1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ayscue, Sir George

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AYSCUE (erroneously Askew or Ayscough), SIR GEORGE (d. 1671), British admiral, came of an old Lincolnshire family. Beyond the fact that he was knighted by Charles I., nothing is known of his career until in 1646 he received a naval command. Through the latter years of the first civil war, Ayscue seems to have acted as one of the senior officers of the fleet. In 1648, when Sir William Batten went over to Holland with a portion of his squadron, Ayscue's influence kept a large part of the fleet loyal to the Parliament, and in reward for this service he was appointed the following year admiral of the Irish Seas. For his conduct at the relief of Dublin he received the thanks of Parliament, and in 1651 he was employed under Blake in the operations for the reduction of Scilly. He was next sent to the West Indies in charge of a squadron destined for the Conquest of Barbadoes and the other islands still under royalist control. This task successfully accomplished, he returned to take part in the first Dutch War. In this he played a prominent part, but the indecisive battle off Plymouth (August 16th, 1652) cost him his command, though an annuity was assigned him. For some years Sir George Ayscue lived in retirement, but the later years of the Commonwealth he spent in Sweden, Cromwell having despatched him thither as naval adviser. At the Restoration he returned, and became one of the commissioners of the navy, but on the outbreak of the second Dutch War in 1664 he once more hoisted his flag as rear-admiral of the Blue, and took part in the battle of Lowestoft (June 3rd, 1665). In the great Four Days' Battle (June 11th-14th, 1666) he served with Monck as admiral of the White. His flagship, the “Prince Royal,” was taken on the third day, and he himself remained a prisoner in Holland till the peace. It seems doubtful whether he ever again flew his flag at sea, and the date of his death is supposed to be 1671. Lely's portrait of Sir George Ayscue is in the Painted Hall at Greenwich.