1807 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir John Mennes

Samuel Egerton Brydges, in "Musarum Deliciae" Censura Literaria 4 (1807) 397-99.



The authors of this miscellany were Sir John Mennes, and Dr. James Smith.

The former was third son of Andrew Mennes, Esq. of Sandwich in Kent, by Jane Blechenden, where he was born May 11, 1598. He was educated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he distinguished himself by his literary acquirements; and afterwards became a great traveller, a celebrated seaman, and well skilled in the building of ships. In the reign of James I. he had a place in the Navy-Office; and by Charles I. was appointed its Controuler. In the subsequent troubles, he took an active part, both military and naval, in favour of the Crown; and being a Vice-Admiral in 1641 was knighted at Dover. In 1642 he commanded the Rainbow: he was afterwards, it seems, displaced from his services at sea for his loyalty; and was implicated in the Kentish Insurrection in favour of the King in 1648.

After the restoration he was made Governor of Dover Castle, and Chief Comptroller of the Navy, which he retained till his death. In 1661 he was appointed commander of the Henry, and received a commission to act as Vice-Admiral, and Commander in Chief of his Majesty's Fleet in the North Seas.

Sir John Mennes died Feb. 18, 1670-1, with the character of an honest, stout, generous, and religious man, whose company had always been delightful to the ingenious and witty.

Wood says he was also author of a poem, entitled Epsom Wells; and several other poems scattered in other men's works. He was buried in the church of St. Olave, Hart Street, London; where a monument and inscription were erected over his grave.