Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Cuttance, Roger

CUTTANCE, Sir ROGER (fl. 1650–1669), captain in the navy, a native of Weymouth, was in June 1651 appointed captain of the Pearl frigate, and served for some months under the command of Sir George Ayscue. On the breaking out of the Dutch war in May 1652, he was transferred to the Sussex of 40 guns, and commanded her till the peace, taking part in the battles of the Kentish Knock, 28 Sept. 1652, of Portland, 18 Feb. 1652–3, and off the Texel, 2–3 June and 31 July 1653. In 1654 he commanded the Langport, with Blake, in the Mediterranean, and assisted in the reduction of Porto Farina, 4 April 1655 [see Blake, Robert]. In October 1655 he accompanied the general to England, returning with him to the coast of Spain in the following spring, but came home again with Mountagu and Stayner in October 1656. In May 1657 he was appointed to the Naseby, in which ship he continued for the next four years, for the greater part of the time as Montagu's flag captain, and especially when, in May 1660, the Naseby had her name changed to Royal Charles, and brought the king to England. In 1661 he moved, with Mountagu, then Earl of Sandwich, to the Royal James, and in 1665 to the Prince, in which Sandwich hoisted his flag as admiral of the blue squadron, and by his decisive conduct in the battle of 3 June mainly contributed to the defeat and rout of the Dutch [see Mountagu, Edward, Earl of Sandwich]. On the return of the fleet Cuttance was knighted by the king, 1 July 1665. The Duke of York resigned the command to Sandwich, with whom Cuttance still continued in the position afterwards known as captain of the fleet. It was Sandwich's last command at sea in that war, owing, it was freely said, to the scandal that was spread abroad about the plundering certain Dutch East Indiamen that were captured. Whatever the blame was, Cuttance shared it, and indeed, according to Pepys, was the really guilty person (Pepys, Diary, 25 Feb. 1667–8, 27 Dec. 1668). In any case it was probably considered unadvisable to employ him again afloat at that time, and of any civil employment he may have had we have no information. In the next war, 1672, when Sandwich again hoisted his flag, Cuttance was no longer with him; but whether by reason of death, sickness, or his holding some office on shore, does not appear.

In 1658 his son, after serving as a lieutenant at Porto Farina and Santa Cruz, when in command of a ship of war and in charge of a convoy for Bordeaux, was taken prisoner, and carried into San Sebastian. ‘There,’ wrote his father (27 Dec. 1658), ‘he is closely confined through the means of Captain Beach's wife, until her husband, who is a prisoner in England, is set at liberty.’ Two months later he was exchanged for Beach, who after the Restoration returned to England, and served for many years both afloat and at the admiralty (Charnock, i. 51), but of young Cuttance nothing more is known.

[Calendars of State Papers, Domestic, 1651–1667; Pepys's Diary, passim (see Index); Penn's Memorials of Sir William Penn. The memoir in Charnock's Biog. Nav. i. 12 is valueless.]

J. K. L.