Catalogue description Records of the Admiralty, Naval Forces, Royal Marines, Coastguard, and related bodies

Details of ADM
Reference: ADM
Title: Records of the Admiralty, Naval Forces, Royal Marines, Coastguard, and related bodies

Records of the Admiralty, Naval Forces, Royal Marines, Coastguard, and related bodies concerning all aspects of the organisation and operation of the Royal Navy and associated naval forces.

Note: Some individual series are not held by The National Archives but are with other places of deposit; please see series level for details.
Date: 1205-1998
Related material:

The records of the Navy before 1546 are to be found among records of the Chancery and Exchequer and among records of the Privy Council. From 1546 to 1660 the records are much dispersed: many are among records formerly preserved in the State Paper Office; some are among Exchequer records; some are in publicly and privately-owned collections outside the Public Record Office; a few are among the Admiralty's own records, which begin in the main about 1660.

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Admiralty, 1832-1964

Board of Admiralty, 1708-1964

Navy Board, 1546-1832

Physical description: 363 series
Closure status: Open Document, Open Description
Access conditions: Subject to 30 year closure unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition:

Ministry of Defence

Board of Admiralty

Administrative / biographical background:

In the middle ages the Navy was managed by the King in Council, sometimes, after 1360, through an official known variously as the Lord Admiral, High Admiral, Admiral of England or, from the early seventeenth century, Lord High Admiral, while day-to-day administration was by subordinate keepers or clerks of the king's ships.

The Lord High Admiral generally commanded the Navy in person or by deputy and was responsible for policy, strategy, and fighting personnel. He also had legal functions as president of the High Court of Admiralty, from the sixteenth century usually exercised by deputy, such deputies becoming in 1628 independent judges of Admiralty.

In 1546 the Navy Board was established and was made responsible, under the Lord High Admiral and subsequently under the Board of Admiralty, for materials, non-combatant personnel, warrant officers and ratings and the civil administration of the Navy.

In the seventeenth century the office of Lord High Admiral was on occasions not filled, the post being put into commission and its duties carried out by a Board of Admiralty, an arrangement which from 1708, apart from one brief period, became permanent.

In 1832 the Navy Board was abolished and the civil administration passed under the direct control of the Board of Admiralty. On 1 April 1964 the Admiralty was absorbed in the unified Ministry of Defence, where it became the Navy Department.

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