HMS Sabrina (1806)

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HMS Sabrina
Volcano in the Sea, as seen from His Majesty's Ship Sabrina, off the Azores, 19 June 1811, by Lt John William Miles
Royal Navy EnsignUK
Name: HMS Sabrina
Ordered: 12 July 1805
Builder: Robert Adams, Chapel, Southampton
Laid down: December 1805
Launched: 1 September 1806
Completed: 30 November 1806 at Portsmouth Dockyard
Commissioned: September 1806
Out of service: Sold 18 April 1816
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: 18-gun Cormorant-class sloop
Tons burthen: 4264294 (bm)
  • 108 ft 3 in (33.0 m) (overall)
  • 90 ft 7 in (27.6 m) (keel)
Beam: 29 ft 9 in (9.1 m)
Depth of hold: 9 ft 0 12 in (2.76 m)
Sail plan: Ship
Complement: 121
  • Upper deck: 16 x 32-pounder carronades
  • QD: 6 x 18-pounder carronades
  • Fc: 2 x 6-pounder long guns + 2 x 18-pounder carronades

HMS Sabrina was an 18-gun Royal Navy ship-sloop of the Cormorant class, launched in 1806 at Southampton. She seems to have had a surprisingly uneventful career before the Admiralty sold her in 1816.


Sabrina was one of the second batch of Cormorant-class ship-sloops. As such she carried 32-pounder carronades in her main battery instead of 6-pounder guns. In 1810 she was reclassed as a 20-gun post-ship, and again re-rated as 24 guns in 1816, just before she was broken up. Under the rating system of the day her number of guns could be largely nominal (in this case the number of long guns she would have carried had she been so-armed); the re-rating included her carronades in the total and did not involve any actual change to her armament.


Sabrina was commissioned under Commander Edward Kittoe in September 1806 and he sailed her to the Mediterranean on 4 January 1807.[1] At some point her boats and those of her squadron attacked a Spanish flotilla. A subsequent expedition saw her boats and those of Chiffone cut out a brig and a schooner under the guns of a 4-gun battery on the south coast of Spain.[2] On 20 November she and Euryalus were in company with Niger when Niger captured the Lady Washington.[3]

In early 1809 Kittoe sailed Sabrina to Cartagena, Colombia, bringing the news that Spain and England had signed a peace. Some dual citizens (Anglo-Americans) held prisoner in Colombia asked him to intercede with the viceroy for their freedom, which he did, but to no avail, as they had been incarcerated at the behest of the Captain General of Caracas.[4]

In 1809 she participated in the ill-fated Walcheren Campaign.[5] At one point during the campaign she served as the flagship for Admiral Keats.[6] During the campaign Rear Admiral William Albany Ottway appointed Commander Abraham Lowe to take command of her.[4][7]

Sabrina Island

On Sabrina's return to Britain, in January 1810 Lowe transferred to command of Diligence. Sabrina then came under the command of Commander James Tillard, who sailed her for Portugal on 20 July.[1]

During June and July 1811 a volcanic eruption in the sea formed a new island off São Miguel Island. Tillard went ashore on 4 July and claimed the island for Great Britain, naming it Sabrina Island. He later wrote a description of what he had seen and done for the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.[8][9] The claiming of the island gave rise to considerable diplomatic wrangling that proved moot when the island subsided into the sea a few months later.[10]

In November 1811 Captain the Honourable William Walpole took command and sailed Sabrina for Portugal on 19 November.[1] On 30 December Sabrina and Vesta captured the Princess de Beira (or Princess Beira).[11] A prize money notice, however, names Tillard as captain of Sabrina, which is inconsistent with Walpole having replaced Tillard in November.[12]

On 13 January 1812, Sabrina and Vesta captured the Pepe slave schooner off the coast of Africa.[Note 1]

In May command passed to Captain Alexander R. MacKenzie, who sailed her to Portugal.[1] In June she brought back to England Captain Samuel Hood Linzee of Union, who had been knifed by a seaman and was no longer well enough to command.[15] Sabrina shared with many vessels in the proceeds of the detention on 5 August, of the Asia.[Note 2]

On 5 January 1813, Sabrina and Myrtle detained the Edward and Albert.[17][Note 3]


The Principal Officers and Commissioners of His Majesty's Navy offered the "Sabrina sloop, of 427 tons", lying at Deptford, for sale on 18 April.[19] Sabrina was sold on 18 April 1816 at Portsmouth.[1]


  1. ^ A first class share of the prize money for Pepe and the bounty for slaves captured on Princess de Beira was worth £404 6sd. A sixth-class share, that of an ordinary seaman, was worth £6 9s 11½d. However, £401 was retained by to meet expenses arising from appeals re the case of the Princess de Beira.[13] Unfortunately, the prize agent, Henry Abbott, went bankrupt. It was not until May 1835 that a final dividend was paid from his estate.[11] The Navy List also gives the date of capture for Pepe as 13 June 1812. a first class share of the final payment for Princess de Beira was worth £41 5s 6d; a sixth-class share was worth 33s 2¼d. A first-class share of the final payment for Pepe was worth £9 18s 9d; a sixth class share was worth 3s 2¼d.[14]
  2. ^ A first-class share was worth £9 10s 10d; a sixth-class share was worth 2s 6d.[16]
  3. ^ For the Myrtle, a first-class share of the allocation of expenses of $1000 was worth £18 6s 2½d. A sixth-class share was worth 7s 5½d.[18]
  1. ^ a b c d e f Winfield (2008), pp.259-50.
  2. ^ O'Bryne (1849), p.197.
  3. ^ "No. 16402". The London Gazette. 4 September 1810. p. 1355. 
  4. ^ a b The American historical review, Volume 3, pp.694-5.
  5. ^ "No. 16650". The London Gazette. 26 September 1812. p. 1971. 
  6. ^ "No. 16282". The London Gazette. 7 August 1809. pp. 1233–1234. 
  7. ^ "No. 16328". The London Gazette. 26 December 1809. p. 2057. 
  8. ^ Tillard (1812), pp.152-8.
  9. ^ Jamleson (1821), Vol. 1, pp.43-7.
  10. ^ "Geology of the Azores at". Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  11. ^ a b Admiralty (1835), Navy List, pp.166-7.
  12. ^ "No. 17818". The London Gazette. 18 May 1822. p. 828. 
  13. ^ "No. 17148". The London Gazette. 25 June 1816. p. 1223. 
  14. ^ "No. 19255". The London Gazette. 3 April 1835. p. 644. 
  15. ^ Marshall (1833), Vol. 4, pp.156-7.
  16. ^ "No. 17229". The London Gazette. 11 March 1817. p. 614. 
  17. ^ "No. 16978". The London Gazette. 24 January 1815. p. 132. 
  18. ^ "No. 17027". The London Gazette. 20 June 1815. p. 1198. 
  19. ^ "No. 17125". The London Gazette. 6 April 1816. p. 645. 


  • Admiralty (1835) The Navy List. (Great Britain; H.M. Stationery Office).
  • The American historical review, "Diary and Letters of Henry Ingersoll", Volume 3.
  • Jamleson, Alexander, ed. (1821) "Captain Tillard's Account of the Volcanic Isle of Sabrina", in Universal science or the cabinet of nature and art, comprising above one thousand entertaining and instructive facts and experiments. Vol 1. (G. & W. B. Whittaker).
  • Marshall, John ( 1823–1835) Royal naval biography, or, Memoirs of the services of all the flag-officers, superannuated rear-admirals, retired-captains, post-captains, and commanders, whose names appeared on the Admiralty list of sea officers at the commencement of the present year 1823, or who have since been promoted ... (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown).
  • O'Byrne, William R. (1849) A Naval Biographical Dictionary: comprising the life and services of every living officer in Her Majesty's navy, from the rank of admiral of the fleet to that of lieutenant, inclusive. (London: J. Murray), vol. 1.
  • Tillard, James (1812), "A Narrative of the Eruption of a Volcano in the Sea off the Island of St. Michael", Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 102, London, England, pp. 152–158, 422–423 
  • Winfield, Rif (2008). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793–1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth. ISBN 1-86176-246-1. 

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