David Wavell

RolesNaval Sailor 
First Known Service1692CSORN
Last Known Service7.6.1703CSORN
Date of Death16.1.1703/4CSORN
Will Probated11.3.1703/4, PROB 11/475/232

Event History

Date fromDate toEventSource
1692 Grafton (70), First LieutenantPROB11
19.5.1692 Battle of Barfleur 
1.6.16922.6.1692Action at Cherbourg 
15.2.1693/94 CaptainCSORN
15.2.1693/945.8.1697Speedwell (28), Captain and Commanding OfficerBWAS-1603
20.5.1697 Royal Navy Court Martial Captain, HMS Speedwell. Crime: Embezzlement. Verdict: Acquitted.ADM 1/5257
12.5.170114.1.1701/2Stirling Castle (70), First Lieutenant ADM 6/6/95ADM 6/6
15.1.1701/29.3.1702/3Sunderland (60), Captain and Commanding Officer ADM 6/6/132BWAS-1603
1.17036.1703Edgar (70), Captain and Commanding OfficerBWAS-1603
11.5.17037.6.1703Colchester (54), Captain and Commanding OfficerBWAS-1603

Previous comments on this page

Posted by Stewart Guy on Friday 30th of March 2018 17:46

Thank you Cy and Grammont for the information regarding my ancestor David Wavell. I to would be grateful to Grammont for a copy of the will, as it may be able to answer a lot of questions I have surrounding him. My email is assegai11@yahoo.co.uk
Regards to you both again. Stewart Guy.

Posted by Cy on Friday 30th of March 2018 17:38

Thanks Grammont.
I also have an ancestry account, but couldn't find the will? Could you send me a link (or a hint) cy@threedecks.org

Posted by grammont on Friday 30th of March 2018 16:31

Given the reference is to 'their Majesties ship Grafton' the will has to have been made whilst Mary II was still alive, ie at or before 28 December 1694. I've had a look at the will (Ancestry subscription) and it was actually made made 21 February 1691/2. He obviously never made a later version.

Posted by Cy on Friday 30th of March 2018 13:10

The ADM reference 6/6/95 for this officer as a 1st Lieutenant, to which you refer, specifically notes him to be a captain being appointed to a lieutenants position. The will you refer to almost certainly predates his posting as a captain and the date mentioned is the date of probate, which fits nicely with his known date of death. There is no evidence for there being two officers of this name, ever, never mind concurrently.

Posted by Stewart Guy on Friday 30th of March 2018 12:31

The Commission and Warrant Book. Date: 1699 2 June - 1702 26 January held at the National Archives refers to First Lieutenant David Wavell aboard the Sterling / Stirling Castle between 12 May 1701 and 19 January 1702. The National Archives also have one other document relating to this gentleman. - Will of David Wavell, First Lieutenant of Their Majesty’s ship Grafton. Date: 11 March 1704. He should not be confused with Captain David Wavell.

Posted by Stewart Guy on Friday 27th of July 2012 18:34

Captain David Wavell, RN.

On 15. February 1694 David Wavell was made captain of the Speedwell, a fifth rate ship of the line being a Fireship with 8 cannons and built in 1690 by Gressingham, Rotherhithe. From Navy Board Records there are letters from Captain David Wavell as commanding officer a post he held until 1697 detailing the Speedwell off the Irish Coast in 1696 as follows. -
The Speedwell at Kinsale. As he was coming into port, his master ran the ship onto a ledge, he finds him an indifferent man who once before nearly lost the ship off Milford. 2. March 1696.
The Speedwell, Kinsale. He requests necessaries for David?Cheesley, his surgeon. 4. March 1696.
The Speedwell at Kinsale. He has left books with Commissioner Tymewell, having cruised between Scotland and Ireland and requests directions how to send future books. 13. March 1696.
The Speedwell, Dublin Bay. The purser has expended all slop clothes brought from England and none has been sent from Mr: Beckford, either to Liverpool, Milford or Kinsale where he goes to convoy ships. 4. April 1696.
The Speedwell, Dublin Bay. Receipt of letter and he details the character of Robert Williams, master. 30. April 1696.
The Speedwell, Dublin Bay. He requests a survey of boatswain’s stores delivered into the custody of John Norwood, now boatswain. 7. June 1696.
The Speedwell, Dublin. He needs clothes for seamen and applied to William Founds in Dublin who supplied him with 50 suits as near as those supplied by the Navy and encloses the invoice. 3. October 1696.

On 5. December 1699, Jane the daughter of David Wavell & Martha was christened at Niton on the Isle Of Wight. She would later marry Robert Guy on 15. May 1722 at Alverstoke, Hampshire then return to Niton to raise a family.

His next command was the Sunderland, 1702 to September 1702 which was a 60-gun fourth rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy being launched at Southampton on 17 March 1694. While in 1703 David Wavell commanded L’Edgar, which in 1700 had undergone a rebuild at Portsmouth Dockyard to become a 70-gun ship. L’Edgar had sailed to the West Indies in 1703 along with the Colchester.

On 11. May 1703 he became commanding officer of the Colchester which had been launched in 1694. While in Jamaica the following letters were written. -
July 28. 1703. Letter from Lt: Gov: Handasyd to Capt: Wavell.
July 30. 1703. Letter from Capt: Wavell to Lt: Gov: Handasyd.
Aug: 27. 1703. Jamaica. From Lt: Gov: Tho. Handasyd. To The Council of Trade & Plantations. Captain Wyvill, Commander of the Colchester and another Man of War, with a Fleet of 24 or 25 merchantmen under his convoy, sailed from hence the 17th instant, but such an unpolisht humorist or rather mad gentleman I have not mett withall, as your Lordships will find by the copy of his answer to a letter of mine which I likewise send a copy of, with those of papers relating to that gentleman, which if your Lordships approve of may be sent to the Admiralty Office, I being wholly a stranger to the Office and their proceedings.

The fate of the Colchester is detailed below. -
Foundered, 1. January 1704 due to storm weather. Having set sail from Ireland at the end of 1703 and headed for Plymouth, where she was to link with the English fleet for the war against Spain. However, she ran into the same huge storms in the Channel which had already forced the English fleet back into port. There are two versions of her loss. One says she foundered in Whitesand Bay, Cornwall, in great winds and seas on New Year’s Day, 1704, with the loss of all 170 crew including her captain David Wavell. The other version gives the same date. But says that she drove ashore near Land’s End with the same loss of all hands. The Whitesand Bay wreck seems the more likely, particularly as part of a bronze cannon of about the right date was found on the beach in the bay a few years ago. (pre-2003).

24. January 1705 sees reference to the Lord Admiral’s Council of the petition of Martha Wavell, widow of Captain David Wavell, shows her husband was captain of the Colchester, a 4th:-rate, in which he lost in a storm off Land’s End [details]. Prays for a pension to save herself and three children from ruin. While dated 5. March 1704-5 The Prince of Norway writes. - Report on the petition of Martha Wavell, widow of Captain David Wavell, and of Alice Scott, widow of Lieutenant Scott, on behalf of themselves and other widows whose husbands belonged to her Majesty’s ship Colchester. — While returning from the West Indies - In May 1698, Captain Frederick Weighman had died from flux and malignant fever while carrying Negro slaves from the Leeward Islands. Then in Barbados, November 1698, Captain William Julius took command, while English prisoners made up the remainder of her crew. - The Colchester was disabled in the late great storm and driven to Ireland, where she was repaired; but coming thence to England, she was — in bad weather — driven on Brisson Rocks, at the Land’s End, and staved to pieces, and the officers and company drowned. The petitioners pray that her Majesty’s bounty, as given to others who perished in the storm, may be extended to them. The Lord High Admiral is of opinion that though her Majesty was pleased to allow bounty to the widows of those actually drowned in her service in the storm, in the same manner as if they had been slain in fight, the case of petitioners does not come within that establishment, in regard the Colchester was lost almost three months after the storm. Neither do the rules of the Navy entitle them to any other bounty. Signed.

….to add to more poor sorrow, a great storm did a’blow
and to the dreadful seas, their souls were expos’d
at last she broke on rocks, their cries rent the air
the Colchester went down, never more to rise again….

‘Loss Of The Colchester’. trad: arr: Lyrics Stewart Guy.

Works Consulted.

British Warships in the Age of Sail. 1603-1714.
Calendar Of State Papers Colonial, America And West Indies, Volume 21: 1702-1703.
Calendar Of State Papers Domestic Series Of the Reign of Anne. Volume III 1704-1705.
Commissioned Sea Officers of the Royal Navy.
Divernet - Diver Magazine Online. July 2003.
Hampshire Record Office.
Isle Of Wight Record Office.
Naval Board. Records Source: The Catalogue Of The National Archives.
Naval Chronology; or, An Historical Summary of Naval & Maritime Events, From the time of The Romans, to the Treaty of Peace 1802. Vol. V.
Sennen Cove Lifeboats: 150 Years Of Lifesaving.

Stewart Guy. July 2012.

Make a comment about this page

Recent comments to other pages

Date postedByPage
Friday 30th of October 2020 17:25Dennis QuintonBritish cutter 'Expedition' (1778) (10)
Friday 30th of October 2020 07:22xpnBritish schooner 'Paz' (1807) (12)
Tuesday 27th of October 2020 21:04James D Taylor Jr.British Third Rate galleon 'Philip and Mary' (1556) (39)
Monday 26th of October 2020 22:21Peter Evans Peter Butt (d.bef.1775)
Monday 26th of October 2020 22:17Peter Evans Peter Butt (d.bef.1775)