Lieutenant-General George Legge, 1st Lord Dartmouth

Lord Dartmouth was more of a navy man than army. He was born in 1647 the son of a royalist colonel, and elevated to the peerage in 1682 by Charles II. He entered the Navy in 1685 and served with the fleet under his cousin Sir Edward Spragge in the Second Dutch War. He was Captain of HMS Pembroke and then HMS Fairfax in which he took part in the attack on the Dutch Smyrna fleet off the Isle of Wight. He was at the battle of Sole Bay off East Anglia, and commanded HMS Royal Katherine at the Battle of Schooneveld. He was Admiral of the Fleet in 1683 and was sent to Tangier to evacuate the British from that colony and destroy it. He was appointed by James II to command the Channel Fleet with the task of intercepting William of Orange and prevent his landing on the English coast. However, the fleet was held up by contrary winds in the Thames Estuary and did not manage to catch up with William. Other posts he held were: Lieutenant-Governor of Portsmouth 1670, Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance 1679, Master General of the Ordnance 1682-89, Master of the Horse 1685-89, Constable of the Tower of London 1685-88 and Colonel of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (The Ordnance Regiment)1685-89.

He was an Anglican but loyal to King James, a staunch Catholic. Upon William III's accession to the throne, Dartmouth was dismissed from his posts and imprisoned in the Tower of London, where he had been Constable. He died there, on 25th Oct 1691, before coming to trial, and was buried at the Church of the Holy Trinity, within the Liberties of the Tower of London. He was married to Barbra Archbold and had one son William, and seven daughters. William Legge inherited the title and became 2nd Baron Dartmouth.

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by Stephen Luscombe