HMS Coventry (1757)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Coventry.
Career (Great Britain) RN Ensign
Name: HMS Coventry
Operator: Royal Navy
Ordered: 13 April 1756
Awarded: 28 April 1756
Builder: Henry Adams's yard, Bucklers Hard
Laid down: 31 May 1756
Launched: 30 May 1757
Completed: 31 July 1757 at Portsmouth Dockyard
Commissioned: May 1757
Captured: 12 January 1783
General characteristics
Class & type: Coventry-class frigate
Tons burthen: 599 2594 bm
Length: 118 ft 4 34 in (36.087 m) (gundeck)
97 ft 0 12 in (29.578 m) (keel)
Beam: 34 ft 0 78 in (10.385 m)
Depth of hold: 10 ft 6 in (3.20 m)
Sail plan: Full-rigged ship
Complement: 200 officers and men
Armament: Upperdeck: 24 × 9-pounder guns

QD: 4 × 3-pounder guns

Also: 12 × swivel guns

HMS Coventry was a 28-gun sixth-rate frigate of the Royal Navy. The French captured her in 1783.


The ship was designed by Sir Thomas Slade "to the draught of the Tartar with such alterations withinboard as may be judged necessary", making her a further development of the Lyme. A further twelve ships were built to the draught of the Coventry between 1756 and 1763, as well as another five to a modified version of fir (pine) construction.


Early on the morning of 10 August 1778, Admiral Edward Vernon's squadron, consisting of Rippon (Vernon's flagship), Coventry, Seahorse, Cormorant, and the East India Company's ship Valentine, encountered a French squadron under Admiral François l'Ollivier de Tronjoly which consisted of the 64-gun ship of the line Le Brillant, the frigate La Pourvoyeuse and three smaller ships, Sartine, Lauriston, and Brisson. An inconclusive action followed for about two hours in mid-afternoon. The French broke off the action and the British vessels were too damaged to be able to catch them up again. In the action the British suffered 11 men killed and 53 wounded, including one man killed and 20 wounded aboard Coventry.[1]

Seahorse captured Sartine on 25 August 1778. Sartine had been patrolling off Pondichery with Pourvoyeuse when they sighted two East Indiamen, which were sailing blithely along, unaware of the outbreak of war. The French vessels gave chase lazily. Sartine '​s captain, Count du Chaillar, first had to be roused from his bed ashore. The British merchant vessels escaped, but Sartine came too close to Vernon's squadron. He sent Coventry and Seahorse after her and she surrendered after a short action. A French account remarks acidly that she surrendered to a frigate of her own size without a fight.[2] All four Royal Navy vessels in Vernon's squadron shared in the prize money.[3] (Vernon had already sent Valentine off with dispatches.) The Royal Navy took Sartine into service as the fifth-rate frigate HMS Sartine.

On 12 August 1782, Coventry, under the command of Captain Andrew Mitchell encountered the French frigate Bellone off Friars Hood, Ceylon. After two-and-a-half hours, the Bellone sailed away. Coventry pursued until Bellone reached the protection of the French fleet at Batacaloa. Coventry suffered 15 men killed and 29 wounded in the engagement.[4]


On 14 September 1782, Captain William Wolseley took command of Coventry. On the night of 12 January 1783, he sailed her towards four large vessels at Ganjam Roads, believing them to be some East Indiamen for which he was searching to convoy to Calcutta. He had no information that French vessels were in the area and so allowed the current to take him towards the vessels, the wind being weak. When he realized that they were French vessels, part of the fleet under Suffren, he was unable to escape. The French vessels opened fire and Wolseley had no choice but to surrender.[5]

The French sailed Coventry to Brest, where they decommissioned her in January 1785. She was broken up either later that year or in 1786.[6]


  1. ^ Anon. (1801), Section: Pon.
  2. ^ Barras (1895), Vol. 1, pp.371-2.
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 12718. p. 22. 17 January 1786.
  4. ^ Kippis (1784), p.169.
  5. ^ Hepper (1994), p.71.
  6. ^ Demerliac (1996), p.69, #430.


  • Anon. (1801) The field of Mars. (Printed for J. Macgowan).
  • Barras, Paul vicomte de (1895) Memoirs of Barras, member of the directorate. (Harper & brothers).
  • Demerliac, Alain (1996) La Marine De Louis XVI: Nomenclature Des Navires Français De 1774 À 1792. (Nice: Éditions OMEGA). ISBN 2-906381-23-3
  • Gardiner, Robert (1992) The First Frigates. (London: Conway Maritime Press). ISBN 0-85177-601-9.
  • Hepper, David J. (1994). British Warship Losses in the Age of Sail, 1650-1859. Rotherfield: Jean Boudriot. ISBN 0-948864-30-3. 
  • Kippis, Andrew (1784) The New annual register, or, General repository of history, politics, and literature for the year ... (Printed for G.G.J. and J. Robinson).
  • Lyon, David (1993) The Sailing Navy List. (London: Conway Maritime Press). ISBN 0-85177-617-5.
  • Winfield, Rif (2007) British Warships in the Age of Sail, 1714 to 1792. (London: Seaforth Publishing). ISBN 978-1-84415-700-6.