Merlin-class sloop

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Class overview
Operators:  Royal Navy
Preceded by: Baltimore class
Succeeded by: Hind class
Built: 1744-1746
In commission: 1744-1780
Completed: 21
Lost: 7
General characteristics (common design)
Type: Sloop-of-war
Tons burthen: 268 7794 bm
Length:
  • 91 ft 0 in (27.7 m) (gundeck)
  • 74 ft 9 in (22.8 m) (keel)
Beam: 26 ft 0 in (7.9 m)
Depth of hold:
  • 12 ft 0 in (3.66 m) (vessels without platform in hold);
  • 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) (vessels with platform in hold)
Sail plan: Snow brig
Complement: 110
Armament:
  • 10 × 6-pounder guns;
  • also 14 x ½-pounder swivel guns

The Merlin class was a class of twenty-one sloops of wooden construction built for the Royal Navy between 1743 and 1746. They were all built by contract with commercial builders to a common design prepared by Jacob Acworth, the Surveyor of the Navy; however, there was a difference, with a platform deck being constructed in the hold in Swallow (i), Merlin, Raven and Swallow (ii), whereas the other seventeen had no platform and thus their depth in hold was nearly twice as much.

Although initially armed with ten 6-pounder guns, this class was built with seven pairs of gunports on the upper deck, enabling them to be re-armed with fourteen 6-pounders later in their careers.

The first two - Swallow and Merlin - were ordered on 7 July 1743 to be built to replace two ex-Spanish vessels (the Galgo and Peregrine's Prize, both captured in 1742, and put into service by the British). Two more vessels to the same design were ordered on 30 March 1744; another two were ordered five days later, four more followed on 23 May and three others were ordered later that year.

On 5 April 1745 five more were ordered - including a second Falcon (named to replace the first, captured in the same year) and a second Swallow (similarly to replace the first, wrecked in 1744) - and a single extra vessel was ordered on 11 April. A final pair were ordered on 9 January 1746.

Vessels[edit]

Name Ordered Builder Launched Notes
Swallow (i) 7 July 1743 John Buxton, Jnr.,
Deptford
17 February 1744 Wrecked 24 December 1744 in the Bahamas.
Merlin 7 July 1743 Greville & Whetsone,
Limehouse
20 March 1744 Sold 16 November 1748 at Plymouth.
Speedwell 30 March 1744 John Buxton, Jnr.,
Deptford
9 November 1744 Sold 13 November 1750 at Deptford.
Falcon (i) 30 March 1744 John Barnard,
Harwich
12 November 1744 Captured by the French 28 September 1745, retaken 6 March 1746 and renamed Fortune, sold 20 March 1770 at Woolwich.
Hazard 4 April 1744 John Buxton, Snr.,
Rotherhithe
11 December 1744 Captured by the Jacobites 24 November 1745 and handed over to the French; retaken 25 March 1746, sold 7 September 1749 at Deptford.
Lizard 4 April 1744 Philemon Ewer,
Bursledon
22 December 1744 Wrecked 27 February 1748 in the Isles of Scilly.
Hinchingbrooke 23 May 1744 Moody Janvrin,
Bursledon
8 March 1745 Captured by the French 10 December 1746 off Berry Head.
Tavistock 23 May 1744 John Darley,
Gosport
22 March 1745 Renamed Albany on 20 August 1747, sold 3 May 1763 at Woolwich.
Hound 23 May 1744 Daniel Stow & Benjamin Bartlett,
Shoreham
22 May 1745 Sold 27 October 1773 at Deptford.
Hornet 23 May 1744 Chitty & Quallett,
Chichester
3 August 1745 Sold 3 April 1770 at Chatham Dockyard.
Raven 27 August 1744 Hugh Blaydes,
Hull
4 July 1745 Sold 31 March 1763 at Deptford.
Swan 6 October 1744 Thomas Hinks,
Chester
14 December 1745 Sold 31 March 1763 at Sheerness.
Badger 10 October 1744 Moody Janvrin,
Bursledon
5 August 1745 Wrecked 24 September 1762 in the Orkney Islands.
Falcon (ii) 5 April 1745 William Alexander,
Rotherhithe
30 November 1745 Wrecked 19 April 1759 on the Îles des Saintes, off Guadeloupe.
Scorpion 5 April 1745 James Wyatt and John Major,
Buckler's Hard
8 July 1746 Wrecked 23 September 1762 off the Isle of Man.
Swallow (ii) 5 April 1745 Henry Bird,
Rotherhithe
14 December 1745 Sold 20 June 1769 at Deptford.
Kingfisher 5 April 1745 John Darley,
Gosport
12 December 1745 Sold 3 May 1763 at Woolwich.
Dispatch 5 April 1744 Daniel Stow & Benjamin Bartlett,
Shoreham
30 December 1745 Sold 27 October 1773 at Deptford.
Viper 11 April 1745 Tito Durrell,
Poole
11 June 1746 Converted to a fireship and renamed Lightning on 29 July 1755; sold 30 December 1762 at Woolwich.
Grampus 9 January 1746 John Reed,
Hull
3 November 1746 Converted to a fireship in early 1762 and renamed Strombolo on 6 March 1771; hulked as a prison ship at New York City in September 1780 and sold there later the same year.
Saltash 9 January 1746 John Quallett & John Allin,
Rotherhithe
19 December 1746 Sold 15 February 1763 at Deptford.

References[edit]