HMS Prince (1670)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Prince and HMS Royal William.
A First-Rate (HMS Royal William).jpg
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Prince
Ordered: June 1667
Builder: Phineas Pett the Younger, Deptford Dockyard
Launched: 3 December 1670
Commissioned: 15 January 1672
Renamed: HMS Royal William, 1692
Fate: Broken up, 1813
General characteristics as built[1]
Class & type: 100-gun first rate ship of the line
Tons burthen: 1403 tons (1425.5 tonnes)
Length: 131 ft (40 m) (keel)
Beam: 44 ft 10 in (13.67 m)
Depth of hold: 19 ft (5.8 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
Armament: 100 guns of various weights of shot
General characteristics after 1692 rebuild[2]
Class & type: 100-gun first rate ship of the line
Tons burthen: 1588 tons (1613.5 tonnes)
Length: 167 ft 3 in (50.98 m) (gundeck)
Beam: 47 ft 2 in (14.38 m)
Depth of hold: 18 ft (5.5 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
Armament: 100 guns of various weights of shot
General characteristics after 1719 rebuild[2]
Class & type: 100-gun first rate ship of the line
Tons burthen: 1918 tons (1948.8 tonnes)
Length: 175 ft 4 in (53.44 m) (gundeck)
Beam: 50 ft (15 m) 3½ in (15.3 m)
Depth of hold: 20 ft 1 in (6.12 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
Armament: 100 guns of various weights of shot

HMS Prince (sometimes also referred to as Royal Prince) was a 100-gun first rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, built by Phineas Pett the Younger at Deptford Dockyard and launched in 1670.[1] A contemporary shipyard model (today at the Science Museum London[3]) and a drawing by Willem van de Velde the Elder (today in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam) give a good impression how she looked. Especially her stern was extensively decorated with gilded carvings.

During the Third Anglo-Dutch War she served as a flagship of the later king James II, then Duke of York and Lord High Admiral.[4] During the Battle of Solebay (1672) she was in the centre of the English fleet that was attacked by the Dutch centre led by Admiral Michiel de Ruyter. The Prince was heavily damaged by De Ruyter's flagship De Zeven Provinciën in a two hours' duel and Captain of the Fleet Sir John Cox was killed on board. The Duke of York was forced to shift his flag to HMS St Michael.[5] The Prince's second captain, John Narborough, however conducted himself with such conspicuous valour that he won special approbation and was knighted shortly afterwards.

HMS Prince was rebuilt by Robert Lee at Chatham Dockyard in 1692, and renamed at the same time as HMS Royal William. During the War of the Grand Alliance the ship saw action at the Battle of Barfleur of 19 May 1692.[6] The Prince belonged to the red squadron and carried the flag of Rear Admiral of the Red Sir Cloudesley Shovell. She was the first ship to break the French line during the battle.

Later she was rebuilt for a second time by John Naish at Portsmouth Dockyard from 1714, relaunching on 3 September 1719. She was laid up after her re-launch and saw no service at all until she was reduced to an 84-gun Second rate ship in 1756.[2] One year later, she was part of an unsuccessful expedition against Rochefort led by Admiral Sir Edward Hawke. Her squadron, under Vice-Admiral Charles Knowles, attacked the Île-d'Aix and forced her garrison to surrender.[7] In 1758 she participated in Boscawen's and Wolfe's attack on the French Fortress of Louisbourg (Nova Scotia) and an indecisive skirmish with a French squadron.[8] The following year the Royal William returned to Canada under the command of Captain Hugh Pigot to join the attack on Quebec. After the Battle of the Plains of Abraham and the capture of Quebec she sailed back to England with the body of General Wolfe.[9] In 1760 the Royal William was Boscawen's flagship when he took command of the fleet in Quiberon Bay. However, after a severe gale he was forced to return and shift his flag to the Namur.[10] During the expedition against Belle Île of 1761 she was detached with several other ships to cruise off Brest and prevent a French counter-attack from there.[11]

The Seven Years' War seems to be the last time that the Royal William played an active role. She was broken up in 1813.[2]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Lavery, Ships of the Line vol.1, p161.
  2. ^ a b c d Lavery, Ships of the Line vol.1, p165.
  3. ^ see Science and Society Picture Library
  4. ^ William Laird Clowes: The Royal Navy. A History from the Earliest Times to 1900, vol. 2, London 1996 [reprint of the 1898 edition], p300f
  5. ^ Clowes: Royal Navy, vol. 2, p307-308
  6. ^ Clowes: Royal Navy, vol. 2, p349
  7. ^ William Laird Clowes: The Royal Navy. A History from the Earliest Times to 1900, vol. 3, London 1996 [reprint of the 1898 edition], p171
  8. ^ Clowes: Royal Navy, vol. 3, p185
  9. ^ Clowes: Royal Navy, vol. 3, p206, 209
  10. ^ Clowes: Royal Navy, vol. 3, p231
  11. ^ Clowes: Royal Navy, vol. 3, p235 n.

References[edit]

  • Lavery, Brian (2003) The Ship of the Line – Volume 1: The development of the battlefleet 1650–1850. Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-252-8.