The county's great naval tradition of sea leaders

Morpeth antiquarians

Sunday, 6th November 2016, 9:37 am
Admiral Robert Roddam, 1719-1808 *oil on canvas *76.4 x 63.2 cm *ca 1783

Collingwood’s Northumbrians was the first lecture of the 70th season of Morpeth Antiquarians on September 30.

The St James’s Centre was full of members and guests eager to hear this excellent local lecture by Tony Barrow.

Mr Barrow described the strong Northumbrian naval tradition which enabled “young gentlemen aged from 11 years” to join the Royal Navy as midshipman, the initial step on the naval ladder. Promotion then very much relied on not so much what you know as who you know, and this was where patronage became relevant.

Admiral Sir Chaloner Ogle of Kirkley Hall, whose years of service were 1697-1750, was the patron of Robert Roddam, of Roddam Hall.

Roddam himself became an Admiral and died in Morpeth in 1808. Roddam promoted both Collingwood brothers, Cuthbert and Wilfred.

Mr Barrow went on to describe the distinguished career of Admiral Sir John Orde, first baronet Orde of Morpeth, and the many Northumbrians who fought with Cuthbert Collingwood at Trafalgar.

These included Edward Rotheram, of Hexham, who entered the navy after working in the coal trade and was promoted quickly to Captain of the Royal Sovereign at Trafalgar. Despite this, Collingwood once described Rotheram as a “man of no talent as a sea officer” and a “stupid man”.

Other local naval officers at Trafalgar included William Landless of Belford, Granville Thompson of Newcastle, and George Castle of Berwick.

Mr Barrow encouraged his listeners to learn more about this naval tradition and the life, time and legacy of Cuthbert Collingwood through the Collingwood Society, which meets at Trinity House in Newcastle, close to where Collingwood was born in 1748.

Mr Barrow concluded his lecture by answering many questions from a most appreciative audience.