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A Naval Biographical Dictionary/Rowley, Charles

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ROWLEY, Bart., G.C.B., G.C.H., K.M.T. (Admiral of the White, 1841.)

Sir Charles Rowley was born 16 Dec. 1770, and died 10 Oct. 1845, at Brighton. He was fourth son of Vice-Admiral Sir Joshua Rowley (whose distinguished services procured him a Baronetcy 10 June, 1786, and who died 26 Feb. 1790), by Sarah, daughter of Bartholomew Burton, Esq., Deputy-Governor of the Bank of England; and grandson of Sir Wm. Rowley, K.B., Vice-Admiral of England, Admiral of the Fleet, and a Lord of the Admiralty, who died 1 Jan. 1768. His elder brother, Vice-Admiral Bartholomew Sam. Rowley, died Commander-in-Chief at Jamaica 7 Oct. 1811; his eldest sister, Philadelphia, was the wife of the late Admiral Sir Chas. Cotton, Bart.; and his nephew, the present Sir Joshua Ricketts Rowley, Bart., is a Rear-Admiral of the Blue. Sir Charles was first-cousin of the late Admiral Sir Josias Rowley, Bart., G.C.B., G.C.M.G., and of the late Rear-Admiral Sam. Campbell Rowley. His uncle, William Rowley, died a Major-General in the Army.

This officer obtained his first commission 8 Oct. 1789; and was advanced to Post-rank 1 Aug. 1795. He subsequently commanded the Cleopatra 32, L’Unité 36, Boadicea 38, Ruby 64, and Eagle 74. The Cleopatra, in April, 1796, made prize, on the coast of North America, of the French corvette Aurore of 10 guns; and L’Unité, while cruizing in the Channel, took, 17 Sept. 1797, La Brunette brig of 10 guns (pierced for 16) and 80 men, and assisted in taking, 24 of the same month and 7 Oct. following, the privateers Indian of 16 guns and La Découverte. The Ruby was stationed off the Texel and on the coast of Spain. While in command of the Eagle, Capt. Rowley, in May, 1806, served with the squadron under the orders of Sir Wm. Sidney Smith on the coast of Naples and Sicily; and on 11 of that month took an active part in the reduction of the island of Capri, where he had 2 men killed, and 11, including his First-Lieutenant, wounded.[1] In 1809 he accompanied the expedition to the Walcheren; in 1810 he co-operated in the defence of Cadiz; on 27 Nov. 1811 he captured La Corceyre French frigate, mounting 28 guns (pierced for 40), having on board 170 seamen (3 of whom were killed and several wounded) and 130 soldiers, and laden with 300 tons of wheat and a quantity ofmilitary and other stores, from Trieste, bound to Corfu;[2] and in 1813, besides assisting at the taking of Flumé, he reduced the Castle of Farasina, attacked the batteries of Rovigno,[3] and signalized himself in a remarkable manner at the capture of Trieste.[4] At Fiumé he led in his gig the first detachment of marines, took possession, on landing, of the enemy’s fort, and then dashed boldly through the town, although annoyed by musketry from the windows of the houses and a field-piece in the centre of the great street.[5] For his services in the Adriatic Capt. Rowley obtained, 23 May, 1814, the royal permission to accept and wear the insignia of a Knight of the Imperial Military Order of Maria Theresa, conferred on him by the Emperor of Austria. He attained Flag-rank 4 June, 1814; was nominated a K.C.B. 2 Jan. 1815; held the chief command at the Nore from the close of 1815 until 1818, and at Jamaica from 24 Aug. 1820 until 8 June, 1823; became a Vice-Admiral 27 May, 1825; filled a seat at the Board of Admiralty in 1834-5; was created a G.C.H. 7 Oct. 1835, a Baronet 22 Feb. 1836, and a G.C.B. 4 July, 1840; became a full Admiral 23 Nov. 1841; and commanded in chief at Portsmouth from 26 Dec. 1842 until Sept. 1845.

Sir Chas. Rowley married, 7 Dec. 1797, Elizabeth, youngest daughter of Admiral Sir Rich. King, and was left a widower 11 Jan. 1838. His eldest son, the present Sir Chas. Rowley, is a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Army; his secon,. Burton, who died in the West Indies in 1822, was a Lieutenant R.N.; his third, George, is a Captain in the Bombay Cavalry; and his fourth and fifth, Richard Freeman and Robert Hibbert Bartholomew, are both in the Navy – the former a Captain and the latter a Commander. His youngest daughter, Louisa, is the present Countess of Kinnoul. Agents – Messrs. Chard.


  1. Vide Gaz. 1806, p. 933.
  2. Vide Gaz. 1812, p. 226.
  3. Vide Gaz. 1813, p. 2340.
  4. Vide Gaz. 1813, p. 2478.
  5. Vide Gaz. 1813, p. 2009.