portrait of Lord Dartmouth by Peter Vandrebanc.

As a close supporter of the House of Stuart he held numerous royal appointments and honours:

In 1682, he was elevated to the peerage by Charles II as the first Baron Dartmouth.[3]

Marriage and issue

Dartmouth married, in November 1667, Barbara Archbold (1649/50–1718), the daughter of Sir Henry Archbold of Abbots Bromley, Staffordshire, by whom he had a single son, William Legge, 1st Earl of Dartmouth, born in 1672, and seven daughters.[3]

See also


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  1. ^ Roy 2004.
  2. ^ E. K. Vyhmeister, "Lord Sherborne", page 113.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Davies 2004.
  4. ^ .mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit}"Naval Ranks NMRN Portsmouth". The National Museum Royal Navy Portsmouth England. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  5. ^  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainBarker, George Fisher Russell (1892). "Legge, William (1672-1750)". In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 32. London: Smith, Elder & Co.


3 Annotations

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Per L&M Companion:

(1648-91), cr. Baron Dartmouth in 1682. succeeded him (his father, William Legge… ) at the Ordinance (but not in the treasureship which became a separate office). He was one of the Duke of York's household officers and on his accession was made Master of the Horse and Governor of the Tower. He had also proved himself as a seaman in the Second and Third Dutch Wars and it was a cruel disappointment to James that, as commander of the fleet in 1688, he failed to intercept the Dutch invading force. To Pepys his failure was perhaps less of a surprise. He had known him well when he commanded the Tangier expedition (1683-4) and although he found him a fine sailor and an admirable man, he thought him an indecisive leader. He died in the Tower under the unjust suspicion of Jacobitism.

Bill  •  Link

George Leg, Esquire, supposed to be a papist, of the Dukes bed-chamber, and governour of Portsmouth, in boons 40000l.
---A Seasonable Argument ... for a New Parliament. Andrew Marvell, [1677] 1776.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

L&M: George Legge, son of Col. William Legge of the Ordnance Office, had commanded the Pembroke in 1667 at the age of 19. There is no record of his having served as a lieutenant before receiving his next command in 1672.
He became Baron Dartmouth in 1682 and in 1683-4 led the Tangier expedition (on which Pepys also served) sent to dismantle the fortress and evacuate the town.

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