Treasurer of the Navy

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Office of the Treasurer of the Navy
Navy Board flag
Department of the Admiralty
Member ofNavy Board (1546–1832)
Reports toFirst Lord of the Admiralty
NominatorFirst Lord of the Admiralty
AppointerPrime Minister
Subject to formal approval by the King-in-Council
Term lengthNot fixed (typically 3–7 years)
Inaugural holderWilliam Gonson
Sir Henry Parnell was the last Treasurer of the Navy

The Treasurer of the Navy,[1] originally called Treasurer of Marine Causes[2] or Paymaster of the Navy,[3] was a civilian officer of the Royal Navy, one of the principal commissioners of the Navy Board responsible for naval finance[4] from 1524 to 1832. The treasurer was based at the Navy Pay Office.


Originally established in 1524, the first holder of the post was William Gonson; he held the office for twenty years until 1544.[5] Although a member of the board, his office was semi-autonomous. The office-holder was responsible for the direction and control of the finance of the Royal Navy. The office was a political appointment and frequently was held by up-and-coming young politicians who would later go on to hold more important positions. Before 1832 all accounts were dealt with by a number of different offices and officials. The Treasurer of the Navy originated during the reign of Henry VIII. He was the senior member of the Navy Board responsible for all Navy accounts; he gradually withdrew during the seventeenth century from the board's day-to-day affairs and his office, and the Navy Pay Office, came to be regarded as entirely separate from the Navy Office. The Treasurer of the Navy survived the re-organisational changes of 1832, but the office was abolished in 1835 and its duties were transferred to the Paymaster General's' Office.

Treasurers of the Navy 1524–1836[edit]

Notable holders of this post included:[6]

Service Name Notes
1524–October 1544 Vice-Admiral, Sir William Gonson [7][8]
October 1544–December 1545 Captain John Wynter merchant and sea-captain of Bristol[9]
25 Apr 1546–8 Jul 1549 Robert Legge
8 Jul 1549–18 Nov 1577 Benjamin Gonson[10]
18 Nov 1577–26 Nov 1577 Benjamin Gonson and John Hawkins
26 Nov 1577–12 Nov 1595 John Hawkins Knighted 26 July 1588
22 Dec 1598–26 Apr 1604 Fulk Greville[11]
26 Apr 1604–11 May 1618 Sir Robert Mansell
11 May 1618–5 Apr 1627 Sir William Russell created baronet 12 March 1627
5 Apr 1627–21 Jan 1630 Sackville Crowe created baronet 8 July 1627
1630–1639 Sir William Russell
1639–1642 Sir William Russell and Henry Vane
1642–1646 Sir William Russell and Sir John Penington (Royalist)
1646–1654 Sir William Russell (Royalist)
1645–1650 Sir Henry Vane (Parliamentary)
1648–1650 Richard Fanshawe (Royalist)
1651–1660 Richard Hutchinson (Parliamentary)
1660–1667 Sir George Carteret
1667–1668 Arthur Annesley, 1st Earl of Anglesey
1668–1671 Sir Thomas Osborne and Sir Thomas de Littelton, Bt
1671–1673 Sir Thomas Osborne
1673–1681 Edward Seymour
1681–1689 Anthony Carey, 5th Viscount Falkland
1689–1699 Edward Russell, 1st Earl of Orford
1699–1710 Sir Thomas de Littleton
1710–1711 Robert Walpole
1711–1714 Charles Caesar
1714–1718 John Aislabie
1718–1720 Richard Hampden
1720–1724 George Byng, 1st Viscount Torrington
1724–1734 Pattee Byng, 2nd Viscount Torrington
1734–1742 Arthur Onslow
1742 Thomas Clutterbuck
1742–1743 Sir Charles Wager
1743–1744 Sir John Rushout, 4th Baronet
1744–1749 George Bubb Dodington
1749–1754 Henry Legge
1754–1756 George Grenville
1756 George Bubb Dodington
1756–1762 George Grenville
1762–1765 William Wildman Barrington, 2nd Viscount Barrington
1765–1770 Richard Howe, 4th Viscount Howe
1770–1777 Sir Gilbert Elliot, 3rd Bt
1777–1782 Welbore Ellis
1782 Isaac Barré
1782–1783 Henry Dundas
1783–1784 Charles Townshend
1784–1800 Henry Dundas Except 1 January 1786 – 18 August 1802
1800–1801 Dudley Ryder
1801–1803 Charles Bragge
1803–1804 George Tierney
1804–1806 George Canning
1806–1807 Richard Brinsley Sheridan
1807–1818 George Rose
1818–1823 Frederick John Robinson
1823–1827 William Huskisson
1827–1828 Charles Grant
1828–1830 William Vesey Fitzgerald
1830 Thomas Frankland Lewis
1830–1834 Charles Poulett Thomson
1834–1835 William Lowther, Viscount Lowther
1835–1836 Sir Henry Parnell

Departments and offices under Treasurer[edit]



  1. ^ Mackenzie, Sir George (1 January 1821). "The Royal naval and military calendar: and national record for 1821". Google Books. Printed for the author. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  2. ^ Knighton, C. S.; Loades, David (2016). Elizabethan Naval Administration. Routledge. p. 5. ISBN 9781317145035.
  3. ^ Knighton, C. S.; Loades, D. M. (2011). The Navy of Edward VI and Mary I. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 570. ISBN 9781409418474.
  4. ^ "Navy Board: Navy Pay Office: Treasurer's Out-Letters". National Archives, 1807–1830, ADM 15. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  5. ^ Hill Miller, Helen (1985). Captains from Devon: the great Elizabethan seafarers who won the oceans for England. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. p. 33. ISBN 9780912697277.
  6. ^ Sainty, J. C. (January 2003). "Navy Treasurer c. 1546–1836". Institute of Historical Research, University of London. Archived from the original on 27 June 2018.
  7. ^ Knighton, C. S.; Loades, D. M. (2011). The Navy of Edward VI and Mary I. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 570. ISBN 9781409418474.
  8. ^ Miller, Helen Hill (1985). Captains from Devon : the great Elizabethan seafarers who won the oceans for England. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. p. 33. ISBN 9780912697277.
  9. ^ Knighton, C. S.; Loades, D. M. (2011). The Navy of Edward VI and Mary I. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 570. ISBN 9781409418474.
  10. ^ Bennell, John (2004). "Gonson, William (d. 1544)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/47400. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  11. ^ "Greville, Fulke (GRVL568F)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  12. ^ Cock, Randolph; Rodger, N. A. M. "A Guide to the Naval Records in the National Archives" (PDF). University of London. p. 221. Retrieved 8 January 2019.


External links[edit]