Introducing Admiral Shovell and the Longitude

Stripping the body of Sir Cloudesley Shovell
Michael Foreman

How the death of Crayford’s famous Admiral shaped the Modern World

2014 marks the tercentenary of the Longitude Act (1714) that established a £20,000 prize for whoever could identify an accurate method for sailors to calculate their exact position at sea.

Crayford Town Archive (CTA) thus have a wonderful opportunity to tell the story of Sir Cloudesley Shovell, Lord of the Manor of Crayford and Admiral of England, whose death aboard his flagship Association in 1707 instigated the Longitude Act.

Shovell, of humble birth, entered the navy as a boy(1662) and came to national prominence in the wars against the Barbary pirates. Detested by Pepys, hated by James II, Shovell became the finest seaman of Queen Anne’s age. In 1695 he moved to Crayford after becoming the local M.P. and used his wealth to save our ancient church, St.Paulinus.

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