HMS Pallas (1757)

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For other ships with the same name, see HMS Pallas.
Royal Navy EnsignGreat Britain
Name: HMS Pallas
Ordered: 13 July 1756
Builder: William Wells, Deptford
Laid down: July 1756
Launched: 30 August 1757
Completed: 8 October 1757 at Deptford Dockyard
Commissioned: August 1757
Fate: Burnt to avoid capture, 24 February 1783
General characteristics
Class and type: Venus-class fifth-rate frigate
Tons burthen: 728 7394 bm
  • 128 ft 4 in (39.12 m) (gundeck)
  • 106 ft 4 in (32.41 m) (keel)
Beam: 35 ft 10.75 in (10.9411 m)
Depth of hold: 12 ft 4.5 in (3.772 m)
Sail plan: Full-rigged ship
Complement: 240 officers and men
  • 36 guns comprising:
  • Upperdeck: 26 × 12-pounder guns
  • Quarterdeck: 8 × 6-pounder guns
  • Forecastle: 2 × 6-pounder guns

HMS Pallas was one of the three 36-gun Venus-class fifth-rate frigates of the Royal Navy. She was launched in 1757 and served until her loss in 1783.


Sir Thomas Slade, naval architect for Pallas in 1756

The Venus class of 36-gun frigates were designed by Thomas Slade, the Surveyor of the Navy and former Master Shipwright at Deptford Dockyard. Alongside their smaller cousin, the 32-gun Southampton class, the Venus-class represented an experiment in ship design; fast, medium-sized vessels capable of overhauling smaller craft and singlehandedly engaging enemy cruisers or privateers.[1] As a further innovation, Slade borrowed from contemporary French ship design by removing the lower deck gun ports and locating the ship's cannons solely on the upper deck. This permitted the carrying of heavier ordinance without the substantial increase in hull size which would otherwise have been required in order to keep the lower gun ports consistently above the waterline.[2] The lower deck was instead used for additional stores, enabling Venus-class frigates to remain at sea for longer periods without resupply.[3]


Pallas' principal armament was 26 iron-cast twelve-pound cannons, located along her upper deck. The guns were constructed with shorter barrels as traditional twelve-pound cannons were too long to fit within the frigate's narrow beam.[4] Each cannon weighed 28.5 long cwt (3,200 lb or 1,400 kg)[5] with a gun barrel length of 7 feet 6 inches (2.29 m) compared with their 8 feet 6 inches (2.59 m) equivalent in larger Royal Navy vessels.[4]

The twelve-pound cannons were supported by ten six-pounder guns, eight on the quarterdeck and two on the forecastle, each weighing 16.5 long cwt (1,800 lb or 800 kg) with a barrel length of 6 feet (1.8 m).[2] Taken together, the twelve-pound and six-pound cannons provided a broadside weight of 189 pounds (86 kg).[6] She was also equipped with twelve 12-pound swivel guns for anti-personnel use.[5] These swivel guns were mounted in fixed positions on the quarterdeck and forecastle.[4]


  1. ^ Clowes 1898, p. 7
  2. ^ a b Winfield 2007, pp. 189
  3. ^ Lyon 1993, p. 62
  4. ^ a b c Gardiner 1992, p.81
  5. ^ a b Winfield 2007, p.191
  6. ^ "British Fifth Rate frigate 'Pallas' (1757)". Retrieved 17 April 2016.