English ship Mary (1650)

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Rear-Admiral Basil Beaumont (1669-1703), by Michael Dahl.jpg
Portrait of Rear-Admiral Basil Beaumont, commander of HMS Mary when she sunk, with the sinking Mary in the background
Royal Navy EnsignEngland
Name: Speaker
Builder: Christopher Pett, Woolwich Dockyard
Launched: 1650
Renamed: HMS Mary, 1660
Fate: Wrecked, 1703
General characteristics as built[1]
Class and type: Speaker-class frigate
Tons burthen: 727
Length: 116 ft (35.4 m) (keel)
Beam: 34 ft 8 in (10.6 m)
Depth of hold: 14 ft 6 in (4.4 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
  • 50 guns (at launch);
  • 62 guns (1677)
General characteristics after 1688 rebuild[2]
Class and type: 62-gun third-rate ship of the line
Tons burthen: 829
Length: 143 ft 3 in (43.7 m) (gundeck)
Beam: 36 ft 8 in (11.2 m)
Depth of hold: 14 ft 6 in (4.4 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
Armament: 62 guns of various weights of shot

Speaker was a 50-gun third-rate frigate and the name ship of the Speaker-class, built for the navy of the Commonwealth of England by Christopher Pett at Woolwich Dockyard and launched in 1650.[1] At the Restoration she was renamed HMS Mary.[1] By 1677 her armament had been increased to 62 guns.[1]

In 1688 Mary was rebuilt by Thomas Shish at Woolwich Dockyard as a 62-gun third-rate ship of the line.[2] Mary was wrecked on the Goodwin Sands in the Great Storm of 1703.[2] Of her 275 crew, her captain and purser were ashore at the time of her loss, only one sailor survived.[3]

Wreck site[edit]

Local divers found the wreck site in 1980.[4] The initial designation was of 50  around what is now known as the South Mound; the North Mound was discovered in 1999 and the area was amended under Statutory Instrument number 2004/2395 as a 300 m radius around 51° 15.6302' N, 01° 30.0262' E.[4]

It is believed that Mary lies under the South Mound and the North Mound is the third rate HMS Restoration wrecked in the same storm, but this is not known for certain.[4] The site lies 100 m to the west of the Goodwin Sands off Deal, between the wrecks of HMS Stirling Castle and HMS Northumberland, which also sank in the storm.[4]

The site was investigated by Wessex Archaeology on 25 June 2006.[4] The South Mound measures 28 m x 12 m but has not been studied in detail.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d Lavery, Ships of the Line vol.1, p159.
  2. ^ a b c Lavery, Ships of the Line vol.1, p163.
  3. ^ Larn, Richard (1977). Goodwin Sands Shipwrecks. Newton Abbot, London, North Pomfret: David & Charles. p. 56. ISBN 0 7153 7202 5. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Wessex Archaeology (November 2006), RESTORATION, GOODWIN SANDS DESIGNATED SITE ASSESSMENT: ARCHAEOLOGICAL REPORT (PDF), English Heritage, retrieved 2009-08-24  Has lots of details of the history and the current state of the wreck site.


  • 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.

Coordinates: Archaeology report p5 51°15′38″N 01°30′2″E / 51.26056°N 1.50056°E / 51.26056; 1.50056