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About Admiral of the Fleet Sir William Rowley KB
Admiral of the Fleet Sir William Rowley KB (c. 1690 – 1 January 1768) was a British naval commander who distinguished himself during the War of the Austrian Succession and also became a Member of Parliament.
Born the second son of William Rowley and his wife, Elizabeth Dawson, Rowley joined the Royal Navy as a volunteer in 1704. Promoted to Captain in 1716, he was given command of HMS Bideford and then transferred to HMS Lively in 1719. Appointed to HMS Barfleur in 1741, he greatly distinguished himself in the Battle of Toulon which was lost to the Spanish in 1744. He became Commander in Chief of his Majesty's Fleet in the Mediterranean in 1745 and successfully kept the Spanish and French fleets out of the area.
He became Rear-Admiral in 1747, Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty in 1751 and Admiral of the Fleet on 17 December 1762.
Rowley entered Parliament in 1750 as member for Taunton, and represented that town until 1754. in that year he was chosen to represent Portsmouth until 1761.
He died in 1768 and is presumed to have been buried at Stoke-by-Nayland in Suffolk.
William Rowley married Arabella Dawson and had five four sons and one daughter. Several of his descendants reached high positions in the Navy:
his son Sir Joshua Rowley, 1st Baronet, for whom the Rowley Baronetcy was created.
his grandson Admiral Josias Rowley, 1st Baronet GCB, GCMG (1765–1842), known as "The Sweeper of the Seas".
his grandson Admiral Charles Rowley, 1st Baronet, GCB, GCH (1770–1845)
his grandson Admiral of the Fleet Sir George Martin, GCB, GCMG (1764–1847)