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John James Lambrecht (1756-1772)


John James Lambrecht was a midshipman in Adventure during Cook’s Second Voyage.  He was baptised on 9 June, 1756, at St. Andrew, Holborn, London.  He was the son of John Lambrecht and Prudence Lenton, who had married at Lewknor in Oxfordshire in 1745.  As well as John James, they had a daughter, Letitia, and a son, Joseph.  In 1753, the Lambrechts were living at Tooke Court in Holborn, but by 1757, they were living in Kensington.


John Lambrecht senior died in 1774.  His will was proven on 29 April, 1774.1  In his will he gave “unto Mrs Esther Gradby twenty pounds as a recompence for her many attendances upon me during my confinement by the Govt.”  Unfortunately, he does not explain his confinement.  A few years earlier, in 1770, he was sufficiently in favour to be one of several people appointed as “Commissioners of the Great Seal”.2  


When John James Lambrecht sailed in Adventure he was mustered as an able seaman (AB), but messed with the midshipmen.  He managed to last only a month and a few days of the voyage, dying at sea in the North Atlantic on 25 August, 1772, as Adventure sailed southeast towards the Equator.  During the stopover on Sao Tiago in the Cape Verde Islands, Lambrecht had gone swimming and suffered sunstroke.  The after effects worsened and, ten days after leaving Port Praio, he died.3  


Lambrecht’s brother, Captain Joseph Lambrecht, was the senior Marine Officer at the battle of Copenhagen in 1801, being rewarded with promotion to the rank of Major in the army.  He was later a colonel.  Prudence Lambrecht, though not mentioned at all in her husband’s will, lived for another 33 years, dying at Rochester in 1807.  She was aged 86.


John Robson



  1. The National Archives (TNA).  PROB 11/997.
  2. The Great Seal is attached to the official documents of state that require the authorisation of the monarch to implement the advice of the Government.  In 1770, it was the Great Seal of Great Britain. 
  3. Cook’s Log, page 1421, vol. 20, no.3 (1997). 

Originally published in Cook's Log, page 32, volume 39, number 2 (2016).


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