Author: Stephen Saunders Webb


Sir John Berry (baptized 1636–1690)

Sir John Berry was one of three royal commissioners sent by King Charles II to put down Bacon’s Rebellion (1676–1677) in Virginia. Having joined the English navy as a boatswain early in the 1660s, Berry quickly won promotion and commanded warships during the Second (1665–1667) and Third (1672–1674) Anglo-Dutch Wars. In October 1676 the king named Berry to a commission that led an armed force of ten naval vessels and more than 1,000 soldiers to put down Bacon’s Rebellion and to investigate its causes. The rebellion had ended by the time Berry arrived in January 1677, and the commissioners clashed with Virginia’s governor, Sir William Berkeley, as they followed royal instructions to impose order on the colony. Berry’s crew fell ill, and he sailed for London in June. Berry was promoted to vice admiral in December 1688. He remained a naval commissioner until his death in 1690.