Historical Events - Battle of Lowestoft Naval Reward

Sarah Heath

What happened on 13th June 1665?

On the 13th June 1665 the English were victorious against the Dutch in a sea battle off the coast of Lowestoft during the 2nd Anglo-Dutch War. The Naval Reward medallion was issued to be given as a reward to the officers involved in the battle.

Disputes between the two nations had been frequent and neither side was prepared to compromise.

Tensions had been building for several years since the Restoration, particularly about fishing in foreign waters. Despite the commercial treaty of 1662 where England, France and Holland agreed to put a stop to the conflicts, disputes continued between the English and Dutch, specifically with the Dutch fishing in the English zone. 

Charles II’s younger brother, James Duke of York was commander-in-chief of the English fleet and distinguished himself in successfully defeating the Dutch.

James, Duke of York commanded one of the English squadrons, alongside Prince Rupert (James’ cousin) and the Earl of Sandwich, who commanded the other two squadrons. The number of warships were similar to the Dutch, 109 versus 103, however the English ships were stronger, and the Dutch, not having rebuilt enough warships in time for the battle had a weaker side.

Jacob Obden who commanded one of the Dutch squadrons was aware of this fundamental weakness and as such he was hesitant in initiating a confident battle strategy and was subsequently defeated.

James, Duke of York engaged in direct battle with the warship commanded by Obden and at one stage narrowly avoided a chain shot from the Dutch side, however it did kill three of his comrades.

The English had 500 soldiers that were killed or wounded however the Dutch had 5 times that number and lost 17 of their warships.

The Battle of Lowestoft put Britain ahead in the 2nd Anglo-Dutch War and as such Charles II made sure that those fighting were recognised. 

Even though the Dutch recovered relatively quickly from the defeat, it was important for the English to weigh in heavily on their victory.

Charles II was keen to defeat the Dutch not only for the fishing disputes but also for the hostile treatment that he had endured during his exile in Holland in the 1650’s. As such he ordered for commemorative medals to be designed and struck by John Roettier, chief engraver at The Royal Mint, to be given as rewards for the senior officers of the British side. 

The Naval Reward Historical Medallion By John Roettier

The Naval Reward historical medallion by Roettier was given to officers as recognition for their role in the battle.

Naval Reward Historical Medallion by John Roettier

This beautiful medal by John Roettier was struck to give as a reward for the bravery shown in the Battle of Lowestoft. However, this medallion was designed without a specific date and with a more generic naval engagement scene so that it could be used for future rewards, not exclusively for this battle. There was also a smaller version of the medal that was designed by John Roettier, that was given to officers who were under the rank of captain. 

Discover our related product: 1665 Naval Reward Historical Medallion by John Roettier

Discover our related collection: Military Medals

Who Owned The Battle of Lowestoft Naval Reward

This medal was once owned by a British naval officer of the 17th century.

It’s exciting to think this medal was once given to a British naval officer who fought bravely for his country. Who was he and what was his story? As these medallions were given as rewards many of them can be found in an inferior condition as they were often well handled.

This Naval Reward is in extremely fine condition without any blemish to Charles II bust on the obverse or to the beautiful detail to the ships in sail on the reverse. Furthermore, these medals often have signs on the edge rim where they have been mounted, an indication that their owner had their reward on display.

The condition of this Naval Reward medal could suggest that it was a treasured reward that was given the best possible care. 

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