BURCHETT, Josiah (c.1666-1746), of Hampstead, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1705 - 1713
1722 - 1741

Family and Education

b. c.1666, probably 1st surv. s. of John Burchett of Sandwich by his 2nd w. Katherine. m. (1) 24 Dec. 1695, Thomasine (d. Oct. 1713), da. of Sir William Honywood, 2nd Bt., M.P., of Evington, Kent; (2) 22 July 1721 (d. 1 Mar. 1740), wid. of Capt. Robert Aris, commr. of the navy at Plymouth; (3) 10 June 1740, Isabella, wid. of Mr. Wood, ‘a Spanish merchant’, 1s. 2da.

Offices Held

Clerk to Samuel Pepys 1680-87; clerk in the Admiralty 1689; sec. to the Admiralty 1694-1742 (jt. sec. 1694-8, 1702-5, 1741-2).


Burchett, secretary to the Admiralty since 1694, was continued in office after the accession of George I. In 1717 he augmented his salary of £800 by successfully petitioning for the restoration of the secretary’s fees, abolished in 1694. In 1722 he was returned on the Admiralty interest for Sandwich, which he had represented in the previous reign. Before the next general election he wrote to the Sandwich corporation, 27 June 1727:

To whom can I better apply myself than to gentlemen of a town where I had the happiness to draw my first breath? ... it would be the greatest satisfaction to me to live and die a representative of those gentlemen to whom nature as well as inclination obliges me to have a special esteem and regard.1

He continued to represent Sandwich till 1741, when both government candidates were defeated. ‘Worn out with age and unable to attend to the business of his office’, he retired in 1742, after forty-eight years as secretary to the Admiralty, with a pension of £800 p.a. He spent the remaining years of his life in Hampstead, on a property which he had inherited from his first wife, dying there on 2 Oct. 1746. His widow was granted a pension of £100 p.a., most of his savings having been spent on a collection of some 312 paintings, including Flemish and Italian old masters, which were sold in 1747. He was the author of memoirs of the naval war with France 1688-97, published 1703, and a history of naval warfare down to 1712, published 1720.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Paula Watson


This biography is based upon G. F. James's article in Mariner's Mirror, xxiii. 476-98.

  • 1. Add. 33512, f. 231.