HMS Salisbury (1746)

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Royal Navy EnsignGreat Britain
NameHMS Salisbury
  • 23 April 1744
  • Reordered on 2 May 1744
BuilderPhilemon Ewer, East Cowes
Laid down23 May 1744
Launched29 January 1746
CompletedBetween 16 February and 4 April 1746
FateCondemned for breaking up on 24 April 1761
General characteristics
Class and type50-gun fourth rate ship of the line
Tons burthen976 83/94 bm
  • 140 ft (42.7 m) (overall)
  • 113 ft 10 in (34.7 m) (keel)
Beam40 ft 2 in (12.2 m)
Depth of hold17 ft 2.5 in (5.25 m)
Sail planFull-rigged ship
  • Lower deck: 22 x 24pdrs
  • Upper deck: 22 x 12pdrs
  • Quarter deck: 4 x 6pdrs
  • Forecastle: 2 x 6pdrs

HMS Salisbury was a 50-gun fourth rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy. She was built during the War of the Austrian Succession and went on to see action in the Seven Years' War, serving in the East Indies.

Salisbury started her career in the western approaches, where she took part in blockades of the French coast and cruises against French ships and privateers, serving with Sir George Anson and Sir Peter Warren's fleets. During this period Salisbury's surgeon carried out experiments into the use of citrus fruit against scurvy. After some time spent as a guardship at Plymouth during the peace, Salisbury was sent to the East Indies, where she spent the rest of her career.

Salisbury was active during the Seven Years' War, serving with George Pocock's fleet, and seeing action in most of his engagements with the Comte d'Aché. She fought at Cuddalore, Negapatam and Pondicherry, and remained in the East Indies until being condemned as unserviceable at Bombay in 1761.

Construction and commissioning[edit]

Salisbury was ordered to the designs of the 1741 proposals from Philemon Ewer at East Cowes on 23 April 1744, with the order being repeated on 2 May 1744.[1] She was laid down on 23 May 1744 and launched on 29 January 1746.[1][2] Salisbury was completed at Portsmouth between 16 February and 4 April 1746, having cost £13,068.0.0d to build with a further £4,707.9.0d spent on fitting her out.[1] She was commissioned in January 1746 under her first commander, Captain George Edgcumbe.[1]

War of the Austrian Succession[edit]

Salisbury was assigned to the Western Squadron, which patrolled the sea areas around the Bay of Biscay and the western approaches of the English Channel. She was with Sir George Anson's fleet off Cape Finisterre between September and October 1746, and again in 1747.[1] On 31 March 1747 she captured the 30-gun French East Indiaman Jason. The captured vessel was brought to Portsmouth as a prize, with Salisbury returning to sea on 2 April. On 11 April she captured a small French fishing vessel and sent her to Plymouth as a prize. Over the following weeks Salisbury patrolled the Bay of Biscay near the Loire estuary.[1]

Lind's experiments[edit]

Serving aboard Salisbury as ship's surgeon during this period was Lieutenant James Lind, who carried out several experiments during her sixth patrol in the approaches to demonstrate the effectiveness of citrus fruit as a cure for scurvy.[3][4] Lind's experiment began on 20 May 1747, when he selected a dozen men with scurvy and tested possible remedies comprising cider, elixir of vitriol, vinegar, sea water, oranges and lemons, and a purgative mixture. By the time Salisbury returned to Plymouth at the end of May, the two assigned to citrus fruit had recovered. Lind published his Treatise on the subject in 1753.[5] Though not considered the first ever clinical trial ever conducted, Lind's experiments aboard Salisbury was the first clinical trial to include control groups.[6][7] Despite Lind's findings, citrus foods were not adopted as a staple in Royal navy shipboard provisions until 1795.[8]

Peace and Seven Years' War[edit]

Salisbury (far left) at the capture of Chandernagore, March 1757

Salisbury was surveyed on 20 January 1749 and underwent repairs at Plymouth from December 1749 until February 1751. She was recommissioned in January 1753 under Captain Thomas Knowler, and served as the Plymouth guardship.[1] She was again fitted out, in February 1754, and sailed to the East Indies in March that year. During the Seven Years' War she took part in the capture of Geriah on 14 January 1756, and the following year came under the command of Captain William Martin. She participated in the Battle of Chandannagar.[9] Martin was succeeded in April 1758 by Captain John Somerset.[1] Salisbury was present at the Battle of Cuddalore on 29 April 1758, fighting with George Pocock's fleet against the Comte d'Aché.[1] Captain William Brereton took command in June 1758, and under him Salisbury fought at the Battle of Negapatam on 3 August 1758.[1] She was under Captain Digby Dent from 1759, though Captain Sir William Baird had taken over by March that year. Salisbury fought at the Battle of Pondicherry on 10 September 1759, and remained in the East Indies until finally condemned to be broken up as unserviceable at Bombay on 24 April 1761.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Winfield. British Warships of the Age of Sail 1714–1792. p. 144.
  2. ^ a b Colledge. Ships of the Royal Navy. p. 308.
  3. ^ Carlisle, Rodney P. (19 July 2004). Scientific American inventions and discoveries: all the milestones in ingenuity--from the discovery of fire to the invention of the microwave oven. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 393–. ISBN 978-0-471-24410-3. Retrieved 28 August 2010.
  4. ^ Sutton, Graham (2004). "James Lind aboard Salisbury". Archived from the original on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 28 August 2010.
  5. ^ Lind, James (1753). "A treatise of the scurvy". Archived from the original on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 28 August 2010.
  6. ^ Twyman, Richard (22 September 2004). "A brief history of clinical trials – The Human Genome". Wellcome Trust. Archived from the original on 15 December 2009. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  7. ^ Dodgson, Susanna J (2006). "The evolution of clinical trials" (PDF). The Write Stuff. 15 (1): 20–21.
  8. ^ Lloyd, Christopher, ed. (1965). The Health of Seamen:Selections from the Works of Dr. James Lind, Sir Gilbert Blance and Dr. Thomas Trotter. London: Navy Records Society. p. 3. OCLC 1850893.
  9. ^ Naravane, M.S. (2014). Battles of the Honorourable East India Company. A.P.H. Publishing Corporation. p. 38. ISBN 9788131300343.


  • Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) [1969]. Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8.
  • Lind, James (1753). A Treatise of the scurvy. Edinburgh; available online at
  • Sutton, Graham (2003). Putrid gums and “Dead Men’s Cloaths”: James Lind aboard the Salisbury. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 96: 605-608
  • Winfield, Rif (2007). British Warships of the Age of Sail 1714–1792: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth. ISBN 978-1-86176-295-5.
  • The original documents of Salisbury are held in the National Archives, Kew, England:
    • Captains' log books 1746-49 held as ADM 51 / 936 (Part 10 onward); gap from 1749 to 1753; 1753–56 and 1758-61 as ADM 51 / 843; 1756-58 as ADM 51 / 4332; Ship's Muster Roll held as ADM 36 / 3298.