Thursday, January 15, 2004
John Stokes, English captain John Stokes seems to have not served past the Restoration, at least at sea. He held many important commands during the Interregnum, however. I have seen his name also spelled "Stoaks" and "Stoakes". 17th Century spellings seem to have been rather fluid, which complicates research. John Stokes commanded many ships between 1649 and 1660. He started in command of the Hector, in 1649. From 1650-1652, he commanded the frigate Dragon. In 1653, he commanded the Pelican, the Laurel, and then the Victory. In 1654, he commanded the James. From 1654-1655, he commanded the George. In 1655, he was Rear-Admiral in the Mediterranean, and flew his flag on the Unicorn. From 1656-1657, he was in the Rainbow. From 1657-1659, he was Admiral in the Mediterranean, and had his flag on the Lyme. In 1660, he commanded the Richard, which became the Royal James, after the Restoration. The reference to "John Stoakes" after 1660 is on page 25 of Frank Fox's book, A Distant Storm: the four days battle of 1666. There was a Captain Stoakes who had a business pressing seaman for the Restoration navy. Peter Pett complained about the poor quality of men he had been providing. That is the last mention I have seen. If this is the same man, then he must have been judged to not have so politically unreliable that he would have been imprisoned or killed, but not so suitable as to be employed in the navy, the way that others had been.