HMS York (1807)

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HMS York (1807) as a prison ship.jpg
HMS York in Prison-ship in Portsmouth Harbour with the convicts going on board, by Edward William Cooke
Royal Navy EnsignUK
Name: HMS York
Ordered: 31 January 1805
Builder: Brent, Rotherhithe
Laid down: August 1805
Launched: 7 July 1807
Fate: Broken up, 1854
Notes: Prison ship from 1819
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: Fame-class ship of the line
Tons burthen: 1743 (bm)
Length: 175 ft (53 m) (gundeck)
Beam: 47 ft 6 in (14.48 m)
Depth of hold: 20 ft 6 in (6.25 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
  • Gundeck: 28 × 32-pounder guns
  • Upper gundeck: 28 × 18-pounder guns
  • QD: 4 × 12-pounder guns + 10 × 32-pounder carronades
  • Fc: 2 × 12-pounder guns + 2 × 32-pounder carronades
  • Poop deck: 6 × 18-pounder carronades

HMS York was a 74-gun third-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, built at Rotherhithe by the contract firm Samuel & Daniel Brent, and launched on 7 July 1807.[1] She saw service during the Napoleonic Wars, though is best known for her time spent as a prison ship.[citation needed] She was broken up in March 1854.[1]

Service history[edit]

HMS York was one of many British warships ordered after they were most needed. Although the major naval battles of the Napoleonic Wars had already occurred by the time of her launching, York was employed on some notable campaigns.

After her launch, York was under the command of Captain Robert Barton, and as part of Sir Samuel Hood's squadron, she participated in the occupation of Madeira.

In 1809, York was on the West India Station, and was involved in the capture of Martinique. In April a strong French squadron arrived at the Îles des Saintes, south of Guadeloupe. There they were blockaded until 14 April, when a British force under Major-General Frederick Maitland and Captain Philip Beaver in Acasta, invaded and captured the islands.[2] York was among the naval vessels that shared in the proceeds of the capture of the islands.[Note 1]

In July-August 1809 York was involved in the disastrous landings at Walcheren. York was later with the Mediterranean Squadron off Toulon.

On 17 December 1813 York captured Marie Antoinette.[Note 2]


In 1819, York entered Portsmouth harbour, where she was stripped of her masts and guns, and converted into a prison ship. HMS York is best remembered in this state, thanks to a contemporary drawing by Edward William Cooke, which shows her fully converted, and with laundry above her decks where sails once would have been. She would have typically contained approximately 500 convicts.

After many years at this harbour service, she was finally broken up in March 1854.[1]

Notes, citations, and references[edit]

  1. ^ The prize agent for a number of the vessels involved, Henry Abbott, went bankrupt. In May 1835 there was a final payment of a dividend from his estate. A first-class share was worth 10sd; a sixth-class share, that of an ordinary seaman, was worth 1d. Seventh-class (landsmen) and eighth-class (boys) shares were fractions of a penny, too small to pay.[3]
  2. ^ A first-class share was worth £230 8s 2d; a sixth-class share was worth £1 10s 1½d.[4]
  1. ^ a b c d Lavery, Ships of the Line, vol. 1, p. 188.
  2. ^ "No. 16262". The London Gazette. 30 May 1809. pp. 779–782. 
  3. ^ "No. 19255". The London Gazette. 3 April 1835. p. 643. 
  4. ^ "No. 16943". The London Gazette. 8 October 1814. p. 2009.