On the South wall of the nave.
TO THE MEMORY OF
THE REVD. JAMES INMAN D.D.
FORMERLY PROFESSOR OF
THE ROYAL NAVAL COLLEGE AND
SCHOOL OF NAVAL ARCHITECTURE
WHO DIED 7TH FEBRUARY 1859
AGED 83 YEARS
THIS TABLET IS ERECTED BY HIS PUPILS
AT THE LATE SCHOOL OF NAVAL ARCHITECTURE
TO RECORD THEIR SENSE OF THE ZEAL
WITH WHICH HE DEVOTED HIS
DISTINGUISHED ABILITIES AND HIGH ATTAINMENTS
TO THE APPLICATION OF SCIENCE
TO THE CONSTRUCTION OF SHIPS-OF-WAR
AND AS A MARK OF THE
AFFECTION, ESTEEM AND VENERATION
IN WHICH THEY HOLD HIS MEMORY
[Extract from 'St Ann's Church: A brief History' courtesy of Wendy Smith]
Although never a serving naval officer, Inman gained valuable experience of ships and the sea when he was recommended to the Board of Longitude by Cambridge University. In 1803 he accepted the post of Astronomer on board HMS Investigator, engaged in scientific exploration off the coast of Australia. In the following year he and many of the crew were sent home aboard East India Company ships from Canton.
On 15 February 1804, a French fleet off Pulo Aor in the Malay Archipeligo attacked the East Indiamen, 16 in all. Inman was placed in command of the Lascar pikemen on board the Warley. Sir Nathaniel Dance, the commander of the fleet, swiftly ordered his ships to be disguised and to sail in a strict line of battle formation. The French, believing that they had to face a naval flotilla, abandoned the action. This episode was subsequently known as 'The Battle of the Painted Fleet'
Ordained in 1805, (Inman) was appointed to teach Mathematics at the Royal Naval College and, at his suggestion, the School of Naval Architecture was established in 1808. In addition to producing a treatise on ship building, he also directed the building of no less than ten warships. Upon his retirement in 1839 he wrote of his ships:
'All have been kept in commission almost constantly and to none of which has the slightest accident happened attributable to error of form'.