Records of John Tucker (1701-79), as paymaster to His Majesty's marine forces, 1757-78

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

  • Admiralty orders and letterbooks, 1755-78
  • powers of attorney re pay, 1756-65
  • paymaster’s accounts books, 1757-65
  • paymaster’s cash books, 1757-83
  • paymaster’s letterbooks, 1757-88
  • copies of paymaster’s accounts sent to the Navy Board, 1757-75
  • marine forces half pay book, 1764-70
  • clearing imprest bill books, 1769-70
  • account book re subsistence and necessaries supplied to men embarking, 1771-8

Administrative / Biographical History

A regiment of land soldiers, known as ‘the Admiral’s Regiment’, was first raised in 1664 ‘to be distributed in His Majesty’s fleets prepared for sea service’, but it was not until 1694 that two marine regiments were formed of soldiers recruited exclusively for sea service. Until 1755, since when there has been a continuous establishment, the size, number and extent of the regiments has depended on the exigencies of war and the force was disbanded altogether in 1713-39 and 1745-55. The new force, authorised in 1755, was placed under the sole control of the navy board. The marines were designated Royal Marines by royal order in 1802.

In May 1702 a separate marine pay office was established. The office of Paymaster of Marines was created in 1755 with a salary of £800 and additional £200 allowance in time of war. At the same time the marines were formed into three divisions, based at Plymouth, Portsmouth and Chatham, each consisting of several infantry companies. The offices of Agents of Marines, to which appointments were made by Admiralty warrant, were established in 1756. It was provided that there should be an agent for each of the divisions with a salary of £300 payable by the Paymaster of Marines.

John Tucker (1701-79), of Weymouth, Dorset, who held an account with Messrs Drummond, bankers of London, in 1756, was the third Paymaster of Marines, appointed on 19 April 1757 and remaining in office until 4 June 1778. Tucker was the MP for Weymouth and Melcombe Regis from 1735 to 1747, and again from 1754 to 1778, and six times Mayor of Weymouth between 1726 and 1772. His other appointments included Cashier to the Treasurer of the Navy (1744-49) and Keeper of the King’s Private Roads (1770-78). In 1778 he vacated his Parliamentary seat in favour of his nephew, Gabriel Steward (d. 1797). Following Tucker’s death in the following year, there was a dispute between his executors and the Admiralty regarding monies outstanding. His executors, Francis (d. 1792) and Gabriel Steward, also held accounts at Messrs Drummond.

Conditions Governing Access

Historical researchers are welcome to use the archives at our Edinburgh store. Access is by appointment and researchers are required to complete an access form before they visit. Some records are subject to closure periods. For further information please email archives@rbs.co.uk or telephone 0131 334 1428.

Related Material

  • The National Archives: Records of the Royal Marines pay office, effective and subsistence lists 1688-1837 (Ref: ADM96).
  • Bodleian Library: Will of John Tucker 1777 (Ref: MS.Don.c.127); papers of Gabriel and Francis Steward, and of Francis’s widow, Martha, as executors of the wills of John and Richard Tucker, 1777-99 (Ref: MS.Don.b.24, c.129).