William Bligh RN
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William Bligh RN (1754 - 1817)

Vice Adm William Bligh RN
Born in St Tudy, Cornwall, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Brother of [half]
Husband of — married 4 Feb 1781 in Douglas, Isle of Manmap
Descendants descendants
Died in 25 Bond Street, London, England, United Kingdommap
Profile last modified | Created 29 Jul 2014
This page has been accessed 13,269 times.
Preceded by
Captain Philip Gidley King RN
4th Governor of New South Wales
13 Aug 1806 to 26 Jan 1808 Badge of the Governor of New South Wales
Succeeded by
Major-General Lachlan Macquarie CB


Notables Project
William Bligh RN is Notable.

Vice Admiral of the Blue William Bligh, FRS, RN (9 September 1754 – 7 December 1817) was an officer of the British Royal Navy and a colonial administrator. A historic mutiny occurred during his command of HMS Bounty in 1789; Bligh and his loyal men made a remarkable voyage to Timor, 3,618 nautical miles (6,701 km; 4,164 mi), after being set adrift in the Bounty's launch by the mutineers. Fifteen years after the Bounty mutiny, he was appointed Governor of New South Wales in Australia, with orders to clean up the corrupt rum trade of the New South Wales Corps, resulting in the so-called Rum Rebellion.[1]

Vice-Admiral William Bligh was born on 9 September 1754 at Plymouth, Devon, England.[2] He was the son of Francis Bligh and Jane Balsam.[3] He was baptised on 4 October 1754 at St. Andrew's Church, Plymouth, Devon, England.[4][5]

He married Elizabeth Betham, daughter of Richard Betham and Mary Campbell, on 4 February 1781 at Douglas, Isle of Man.[6]

He died on 6 December 1817 at age 63 at London, England.[7]

Children of Vice-Admiral William Bligh and Elizabeth Betham[8]:

  1. Harriet Maria Bligh b. 15 Nov 1781, d. 26 Feb 1856
  2. Mary Bligh b. 1783, d. 4 Dec 1864
  3. Elizabeth Bligh b. 24 Mar 1786, d. 17 Jul 1854
  4. Jane Bligh b. 11 May 1788, d. 1875
  5. Frances Bligh b. 11 May 1788, d. 1862
  6. Anne Campbell Bligh b. 1791, d. 1 Nov 1843
  7. William Bligh b. 1795, d. 1795
  8. Henry Bligh b. 1795, d. 1795

Name: Captain William Bligh. [9] [10] [11] [12]

Born 9 Sep 1754. Plymouth, Devon. [9] [10]

Died 6 Dec 1817. London [9] [10] His death notice in the Morning Chronicle, 11 December 1817: "DIED. On the 7th inst. in Bond-street, Vice-Admiral William Bligh, F.R.S. of Farningham House, Kent, aged 63."[13]

Buried 15 Dec 1817. St. Mary, Lambeth, Surrey, England. [9] [10]

File File: Media Format: jpg. Captain Bligh. File: http:/trees.ancestry.comrd?f=document&guid=9eae3a82-184b-4cc0-9192-8c2afec777f1&tid=18789077&pid=840. Format: htm. Duncan Campbell Merchant. File: Media Format: jpg. Captain Bligh on HMS Ranger.

Marriage Husband @P840@. Wife @P836@. Marriage 4 Feb 1781. Douglas, Isle of Man. [14] [15]


  1. William Bligh: Wikipedia entry
  2. Glynn Christian, Fragile Paradise: The discovery of Fletcher Christian, Bounty mutineer, 2nd ed. (U.S.A.: Bounty Books, 2005), page 53. According to Glynn Christian, his date of birth 9 September 1754 was recorded in the family Bible.
  3. Matthew H.C.G., editor, Dictionary of National Biography on CD-ROM (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1995).
  4. Glynn Christian, Fragile Paradise: The discovery of Fletcher Christian, Bounty mutineer, 2nd ed. (U.S.A.: Bounty Books, 2005), page 53.
  5. Baptism 4 October 1754: "Wm son of Francis & Jane Bligh", Devon Baptisms, Plymouth, St Andrew, Plymouth & West Devon Record Office 358/5, digitized on Find My Past website https://search.findmypast.com.au/record?id=GBPRS%2FPLY%2F004634292%2F00044&parentid=GBPRS%2FB%2F31081867%2F1
  6. George Snell, online unknown url, George Snell (No longer available online), downloaded 29 August 2005.
  7. George Snell, online unknown url, George Snell (No longer available online), downloaded 29 August 2005.
  8. Montgomery-Massingberd, Hugh. Burke's Irish Family Records. London, U.K.: Burkes Peerage Ltd, 1976.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Source: #S-882570130 Ancestry Record 70699 #978943
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Source: #S-882570072 Call Number: p85/mry1/487 Ancestry Record 1559 #8791051
  11. Source: #S1568858667 Ancestry Record 9218 #2672
  12. Source: #S1568858675 Ancestry Record 60287 #41714
  13. English newspapers, Find My Past https://search.findmypast.com.au/bna/viewarticle?id=bl%2f0000082%2f18171211%2f016&stringtohighlight=william%20bligh
  14. Source: #S1568858667 Ancestry Record 9218 #2672
  15. Source: #S1568858675 Ancestry Record 60287 #41714
  • Source: S-882570130 Web: International, Find A Grave Index Ancestry.com Publication: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. Record Collection 70699
  • Source: S1568858667 Web: Isle of Man, Marriage Index, 1606-1984 Ancestry.com Publication: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. Record Collection 9218
  • Source: S1568858675 Isle of Man, Select Marriages, 1849-1911 Ancestry.com Publication: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. Record Collection 60287

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Comments: 10

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Was he born in Cornwall or Devon? Both places are in this profile. Is there any evidence that he was born in Cornwall and baptised a month later in Devon?
posted by Heather Stevens
William Bligh is 22 Degrees from Debbie Thomas

On my mother's side.

posted by Debbie (Fink) Thomas
I have stayed at his house in Lambeth Road. It is now a B&B.
posted by Heather Stevens
Admiral William Bligh was married to my 12th Great Grandmother (Lady Elizabeth Gorges) and Lt. Fletcher Christian was my 9th cousin five times removed. They were both on my father's father's branch of my family. Kind of ironic I think.
posted by Sherie Morehouse
Yes, I would say so. That is ironic.
posted by Robert Funderburk II
I am 22° from William Bligh. Profile ID Phillips-34101
Yes, I am 26° from William Bligh and 30° from you. :)
posted by Jamie Walker
edited by Jamie Walker
he was not noted as a very nice captain to his crew
It was said that he was very cruel to his men. At his court-martial, he was acquitted of any wrong-doing, but it was said that he wasn't permitted to command a ship again. As to whether that was so, I'm not sure. I think he was a Lieutenant at the time he was in Command of the HMS Bounty.
posted by Robert Funderburk II
edited by Robert Funderburk II
Hi there profile managers! We plan on featuring William as the Example Profile of the Week in the Connection finder on September 9th. Between now and then is a good time to take a look at the sources and biography to see if there are updates and improvements that need made, especially those that will bring it up to WikiTree Style Guide standards. A Team member will check on the profile closer to the week we'll feature it and make changes as necessary.

Thanks! Abby

posted by Abby (Brown) Glann