Farmery Predam Epworth

1766-1828. He was born in Totnes, Devon on 30 November 1766, the eldest son of Captain Farmery Epworth who became a superannuated admiral, and of his wife, Jane Cuming, of that town. He was the brother-in-law of Vice-Admiral John Dilkes

Epworth joined the Navy in 1779 aboard the Squirrel 20 commanded by his father, Commander Farmery Epworth, and by the following year had found a berth aboard the Foudroyant 80, Captain John Jervis, being present at the Relief of Gibraltar on 12 April 1781, the capture of the Pégase 74 on 20 April 1782 and Admiral Lord Howe’s Relief of Gibraltar on 18 October. When the newly knighted Jervis raised a broad pennant aboard the Salisbury 50 in early 1783 Epworth went with him, although in the event the signing of peace terms aborted the commodore’s mission. In the meantime Epworth had been commissioned lieutenant on 31 December 1782, and he joined the Wasp 14, Commander John Hills, engaged in anti-smuggling operations during the peace.

In the spring of 1792 he went out to the West Indies aboard the Hyaena 24, Captain William Hargood, seeing much active service following the commencement of the French Revolutionary War. He was aboard her when she was captured on 27 May 1793 off Cape Tiburon by the French frigate Concord 40, the British prisoners-of-war being put ashore on parole at Cape François but then re-embarked aboard the Concord and taken on parole as passengers to Jamaica due to the insurrection on the French territory. After being exchanged and returning to England the officers faced a court martial into the Hyaena’s loss at Plymouth on 11 October and were honourably acquitted.

Having joined the Alexander 74, Captain Richard Rodney Bligh, as her senior lieutenant, Epworth became a prisoner of war once more when that ship was captured by five French 74’s and three heavy frigates under the flag of Rear-Admiral Joseph Marie Nielly on 6 November 1794. After an uncomfortable imprisonment at Brest over several months he was again exchanged.Epworth became a prisoner to the French for a second time in 1794 when HMS Alexander was captured by a superior squadron.

In 1795 Epworth was given command of the French-built cutter Pilote 14, being engaged in the delivery of despatches to the West Indies and the Channel, and entering Portsmouth from the coast of France in April 1796. He was promoted commander of his old ship, the Wasp 14, on 16 December 1796, although it is not clear how long he continued to command her, and he was posted captain on 29 April 1802 of the Portland 50 for purposes of rank only.

During 1804 he temporarily commanded the Prince George 98 in the Channel fleet for Captain Joesph Yorke, entering Plymouth in August, and around this time he also briefly had the Goliath 74 in the inshore squadron off the Black Rocks for Captain Charles Brisbane, who had broken his arm in an accident.

Epworth became the regulating officer at Poole in July 1805 and a long period in the Sea Fencibles followed, during which time he commanded the Poole district.

He resumed active service with his appointment to the Danish-built frigate Nyaden 36 from June 1811, sailing for Portugal and Sicily with money for the troops in October. During her return from Lisbon for Plymouth with despatches she exchanged fire with Vice-Admiral Allemand’s squadron which was trying to get into Brest having bolted from Lorient on 8 March 1812. After arriving home the Nyaden was condemned shortly afterwards.

Epworth commissioned the new eighteen-pounder frigate Nymphe 38 in May 1812, going out to North America two months later and joining the squadron under the command of Captain Phillip Bowes Vere Broke that was detailed to patrol off the Newfoundland Banks. On 10 October his command was chased by the American frigates President 44, United States 44, Congress 38 and sloop Argus 16 but managed to get into Halifax. He subsequently enjoyed a successful cruise against the American privateers, taking the Montgomery 12 on 5 May 1813, the Juliana Smith 3 a week later, the Thomas 12 off Nova Scotia on 29 June after a thirty-four hour chase, and the Paragon 11 on 14 August. During 1814 he was off Boston, where in March one of his master’s mates and six seamen almost succeeded in an audacious attempt to destroy the newly launched American ship of the line Independence 74.

In July 1814 he was appointed to the Bulwark 74, and on 3 September he was attached to Rear-Admiral Edward Griffith’s squadron whose boats and sloops attacked the American corvette Adams, resulting in it being fired by the enemy. The Bulwark took the American schooner privateer Tomahawk after a ten-hour chase on 22 January 1815,and after conveying Rear-Admiral Griffith from Bermuda to Halifax she returned to Portsmouth in the summer with seven thousand troops from Quebec which were promptly despatched to fight the returning Napoleon Bonaparte. The Bulwark was paid off at Chatham in June.

Captain Epworth died at Winkfield, Berkshire,on 18 August 1828. A tablet memorial was placed in Church of St. John the Baptist, Littlehempston, Devon.

He married Agnes Morrell on 28 April 1824 at St. Pancras, Middlesex but appears to have had no issue. His brother Christopher, who predeceased him, was a major in the Royal Marines.