English ship Dreadnought (1573)

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English Flag Royal Navy Ensign from 1620England
Name: Dreadnought
Builder: Deptford Dockyard
Launched: 1573
Fate: Broken up, 1648
General characteristics as built
Class and type: 41-gun galleon
Tons burthen: 360
Propulsion: Sails
Complement: 200
Armament: 41 guns of various weights of shot
General characteristics after 1592 rebuild
Tons burthen: 360
Complement: 200
General characteristics after 1614 rebuild[1]
Class and type: 32-gun middling ship
Tons burthen: 360
Length: 80 ft (24 m) (keel)
Beam: 30 ft (9.1 m)
Depth of hold: 15 ft (4.6 m)
Sail plan: Full-rigged ship
Armament: 29 principal guns of various weights of shot, plus 4 smaller anti-personnel guns

Dreadnought[Note 1] was a 41-gun galleon of the Tudor navy, built by Mathew Baker and launched in 1573. Like HMS Dreadnought of 1906, she was a radical innovation over contemporary ships. When John Hawkins became Treasurer of the Navy in 1577, he had sailed all over the world, and his ideas contributed to the production of a new race-built series of galleons—of which Dreadnought was the second, following Foresight of 1570—without the high forecastle and aftcastle prevalent in earlier galleons. These "marvels of marine design" could reputedly "run circles around the clumsier Spanish competition."[2]

Dreadnought took part in many of the naval engagements between Britain and Spain in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Under Captain Thos. Fenner, she was part of Drake's fleet which "singed the King of Spain's Beard" with the raid on Cadiz in Spring 1587.[3][4] She was part of the English fleet which harassed most of the Spanish Armada in 1588. She was rebuilt for the first time in 1592. In 1596, with Sir Alexander Clifford as her captain, she was part of the Anglo-Dutch fleet which captured Cadiz.[3][5] In 1599 she was in the Western Channel under George Fenner, while in 1601 under Sir Henry Palmer she was on the Thames.[3]

On 2 June 1602, captained by Edward Manwaring, Dreadnought was part of Ricard Leveson's fleet which succeeded in capturing the Portuguese carrack Sao Valentinho at Cezimbra Roads[3][6] In 1603, as hostilities with Spain concluded, she was in the English Channel under captain Hamphrey Reynolds.[3]

Dreadnought was rebuilt again at Deptford in 1614 as a middling ship of 32 guns.[1]

In 1625, with renewed hostilities against Spain, Dreadnought took part in yet another expedition to Cadiz, this time under a captain named Plumleigh, as part of a fleet commanded by Viscount Wimbledon.[3] In 1628 she took part in the unsuccessful attempt to relieve the Siege of La Rochelle by sea.[3]

In 1637, she was part of the Earl of Northumberland's fleet in the North Sea, commanded by Captain Henry Stradling and then by Thomas Kirke.[3]

Dreadnought was broken up in 1648.[1]


  1. ^ The 'HMS' prefix was not used until the middle of the 18th century, but is sometimes applied retrospectively



  1. ^ a b c Lavery, Ships of the Line, vol. 1, p. 158.
  2. ^ Boot, Max. War Made New. 2006. p. 37. ISBN 978-1-59240-315-8.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "NMM, vessel ID 365756" (PDF). Warship Histories, vol i. National Maritime Museum. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 August 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
  4. ^ N.A.M. Rodger, The Safeguard of the Sea, p.485
  5. ^ N.A.M. Rodger, The Safeguard of the Sea, p.487
  6. ^ N.A.M. Rodger, The Safeguard of the Sea, p. 292.


  • 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.
  • Rodger, N.A.M (2004) The Safeguard of the Sea Penguin History. ISBN 0-14-029724-3
  • Winfield, Rif (2009) British Warships in the Age of Sail 1603-1714: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84832-040-6.

This article includes data released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported UK: England & Wales Licence, by the National Maritime Museum, as part of the Warship Histories project