George Legge, 1st Baron Dartmouth

George Legge, 1st Baron Dartmouth

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Admiral George Legge, 1st Baron Dartmouth PC
Privy Council of England
The Privy Council of England, also known as His Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, was a body of advisers to the sovereign of the Kingdom of England...

 (c. 1647 – 1691) was an English naval commander
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 who gave distinguished service to both Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

 and James II
James II of England
James II & VII was King of England and King of Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland...



His father was the royalist Colonel William Legge
William Legge (MP)
William Legge was an English royalist army officer, a close associate of Prince Rupert of the Rhine.-Life:He was the eldest son of Edward Legge, who was vice-president of Munster by the influence of his kinsman Charles Blount, 1st Earl of Devonshire, by Mary, daughter of Percy Walsh of Moy valley,...

 and his mother was Elizabeth Washington (1619-1688), first cousin of Col. Sir John Washington (1633-1677), the great-grandfather of George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...


Naval career

Legge's naval career began in the Second Anglo-Dutch War
Second Anglo-Dutch War
The Second Anglo–Dutch War was part of a series of four Anglo–Dutch Wars fought between the English and the Dutch in the 17th and 18th centuries for control over the seas and trade routes....

 of 1665–1667, where he served under his cousin Admiral Sir Edward Spragge
Edward Spragge
Sir Edward Spragge was an English admiral. His name was also written as Spragg or Sprague.Spragge was a fiery, brilliantly accomplished Irish seaman who fought in many great actions after the restoration of King Charles II in 1660.Spragge was an officer of the Royal Navy who remained loyal to the...

; at the end of the war Legge was captain of HMS Pembroke. In March 1672, now in command of HMS Fairfax
HMS Fairfax (1653)
HMS Fairfax was a 52-gun third rate frigate, built for the navy of the Commonwealth of England by John Taylor at Chatham and launched in 1653. She retained her name after the Restoration in 1660.Fairfax was wrecked in 1682....

, he took part in the attack, on the Dutch Smyrna fleet lying off the Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight is a county and the largest island of England, located in the English Channel, on average about 2–4 miles off the south coast of the county of Hampshire, separated from the mainland by a strait called the Solent...

, that was the immediate cause of the Third Anglo-Dutch War
Third Anglo-Dutch War
The Third Anglo–Dutch War or Third Dutch War was a military conflict between England and the Dutch Republic lasting from 1672 to 1674. It was part of the larger Franco-Dutch War...

. In June he fought in the Battle of Sole Bay. The following year he commanded HMS Royal Katherine
HMS Royal Katherine (1664)
HMS Royal Katherine was an 84-gun second-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched in 1664 at Woolwich Dockyard.In the Second Anglo-Dutch War she fought at the Battle of Lowestoft , the Four Days' Battle , and the St. James's Day Battle...

 under Prince Rupert of the Rhine
Prince Rupert of the Rhine
Rupert, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria, 1st Duke of Cumberland, 1st Earl of Holderness , commonly called Prince Rupert of the Rhine, KG, FRS was a noted soldier, admiral, scientist, sportsman, colonial governor and amateur artist during the 17th century...

 in the Battle of Schooneveld
Battle of Schooneveld
The Battles of Schooneveld were two naval battles of the Franco-Dutch War, fought off the coast of the Netherlands on 7 June and 14 June 1673 between an allied Anglo-French fleet commanded by Prince Rupert of the Rhine, and the fleet of the United Provinces, commanded by Michiel de Ruyter.The...


By 1683 Legge had risen to be Admiral of the Fleet
Admiral of the Fleet (Royal Navy)
Admiral of the fleet is the highest rank of the British Royal Navy and other navies, which equates to the NATO rank code OF-10. The rank still exists in the Royal Navy but routine appointments ceased in 1996....

 and he was sent out to Tangier
Tangier, also Tangiers is a city in northern Morocco with a population of about 700,000 . It lies on the North African coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel...

 to oversee the evacuation and destruction of the ill-fated English colony there. His last naval appointment was to the command of the Channel Fleet
Channel Fleet
The Channel Fleet was the Royal Navy formation of warships that defended the waters of the English Channel from 1690 to 1909.-History:The Channel Fleet dates back at least to 1690 when its role was to defend England against the French threat under the leadership of Edward Russell, 1st Earl of...

 that unsuccessfully attempted to intercept the invasion force led by William III of Orange
William III of England
William III & II was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland...

 that landed in 1688 at the beginning of the Glorious Revolution
Glorious Revolution
The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, is the overthrow of King James II of England by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange-Nassau...


Appointments and Honours

As a close supporter of the House of Stuart
House of Stuart
The House of Stuart is a European royal house. Founded by Robert II of Scotland, the Stewarts first became monarchs of the Kingdom of Scotland during the late 14th century, and subsequently held the position of the Kings of Great Britain and Ireland...

 he held numerous royal appointments and honours.
  • Lieutenant Governor of Portsmouth
    Portsmouth is the second largest city in the ceremonial county of Hampshire on the south coast of England. Portsmouth is notable for being the United Kingdom's only island city; it is located mainly on Portsea Island...

  • Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance
    Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance
    The Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance was a member of the British Board of Ordnance and the deputy of the Master-General of the Ordnance. The office was established in 1544, and the holder was appointed by the crown under letters patent...

     (obtained reversion 1672, succeeded 1679)
  • Governor of Portsmouth 1673
  • Master-General of the Ordnance
    Master-General of the Ordnance
    The Master-General of the Ordnance was a very senior British military position before 1855, when the Board of Ordnance was abolished.-Responsibilities:...

  • Master of the King's Horse
    Master of the Horse
    The Master of the Horse was a position of varying importance in several European nations.-Magister Equitum :...

  • Constable of the Tower
    Constable of the Tower
    The Constable of the Tower is the most senior appointment at the Tower of London. In the middle ages a constable was the person in charge of a castle when the owner - the king or a nobleman - was not in residence...


In 1682, he was elevated to the peerage by Charles II as the first Baron Dartmouth
Earl of Dartmouth
Earl of Dartmouth is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain. It was created in 1711 for William Legge, 2nd Baron Dartmouth. The Legge family descended from Edward Legge, Vice-President of Munster. His eldest son William Legge was a Royalist army officer and close associate of Prince Rupert of the...



Following the abdication of James II, he was dismissed by the triumphant William III
William III of England
William III & II was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland...

, and later arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London
Tower of London
Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space...

. He died in there in 1691 without ever being brought to trial.

He was succeeded as Baron Dartmouth by his only son William Legge, 1st Earl of Dartmouth
William Legge, 1st Earl of Dartmouth
William Legge, 1st Earl of Dartmouth , only son of George Legge, 1st Baron Dartmouth, succeeded to his father's barony in 1691. In 1702 he was appointed a member of the Board of Trade and Plantations, and eight years later he became Secretary of State for the Southern Department and joint keeper of...