ROWLEY, Sir William (c.1690-1768), of Tendring Hall, Suff.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



27 Feb. 1750 - 1754
1754 - 1761

Family and Education

b. c.1690, s. of William Rowley of Whitehall.  m. bef. 1729, Arabella, da. and h. of George Dawson, 4s. d.v.p. 1da.  cr. K.B. 12 Dec. 1753.

Offices Held

Entered R.N. 1704; lt. 1708; capt. 1716; r.-adm. 1743; v.-adm. 1744; adm. 1747; adm. of the fleet 1762.

Ld. of Admiralty June 1751-Nov. 1756, Apr.-July 1757.


Rowley was a friend of Lord Egremont, on whose interest he was returned for Taunton and who obtained for him a seat at the Admiralty Board. In 1754 Rowley was returned for an Admiralty borough. He lost his office on the resignation of Newcastle, but regained it for a short time in the interim between the Devonshire-Pitt and the Newcastle-Pitt Administrations. On his dismissal the second time he wrote to Winchilsea, his former chief at the Admiralty, 31 Aug. 1757:1

I have served honestly and I hope without reproach above 53 years, and, as I thank God my health will permit me, I am both ready and willing to attend any service my royal master may have for me, and therefore flatter myself my friends will not consent to let me be laid by to make room for anybody.

He was not again employed, but seems to have owed his appointment in 1762 as admiral of the fleet to Egremont’s influence with George Grenville, then first lord of the Admiralty.2 There is no evidence of his having spoken in the House.

Rowley died 1 Jan. 1768. ‘He has left £160,000’, wrote the Gentleman’s Magazine (1768, p. 47)—the bulk of it to his great-grandson.3

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. Add. 29589B, f. 21.
  • 2. Sedgwick, 175.
  • 3. See BURTON, Bartholomew, and Walpole to Mann, 17 Jan. 1768.