Rotheram, Edward (DNB00)

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ROTHERAM, EDWARD (1753?–1830), captain in the navy, son of John Rotheram, M.D., was born at Hexham in Northumberland, probably in 1753. His father shortly afterwards moved to Newcastle-on-Tyne, where he was physician of the infirmary for many years. Professor John Rotheram (d. 1804) [q. v.] was his elder brother. He is said to have first gone to sea in a collier. In April 1777 he entered the navy as able seaman on board the Centaur in the Channel. He was in a very short time rated a midshipman and master's mate. After three years in the Centaur he was moved, in April 1780, to the Barfleur, carrying the flag of vice-admiral Barrington, and on 13 Oct. 1780 was appointed acting-lieutenant of the Monarch, one of the ships which went out to the West Indies with Sir Samuel (afterwards Viscount) Hood [q. v.], was with Hood in the actions off Martinique on 29 April 1781, off the Chesapeake on 5 April 1781, at St. Kitts in January, and in the actions of 9 and 12 April 1782. In 1783 she returned to England, and on 19 April Rotheram was confirmed in the rank of lieutenant. In 1787 he was in the Bombay Castle; in 1788 in the Culloden; in 1790 in the Vengeance, all in the Channel. In October 1790 he was again appointed to the Culloden, and, continuing in her, was present in the action of 1 June 1794. When the French ship Vengeur struck, Rotheram was sent in command of the party which took possession of her, and when it was clear that the ship was sinking, Rotheram by his energy and cool self-possession succeeded in saving many of her crew (Naval Chron. xiv. 469; Carlyle, Miscell. Essays, ‘The Sinking of the Vengeur’). On 6 July 1794 Rotheram was promoted to the rank of commander. In 1795 and 1796 he commanded the Camel store-ship in the Mediterranean, and from 1797 to 1800 the Hawk in the North Sea and the West Indies. In the summer of 1800 he brought home the Lapwing as acting-captain, and was confirmed in the rank on 27 Aug. In December 1804 he was appointed to the Dreadnought as flag-captain to Vice-admiral Cuthbert (afterwards Lord) Collingwood [q. v.] On 10 Oct. 1805 he followed Collingwood to the Royal Sovereign, and commanded her in the battle of Trafalgar, 21 Oct. It is said that prior to the battle there was some bitterness between him and Collingwood which Nelson removed, saying that in the presence of the enemy all Englishmen should be as brothers. On 4 Nov. Collingwood appointed him to the Bellerophon, vacant by the death of Captain John Cooke; he commanded her in the Channel till June 1808, when she was put out of commission. Rotheram had no further service, but was nominated a C.B. in 1815, and in 1828 was appointed one of the captains of Greenwich Hospital. He died of apoplexy on 2 Nov. 1830, in the house of his friend Richard Wilson of Bildeston in Suffolk.

[Marshall's Roy. Nav. Biogr. iii. (vol. ii.) 298; Service-book in the Public Record Office; Naval Chronicle, xiv. 469; Gent. Mag. 1830, ii. 565.]

J. K. L.