HMS Royal Oak (1664)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Royal Oak.
Career (England) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Royal Oak
Builder: Tippetts, Portsmouth Dockyard
Launched: 1664
Fate: Burnt, 1667
General characteristics [1]
Class & type: 100-gun first rate ship of the line
Tons burthen: 1021 tons (1037.4 tonnes)
Length: 121 ft (37 m) (keel)
Beam: 39 ft 10 in (12.14 m)
Depth of hold: 17 ft 1 12 in (5.2 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
Armament: Gundeck: 28 32 pounder Cannon
Middle Gundeck: 28 24 pounder guns
Upper Gundeck: 28 12 pounder guns

Quarter deck: 12 4 pounder guns

Fo'castle: 4 6 pounder guns

HMS Royal Oak was a 100-gun first rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched in 1664 at Portsmouth Dockyard.[1] Royal Oak was built by John Tippets, Master-Shipwright at Portsmouth 1660-8, who later became Navy Commissioner and subsequently Surveyor of the Navy (Knighted 1672).[2]

Historian Brian Lavery quotes an entry in the "Calendar of State Papers, Domestic" series (the records of the English, and later, the British, governmental proceedings, dating back to the reign of Henry VIII; also known as the "British State Papers", and now held by the National Archives) from 9/3/1665 that reports: the King (i.e., Charles II) " very much pleased with the new frigate built at Portsmouth, the Royal Oak, and has ordered Tippets, the shipwright who built her, to build just such another, and not to mend her in any part, being assured that anything which is not just so cannot be so good..."[1]

The career of Royal Oak in the Royal Navy was brief, but highly eventful. According to John Charnock's Bibliographia Navalis,[3] Admiral Sir Christopher Myngs was her captain in 1664. The ship fought in most of the major battles of the Second Anglo-Dutch War: Lowestoft, the Four Days' Battle, and the St. James' Day Fight.[citation needed] At the Battle of Lowestoft in 1665, under the command of Vice-Admiral Sir John Lawson, Royal Oak was the flagship of the Van Division of the Duke of York's Red Squadron;[4] Sir John later died of the wounds he received in the battle. After the defeat administered to the Dutch Navy in the 1666 battle on St. James' Day, the English made the mistake of deciding to save money and leave the fleet in ordinary during the ensuing fighting season,[5] a decision ultimately resulting in Royal Oak being burnt by the Dutch during their Raid on the Medway in 1667.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Lavery, Ships of the Line vol.1, p160.
  2. ^ Pepys 1926, p. 258.
  3. ^ Charnock 1794, p. 119.
  4. ^ Fox 1996.
  5. ^ Archibald 1984, p. 28.


  • 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.
  • Pepys, Samuel (1926). Joseph Robson Tanner, ed. "Samuel Pepys's Naval Minutes ". London: Navy Records Society, Vol. 60. pp. xx, 513. Archived from the original on Mon Jun 2 5:06:14 UTC 2008. Retrieved 3 June 2012.  Check date values in: |archivedate= (help)
  • Charnock, Esq., John (1794). "BIOGRAPHIA NAVALIS; or, Impartial Memoirs of the Lives and Characters of Officers of the Navy of Great Britain, From the Year 1660 to the Present Time" - Volume 1. London: R. Faulder, Bond Street. p. 432. 
  • Fox, Frank L. (1996). "A Distant Storm: the Four Days' Battle of 1666". Rotherfield, East Sussex: Press of Sail Publ. p. 440. ISBN 0-948864-29-X. 
  • Archibald, E.H.H.; illustrated by Ray Woodward (Originally published 1984). "The Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy AD897-1984" (Reprinted with minor revisions, 1987. ed.). London: Blandford Press (Original; reprint, Military Press, New York; dist. by Crown Publishers). p. 416. ISBN 0-517-63332-9.  Check date values in: |date= (help)