- Thomas Hopsonn
Sir Thomas Hopsonn (1642-1717) was born in
Bonchurchon the Isle of Wight, England in 1642.Orphaned at an early age he was fostered and apprenticed as a tailor in nearby Niton.As a young man he and children of the village sighted the fleet passing to the south of the Island and ran down to the sea to wave at it from Puckaster Cove. Hopsonn, however, took a rowing boat and literally ran away to sea to join the Navy in about 1662.Shortly afterwards he distinguished himself in a battle with the French by creeping unnoticed to the stern and pulling down a French ensign causing the surrender of the enemy ship. On account of this he became an officer and rose through the ranks to Vice Admiral, being nicknamed "Snips".
National Maritime Museumhas an Algerian sword or nimchawhich Hopsonn took from a Barbary Corsairslaver in 1676 when First Lieutenant of HMS Dragon, having led a boarding party in which he wrenched the weapon from his assailant and ran him through with it. He commanded HMS "York" at the Battle of Solebay(1672) and HMS "St Michael" at the Battle of Barfleur(1690).
Distinguishing himself at the
Battle of Beachy Headin 1690, his moment of fame came in 1702 at the Battle of Vigo Bay. The British/Dutch commanded by Sir George Rookepursued a Franco-Spanish fleet carrying silver from South America. The French and Spanish blocked the entrance by a boom formed of ship's masts chained together overlooked by forts. Hopsonn commanded the Red Squadron in his flagship HMS "Torbay" and Rooke detailed him to ram the boom and break it. The Torbay did so under heavy fire and was attacked by a fireship. The fireship was a commandeered merchantman carrying snuff. However the smoke from the snuff doused the fire and the "Torbay" broke through. The rest of the fleet followed and the Franco-Spanish fleet were heavily defeated. The French and Spanish lost 34 ships, throwing much of the silver overboard. Nevertheless the action proved highly profitable for Rooke's fleet. The "Torbay" in particular took the cargo of snuff as a prize and sold it in London, which is credited with the introduction, or at least popularisation of snuff-taking in England.
Hopsonn returned to the
Isle of Wightto sit as one of its Members of Parliamentfor Newtown. It is said that when he returned to his foster parents they would not believe who he was, until he sang a nursery song they had taught him as a child.
He was knighted by Queen Anne.
Hopsonn is given as an example in
Self-Help (book)by Samuel Smiles.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Diamond Coast by Ian Williams (Dovecote Press)
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
HMS Somerset (1698) — HMS Somerset was a three decker 80 gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched at Chatham Dockyard on 31 May 1698. She was the first ship to bear the name.She served as Admiral Sir George Rooke s Flagship at the battle of Vigo Bay … Wikipedia
Puckaster — is a hamlet on the Isle of Wight, England. Puckaster is on the southern coast of the Isle of Wight, south of Niton, between St. Catherine s Point and Binnel.HistoryPuckaster has historical significance. Some have tried to identify Puckaster Cove… … Wikipedia
Bataille Navale De Vigo — Bataille de la Baie de Vigo La Bataille de la Baie de Vigo par Ludolf Bakhuizen Informations générales Date 23 octobre 1702 L … Wikipédia en Français
Bataille navale de Vigo — Bataille de la Baie de Vigo La Bataille de la Baie de Vigo par Ludolf Bakhuizen Informations générales Date 23 octobre 1702 Lieu Au large de … Wikipédia en Français
Bataille navale de vigo — Bataille de la Baie de Vigo La Bataille de la Baie de Vigo par Ludolf Bakhuizen Informations générales Date 23 octobre 1702 L … Wikipédia en Français
Battle of Vigo Bay — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of Vigo Bay caption=The Battle of Vigo Bay , by Ludolf Backhuysen partof=the War of the Spanish Succession date=23 October 1702 [All dates in the article are in the Gregorian calendar (unless otherwise… … Wikipedia
List of people from the Isle of Wight — This is a list of people born in or strongly associated with the Isle of Wight, alphabetically within categories. Born on the Isle of Wight * Dr Thomas Arnold, headmaster of Rugby School and immortalised in Tom Brown s Schooldays , born in Cowes… … Wikipedia
Seeschlacht von Vigo — Teil von: Spanischer Erbfolgekrieg Die … Deutsch Wikipedia