Lady Penrhyn (1786 ship)

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Lady Penrhyn
Lady Penrhyn (sailing ship).jpg
Lady Penrhyn, convict transport ship
Career (Great Britain)
Owner:
  • Sir William Curtis
  • William Sever
Port of registry: London
Builder: Edward Greaves, River Thames
Launched: 1786
General characteristics [1]
Tons burthen: 333 (bm)
Length: 103 feet 5 inches (31.5 m) (overall)
82 feet 3 12 inches (25.1 m) (keel)
Beam: 27 feet 6 12 inches (8.4 m)
Depth of hold: 12 feet 0 inches (3.7 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Ship rig

Lady Penrhyn was built on the River Thames in 1786 as a slaver. For her first voyage she transported convicts to New South Wales as part of the First Fleet. On her voyage back to Britain she was the first European vessel to pass by the Kermadec Islands, and the Penrhyn Atoll in the Cook Islands. She also carried a cargo for the British East India Company (EIC). The French captured her in the West Indies in 1811.

Design and ownership[edit]

Lady Penrhyn was designed for use in the Atlantic slave trade and was capable of holding 275 slaves in one cargo.[2] She was part-owned by William Compton Sever - who served as ship's master on her voyage to Australia - and by London alderman and sea-biscuit manufacturer William Curtis.[3]

She was named in honour of Lady Penrhyn (née Anne Susannah Warburton),[4] the wife of Richard Pennant, 1st Baron Penrhyn, of the Penrhyn Estate in Llandygai, North Wales.[5]

The word Penrhyn itself is the Welsh for Headland or Peninsula.

Voyage to Australia[edit]

Lady Penrhyn left Portsmouth on 13 May 1787, carrying 101 female convicts, and three officers and three privates of the New South Wales Marine Corps, as well as her crew. She was part of a convoy of eleven ships, the so-called "First Fleet", which brought over 1000 convicts, marines, and seamen to establish European settlement in Australia. The convoy arrived at Port Jackson, Sydney, Australia, on 26 January 1788.

John Turnpenny Altree was surgeon to the convicts, and Arthur Bowes Smyth was surgeon to the crew. Bowes Smyth then took charge of the prisoners on the ship when Altree fell ill at Tenerife and in Governor Arthur Phillip’s opinion had proved unequal to the task.[6]

The list of stores unloaded from Lady Penrhyn on 25 March 1788 at Port Jackson has been widely quoted in books on the First Fleet. In Sydney Cove 1788 by John Cobley [7] the amount of rice unloaded is given as 8 bram. This amount has been repeated in various books on the First Fleet. Bram, however, is not a unit of measurement and the original log entry lists the amount of rice as 8 barrels.[8]

Lady Penrhyn also carried the first horses that came to Australia. These are believed to have consisted of one stallion, one colt, three mares, and two fillies from Cape Town, South Africa.[9]

Return voyage[edit]

having discharged her convicts in New South Wales, Lady Penrhyn then was under contract to George Mackenzie McCaulay, an alderman of the City of London, to go to the "North West Coast of America to Trade for furrs & after that to proceed to China & barter the Furrs &ca for Teas or other such Goods..."[10] Her owners had obtained a license to sail to the northwest coast from the South Sea Company, which still maintained its ancient monopoly rights over British trade to the eastern Pacific.[11] Accordingly, she departed Sydney Cove on 5 May 1788 and sailed north with the intention of purchasing furs in Kamchatka for resale in China. Her course was chosen to minimise interaction with Russian vessels, as non-Russian trade in Kamchatka furs was considered by Russia to be smuggling.[12]

On 31 May, the Kermadec Islands were sighted — Macauley Island was named after McCaulay and Curtis Island was named after William Curtis.[13] The poor condition of the ship and sickness among her crew compelled Lady Penrhyn to turn back from this voyage when she had gone only as far as Matavai Bay, Tahiti, where the crew recovered and the ship was repaired. She then visited and named Penrhyn Island—the atoll of Tongareva in the Cook Islands—on 8 August, arriving at Macao on 19 October 1788, then proceeding upriver to Canton (now Guangzhou) to take on a cargo of tea.[14]

Captain Sever left Whampoa on 8 January 1789 and Lady Penrhyn crossed the Second Bar on 14 January. She reached St Helena on 19 May and arrived at the Downs on 10 August.[1]

Later service[edit]

In 1789 lady Penrhyn was sold to Wedderburn & Co., London and used in a regular run to Jamaica.[15] In 1795 she was one of a fleet of transports to carry British troops to the Caribbean, reinforcements against the risk of an attack by Revolutionary France.[16]

Fate[edit]

On 22 July 1811 the French privateer Duke of Danzig captured Lady Penrhyn while she was sailing from London to Grenada. Her captor set her on fire, scuttling her.

See also[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b National Archives: Lady Penrhyn - accessed 28 July 2015
  2. ^ "News". General Evening Post (8194) (London: M. Say). 9 May 1786. p. 6. Retrieved 25 September 2014. (subscription required (help)). 
  3. ^ Byrnes, D. "The Blackheath Connection: The Phantom First Fleet to Australia". Retrieved 2012-07-03. 
  4. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/paintings/anne-susannah-warburton-17451816-lady-penrhyn-102297
  5. ^ "Lady Penrhyn". First Fleet Fellowship Victoria Inc. 2011. 
  6. ^ "Smyth, Arthur Bowes". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  7. ^ Cobley, John, 1914-1989. Sydney Cove, 1788. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1962.
  8. ^ Australian Joint Copying Project. Reel 5777, piece 4376, part 9. Canberra : National Library of Australia, c. 1988
  9. ^ Bain Ike, (chief exec.) The Australian Encyclopaedia, p. 1679, Horses, Australian Geographic Pty. Ltd., 1996
  10. ^ Smyth, Cf. Fidlon and Ryan p. 86
  11. ^ South Sea Company Court of Directors Minutes, 8 and 10 March 1787, South Sea Company Papers, British Library, Additional MS 25,521; cited in Edouard A. Stackpole, Whales and Destiny, Amherst, U. Mass., 1972, p. 118
  12. ^ Letter from Newton Fowell, midshipman HMS Sirius, to John Fowell, 12 July 1788. Cited in Irvine (ed.) 1988, p.81
  13. ^ Hīroa (1953), p. 36
  14. ^ Smyth, "Voyage"; Fidlon and Ryan, Journal.
  15. ^ "Ship News". The Star (2483) (London: J. Mayne, Temple Bar). 29 July 1796. p. 4. Retrieved 6 September 2014. (subscription required (help)). 
  16. ^ "Authentic Port News". Lloyd's Evening Post (London: T. Spilsbury & Son). 22 July 1795. p. 88. Retrieved 26 September 2014. (subscription required (help)). 

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]