Coventry-class frigate

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Capture of the Castor.jpg
The Coventry-class frigate HMS Carysfort retaking the Castor from the French on 29 May 1794
Thomas Whitcombe
Class overview
Name: Coventry class
Operators:  Royal Navy
Built: 1756–1787
In commission: 1787–1828
Planned: 20
Completed: 19
Cancelled: 1
Lost: 6
General characteristics
Class and type: Frigate
Tons burthen: 587 30/94 bm
Length: 118 ft 4 in (36.07 m)
Beam: 33 ft 8 in (10.26 m)
Depth of hold: 10 ft 6 in (3.20 m)
Sail plan: Full-rigged ship
Complement: 200
Armament:
  • As built :
  • UD: 24 × 9-pounder guns
  • QD: 4 × 3-pounder guns
  • FC: nil
  • From 1780 :
  • UD: 24 × 9-pounder guns
  • QD: 4 × 6-pounder guns and 18-pounder carronades
  • FC: 2 × 18-pounder carronades

The Coventry-class frigates were 28-gun sixth rate frigates of the Royal Navy, principally in service during the Seven Years' War and the American Revolutionary War. They were designed in 1756 by Britain's Surveyor of the Navy, Sir Thomas Slade, and were largely modeled on HMS Tartar, which was regarded as an exemplar among small frigates due to its speed and maneuverability. The 1750s were a period of considerable experimentation in ship design, and Slade authorized individual builders to make "such alterations withinboard as may be judged necessary" in final construction.

A total of twelve Coventry-class frigates were built in oak during the Seven Years' War. Eleven of these were ordered from private shipyards and built over the relatively short period of three years; the twelfth was completed following the close of the War in a royal dockyard after its original contractor became bankrupt.

A variant was designed for building with fir hulls rather than oak; five vessels were built to this design, all in Royal Dockyards. these five vessels differed in external appearance to the oak-built frigates, as they had a square tuck stern. The use of fir instead of oak increased the speed of construction but reduced the frigate's durability over time.

More than a quarter-century after the design was produced, two further oak-built ships to this design were ordered to be built by contract in October 1782. One of these was cancelled a year later, when the builder became bankrupt.

Ships[edit]

First batch[edit]

Ship Builder Price and contract rate Naval fitout Laid down Launched Commissioned Out of service Fate Ref.
Coventry Henry Adams, Buckler's Hard £5,130 at £8.15s per ton £3,977 May 1756 May 1757 May 1757 1783 Captured by French Navy [1]
Lizard Henry Bird, Rotherhithe £5,541 at £9.9s per ton £3,879 May 1756 April 1757 March 1757 1828 Sold at Sheerness Dockyard [1]
Liverpool Gorill & Pownall, Liverpool £4,910 at £8.7s per ton Not recorded September 1756 February 1758 February 1758 1778 Wrecked off Long Island [1]
Maidstone Thomas Seward, Rochester £5,277 at £9.0s per ton £4,085 October 1756 February 1758 January 1758 1794 Broken up at Sheerness Dockyard [1]

Second batch[edit]

5 fir-built ships

  • Boreas
    • Ordered: 18 April 1757
    • Built by: Woolwich Dockyard.
    • Keel laid: 21 April 1757
    • Launched: 29 July 1757
    • Completed: 6 September 1757
    • Fate: Sold 29 June 1770.
  • Hussar
    • Ordered: 18 April 1757
    • Built by: Chatham Dockyard.
    • Keel laid: 3 May 1757
    • Launched: 23 July 1757
    • Completed: 17 August 1757
    • Fate: Taken by the French off Cape Francois on 23 May 1762.
  • Shannon
    • Ordered: 18 April 1757
    • Built by: Deptford Dockyard.
    • Keel laid: 11 May 1757
    • Launched: 17 August 1757
    • Completed: 8 October 1757
    • Fate: Taken to pieces at Portsmouth Dockyard in December 1765.
  • Trent
    • Ordered: 5 May 1757
    • Built by: Woolwich Dockyard.
    • Keel laid: 19 May 1757
    • Launched: 31 October 1757
    • Completed: 23 November 1757
    • Fate: Sold at Portsmouth Dockyard on 26 January 1764.
  • Actaeon
    • Ordered: 5 May 1757
    • Built by: Chatham Dockyard.
    • Keel laid: 26 May 1757
    • Launched: 30 September 1757
    • Completed: 9 November 1757
    • Fate: Sold at Deptford Dockyard on 9 September 1766.

Third batch[edit]

9 oak-built ships

  • Active
    • Ordered: 6 May 1757
    • Built by: Thomas Stanton & Co, Rotherhithe.
    • Keel laid: 13 June 1757
    • Launched: 11 January 1758
    • Completed: 2 March 1758 at Deptford Dockyard.
    • Fate: Taken by the French Navy off San Domingo 1 September 1778.
  • Aquilon
    • Ordered: 6 May 1757
    • Built by: Robert Inwood, Rotherhithe.
    • Keel laid: 15 June 1757
    • Launched: 25 May 1758
    • Completed: 30 June 1758 at Deptford Dockyard.
    • Fate: Sold at Deptford 29 November 1776.
  • Cerberus
    • Ordered: 6 May 1757
    • Built by: Pleasant Fenn, East Cowes.
    • Keel laid: 13 June 1757
    • Launched: 5 September 1758
    • Completed: 11 November 1758 at Portsmouth Dockyard.
    • Fate: Burnt to prevent capture at Rhode Island 5 August 1778.
  • Griffin
    • Ordered: 6 May 1757
    • Built by: Moody Janvrin, Bursledon.
    • Keel laid: June 1757
    • Launched: 18 October 1758
    • Completed: 13 March 1759 at Portsmouth Dockyard.
    • Fate: Wrecked off Barbuda 27 October 1761.
  • Levant
    • Ordered: 6 May 1757
    • Built by: Henry Adams, Buckler's Hard.
    • Keel laid: June 1757
    • Launched: 6 July 1758
    • Completed: 16 June 1759 at Portsmouth Dockyard.
    • Fate: Taken to pieces at Deptford Dockyard in September 1780.
  • Argo
    • Ordered: 19 September 1757
    • Built by: Henry Bird, Rotherhithe.
    • Keel laid: 22 September 1757
    • Launched: 20 July 1758
    • Completed: 29 January 1759 at Deptford Dockyard.
    • Fate: Taken to pieces at Portsmouth Dockyard in November 1776.
  • Milford
    • Ordered: 19 September 1757
    • Built by: Richard Chitty, Milford.
    • Keel laid: November 1757
    • Launched: 20 September 1759
    • Completed: 28 December 1759 at builder's shipyard.
    • Fate: Sold at Woolwich Dockyard on 17 May 1785.
  • Guadeloupe
    • Ordered: 19 September 1757
    • (originally ordered from John Williams, Neyland (Pembs.), but the ordered was transferred to Plymouth Dockyard following Williams's bankruptcy in 1758.)
    • Re-ordered: 29 June 1758
    • Built by: Plymouth Dockyard.
    • Keel laid: 8 May 1759
    • Launched: 5 December 1763
    • Completed: 11 July 1764.
    • Fate: Scuttled in York River, Virginia on 10 October 1781, but salved by the French Navy in which service she was maintained until 1786.
  • Carysfort
    • Ordered: 4 February 1764
    • Built by: Sheerness Dockyard.
    • Keel laid: June 1764
    • Launched: 23 August 1766
    • Completed: 11 August 1767
    • Fate: Sold at Deptford Dockyard on 28 April 1813.

Final batch[edit]

2 oak-built ships, only 1 completed

  • Hind
    • Ordered: 2 October 1782
    • Built by: Sheerness Dockyard.
    • Keel laid: February 1783
    • Launched: 22 July 1785
    • Completed: 24 November 1787 at Deptford Dockyard.
    • Fate: Taken to pieces at Deptford Dockyard in July 1811.
  • Laurel
    • Ordered: 22 October 1782
    • Built by: Philemon Jacobs, Sandgate.
    • Cancelled: 7 October 1783.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d 2007, pp.227–228

Bibliography[edit]

  • David Lyon, The Sailing Navy List, Brasseys Publications, London 1993.
  • Winfield, Rif (2007). British Warships of the Age of Sail 1714–1792: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth. ISBN 9781844157006. .