1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Batten, Sir William
BATTEN, SIR WILLIAM (floruit 1626-1667), British sailor, son of Andrew Batten, master in the royal navy, first appears as taking out letters of marque in 1626, and in 1638 he obtained the post of surveyor to the navy, probably by purchase. In March 1642 he was appointed second-in-command under the earl of Warwick, the parliamentary admiral who took the fleet out of the king’s hands. It was Vice-Admiral Batten’s squadron which bombarded Scarborough when Henrietta Maria landed there. He was accused (it appears unjustly) by the Royalists of directing his fire particularly on the house occupied by the queen, and up to the end of the First Civil War showed himself a steady partisan of the parliament. To the end of the First Civil War, Batten continued to patrol the English seas, and his action in 1647 in bringing into Portsmouth a number of Swedish ships of war and merchantmen, which had refused the customary salute to the flag, was approved by parliament. When the Second Civil War began he was distrusted by the Independents and removed from his command, though he confessed his continued willingness to serve the state. When part of the fleet revolted against the parliament, and joined the prince of Wales in Holland, May 1648, Batten went with them. He was knighted by the prince, but being suspected by the Royalists, was put ashore mutinously in Holland and returned to England. He lived in retirement during the Commonwealth period. At the Restoration Sir William Batten became once more surveyor of the navy. In this office he was in constant intercourse with Pepys, whose diary frequently mentions him; but the insinuations of Pepys against him must not be taken too seriously, as there is no evidence to show that Batten in making a profit from his office fell below the standards of the time. In 1661 he became M.P. for Rochester, and in 1663 he was made master of the Trinity House. He died in 1667.
There is no separate life of Batten, but many notices of him will be found in Penn’s Life of Sir W. Penn, and in Pepys’ Diary.