12 Annotations

First Reading

David Quidnunc  •  Link

We don't know much about him

1653-57 Navy commissioner
1657-60 Navy and victualling commissioner

He appears twice in the diary, both in 1660.

-- Latham & Matthews edition of the diary, volumes 10 (Companion) and 11 (Index)

Second Reading

Grant Menzies  •  Link

Maj. Francis Willoughby was my 10th great-grandfather, and from my papers I can add a few more facts. He was born in 1613 in Portsmouth, son of Col. William Willoughby (whose gravestone can be seen today in Portsmouth Cathedral). He served as selectman in Charlestown, MA from 1640-47, was a member of the colonial assembly for several sessions. He returned to England in 1651, was appointed Commissioner of the Navy at Portsmouth (as was his father before him), and was elected MP from Portsmouth to the protectorate parliament (1659). In 1658 he married a young wealthy widow, Margaret Taylor, née Locke (1634-1683), a great-granddaughter of Sir William Lok, mercer to King Henry VIII. They left for his estate in the Massachusetts Colony upon the restoration of the monarchy. There, Willoughby was appointed Deputy Governor. Interestingly, his daughter Susanna Willoughby married the son of a staunch royalist, the Boston businessman and judge, Simon Lynde, whose mother had had him presented to Charles I. Francis Willoughby died on April 3, 1671.

John Wheater  •  Link

He was the previous occupant of the house (L&M 1.197), so they have, we suppose, been haggling about some furniture.

His 3rd & last mention, not noticed in the L&M Index, is on 26Jul60.

Grant Menzies  •  Link

Francis Willoughby's wife, an heiress born Margaret Locke of Wimbledon, was at their marriage the young widow of a London merchant called Daniel Taylor, and brought a great deal of furniture, hangings, carpets, etc. as her dower. Pepys probably liked these silk-fringed things. Francis and Margaret were my 10th great-grandparents and I have their inventories, though none of their finery, which was scattered a few centuries ago. One object of Margaret's that must have been in the Seething Lane house, a red velvet jewel trunk, made its way with Francis and Margaret to Massachusetts, and was handed down through descendants in Connecticut, last being listed in the mid-1700s.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I wish Grant Menzies had included source information, because the paper I have found with lots of information about Capt. Francis Willoughby says:

Francis Willoughby’s first wife died, and he married secondly, in England, Sarah Taylor (probably the daughter of Capt. John Taylor, shipwright of Wapping) and one of the children of this marriage was baptized at the Church of St. Olave’s, Hart Street, London (close by the Navy Office of that time) and the others in New England; but a third wife, Margaret, survived him.

Francis Willoughby had a large family, nine being mentioned in the New England records.

My citation is a 1952 paper presented by Captain William Robert Chaplin, of the Trinity House, London, with quite a few references to Pepys and the Diary.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Some highlights from the above paper:

Early in life Capt. Francis Willoughby had been in command of a vessel, probably trading across the Atlantic, and in 1638 he moved to Massachusetts and settled at Charlestown where he became a prominent merchant, investing much money in building warehouses; he built the first wharf there, and in 1641 owned a shipyard as well.

In May, 1650, Willoughby was appointed to a committee to draw up a code of maritime laws for the colony. He was also the town magistrate.

Willoughby had relatives in America, possibly a brother, as New England records have Nehemiah Bourne writing a letter of attorney to a Thomas Willoughby, in Virginia.
There was a close association between Bourne and Willoughby at Charlestown, Mass., and Francis Willoughby’s two elder children, born in Charlestown, bore the names of Bourne and his wife:
Hannah, born in 1643, and Nehemiah in 1644.

Capt. Francis Willoughby returned to England in May, 1651, possibly to settle his father’s estate; no doubt the outbreak of the first Anglo-Dutch War soon involved him in national affairs, and eventually led to his appointment to the office so lately held by his father; however, in his sphere he was one of the most outstanding and capable administrators of his time. His many letters to the Admiralty during the war, and after, bear testimony to his zeal and energy.

In 1652 the depleted Navy Commissioners petitioned the Admiralty Commissioners calling attention to the deficiency and “desire timely remedy or dismissal from our employment.” The Admiralty approved — or accepted their ultimatum — and recommended Capt. Francis Willoughby, Major Nehemiah Bourne, and Capt. Edward Hopkins to be additional Commissioners of the Navy.

On 20 December, 1652 the Council of State approved the recommendation and ordered warrants to be issued to them as such.

Was it a coincidence that all three were New England colonists who had gone out to Massachusetts at about the same time (1637–1638)?
Sir Henry Vane, the younger, a former Gov. of Massachusetts (1636–1637), was now a member of the Council of State as well as one of the Admiralty Commissioners.
Whether Vane influenced the appointments in favor of the New Englanders cannot be asserted, but the number of colonists who obtained appointments in the navy is noticeable; however, they were always men of outstanding merit and ability.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


Capt. Francis Willoughby was the son of Col. William Willoughby, and on his appointment as a Navy Commissioner, was sent to Portsmouth as the resident commissioner, the office recently held by his father.

A former Gov. of Connecticut, Edward Hopkins returned to England in 1653. The first mention of him was in June in a petition by Capt. Francis Willoughby and Hopkins asking for permission to send a ship, laden with powder and shot to New England, and to give notice to the colonies of the war between the Commonwealth and the United Provinces.
The Committee for Foreign Affairs, in recommending that liberty be granted further suggested “that it be declared by the Council of State that, as the Colonies may expect all fitting encouragement and assistance from hence, so they should demean themselves against the Dutch, as declared enemies to the Commonwealth.”

Hopkins, now also a Navy Commissioner, and as of 1655 a Commissioner of the Admiralty, died in March 1657 and was buried at St. Olave’s. He left legacies to Major Robert Thomson and Capt. Francis Willoughby, both Commissioners of the Navy, who were the executors of his will. After his wife’s death £500 was to be made over to “his loving friends Robert Thomson and Francis Willoughby” for public ends in New England.
This legacy was paid over to Harvard University.

In Capt. Francis Willoughby’s official correspondence with Major Nehemiah Bourne during the first Anglo-Dutch War, Willoughby usually subscribed himself “Your loving friend.”
Around February 18, 1653 a letter from Capt. Francis Willoughby, the Navy Commissioner at Portsmouth, shows their long-standing friendship, and it is curious that this one, entirely personal to Major Nehemiah Bourne, should have been preserved amongst the State Papers; it is dated at Portsmouth, 20 February 1653:
“I suppose
you have a more full relation of our fleets engagement than I am able to give you, only you may please to take notice that the Assistance, whereof your brother is Commander, is come hither, being much torn, in which engagement Providence hath so ordered that your brother hath received some wound in his head, but I hope not mortal.
Your loving friend,

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


The victualing contracts for the Navy, made in 1650, ended in 1654, and the Admiralty Commissioners recommended to the Council of State that the victualing would be better managed by commissioners and that it was time to have it attended to.
The Council agreed, and suggested to them to consider whether Major Nehemiah Bourne, Capt. Thomas Alderne and Capt. Francis Willoughby were suitable for the victualing office, and to draw up the necessary articles and instructions and consider salaries.
As a result of their report these three were appointed and thenceforth styled Commissioners of the Navy and Victualing, and received an additional £250 a year for their services

The outstanding services of the Navy Commissioners were not entirely overlooked, as in June 1655 the Admiralty ordered the other committee to make out bills for £150 each to Major Nehemiah Bourne, Major Robert Thomson, Capt. Thomas Scott, Edward Hopkins, Peter Pett, and Capt. Francis Willoughby “for extraordinary services as Navy Commissioners.”

Early in May 1656 the Navy Commissioners appointed Major Nehemiah Bourne, Capt. Francis Willoughby and Capt. John Taylor, to go to Portsmouth to report on the dockyard. Willoughby was familiar with Portsmouth, as he had been Resident Commissioner there during the war.
On 23 May, 1656 they reported that they had surveyed the yard “and find there is convenience for the erecting of a drydock there, at a cost of £3,200 and that it could be extended for £500 more.”

Capt. Alderne, one of the Victualing Commissioners, died in 1657 and the commission was renewed with Major Nehemiah Bourne, Capt. Robert Thomson and Capt. Francis Willoughby as the three members, with the same emoluments of £250 a year each.

The State Papers of 1657 contain many notes of Bills of Imprest, at first for £3,000 every two weeks and later rising to £4,000 a week, on the order of Majors Bourne and Thomson and Commissioner Francis Willoughby, for carrying on the work of the Victualing Office. This department seems to have been the only one able to obtain adequate funds, but the need of a regular supply of provisions and the consequences of failing to pay the contractors, left no alternative but to keep the department in funds.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


The Navy debts were now £100,000 and its immediate needs £300,000, but Parliament refused to grant Supply unless the control of the militia was restored to them, and Cromwell, utterly refusing to allow the military power out of his own hands, in a fit of temper, dissolved Parliament.
Such a situation did not ease the difficulties of the Navy Commissioners, who were the butt between the seamen and dockyard workmen and the administration.
Pensions of the sick and wounded were always in arrears; the men in the dockyard were unpaid and frequently complained that they were unable to obtain credit for the necessities of life.
Commissioner Peter Pett was obliged to leave Chatham for a time to avoid the clamor of the unpaid poor.

After the Restoration, a new Navy Board was appointed, and Frances Willoughby was one of the ones replaced.

Early in 1662, the General Court of Massachusetts decided it was time to congratulate Charles II upon his restoration, and to send an agent to act for the general interests of the colony, so a letter was written to Herbert Pelham, Esq., Major Nehemiah Bourne, Capt, Francis Willoughby, Richard Hutchinson (Treasurer of the Navy under the Commonwealth) and others, requesting they would supply their representatives, upon their arrival, with funds on the account of the colony. By this time both Bourne and Willoughby were preparing to leave England again.

Capt. Francis Willoughby returned to New England, arriving in May, 1662.
He again became prominent in the affairs of Massachusetts, and was made Deputy-Governor in May, 1665, and so continued until his death in 1671.

About 1666 the necessity for laws regulating maritime affairs and Admiralty cases was needed, particularly for the control of unskilled shipwrights, and the Court nominated a committee of five, under Dep. Gov. Francis Willoughby, to draw up such laws and orders as were necessary.

On 12 October 1669, Dep. Gov. Willoughby was granted 1,000 acres of land as a reward for his public services, “as well at home as in England,” which, at his death, he bequeathed to the school at Charlestown.

Francis Willoughby died in 1671 and amongst his legacies was a bequest of £20 to the town of Charlestown towards commencing the purchase of a stock of arms to furnish the men on exercise days, and to be in readiness against any sudden emergency.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

M. Oppenheim in his 1923 book, “Administration of the Navy”, described Major Nehemiah Bourne and Capt. Francis Willoughby, the commissioner at Portsmouth, as being, in their own spheres, amongst the ablest administrators who have ever served the state.

Grant Menzies  •  Link

Thanks very much, San Diego Sarah, for posting this rich seam of information about my ancestor Francis Willoughby. Much of what I have is in print and laborious to transfer; since 2018 when I last visited this page, I’ve been under contract for four books, which as you may know eat up enormous amounts of time and energy. So thanks again for sharing this material on Francis with the group. (I have equally vast data on wife Margaret, née Locke of Wimbledon, and wish I had more time to review it fully.)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

You're welcome Grant ... and I'm thrilled you have four book contracts. Yes, that will keep you busy.

If/when you have time, I'd love to hear more about Margaret Locke Taylor Willoughby.

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