Military Wiki
Sir Stafford Fairborne
Born 1666
Died November 11, 1742(1742-11-11)
Allegiance  Kingdom of Great Britain
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Rank Admiral of the Fleet
Commands held HMS Richmond
HMS Fairfax
HMS Warspite
HMS Elizabeth
HMS Monck
HMS Victory
HMS Defiance
HMS London
HMS Albemarle
HMS Torbay
HMS Suffolk
HMS Tilbury
Battles/wars Nine Years' War
War of the Spanish Succession
Other work MP for Rochester

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Stafford Fairborne (1666 – 11 November 1742) was a Royal Navy officer and politician who represented Rochester as a Member of Parliament from 1705 to 1710.

Naval career

He was the eldest son of Sir Palmes Fairborne, governor of Tangiers.[1] In June 1685 Stafford was lieutenant of the Bonadventure at Tangiers, and during the illness of his captain commanded the ship in a successful encounter with some Sallee vessels at Mamora.[1] On 12 July 1686 he was promoted to command the Half Moon, a Sallee prize, and in August 1688 was appointed to HMS Richmond, from which he was moved into the HMS Fairfax, and, after the Glorious Revolution, into the HMS Warspite of 70 guns, which he commanded at the Battle of Beachy Head, 30 June 1690.[1] At the siege of Cork, in September 1690, he served on shore under the Duke of Marlborough, probably with a naval brigade; in 1692 he commanded the HMS Elizabeth of 70 guns at the battle of Barfleur,[1] and in 1693 the HMS Monck of 52 guns in the fleet under Sir George Rooke, which on 19 June, while in charge of the Smyrna convoy, was scattered by the French off Cape St. Vincent.[1] In 1695 he commanded the HMS Victory, a first-rate, and was moved out of her into the HMS Defiance,[1] a third-rate, on 3 February 1696, to command the outward-bound trade in the Downs. On 22 March he was moved back again to the Victory; in June into the HMS London, also a first-rate; and shortly after into the HMS Albemarle, a second-rate. The system then in place was of paying a captain according to the rate of the ship he commanded. Fairborne was assured at the time that, as they were made for the advantage of the service, they should not be any prejudice to him; but three years later he was still petitioning the admiralty for compensation for the loss he had sustained in pay.[1]

In May 1699 he was appointed to the HMS Torbay, but that ship was not nearly ready, and he was transferred to the HMS Suffolk, which he commanded till the end of the year as senior officer in the Downs or at Spithead.[1] In January 1700 he was appointed to the HMS Tilbury, in which he went to Newfoundland in charge of convoy, and to clear the coast of pirates.[1] Then he went with convoy to Cadiz, and into the Mediterranean. By March 1701 he was back at Cadiz, and thence returned to England. In the following June he was promoted to be rear-admiral of the blue, and a short time later he was knighted.[1]

In 1702 he was appointed, with his flag in the HMS St George, to a command in the fleet under Rooke, which failed in the attempt on Cádiz, and achieved a success at Vigo, on which occasion he moved into the Essex, a ship of lighter draught,[1] but does not seem to have been personally engaged. He was afterwards left under Sir Clowdisley Shovell to bring the prizes home, which was safely accomplished by 17 November in spite of exceptionally bad weather.[1] In the following year Fairborne was promoted to be vice-admiral of the red, and appointed to serve in the grand fleet during the short command of Admiral George Churchill, after which, with his flag in the Association, he joined Shovell in the Mediterranean, and with him returned to England in November.[1] From the Downs the squadron was ordered into the River Thames, and on the evening of the 25th anchored for the night off the Gunfleet. There a great storm, which broke out the next day, found them. They were unable to weigh anchor, but in the early morning of the 27th the Association was blown violently from her anchors, and, with the wind at west-south-west, was driven helplessly across the North Sea to the coast of Holland. She at last reached Gothenburg, and, after refitting, was able, with difficulty, to return to the Thames.[1]

In the following year Fairborne hoisted his flag on board the Shrewsbury, in the fleet under Shovell at Lisbon, and, on Shovell's going to the Mediterranean, remained in command of the ships in the English Channel.[1] In 1705 he accompanied Shovell to the Mediterranean, and was present at the siege and capture of Barcelona in September and October.[1] In 1706 he was again employed on the home station, commanding the squadron sent off La Rochelle in May, and at the reduction of Ostend in June.[1]

He was Member of Parliament for Rochester from 1705 to 1710.[2] In June 1707 he was appointed a member of the council of the lord admiral, retiring in June 1708. On the death of Sir Clowdisley Shovell in October 1707 he was promoted to be admiral of the white, on 7 January 1708, and on 21 December 1708 to be admiral of the fleet;[1] but he had no further employment at sea, though in 1713 he was appointed a commissioner for disbanding the marine regiments. From this time he retired from service. In lieu of half-pay a special pension of £600 a year was settled on him from 1 January 1715.[1] He died aged 76.

He married in 1708 Rebecca, daughter of Colonel Thomas Paston. In his petition of 6 June 1699 he describes himself as having a large family.


  • Dictionary of National Biography, Fairborne, Sir Stafford (d 1742), admiral of the fleet, by J. K. Laughton. Published 1888.


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 Stafford Fairborne at Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. The first edition of this text is available as an article on Wikisource:  "Fairborne, Stafford". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
  2. Leigh Rayment

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "Fairborne, Stafford". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 

Parliament of England
Preceded by
Edward Knatchbull
William Cage
Member of Parliament for Rochester
With: Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell 1705–1707
Succeeded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Parliament of England
Member of Parliament for Rochester
With: Admiral Sir John Leake 1708–1710
Succeeded by
Admiral Sir John Leake
William Cage
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Cloudesley Shovell
Admiral of the Fleet
Succeeded by
Sir George Byng

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).