List of vice-admirals of the coast

The vice-admiralties of the coast[1] were posts established in each of the twenty maritime counties of England, the North and South of Wales, and the four provinces of Ireland. The officer holders, designated as "vice-admirals", were responsible for naval administration in their county, and were deputies of Lord High Admiral.

Vice Admiral of the Coast
Active1536-19th C.
Branch Royal Navy
TypeNaval administration
RoleAdmiralty courts, Naval Jurisdiction.

A vice-admiral's responsibilities included, deciding the lawfulness of prizes captured by privateers, dealing with salvage claims for wrecks, acting as a judge and implementing the role of the impress service. The earliest record of an appointment was of William Gonson as Vice-Admiral of Norfolk and Suffolk in 1536.

From around 1560, vice-admirals of the coasts acquired a more public profile than they had enjoyed previously. In the second half of the sixteenth century they increasingly received orders from the privy council. In 1561, apparently for the first time, the crown addressed instructions directly to the vice-admirals In 1660 their function came under the remit of the Board of Admiralty.

There are also a few examples of the title Vice-Admiral of the West. It is not however clear whether this was a separate appointment or possibly some incorrect use of an older title being applied to the holders of the Cornwall or Devon post.

List of vice-admiralties






  1. Baker, Sherston (Dec 20, 2010). Office of vice-admiral of the coast : being some account of that ancient office. [S.l.]: Gale Ecco, Making Of Mode. pp. 1–153. ISBN 9781240154067.

Lists of post holders for each county are to be found as follows:

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