Come and ask, answer or inform.
|Date from||Date to||Event||Source|
|31.12.1782||Lieutenant ADM 6/22/569||CSORN|
|1795||6.12.1796||Pilote (14), Lieutenant and Commanding Officer||BWAS-1714|
|11.1811||1812||Nyaden (36), Captain and Commanding Officer||BWAS-1793|
|5.1812||6.1814||Nymphe (38), Captain and Commanding Officer||BWAS-1793|
|12.1814||6.1815||Bulwark (74), Captain and Commanding Officer||BWAS-1793|
Is the eldest son of the late Rear-Admiral Epworth, by Jane, daughter of William Cuming, Esq. an Alderman of Totness.
The Epworths can boast a very respectable ancestry, as will appear from the following genealogical particulars: Lieutenant William Thompson, who fled from the battle of Worcester, Sept. 3, 1651, with Charles II., and continued abroad until the restoration, was the first man that jumped on shore to challenge any person to single combat who should oppose the King’s landing. He married the daughter of Sir Thomas Lowther, a member of the family from which is descended the present Earl of Lonsdale.
Lieutenant Thompson’s daughter married a Yorkshire gentleman named Willis, whose ancestor accompanied King Edward the First into Scotland, in the year 1296. His daughter married John Gillson, great grandson of MansonHarrison, Esq., Envoy at the Hague, who was united to a Dutch lady named Breaderord, a niece to the Earls of Egmont and Horn.
Mr. Gillson’s daughter married Farmery, father of the late Rear-Admiral Epworth, and grandson of Christopher Epworth, owner of the royalty of Keelby in Yorkshire, Vicar of the same place, and Rector of Croxton.
Farmery Predam Epworth, the subject of this memoir, was born at Totness, co. Devon, Nov. 30, 1766, and entered the naval service in 1779, on board the Squirrel a 20-gun ship, commanded by his father, with whom he appears to have continued but a few months. In the following year he joined the Foudroyant of 80 guns, Captain John Jervis, under whom he served at the relief of Gibraltar by Vice-Admiral Darby and Earl Howe, and at the capture of le Pegase, a French 74, April 21, 1782.
Towards the conclusion of the American war, Mr. Epworth removed with Sir John Jervis into the Salisbury of 50 guns. In Dec. 1782, he was made a Lieutenant, and appointed to the Wasp sloop, Captain John Hills. The activity of this vessel in suppressing smuggling was such as to call forth the thanks of the Commissioners of the Customs, who sent a sum of money to be distributed amongst the officers and crew, as a reward for their exertions.
At the commencement of the French revolutionary war Lieutenant Epworth proceeded to the West Indies, on which station he was frequently employed in boats, capturing the enemy’s vessels, and cutting them out of their harbours. We next find him serving in the Alexander of 74 guns, commanded by the late Sir Richard Rodney Bligh, whose memorable defence of that ship against a French squadron of five sail of the line and three frigates, can never be forgotten. In his official letter respecting the capture of the Alexander, that excellent commander recommended Lieutenant Epworth, and the other officers who were his supporters on the arduous occasion, to the favor and protection of the Admiralty. The following is a translation of the French commander-in-chief’s reply to a memorial presented by them on their arrival at Brest:
“On board the Montagne, in Brest Road, 22d Germinal, In the third year of the Republic, one and indivisible.
“Gentlemen,– I have received the letter you did me the honor to write to me for the purpose of procuring for you either permission to return to England on your parole of honor, not to serve till after being exchanged, or to ameliorate your condition by placing you in security.
“You are not ignorant, doubtless, of the arrival of an English commissary a few days since, in one of our ports in the Channel, sent by your government to treat for the exchange of prisoners of war. The representatives of the people immediately sent a courier extraordinary to the Committee of Public Safety, to ascertain if they would enter upon negociations on the subject. We await with impatience the answer of this despatch, which I hope will be favorable to you; but if my hopes should be disappointed, lean assure you, gentlemen, on the part of the representatives, that you will, in a very few days, be sent to Quimper, where you will enjoy your liberty, and that respect which is due to your rank, and to your distinguished conduct in the Alexander conduct which gives you a claim to the esteem of all Frenchmen, and to mine in particular. I have the honor to be, very sincerely, Gentlemen, your very humble and obedient servant,
(Signed)“Villaret Joyeuse, Vice-Admiral and Commander
of the naval forces of the Republic.”
“To the officers composing the etat major
of the late English ship Alexander.”
On his return to England Lieutenant Epworth was appointed to command the Pilote brig, and employed conveying despatches to the West Indies and Channel fleet. He obtained the rank of Commander in the Wasp sloop of war in Dec. 1796; and was posted into the Portland, a 50 gun ship, April 29, 1802.
In 1804, we find him acting as Captain of the Prince George 98, in the Channel fleet, and subsequently commanding the Goliah 74, pro tempore, off the Black Rocks. His next appointment was to the Sea Fencible service; and he does not appear to have been called again into active employment till June 1811, when he received a commission for the Nijaden of 36 guns.
On the 14th Mar. 1812, being on his passage from Lisbon to England with despatches and the post-office mail, Captain Epworth fell in with five French line-of-battle ships which had escaped out of l’Orient a few days before. This squadron chased the Nijaden the whole day, and was at one time so near as to exchange shot with her. Three large ships, which afterwards proved to be the Northampton, Monarch, and Euphrates, homeward bound Indiamen, were then in sight, standing directly for the enemy; and had it not been for the signals made by Captain Epworth, and his masterly manoeuvres, they must inevitably have been captured.
Soon after this event the Nijaden was ordered to be broken up, and Captain Epworth received an appointment to the Nymphe frigate, rated at 38 guns, in which he was employed blockading the port of Boston in North America for a period of two years; and so great was his vigilance that he completely stopped the coasting trade between the southern and northern ports, and compelled the enemy to have recourse to land carriage for the supply of flour and corn.
In Sept. 1814, the boats of the Nymphe took possession of a fort in Sandy Bay, near Cape Ann, spiked and threw the guns, four in number, into the sea, and brought off the guard, and all the vessels at the anchorage, without the loss of a man.
Towards the conclusion of the war with the United States, Captain Epworth was appointed to the Bulwark 74, stationed off Boston to watch the American line-of-battle ship Independence, then lying in that harbour ready for sea. During his continuance on that station, in the Nymphe and Bulwark, he captured six privateers, carrying in the whole 41 guns and 309 men; took and destroyed sixty-three sail of the enemy’s coasting and other traders; and recaptured eight British merchantmen with valuable cargoes.
Hostilities having at length ceased, the Bulwark was ordered to Bermuda, from whence she conveyed Rear-Admiral Griffith, now Colpoys, to Halifax. Captain Epworth was then sent to Quebec, to superintend the embarkation of 7000 troops, and found on his arrival there, that the transports were in a very deficient state as to their equipment. This, however, was remedied through his exertions, and the whole were escorted by him, with great dispatch to Portsmouth, where they arrived soon after the renewal of the war in Europe, occasioned by Buonaparte’s return from Elba, and consequently in time to render essential service to their country by joining the British army in the Netherlands. The Bulwark was paid off at Chatham in June 1815.
Agent.– J. Copland, Esq.