St James Day Battle

St James' Day Fight

Battle of the North Foreland

Battle of Orfordness

25th July 1666 - 26th July 1666
Part of : The Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665 - 1667)
Previous action : Four Days Battle 1st June 1666 - 4th June 1666
Next action : Holmes' Bonfire 9th August 1666 - 10th August 1666


Dutch Republic

Second Squadron, Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Second Squadron, Van division, Tjerk Hiddeszoon de Vries
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Groot Frisia 72Ide Hilkeszoon Colaart
Groningen 72Jacob MarionSquadron Flagship
Prins Hendrik Casimir 72Simon Fockes
Oostergo 68Jan Janszoon Vijselaer
Westergo 56Wytze Johannes van Beyma
Elf Steden 54Barend Hiddes de Vries
Visschers Herder 26 
Omlandia 48Christiaan Ebelszzon Uma
Klein Frisia 42Jan Pieterszoon Vinckelbos
Second Squadron, Center/Rear division, Johan Evertsen
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Walcheren 70Cornelis EvertsenSquadron Flagship
Tholen 60Pieter de Mauregnault
Zierikzee 40Cornelis Evertsen
Middelburg 50Jacob Adriaanszoon Penssen
Vlissingen 46Jan Mathijszoon
Veere 40Adriaan de Haaze
Utrecht 48Jan Pietersen Tant
Dordrecht 50Adriaan van Cruiningen
Stad Gouda 48Dirck Schey
Dom van Utrecht 48Jacob Willemszoon Broeder
Stavoren 46Jacob Pauw
Wakende Boei 48Hendrik Vroom
Vergulde Zon 40Floris Floriszoon Bloem
Second Squadron, Other vessels
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Zeeridder 34Jan Willem Marinissen
Schakerloo 30Jan Krijnssen
Zoutelande 4Klaas ReinierszoonAdvice-yacht
Dishoek 6Gilles GeleynszoonAdvice-yacht
West Souberg 6Daniel VerdiestAdvice-yacht
Oost Souberg 6Frans RoysAdvice-yacht
First Squadron, Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
First Squadron, Van division, Aert Janszoon van Nes
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Eendracht 76Cornelis de LiefdeSquadron Flagship
Groot Hollandia 68Laurens Davidszoon van Convert
Prinses Louise 40Francois van Nijdek
Provincie van Utrecht 60Jacob Corneliszoon Swart
Gouden Leeuw 60Enno Doedes Star
Tromp 46Hendrik van Vollenhoven
Harderwijk 46Thomas Tobiaszoon
Zwolle 16Pieter Claeszoon WijnbergenYacht
First Squadron, Center division, Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
De Zeven Provinciën 86Jan van Nes Oude Boer JaepFleet Flagship
Gelderland 72Willem Josef van Ghent
Delft 62Laurens Kerseboom
Wassenaer 56Ruth Maximiliaan
Schiedam 24 
Utrecht 62Hendrick Gotskens
Stad en Lande 50Hugo van Nieuwenhof
Zuiderhuis 42Cornelis van Hogenhoeck
Vrede 40Huijbert Huijgh
Hert 12Dirk de MunnikYacht
First Squadron, Rear division, Jan Evertszoon de Liefde
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Ridderschap 72Jan Evertszoon de LiefdeSquadron Flagship
Dordrecht 46Philips van Almonde
Vrede 44 
Harderwijk 34Nicolaas Naalhout
Geloof 50Nicolaes Marrevelt
Amsterdam 54Jacob van Meeuwen
Raadhuis van Haarlem 52Jan de Jonge
Jaarsveld 34Joost Verschuur
Hollandsche Tuin 50Jan Crook
First Squadron, Other vessels
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Third Squadron, Cornelis Maartenszoon Tromp
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Third Squadron, Van division, Jan Corneliszoon Meppel
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Westfriesland 66Adriaan Dirckszoon HouttuijnSquadron Flagship
Pacificatie 70Volckert Schram
Wapen van Enkhuizen 66Egbert Pieterszoon Quispel
Gelderland 60Johan Belgicus
Jonge Prins 62 
Noorderkwartier 60Pieter Claeszoon Wijnbergen
Jozua 60Govert Albertszoon 't Hoen
Drie Helden Davids 50Adriaan Teding van Berkhout
Caleb 50 
Medemblik 46Claes Valehen
Eendracht 44Klaas Anker
Third Squadron, Center division, Cornelis Maartenszoon Tromp
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Hollandia 80Hendrik HondiusSquadron Flagship
Reigersbergen 74Hendrik Adrianszoon
Kalandsoog 68Jan de Han
Gouda 72Jacob Philipszoon
Oosterwijk 68Jan Roetering
Deventer 62Jacob Andrieszoon Swart
Vrijheid 50Jan van Amstel
Tijdverdrijf 60Thomas Fabricius
Beschermer 54Willem van der Zaan
Kampen 54Michael Suis
Haarlem 44Pieter van Middelandt
Third Squadron, Other vessels
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Asperen 32Jan Gijselszoon van Lier
Kleine Harder 36Jan Davidszoon Bondt
Ijlst 36Jacob Dirkszoon Boom
Overijssel 36Arend Simonszoon Vader
Wapen van Hoorn 30Gerrit Claessen Posthoorn

Kingdom of England

Blue Squadron, Sir Jeremy Smith
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Blue Squadron, Van Division, John Kempthorne
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Defiance 64John JefferiesSquadron Flagship
Resolution 58Willoughby Hannamc200 men drowned Burnt
Happy Return 52Francis Courtnay
Elizabeth 40Charles Talbot
Providence 34Richard James
East India London 46William Martin
Turkey Merchant 48Richard Partridge Hired Merchant
George 40Ralph LassellsHired Merchantman
Blue Squadron, Center Division, Sir Jeremy Smith
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Loyal London 80Sir Jeremy SmithSquadron Flagship
House of Sweeds 70John WilgressSquadron Flagship
Gloucester 60Richard May
Mary 58William Poole
Rainbow 64John Hart
Yarmouth 50Benjamin Young CO Killed
Bonaventure 48William Hammond
Portland 48Richard Haddock
Unity 42 
Amity 38William Finch
Blue Squadron, Rear Division, Sir Edward Spragg
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Victory 82Sir Edward Spragg
Maria Sancta 50Roger Strickland
Vanguard 56Anthony Langston
Dreadnought 58Robert Mohun
Advice 40Charles O'Bryan
Guilder de Ruyter 48Francis Courtnay
Reserve 48John Tyrwhitt
Adventure 38Benjamin Young
Loyal Merchant 50Philip HollandHired Merchantman
Blessing 4William Maiden fireship
Great Gift 4John Kelsey fireship, expended
Land of Promise 6William Minterne fireship
Virgin 4William Howes fireship
Red Squadron, Sir George Monk (Duke Albemarle)
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Bryar 12Joseph Paine fireship
Lizard 6Joseph Harris fireship
Fox 6John Elliot Fireship
Allepin 6Andrew Ball fireship
Charles 6John Johnson fireship
Fanfan 4William Garris Yacht
Abigail 4Thomas Wilshaw fireship
Samuel 4William Seale fireship
Red Squadron, Van Division, Sir Joseph Jordan
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Royal Oak 76Sir Joseph JordanSquadron Flagship
Warspite 64Robert Robinson
Slothany 60Thomas Rand
Greenwich 58John Brooks
Mathias 52Henry Millett
Crown 48William Godfrey
Diamond 46John King
Portsmouth 44Thomas Guy
Charles Merchant 54Botler Barnes2 killed, 1 wounded Hired Merchantman
Red Squadron, Center Division, Sir George Monk (Duke Albemarle)
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Royal Sovereign 100Sir John CoxFleet Flagship
Royal Charles 80John Hubbard
Triumph 74Robert Clarke
Saint Andrew 66Valentine Pyend
Fairfax 60Richard Beach
Lion 58Sir William Jennings
Henrietta 58Fretchville Holies
Monck 58Thomas Penrose
Swallow 48Bernard Ludman
Antelope 52Francis Wilshaw
Foresight 46Abraham Goodheart CO Killed
Ruby 46Thomas Lamming
Sweepstakes 36Francis Sanders
Colchester 24Arthur Langhorne
Mary Prize 14 
Red Squadron, Rear Division, John Holmes
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Henry 64Sir Robert Holmes
Cambridge 68John Jefferies
Revenge 58Thomas Elliott
Bristol 52John Holmes
Princess 56Henry Dawes
Newcastle 50Peter Bowen
Bredah 46Thomas Page
Tiger 40John Wetwang
John and Thomas 44Levy GreenHired Merchantman
White Squadron, Sir Thomas Allin
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Paul 6Charles Juxonfireship
Fortune 6William Lee fireship
Providence 6Richard James fireship
Saint Jacob 4William Humble fireship
Saint Paul 4  fireship
Richard 4Henry Browne fireship
White Squadron, Van Division, Sir Thomas Teddeman
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Royal Katherine 84Sir Thomas Teddeman
Saint George 66John Hayward
Anne 58Robert Moulton
Dunkirk 58John Waterworth
Dover 48Geoffrey Pearce
Guinea 38Arthur Ashby CO Killed
Expedition 32John Turner
Baltimore 42John Day4 wounded Hired Merchantman
London Merchant 48William Basse CO Killed Hired Merchantman
White Squadron, Center Division, Sir Thomas Allin
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Royal James 70Sir Thomas AllinSquadron Flagship
Richard and Martha 50George Colt
Old James 48Edmund Seaman
Leopard 56John Hubbard
Montagu 58Daniel Helling
Plymouth 52John Lloyd
Centurion 48Charles Wylde
Assistance 46Zachary Browne
Delft 36Dirck Jacobszoon Kiela
Dragon 40Thomas Room Coyle
Assurance 38John Narborough
White Squadron, Rear Division, Richard Utber
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Rupert 64Richard UtberSquadron Flagship
Helverson 60Abraham Annesly
Unicorn 46George Bates
York 58John Swanley
West Friesland 50John Butler
Mary Rose 50Thomas Darcy
Kent 46John Silver
Hampshire 42William Coleman
Coronation 50William Davies Hired Merchantman

Notes on Action

Description of the actionTRN2

During the 24th the Dutch seem to have kept the wind, and the English to have in vain manoeuvred to obtain it. The night found the two fleets in the broad part of the estuary of the Thames, between Orfordness and the North Foreland, the Dutch being to the N.E., and the wind blowing generally from the northward, but varying from N.N.E. to N. As early as '2 A.M. on the morning of Wednesday, the 25th, St. James's Day, Rupert and Albemarle, who had anchored, weighed; and from that hour until about 10 A.M. the fleets slowly approached one another. Particulars of the manner of approach are both scanty and, to some extent, conflicting. The English seem to have been in line of battle close hauled or a point large on the port tack, Sir Thomas Allin's squadron leading; the Dutch, in line of battle with the wind on the port quarter, or steering about six points large, Evertsen's squadron leading; and, as they closed, the wind veered to N.W. It is evident that the Dutch line was ill-formed, so much so, indeed, that to some observers it looked as if bowed into a half moon: and, while the van and centre were crowded, there was a considerable interval between the centre, under De Ruijter, and the rear, under Tromp. On the other hand it is probable that the English line was as regular as a line of such length five or six miles at least could be. The regularity of the English line during that war often extorted the admiration of foreign and even of hostile critics.

It was about 10 A.M. when the leading vessels of the two columns arrived within gunshot of one another. Allin, as he thus came up, engaged Evertsen and the Dutch van, the squadrons holding parallel courses on the port tack, and the Dutch being to windward. In a similar manner the English centre, as it came up, engaged and went away with De Ruijter and the Dutch centre. But when Smyth, with the English rear, came up with Tromp, the latter, always fond of independent action, and anxious, it may be, to distinguish himself above his chief, put before the wind and broke through just ahead of the English rear, thus, as on a previous occasion, separating himself by his own act from his friends. To De Ruijter, who wrote bitterly to the States-General of Tromp's conduct, it appeared that his subordinate had allowed his squadron to fall far astern of its station, and to be cut off by Smyth; but the balance of evidence tends to show that, though Tromp was often headstrong, perverse, and insubordinate, he never, by deliberate remissness, postponed action for an instant, and that, on this July 25th, as usual, he erred rather on the side of excess of rashness than of that of either slothfulness or prudence.

From the moment when Allin joined battle with Evertson, and went away in hot action with him, to the time when Tromp quitted the Dutch line, two hours, or thereabouts, elapsed. It was then noon, and the wind had, since 11 A.M., blown again from the northward. Tromp's was the strongest of the Dutch, and Smyth's was the weakest of the English squadrons; and, if only Tromp's manoeuvre had been executed at the order, or even with the full comprehension, of De Ruijter, it 'might, from some points of view, lie defended. But De Ruijter was only mystified. Tromp and Smyth, engaged in more or less confused melee, eventually went away on the starboard tack, and were presently lost to sight in the direction of the English coast; while the two vans and centres, broadside to broadside, headed nearly due east.

The English van from the first asserted its superiority over the Dutch van. The latter fought magnificently, and, in a very brief period, lost no fewer than three flag-officers Jan Evertsen, Tjerck Hiddes de Vries, and Rudolf Coenders; but it was overpowered, and at one o'clock was in full flight to the eastward.

The English centre had a more difficult and prolonged task before it, for, as usual, De Ruijter and the captains under his immediate command behaved most stubbornly and gallantly. The English commanders-in-chief had to shift their flag; the Royal Katherine and St. George had to haul out of action; and De Ruijter's flagship, the Zeven Provincien, was entirely dismasted after a hot and savage conflict with Sir Robert Holmes in the Henry. At 4 P.M. the Dutch centre gave way; but both squadrons were by that time in a terrible plight, and for some hours they seem to have drifted together to the southward, too mauled and exhausted to continue any kind of general action. Towards night the English recommenced the engagement; but by that time De Ruijter had to some extent re-formed his squadron, and, having stationed Vice-Admiral Adriaen Banckers, with twenty of the least damaged ships, at the rear of his line, began a masterly retreat. The battle continued in a desultory way during the night, and became brisk again on the morning of the 26th; but the wind being then strong from the N.E., and the shallows close at hand, the pursuit was at last discontinued. Before the retreat began Banckers's first flagship, a vessel of 60 guns, and a ship called the Sneek ran Harlinyen, 50, had been abandoned and burnt.

In the meantime the two rears had been closely engaged to the westward. Dutch accounts have it that Smyth continually gave way, and that he did so designedly, in order to further separate the Dutch rear from the van and centre. Tromp, and Meppel, who was with him, certainly seem to have had at first the best of the conflict, for they burnt the Resolution, 64; and it is maintained on their behalf that, having gained the wind, they chased throughout the night of the 25th. Yet, be this as it may, on the morning of the 26th, Smyth had the wind once more, and was in chase of Tromp, who had somehow learnt in the interval that his friends had suffered defeat, and that part of them had taken refuge in the Wielings. Smyth chased hard all day. Rear-Admiral G overt 'T Hoen was killed. In the evening Albemarle and Rupert, far to leeward and unable to interfere, saw Tromp flying for his ports, with Smyth at his heels. At 11 P.M. on the 26th the English van and centre anchored off the Dutch coast. On the following morning, when Smyth rejoined, he reported that his enemy had escaped, and, with such shattered force as remained to him, was safe behind the shoals.

Such was the St. James's Fight, or, as some have called it, the second battle of the North Foreland. It was a brilliant and decisive English victory. The Dutch lost about twenty ships, four thousand killed, and three thousand wounded, and, in addition to the four Flag-officers already mentioned, numerous captains, including Euth Maximiliaan, Hendrik Vroorn, Cornelis van Hogenhoeck, Hugo van Nijhoff, and Jurriaan Poel. The victors, on the other hand, lost only the Resolution and two or three fireships, and a relatively small number of men. No flag-officers fell, and the only captains who lost their lives seem to have been Hugh Seymour, of the Foresight, John Parker, of the Yarmouth, Joseph Sanders, of the Breda, Arthur Ashby, of the Guinea, and William Martin of the hired East Indiaman London.


TRN2 The Royal Navy : a history from the earliest times to the present Vol IIWilliam Laid ClowesDigital Book
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