Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Slingsby, Robert

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SLINGSBY, Sir ROBERT (1611–1661), bart., seaman and author, was the second son of Sir Gylford Slyngisbie or Slingsby, comptroller of the navy, who was lost at sea in 1631, and a grandson of Sir Francis Slingsby of Scriven in the West Riding. Sir Henry Slingsby [q. v.] was his first cousin. In February 1633, when barely twenty-two, he was given the command of the Eighth Lion's Whelp, and successively commanded the Roebuck pinnace, the Third Whelp (1636–7), and the Expedition (April 1638), in which in January 1640 he convoyed troops and munitions from the Tower of London to Edinburgh. In the following June he was promoted to command a small squadron employed on preventive service in the English Channel until June 1642, when, in the Garland, he conveyed the Portuguese ambassador to Lisbon. Later in the year he followed his admiral, Sir John Penington [q. v.], in declaring for the king. The men, however, stood out for the parliament, and Slingsby was arrested and sent to London as a delinquent. On his release he repaired to the king at Oxford, and early in 1644 was sent on a secret mission to endeavour to raise funds in Paris and in Amsterdam. Next year he was (along with his brother Walter) with Rupert in Bristol, after the fall of which he probably sought refuge abroad. He may have joined at Brussels his younger brother, Arthur ‘of Bifrons’ in Kent, who was in October 1658 made a baronet by a patent dated from Bruges. Upon the Restoration, Slingsby was made comptroller of the navy, and on 18 March 1661 was created a baronet. In the course of the previous year he had presented to the king his manuscript ‘Discourse upon the Past and Present State of His Majesty's Navy,’ in which he advocates regular payments, prohibition of trading by officers, and the encouragement of merchant shipping. There is a seventeenth-century copy among the Pepysian MSS. at Magdalene College, Cambridge (No. 2193; cf. Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 9935 and Harl. MS. 6003), and the text was printed in Charnock's ‘Marine Architecture’ (1801, vol. i.), and in 1896 by the Navy Records Society (vol. vii.) as an appendix to John Hollond's ‘Discourse of the Navy.’ Slingsby had barely time to reap the reward of loyalty. He died in London on 26 Oct. 1661, much regretted by Pepys as a staunch friend and a jovial companion. He was twice married: first, to Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Brooke of Newcells; and, secondly, to Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Edward Radcliffe or Radclyffe of Dilston, and widow of Sir William Fenwick, bart., but left no issue by either marriage.

Sir Robert's elder brother, Guilford Slingsby (1610–1643), graduated M.A. at St. Andrews University in 1628, and was incorporated at Oxford on 24 Nov. in the following year. Elected to represent Carysfort in the Irish parliament in 1634, he became secretary to the great Earl of Strafford, by whom he was appointed lieutenant of the ordnance office and vice-admiral of Munster. On the fall of Strafford he sought refuge in the Low Countries, but he returned to his native Cleveland about December 1642, and levied a regiment for the king's service, at the head of which he was defeated by Sir Hugh Cholmley [q. v.] at Guisbrough on 16 Jan. 1643 and mortally wounded. He was buried in York Minster on 26 Jan. 1643, ‘aged 32’ (Rushworth, v. 125; Yorkshire Archæol. and Topogr. Journal, i. 231).

[Discourse on … His Majesty's Navy, ed. J. R. Tanner, M.A., for Navy Records Soc. 1896; Diary of Sir Henry Slingsby, 1836, pp. 401–2; Coghill's Family of Coghill, 1879, p. 169; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714, and
Rushworth's Tryal of Strafford, p. 774; Pepys's Diary, ed. Wheatley, ii. 124; Hist. MSS. Comm. 11th Rep. App. vii. 40.]

T. S.