John Marsh
Commissioner, Comptroller and Chairman of the Victualling Board
1747 - 1823

Born: at Chatham in Kent 5 April 1747 and died 3 December 1823 aged 77.
Son of: Milbourne Marsh (1709-1779) and Elizabeth Evans (widow of Mr Evans) (????-1776) in Kingston, Jamaica, 13 December 1734. Elizabeth died at Rochester12 January 1776 aged 67 years and 10 months.  Or  Katharine (Catherine) Marsh (nee Soan) 18 December 1776 at Chatham.
Brother of:
1. Maj Francis Millbourne Marsh (1738-1782).
2. Eliza Crisp (nee Marsh, 1735-1785) who married James Crisp Esq (????-1779)
Joan Married: circa 1786 Lucy Gosling (Gostling) (1759-1845).
John and Lucy had issue:
1. John Milbourne Marsh (1787-1826) who married 1st Emmeline Adriana (1792-1812), 2nd Frances Elizabeth Grant.
2. George Augustus Eliott Marsh MA (1790-1867) who married Julia Murdock (1792?-1854).
3. Lady Eliza Downman (born 12 April 1786 in Bloomsbury Square, or born 1799?, died18??) who married Lieut-General Sir Thomas Charles F. Downman (1773-18??).
4. Possibly; James Gerard Marsh born 25 October 1796 at No.15 Berners Street, London, and christened there the 29 November 1796.  Died ????

John Marsh: An Overview

We know about John from the following sources:
1. "History of the Ancient Family of Marsh" by Joseph J. Green, Archivist and Genealogist, 1903, revised to date by Wm. Ernest Marsh, of Marston, Bromley, Kent, 1912.
2. Various manuscripts in the Greenwich Naval Museum and the British library.
3. The diary of his uncle George Marsh (1722-1800).
4. His bookplate.
5. Entries copied from his Bible which later belonged to his son, Rev George Augustus Eliott Marsh.
6. Family letters from the Betty Harrison archive.
7. An excellent book about his sister 'The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh' by Prof Linda Colley, 2007.
8. Captivity, Marriage and Influence: the entangled fortunes of the Marsh and Towry families, 1755-1808, by Roger Knight.

John held various appointments working for the Navy.  In his earlier days he was based at Malaga.  Later on he was at Gibraltar where he played a major part in buildig up the defences during the siege by the Spanish and French which lasted from 1779 to 1783.  He was highly complimented for his work by General George Augustus Eliott, Lord Heathfield.  Most of his later life was spend back in England where he became a Commissioner of the Navy.  Much of this is covered in the book  'The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh' by Prof Linda Colley, 2007

Documents in the British Library include:
1. Marsh (John) . Letters, as Commissioner of the Navy Victualling Office, to Lord Nelson 1799 - 1801. Add. 34933 ff. 183, 281 Add. 34934 ff. 3, 114, 190, 203
2. Marsh (John) . of the Victualling Office Letter to J. Borlinder signed by, 1806 Add. 71591 f. 93
3. Marsh (John) . Consul at Malaga Letters to Lord Grantham 1771-1779. Add. 24167 ff. 6, 14, 48, 69, 245 Add. 24168 passim- 24173
4. Marsh (John) . Solicitor Letter 1767. Add. 19040 f. 112 
5. Marsh (John) . of Upton, in Hawkesbury Grants in Hawkesbury 1676, 1709. Add. 38579 ff. 22 b, 44 b 

Documents in the Greenwich Naval Museum include:
1. Autobiographical account by John Marsh starting in 1768 when Consul at Malagar through to Commissioner of Transport and Victualling Boards up to 1808. Concerned mainly with his applications for a pension and contains copies and original letters including those from Richard Burke, Secretary to the Duke of Portland, 1783; George Augustus Eliott, Lord Heathfield, 1779 & 1790.    BGR/35 SWW.
2. In letter from John Marsh (Victualling Office), 1805.    MID/1/117 SWW.

"History of the Ancient Family of Marsh" notes the following:
John Marsh, Commissioner, Comptroller and Chairman of the Victualling Board or Office, superintending the Cash Department, Somerset Place.  He was apparently appointed 12 March 1783, Consul in Spain at Malaga.  Lucy Marsh (nee Gosling) died at Bangor Rectory 26 February 1845 aged 86.

A portrait of Lucy Marsh nee Gosling was sold at Sothebys 6 March 2008.  PROVENANCE It was described with the provenance by descent to the sitter's son, the Rev. Augustus Marsh; Thence by descent to Colonel H.E. Marsh, his grandson.

It should be noted that John's Uncle George Marsh was previously a Commissioner of the Navy and Chairman of the Victualling Board.

The following bookplate is definately John's as a book with a copy has been handed down in one branch of the Marsh family.  It is also very similar in appearance to the bookplates of his uncle George Marsh and cousin Arthur Cuthbert Marsh.



Bookplate of John Marsh


Another interesting diary which has come from a family archive and may be related to John Marsh (click here).


If you have any information to add to what is listed please contact me on