Summary

Named as “Louis de la Roche” in Latham & Matthews, but probably known as Gilles de La Roche-Saint-André. See also his entry in French Wikipedia.

16 Annotations

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Feb. 19. 1668
DEVONSHIRE
Account attested by several Ostend mariners before Thos. Newman, deputy vice-admiral of Devonshire, 14 Feb. 1668, and before Sir Giles Sweit, surrogate of the Admiralty Court, 19 Feb.,
of the seizure of their vessel, the St. Mary of Ostend,
at Torquay, by Capt. De la Roche and 2 French men-of-war.

On his approach, being unable to defend their ship, they bored holes into her, and escaped to shore, carrying their sails, ammunition, &c.,
and gave them in charge to Dan. Luscombe, of Torquay;

but De la Roche sent men to seize the ammunition, &c., stopped up the holes, and carried away the vessel.

He also carried off a boat belonging to an Ostend vessel, near Cowes Castle.
[2½ pages. S.P. Dom., Car. II. 235, No. 7.]

'Charles II: February 1668', in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles II, 1667-8, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1893), pp. 204-261. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Feb. 20. 1668
Portsmouth.
––––— to Williamson.

Monsieur De la Roche continues at Cowes with his man-of-war.

The master of the Priscilla yacht of London, laden with wine from Bordeaux, has been driven in by contrary winds,
and reports that two Dutch and two French men-of-war were sitting there when he came away, and that 50 more were ready to sail.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 235, No. 20.]

I presume the two Dutch and two French men-of-war were ready to face off against each other; if and how De la Roche's man-of-war is involved with them is unclear. But it is otherwhere stated that he had other ships with him including English ships he had taken, which is why Allin's squadron went after him.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Feb. 24. 1668
WHITEHALL
Duke of York to [Sir Thos. Allin].
Conveys to him Charles II's instructions as detailed,
in reference to the violences committed by French ships
under the Sieur De la Roche.
[1½ pages. See No. 55 supra.
S.P. Dom., Car. II. 235, No. 62.]

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Feb. 25. 1668
Portsmouth. ——— to Williamson.
The Emsworth frigate has arrived from the Downs.
Mons. De La Roche with his consort has gone for the coast of France,
but met with Sir Thos. Allin's squadron of 5 frigates
Saw some guns fired, and they have lain this hour muzzled together.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 235, No. 77.]

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Feb. 27. 1668
Portsmouth.
Hugh Salesbury to Williamson.
Sir Thos. Allin has appeared in sight from the Downs with 4 ships named.
He met Capt. De la Roche with another French man-of-war, and commanded him aboard, where he now remains;
he is stayed for having Capt. [Wm.] Skelton and 200 or 300 English sailors aboard him.
Sir Thomas and the French ships are riding at anchor at Spithead.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 235, No. 97.]

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Feb. 27. 1668
Portsmouth.
——— to Williamson.
Mons. De la Roche with his consort,
after having left Sir Thos. Allin 2 hours,
was forced back by the weather,
and then Sir Thomas, having received orders, stopped him,
and took from him a small Ostender, which he had taken out of one of our harbors, and also 103 (sic) Englishmen, together with Lieut.-Col. Skelton.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 235, No. 98.]

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Feb. 27. 1668
Portsmouth Dockyard.
Sir Thos. Allin to the Navy Commissioners.
Is at Spithead with 5 ships.
Intreats orders to the victualer to supply provisions mentioned to complete 5 months' stores, having hastened away as ordered without some portion.
Wants small nails.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 235, No. 101.]

Sounds like the caper with Monsieur De la Roche has been successfully resolved, with the return of English seamen and ships.

@@@

My guess is these intrusions were approved of by Louis XIV ... or was De la Roche an Ostender or a Dutch mercenary? What made him different from all the other warships dodging the storms in the Channel in February 1668 is that he captured ships in English harbors and our soldiers.
Either way, someone was probing to find out if England, in her chaos and penury, was still capable of mounting a defense.
Google is no help.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I missed one:

Feb. 29. 1668
Whitehall.
Robert Yard to F. Royley.
I am very sensible of your kindness.
I have had an express from Sir. Thos. Allin of what passed between him and De la Roche off Spithead;
that he had taken 100 men from him, which were being transported under Mr. Skelton for France, and landed them at Portsmouth,
and also the Mary and 4 others of Ostend,
but all was done with great civility and fairness.

The forts at Sheerness are to be fortified with all diligence.

The Marquis of Castel Rodrigo has declared to Sir Wm. Temple that he accepts the alternative, and a suspension of arms until March, which is what France offered;
so now the ambassadors there, having received that notice, are to press the French King to a peremptory declaration of himself.
[2 pages. S.P. Dom., Car. II. 235, No. 123.]

I have no idea is the last paragraph has anything to do with De La Roche or not.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

L&M on 29 February 1667/68 says:

Louise de la Roche, in the Jules Cesar, commanded a small French squadron which had been attacking the lines of communication between Spain and the Netherlands in the Channel.

He had captured a company of English soldiers in Plymouth under the command of Capt. Bevill Skelton destined for the service of Spain, and [de la Roche] was transporting them back to France.

At Torquay de la Roche attacked an Ostend ship (the Sainte Marie) in the harbor itself, and landed an armed party to secure its cargo, which had been hidden in a private house.

Charles Ii made a vigorous protest to Louis XIV about these violations of English soil and waters, and instructed Sir Thomas Allin to intercept de la Roche if he found himself with a superior force.

Allin came up with the French off Spithead on February 25, 1668. After an exchange of civilities, he secured the release of the English troops and the Ostend prize.

See
Allin ii, 9-10.
CSPD (above)
C.H. Hartmann, The King My Brother, pp. 213-214.
Bulstrode Papers, i, 26, 27.

L&M was written 100 years ago.

My research ... and we have much more available to us on Google than the good professors could have dreamed of ... indicate Bevill Skelton (1641–1696) and had been a page to Charles II for a year, when he became the Lt. Gov. of Plymouth.

On 27 July 1666 he received the commission of Cornet, to serve with the Earl of Rochester, after Chatham. And on 20 November 1668 he will be promoted to the rank of Captain in the 1st Foot Guards.

William Skelton -- there were a lot of Skeltons. Maybe it was Bevill, maybe it was William. None of the biographies I've found of Bevill mention this escapade. Some of them say it was his father, Sir John, who was the Lt. Gov. of Portsmouth. I think we get the gist of the story; going further is too much work for a character Pepys doesn't even mention.

https://armorial.library.utoronto.ca/stamp-owners…
https://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Of course, this saga continued in March 1668. All the March correspondence can be found at:

'Charles II: March 1668', in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles II, 1667-8, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1893), pp. 262-320. British History Online
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers…

March 1. 1668
The Monmouth,
Spithead. [off Portsmouth]
Sir Thos. Allin to Williamson.
Has taken the Mary of Ostend and 4 other Ostenders from Monsieur De la Roche, who had taken them out of the King's chamber or roads;
will send all the English they have aboard on shore at Portsmouth.

There is a great fleet of ships at Cowes bound westward;
the Society has arrived from New England very richly laden.
Has had such bad weather that the boats could not go ashore, so could not advise him before.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 235, No. 175.]

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

March 2. 1668
The Monmouth,
Spithead. [off Portsmouth]
Sir Thos. Allin to Williamson.
Monsieur De la Roche having received intelligence that his Royal Highness was angry for some misdemeanors committed by him, has set sail, carrying Lieutenant-Colonel Skelton's man with him.
Shall be ready to sail tomorrow.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 235, No. 191.]

I wonder which His Royal Highness this was. De la Roche must have known Charles would be furious. Since he had to be told, my guess is it was Louis XIV.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

March 3. 1668
Portsmouth.
— to Williamson.
Sir Thos. Allin with his squadron continues at Spithead;
he has put ashore all the men out of De la Roche's ship, and the latter with his consort has put to sea.

A boat was cast away between Portsmouth and Spithead, and 3 men drowned.

The Revenge frigate has gone out of the harbor.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 235, No. 196.]

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

March 12. 1668
The Monmouth,
Lizard. (Most southwestern point of Cornwall)

Sir Thos. Allin to Williamson.
I have been cruising off the Lizard 4 days, and met Cornelius Everson of Flushing, with a dozen sail and 4 men of-war, one of which was the Loyal George, which they took from us.

They showed obedience to my pennant by striking all their topsails before they came near.

Their vice-admiral came aboard, and said they were bound for Cadiz, while others of his fleet said the West Indies; he had told De la Roche, who made him drunk in Plymouth Sound, that he was bound to Barbados and Surinam, with men and stores for the plantations.
I told him I knew better than to believe the States would send an admiral of a squadron with such a bundle of boards, and having but 9 ports on his lower tier and the rest worse than he; but he would not change his tale, being ordered to say so.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 236, No. 95.]

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

March 28. 1668
Dartmouth.
––––– to [Williamson].

A vessel has come in which came in company with the French fleet of 20 sail from Brest.

MM. Beaufort and De la Roche were with them;
they intended to cruise in the chops of the Channel, to meet with the Spanish soldiers said to be coming out.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 237, No. 98.]

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Our interest in Gilles de la Roche Saint Andre has come to the attention of one of his descendents who is researching a possible book about him. See: https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1668/02/19/#c553…

One important point Regis de la Roche Saint Andre made:
"Few modern sources, even in France, call him Louis (and the mistake spread) but his real first name was Gilles. I have done some corrections in his Wikipedia page, that should not contain errors now."

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References

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

1668