Sir William Booth

RolesNaval Sailor 
First Known Service16.6.1673CSORN
Last Known Service1689CSORN

Event History

Date fromDate toEventSource
16.6.167311.8.1673Pearl (6), Commander and Commanding OfficerBWAS-1603
11.8.1673 Battle of Texel 
3.6.1675 CaptainCSORN
14.7.167531.5.1678Eagle (12), Captain and Commanding OfficerBWAS-1603
17.5.16781679Richmond (24), CaptainBWAS-1603
30.7.167822.1.1682/83Adventure (38), Captain and Commanding OfficerBWAS-1603
12.11.1682 Appointed Knight BachelorTKE2
18.4.168319.4.1684Grafton (70), Captain and Commanding OfficerBWAS-1603
25.9.16881689Pendennis (70), Captain and Commanding OfficerBWAS-1603
1.5.1689 Battle of Bantry Bay 

Notes on Officer


BOOTH, Sir WILLIAM (fl. 1673–1689), captain in the royal navy, was promoted to that rank in June 1673. After the peace with the Dutch he was for several years employed in the Mediterranean, and more especially against the Algerine pirates. On 8 April 1681, whilst in command of the Adventure, he engaged one of these corsairs named the Golden Horse, a vessel larger, more heavily armed, and with a more numerous ship's company, The fight was long and bloody; both ships were much shattered, but neither could claim the victory, when a stranger came in sight under Turkish colours. She proved, however, to be the English ship Nonsuch, commanded by Captain (afterwards Sir Francis) Wheler, and to her the Golden Horse at once submitted without further resistance. A somewhat acrimonious dispute afterwards arose between the officers and men of the two ships as to their relative share in the capture, Captain Wheler assuming all the honour to himself, and claiming the whole profit of the prize. The question was referred by Booth to the admiralty, who, without any evidence beyond Booth’s partial statement, directed the commander-in-chief to ‘cause the colours of the Golden Horse to be delivered to Captain Booth as a mark of honour which we Judge he hath well deserved,’ and also an appointed share of the value of the prize (Brit. Mus. Addl. MS. 19872, f. 67).

In 1683 he commanded the Grafton; in September 1688 he was appointed to the Pendennis of 70 guns; and in the following February, having given in his allegiance to King William, he was knighted and appointed commissioner of the navy. It would appear that his profession of allegiance was but a treacherous blind to enable him the better to act as agent to the exiled James; for on 16 March he went down the river to the Pendennis, then lying at Sheerness, and endeavoured by his personal influence and promises of money to persuade the lieutenants to agree with him in carrying over the ship to France; the plot also involved carrying over the Eagle fireship, commanded by Captain Wilford, who seemed to acquiesce. But Wilford got too drunk to act the part designed for him, and the lieutenants refused to have anything to do with it, or to let the Pendennis go; on which Booth, conceiving that he had gone too far, and that the affair could not be kept secret, fled to France. No account remains of his further life or of his death.

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