Henry Newcome

Died 1797. He was the eldest of five sons of Henry Newcome, the headmaster of Newcome’s School at Hackney, an establishment which educated a large number of future members of parliament and other prominent individuals in the Whig interest. His mother, Mary Mawdsley, was the daughter of a cheesemonger from Bishopsgate Street, London.

Newcome’s Schgool, Hackney, where Newcome’s father and other ancestors were the founders and headmasters.

As a midshipman Newcome served in North American waters during the early 1780’s before going out to the East Indies. On 2 January 1782 he was commissioned lieutenant of Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Hughes’ flagship Superb 74, Captain William Stevens, and on 1st March promoted commander of the fireship Combustion 8 in which he was present at the Battle of Providien on 12 April.

A further rapid promotion followed when he was posted captain on 19 May, and after the death of Captain Hon. Dunbar MacLellan at the Battle of Negapatam he became flag captain to Hughes aboard the Superb in early July. He subsequently fought at the Battle of Trincomale on 3 September where his ship suffered casualties of four men killed and fifty-two wounded, and the Battle of Cuddalore on 20 June 1783 where twelve men were killed and forty-one wounded, but had the misfortune to lose the Superb when she was thrust onto the Sultan’s anchor in heavy seas off Tellicherry and sank on 5 November.

In August 1786 Newcome commissioned the frigate Maidstone 28 which he took out to the Leeward Islands in the following January. He remained on that station for the usual three years, during which period he suffered some ill health, and upon returning home the frigate was paid off in June 1790.

Over the winter of 1792-3 Newcome recommissioned the Orpheus 32, and after going out to the coast of Africa he enjoyed a profitable run against the French commerce in April. Thereafter he joined Rear-Admiral John MacBride’s squadron in the Channel and assisted the army in the defence of Nieuport.

Having been ordered out to the East Indies, the Orpheus captured the French frigate Duguay-Trouin 34 off the Isle de France on 5 May 1794 for which achievement her first lieutenant, John Broughton, was promoted commander. On 17 August 1795 Newcome led the naval force at the capture of Malacca, and in the following January took the Dutch brig Harlingen 14 in the Straits of Banca. He thereafter served at the reductions of Amboyna and Banda on 16 February and 8 March 1796 respectively, earning himself the small fortune of £15,000 in prize money.

Newcome died at Madras in early 1797, being succeeded in the command of the Orpheus by Captain Benjamin Page.

A monument to the unmarried Newcome’ memory was erected in the Hackney new church.

As a midshipman he was asked by the future King William ‘how such a lubber had got into the service?’ to which he replied that as he was ‘one of a large family, not having a crown to call my own, and too great a dunce to succeed my father as Birch of Hackney School; so, being fit for nothing better, I was sent to sea.’