HMS Hibernia (1804)

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Figurehead HMS Hibernia 1804 MMM n01.jpg
Figurehead of HMS Hibernia at the Malta Maritime Museum
Royal Navy EnsignUK
Name: HMS Hibernia
Ordered: 9 December 1790
Builder: Plymouth dockyard
Laid down: November 1797
Launched: 17 November 1804
Fate: Sold 1902
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: 110-gun first rate ship of the line
Tons burthen: 2530 (bm)
Length: 201 ft 2 in (61.32 m) (gundeck)
Beam: 53 ft 1 in (16.18 m)
Depth of hold: 22 ft 4 in (6.81 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
  • 110 guns:
  • Gundeck: 32 × 32-pounder guns
  • Middle gundeck: 32 × 24-pounder guns
  • Upper gundeck: 34 × 18-pounder guns
  • QD: 12 × 32-pounder carronades
  • Fc: 4 × 32-pounder carronades + 2 × 18-pounder guns

HMS Hibernia was a 110-gun first rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy. She was launched at Plymouth dockyard on 17 November 1804, and was the only ship built to her draught, designed by Sir John Henslow.[1]

Between 1807 and 1808, Hibernia, under the command of Sir William Sidney Smith, led the British escort of the Portuguese Royal Family during the transfer of the Portuguese Court to Brazil.

Hibernia was flagship of the British Mediterranean Fleet from 1816 until 1855, when she became the flagship for the Royal Navy's base at Malta and stationed in Grand Harbour.[citation needed] She remained in this role until she was sold in 1902.[1]

After the Napoleonic Wars ended in 1815, HMS Hibernia was used in the service of the British Empire in other ways, such as to transport convicts to the colony of New South Wales. In 1818-1819, for example, the ship carried 160 male convicts to Sydney from Portsmouth sailing on 20 November and arriving 18 June. Also on board as passengers were the first Minister of St James' Church, Sydney, Richard Hill and his wife.[2]

The ten-day court-martial of the surviving officers and crewmen of the battleship HMS Victoria for the loss of their ship in a 22 June 1893 collision with the battleship HMS Camperdown was held on Hibernia's deck. The proceedings began on 17 July 1893.[3]

Hibernia was sold in 1902 and broken up. Her timber ended up being used to fire bakeries in Malta, unfortunately leading to an outbreak of lead poisoning on the island.

Her figurehead is now displayed at the Malta Maritime Museum, which is housed in the former Royal Naval Bakery building in Birgu, Malta.


  1. ^ a b c Lavery, Ships of the Line vol.1, p182.
  2. ^ "HOBART TOWN, MAY 15". The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW: 1803 - 1842). NSW: National Library of Australia. 5 June 1819. p. 3. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Hough, pp. 121-162.


  • Hough, Richard. Admirals in Collision. New York: Viking Press, 1959. Library of Congress Card Catalog Number 59-13415.
  • 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.