Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Monson, Sir William, British naval officer, was born in Lincolnshire in 1569, and, having gone to sea at the age of 16, distinguished himself almost immediately in an action with a large Spanish privateer. At the age of 18 he had a ship of his own, and in 1588 he served against the Armada. In 1596 he was flag captain to the Earl of Essex at the attack upon Cadiz, and was knighted. In 1602 he served as vice-admiral, and had the good fortune to capture a treasure-ship worth a million pieces of eight. Thenceforward he frequently went afloat as a flag officer, and was for twelve successive years in command of the Narrow Seas, in which he almost entirely put down piracy. But, in spite of his deserts, he incurred unpopularity with the Administration because he exposed naval abuses, and with the people because, in pursuance of orders, he prevented the escape of Lady Arabella Stuart; and in 1616 excuse was found for his committal to the Tower. Yet, as nothing in the shape of a serious charge was brought against him. he was presently liberated, and speedily regained his old position of trust and influence; and as late as 1635 held active command. In his subsequent retirement he wrote his most valuable Naval Tracts, which throw a great flood of light upon the navies of Elizabeth, James, and Charles, and which entitle him to be regarded as the father of all our naval historians, antiquaries, and commentators. Sir William died at Kynnersley, Surrey, in 1642.