HMS Defiance (1666)

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For other ships with the same name, see HMS Defiance.
Royal Navy EnsignEngland
Name: HMS Defiance
Builder: William Castle, Deptford
Launched: 27 March 1666
Commissioned: Spring 1666
Fate: Burnt by accident, 6 December 1668
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: 64-gun third rate ship of the line
Tons burthen: 863.5 tons (877.4 tonnes)
Length: 117 ft (36 m) (keel)
Beam: 37 ft 3 in (11.35 m)
Depth of hold: 15 ft 3 in (4.65 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
Complement: 320
Armament: 64 guns comprising 22 demi-cannon, 28 culverins and 14 demi-culverins

HMS Defiance was a 64-gun third rate ship of the line of the English Royal Navy,[1] ordered on 26 October 1664 under the new construction programme of that year, and launched on 27 March 1666 at William Castle's private shipyard at Deptford in the presence of King Charles II.[citation needed]

She was commissioned under Sir Robert Holmes and took part in the Four Days Battle on 1 June 1666—4 June 1666. Following the battle, Holmes was briefly replaced by Captain William Flawes, but a month later command was taken by Rear-Admiral Sir John Kempthorne. In September 1667 Holmes, now Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth, was back in command, but later that year he gave way to Sir John Harman in the same role.[citation needed] Defiance was accidentally destroyed by fire at Chatham on 6 December 1668.[1]

Samual Pepys was a member of the Court Martial of the ship's gunner who was accused of causing the loss of the ship. In Pepys' diary entry for 25 March 1669, he writes that the ship was lost due to the "neglect" of the gunner "in trusting a girl to carry fire into his cabin".


  1. ^ a b c Lavery, Ships of the Line, vol. 1, p. 161.


  • 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.