Wolverhampton BTW

Richard Rowland Bloxam

Bloxam, Richard Rowland, 1797—1877

by Benjamin Colbert

Richard Rowland Bloxam was born on 13 January 1797, the eldest son of the Reverend Richard Rouse Bloxam (1767-1840), assistant master of Rugby School, and Anne Bloxam, née Lawrence (1767-1835). The painter, Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830; ODNB), was his mother’s brother. Rowland Bloxam was educated at Rugby School, and received his BA from Worcester College, Oxford. He was ordained Deacon in April 1820. He married Eleanor Harper (c. 1800-24) in 1823, but she died the following year after the birth of their daughter.

On 6 August 1824, Bloxam accepted a civil appointment as chaplain aboard HMS Blonde, on which his younger brother, Andrew Bloxam (1801-78; ODNB) was naturalist, with Admiral George Anson Byron (1789-1868) commanding. The ensuing mission to repatriate the bodies of the king and queen of the Hawaiian Islands, who had died in England, lasted eighteen months and was of scientific as well as cultural importance.

Richard Bloxam had compiled notes and journals during the voyage with the intention of publishing an account upon his return, but was prevented by his official duties (and was perhaps not temperamentally suited to the task). His publisher, John Murray, called upon Maria Graham (1785-1842; ODNB) to arrange and edit the materials, which she did in a way that was greater than the sum of its parts. The Voyage of H.M.S. Blonde appeared early in 1827 although 1826 appears on its title page.

On 8 May 1826, Bloxam married Annabella Goldie (1805-44) and from December 1827, he became chaplain at Pembroke Dock Yard, where he served for eighteen years before retiring on a naval pension. His only other known work is a short pamphlet poem, The Launch of the Superb, probably printed in 1842 while he was still at Pembroke Yard. After his second wife’s death in 1844 he married once more, by which time his family included three daughters and a son. In later life, he appears to have resided in the vicinity of Rugby. He died in 1877.


‘Deacons’. The Christian Remembrancer 2 (May 1820): 317. Print.

Jackson, B. D., and Giles Hudson. ‘Bloxam, Andrew (1801–1878), naturalist’. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 5 Jan. 2012. Oxford University Press. Web. 20 Oct. 2017. https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/2706

Middleton, Richard. Natstand: Annotated family tree [for] Bloxam, Rev. Andrew (1802-1878). 28 Nov. 2014. Web. 10 Oct. 2017.

‘[Navy Estimates:] Civil Pensions and Allowances’. Accounts and Papers of the House of Commons 29 (4 Feb.-9 Aug. 1845): 56. Print.

The Navy List, Corrected to the 20th March 1834. London: John Murray, [April 1834]. Print.

‘Obituary’. Leicester Chronicle, no. 3518 (Sat., 3 Feb. 1877): 11. Gale Databases: British Library Newspapers, Part II: 1800-1900. Web. 10 Oct. 2017.

The Rugby Register, from the Year 1675 to the Present Time. 2nd ed. Rugby: T. Combe and Co. 1838. Print.


Title Published
Voyage of H.M.S. Blonde to the Sandwich Islands 1827

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