John Neale Pleydell Nott

1732-81. He was born on 3 July 1732, the oldest of three surviving sons of John Nott of Braydon Lodge, Cricklade, Wiltshire, and of his wife Elizabeth Neale. He was the half-brother of Captain Edward Herbert.

Nott attended the Royal Naval Academy at Portsmouth during the 1740’s. In March 1749 he joined the Sphinx 24, Captains William Lloyd and Edward Wheeler, with which he remained for the next four years, seeing service in the Mediterranean, off the Irish Coast, and off Africa and at Jamaica.

He passed his lieutenant’s examination on 14 November 1753, was commissioned lieutenant on 3 July 1756, and promoted commander of the Barbadoes 14 on 7 September 1759. He later commanded her sister ship Antigua 14 from August 1761, and although posted captain on 24 September he remained with this vessel, serving in the expedition to Martinique in 1762. During March he replaced Captain Francis Banks aboard the Rose 20, in which he was present at the reduction of Havana later that same year, serving for a not inconsiderable time thereafter on the North American and West Indian stations.

During the Falkland Islands dispute of 1770-1 he was the captain of the Impressment Service at Bristol.


Captain Nott met a most unlucky end at the Battle of Martinique in 1780

After several years unemployment Nott commanded the Exeter 64 at the Battle of Ushant on 27 July 1778, and when she was docked for a refit he joined the Centaur 74 in the following spring, serving in the Channel fleet retreat of August 1779, and at the detention of the Dutch convoy on 31 December.

In July 1780 the Centaur joined Admiral Sir George Rodney s Leeward Islands fleet, sailing to New York in the autumn and returning to the West Indies at the end of the year.

Nott was fatally wounded at the Battle of Fort Royal on 29 April 1781 when a spent cannon ball lodged in his groin after he had gone below to his cabin in order to study the significance of a signal, one which had been made because he was sailing far closer to the enemy than the rest of the line of battle. During the action his first lieutenant also lost his life along with another ten men killed and twenty-six wounded. A memorial was erected in St. Sampson s Church, Cricklade, Wiltshire.

He married Catherine Andrews of Lower Grosvenor Street, London, on 29 June 1766 at St. George’s, Hanover Square, and had issue three sons and two daughters in addition to three children who died in infancy. His eldest son John entered the Navy and died a lieutenant at Jamaica of yellow fever aged 23 in 1794, his second son, Edward Nott, entered the Clergy, and his third son George entered the Navy and died a midshipman of yellow fever aged 17 in 1795. A grandson, John Neale Nott rose to the rank of captain. His address was given as Bath.

Nott was regarded as a gallant officer. When King George learned of his death he announced that ‘I am sorry to hear that Captain Nott has been killed, for he was a very good officer, though perhaps too much of a politician, and not of the right sort’.

Thank you to S.G Cornford for providing a wealth of material on Captain Nott