Transcript of Article
by A.C.Saunders

Bulletin XIII: La Société Jersiaise

Vice-Admiral Philip Durell

1707-1766

The study of the Extentes shows that the family of Durell or Durel goes back to 1272 when Raoul Durel was unjustly imprisoned, Matthieu Durel was killed during a raid on the Island, Nicholas Durel a priest, spent much time in looking after his ecclesiastical emolument, Richard Durel was appointed Provost of Sark by Nicholas de Cheney, who was Guardian of the Isles 1297 to 1298, and William Durel was unjustly accused and acquitted of theft.

This family has no connection with that called sometimes Vavaseur dit Durell at others dit Dubois. We find many traces in the records of the Durell family and we read of Thomas Durell, who succeeded his father as Greffier, being forced to write a letter for the Parliamentarians to Sir Philip de Carteret, demanding that he should deliver up Elizabeth Castle. For this, later, he was imprisoned by Sir George de Carteret until he had paid a fine of 8000 livre tournois. He was a popular man and when he died on June 23, 1651, was buried with great pomp as one well beloved by the people.

He was the son of Nicolas Durel, who was Constable of St.Helier from 1579 to 1602, and was buried in St.Saviour's Church for leaving two ecus for the poor of the parish. His son John, born in 1642, married Anne Dumaresq of les Augrès, and became Lieut. Bailiff. He had three sons in the Royal Navy, who all rose to the rank of Captain and in Traill's Social England Vol IV, page 17, there is a plan of Porto Bello made by Lt. Durell who must have been promoted shortly afterwards, for late in 1740 [?] Capt. Philip Durell died of plague at Carthagena. The Lieut. Bailiff had four sons; John, who became Solicitor General and married Elizabeth Corbet, and three others who became Captains in the Navy. He had three daughters, Madeline, who married Sir Edward de Carteret, Elizabeth who married John Sauvains and Anne who married Matthieu de Saumarez. There is a tablet to the memory of Matthieu and his wife in Westminster Abbey opposite the pulpit. John, the Solicitor General, son of the Lieut. Bailiff, had four sons, John, born 1706, who also became Solicitor General and married Anne la Cloche of Longueville Manor, Philip, born 1707 who became Vice Admiral of the Blue and married Madeline de Sausmarez, Thomas a Captain in the Royal Navy and George also a Captain in the Royal Navy and who married Elizabeth de Sausmarez.

Philip Durell entered the Navy at the age of thirteen in the frigate "Sea Horse", commanded by his uncle and he carried as a passenger the newly appointed Governor of New York and New Jersey and the vessel arrived in New York on Sept 16, 1742. Philip became Captain of the "Eltham" 40 guns, and took part in Admiral Knowles' repulse at Puerto Cabello, West Indies on April 24, 1742. Whilst in command of the same ship he was at the capture of Louisberg under Commodore Warren, April 29 to Jan. 28, 1745. [Jan should perhaps read July; unless Jan 1746, OS, is meant.]


The portrait on the left is at Sausmarez Manor: who is the artist? Is it really Hudson?

There is at Sausmarez Manor, Guernsey, a portrait of Capt. Philip Durell holding a roll inscribed "A Plan of Louisberg," 1745. He was Captain of the Gloucester, 50 guns, in Hawke's action with M. de L'Etendiere on Oct.14, 1747, Captain of the Trident, 64 guns, in Byng's action off Minorca, May 20, 1756, Commodore of the Diana, 36 guns, with Admiral Boscawen at the capture of Louisberg on July 26, 1758. The same year he was appointed Rear-Admiral in command of a squadron wintering in American waters. As second in command in Sir Charles Saunders' expedition against Quebec he was appointed to the Princess Amelia, 80 guns, and with his squadron sailed his ships about the entrance of the St Lawrence River to prevent reinforcements and stores being sent from France to the French in Canada. His promotions were Post Captain, Feb. 6, 1742, Rear-Admiral of the Blue, July 8, 1758, Rear Admiral of the Red, Feb. 14, 1759, Vice-Admiral of the Blue, Oct. 21, 1762.

He was appointed in command of the American Station and died in Halifax, Nova Scotia in August 1766. He was buried in St Paul's Church, the oldest Anglican Church in Halifax and the only one when Admiral Durell was there. His hatchment painted on canvas framed in wood or metal and very plainly lettered in gold, "Admiral Philip Durell 1766", hangs over the gallery rails of the Church, directly over the pulpit. There is a portrait of him marked "After a painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds" hanging in the vestry, a memorial of one who had gone to the top of his Country's service.

Minor typographical corrections have been made to the text above. It is not in total agreement with the note below.
Note: October 2007. In point of fact it contains several outright inaccuracies.
The Canadian Dictionary of Biography, online, has excellent biographies, including one on Philip Durell.
A later portrait of Durell, (c 1760/65 ?) attributed to Zoffany, hangs in the City of Plymouth Art Gallery.

The Biographical Directory, p.424, in The Royal Navy and North America: The Warren Papers, 1736-1752, edited by Julian Gwyn, has the following entry: "Durell, Philip (1707-1766), b. in Jersey; s. of John Durell; lieut. 1731; capt. 1743; rear-adm. 1758; vice-adm. 1762; at Louisbourg sieges 1745, 1758; at Quebec 1759; Minorca 1756; built Halifax dockyard 1758-; c-in-c Plymouth 1762."


Plan dated 17th June 1745


Monamy's painting, one of his last works, is closely based on Philip Durell's plan.


Louisbourg 1745: National Maritime Museum

"Philip ..... was at the capture of Louisberg under Commodore Warren"


See here for Hudson portrait of Sir Peter Warren.

philip durell & other durells
durell & louisbourg       durell & porto bello
philip durell's maps of porto bello & chagres
porto bello picture tiles       louisbourg picture tiles
louisbourg 1745
article 1981       article 1983
monamy site index

© Charles Harrison Wallace 2003, 2007
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