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List of frigate classes of the Royal Navy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a list of frigate classes of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom (and the individual ships composed within those classes) in chronological order from the formal creation of the Royal Navy following the Restoration in 1660. Where the word 'class' or 'group' is not shown, the vessel was a 'one-off' design with just that vessel completed to the design. The list excludes vessels captured from other navies and added to the Royal Navy.

All frigates built for the Royal Navy up to 1877 (when the Admiralty re-categorised all frigates and corvettes as "cruisers") are listed below. The term "frigate" was resuscitated in World War II and subsequent classes are listed at the end of this article, but the individual ships within those classes are not listed in this article.

The frigate before 1660

The initial meaning of frigate in English/British naval service was a fast sailing warship, usually with a relatively low superstructure and a high length:breadth ratio—as distinct from the heavily armed but slow "great ships" with high fore- and after-castles. The name originated at the end of the 16th century, the first "frigats" being generally small, fast-sailing craft, in particular those employed by Flemish privateers based on Dunkirk and Flushing. Subsequently, the term was applied to any vessel with these characteristics, even to a third-rate or fourth-rate ship of the line.

In this list, the term is restricted to fifth rates and sixth rates which did not form part of the battlefleet (i.e. were not ships of the line); many of the earliest ships described as English frigates, such as Constant Warwick of 1645, were third-rate or fourth-rate ships of the line and thus are not listed below. As the Royal Navy was not officially created until 1660, vessels from the preceding (Commonwealth) era are only included where they survived past 1660. Prizes taken from enemy naval forces and added to the Royal Navy are also excluded.

Fifth-rate frigates before 1660

Fifth rates were essentially two-decked vessels, with their main battery on the lower deck and a lesser number of guns of lesser power on the upper deck (as well as even smaller guns on the quarter deck).

  • Vessels of 1653–1656 Programmes:
    • <i>Colchester</i> – launched 23 February 1654
    • Islip – launched 25 March 1654 (wrecked 24 July 1655)
    • <i>Fagons</i> – launched 22 May 1654, renamed HMS Milford in 1660
    • <i>Selby</i> – launched 22 April 1654, renamed HMS Eagle in 1660
    • <i>Basing</i> – launched 26 April 1654, renamed HMS Guernsey in 1660
    • <i>Grantham</i> – launched 1654, renamed HMS Garland in 1660
    • <i>Norwich</i> – launched 11 September 1655
    • <i>Pembroke</i> – launched September 1655
    • Dartmouth – launched 22 September 1655
    • <i>Cheriton</i> – launched 16 April 1656, renamed HMS Speedwell in 1660
    • <i>Wakefield</i> – launched November 1656, renamed HMS Richmond in 1660
    • <i>Oxford</i> – launched November 1656
    • <i>Forrester</i> – launched 3 September 1657
    • <i>Bradford</i> – launched March 1658, renamed HMS Success in 1660

Sixth-rate frigates before 1660

Sixth rates were single-decked vessels, with a battery on the (single) gun deck, and usually some lesser guns on the quarter deck.

  • Vessels of 1651 Programme:
    • <i>Drake</i> – launched 1652
    • <i>Merlin</i> – launched 1652
    • <i>Martin</i> – launched 1652

Frigates from 1660 to 1688

Fifth-rate frigates from 1660 to 1688

Charles Galley was an early galley-frigate with a bank of sweeps above the waterline, the last of these types (Royal Anne Galley) being launched in 1709.

  • Vessels of 1665 Programme:
    • <i>Little Victory</i> – launched 1665
    • <i>Sweepstakes</i> – launched 21 March 1666
    • <i>Falcon</i> – launched 1666
  • Vessels of 1668–1669 Programmes:
    • Nonsuch – launched 22 December 1668
    • <i>Phoenix</i> – launched 31 March 1671
  • Vessels of 1670s construction:
    • <i>Rose</i> – launched September 1674
    • Sapphire – launched 29 June 1675
    • Charles Galley – 32 guns, launched 1676, rebuilt 1693, renamed HMS Torrington in 1729 after two further rebuilds

Sixth-rate frigates from 1660 to 1688

  • Designed and built by Anthony Deane at Harwich
    • <i>Fanfan</i> – launched July 1666
    • <i>Roebuck</i> – launched 24 July 1666
    • <i>Francis</i> – launched 1666
  • Designed and built by Anthony Deane at Portsmouth
    • <i>Saudadoes</i> – launched 28 October 1669
    • <i>Greyhound</i> – launched July 1672
  • Designed and built by Sir Anthony Deane at Blackwall
    • <i>Lark</i> – launched 11 June 1675

Frigates from 1688 to 1719

For ships before the 1745 Establishment, the term 'class' is inappropriate as individual design was left up to the master shipwright in each Royal dockyard. For other vessels, the Surveyor of the Navy produced a common design for ships which were to be built under a commercial contract rather than in a Royal Dockyard. Consequently, the term 'group' is used as more applicable for ships built to similar specifications (and to the same principal dimensions) but to varying designs.

Fifth-rate frigates from 1688 to 1719

  • HMS <i>Mermaid</i> 1689 – 32 guns.
  • <i>Experiment</i> group – 32-gun fifth rates 1689–1691
    • HMS <i>Experiment</i> 1689
    • HMS <i>Pembroke</i> 1690
    • HMS <i>Milford</i> 1690
    • HMS <i>Portsmouth</i> 1690
    • HMS <i>Sheerness</i> 1691
  • HMS <i>Adventure</i> 1691 – 40 guns.
  • HMS <i>England</i> purchased 1693 – 40 guns.
  • HMS Charles Galley – 32 guns, launched 1676, rebuilt 1693, renamed Torrington in 1727 after two more rebuilds
  • <i>Shoreham</i> group – 32-gun fifth rates 1694
    • HMS <i>Shoreham</i> 1694
    • HMS <i>Scarborough</i> 1694
    • HMS <i>Sorlings</i> 1694
    • HMS <i>Winchelsea</i> 1694
  • <i>Lyme</i> group – 32-gun fifth rates 1695–1698
    • HMS <i>Lyme</i> 1695
    • HMS <i>Hastings</i> (i) 1695
    • HMS <i>Milford</i> 1695
    • HMS <i>Arundel</i> 1695
    • HMS <i>Rye</i> 1696
    • HMS <i>Scarborough</i> 1696
    • HMS <i>Looe</i> (i) 1696
    • HMS <i>Lynn</i> 1696
    • HMS <i>Fowey</i> 1696
    • HMS <i>Southsea Castle</i> (i) 1696
    • HMS <i>Gosport</i> 1696
    • HMS <i>Poole</i> 1696
    • HMS Feversham 1696
    • HMS <i>Hastings</i> (ii) 1698
    • HMS <i>Lowestoffe</i> 1697
    • HMS <i>Looe</i> (ii) 1697
    • HMS Southsea Castle (ii) 1697
    • HMS <i>Bridgewater</i> 1698
    • HMS <i>Ludlow</i> 1698
  • <i>Lark</i> group – 42-gun fifth rates 1703–1706
    • HMS <i>Hector</i> 1703
    • HMS <i>Lark</i> 1703
    • HMS <i>Greyhound</i> 1703
    • HMS <i>Garland</i> 1703
    • HMS <i>Folkestone</i> 1703
    • HMS <i>Roebuck</i> 1704 (40 guns only)
    • HMS <i>Sorlings</i> 1706
  • 1706 Establishment group – 42-gun fifth rates 1707–1715

The Navy Board ordered sixteen of these vessels between 1705 and 1711 as 42-gun vessels. The remaining pair—Looe and Diamond—were not ordered but rather the Navy Board purchased them on the stocks from the shipbuilder who had commenced building them "on spec". All the vessels were armed under the 1703 Guns Establishment with a main battery of nine-pounder guns. Under the 1716 Guns Establishment, a 40-gun ship with a main battery of 12-pounder guns superseded the 42-gun ship. Hence, the last six of the ships listed below were completed as 40-gun ships.

    • HMS <i>Ludlow Castle</i> 1707 – broken up 1721
    • HMS <i>Gosport</i> 1707 – broken up 1735
    • HMS <i>Portsmouth</i> 1707 – broken up 1728
    • HMS <i>Hastings</i> 1707 – sold for breaking 1745
    • HMS <i>Looe</i> 1707 – sunk as a breakwater 1737
    • HMS <i>Diamond</i> 1708 – broken up 1721 to rebuild
    • HMS <i>Sapphire</i> 1708 – sold for breaking 1745
    • HMS <i>Enterprize</i> 1709 – sold for breaking 1749
    • HMS Pearl 1708 – broken up 1723 to rebuild
    • HMS <i>Southsea Castle</i> 1708 – broken up 1723 to rebuild
    • HMS <i>Adventure</i> 1709 – broken up 1724 to rebuild
    • HMS <i>Mary Galley</i> 1708 – broken up 1721 to rebuild
    • HMS <i>Fowey</i> 1709 – renamed Queenborough 1744, sold for breaking 1746
    • HMS Royal Anne Galley 1709 – wrecked 1721
    • HMS Charles Galley – launched 1676, rebuilt 1693 and 1710 – renamed Torrington 1729, broken up 1744
    • HMS <i>Launceston</i> 1711 – broken up 1726 to rebuild
    • HMS <i>Faversham</i> 1712 – broken up 1730 to rebuild
    • HMS <i>Lynn</i> 1715 – broken up 1732

Sixth-rate frigates from 1688 to 1719

Before the "true" sail frigate came into being in the 1740s, the equivalent was the single-deck cruising vessel of the sixth rate, armed with either 20, 22 or 24 guns, which established itself in the 1690s and lasted until the arrival of the new "true" frigates. Before 1714, many small sixth rates carried fewer than 20 guns, and these have been excluded from this list. For over half a century from the 1690s, the main armament of this type was the 6-pounder gun, until it was replaced by nine-pounder guns just prior to being superseded by the 28-gun sixth-rate frigate.

  • <i>Maidstone</i> group 24-gun sixth rates 1693–1697
    • HMS <i>Maidstone</i> 1693
    • HMS <i>Jersey</i> 1694
    • HMS <i>Lizard</i> (i) 1694
    • HMS <i>Newport</i> 1694
    • HMS <i>Falcon</i> 1694
    • HMS <i>Queenborough</i> 1694
    • HMS <i>Swan</i> 1694
    • HMS <i>Drake</i> 1694
    • HMS <i>Solebay</i> 1694
    • HMS <i>Seahorse</i> 1694
    • HMS <i>Bideford</i> 1695
    • HMS <i>Penzance</i> 1695
    • HMS <i>Dunwich</i> 1695
    • HMS <i>Orford</i> 1695
    • HMS <i>Lizard</i> (ii) 1697
    • HMS <i>Flamborough</i> 1697
    • HMS <i>Seaford</i> 1697
    • HMS <i>Deal Castle</i> 1697
  • HMS <i>Seaford</i> 24-gun sixth rate purchased 1695
  • HMS Peregrine Galley 20-gun sixth rate 1700
  • <i>Nightingale</i> group 24-gun sixth rates 1702–1704
    • HMS <i>Nightingale</i> 1702
    • HMS <i>Squirrel</i> (i) 1703
    • HMS <i>Squirrel</i> (ii) 1704
  • <i>Aldborough</i> group 24-gun sixth rates purchased 1706
  • <i>Flamborough</i> group 24-gun sixth rates 1707
  • <i>Gibraltar</i> group 20-gun sixth rates 1711–1716
    • HMS <i>Solebay</i> 1711
    • HMS <i>Gibraltar</i> 1711
    • HMS <i>Port Mahon</i> 1711
    • HMS <i>Blandford</i> 1711
    • HMS <i>Hind</i> 1712
    • HMS <i>Seahorse</i> 1712
    • HMS <i>Rose</i> 1712
    • HMS <i>Bideford</i> 1712
    • HMS <i>Success</i> 1712
    • HMS <i>Greyhound</i> 1712
    • HMS <i>Lively</i> 1713
    • HMS <i>Speedwell</i> 1716
  • HMS <i>Dursley Galley</i> 20-gun sixth rate 1719

Frigates from 1719 to 1750

For ships before the 1745 Establishment, the term 'class' is inappropriate as individual design was left up to the master shipwright in each Royal dockyard. For other vessels, the Surveyor of the Navy produced a common design for ships which were to be built under a commercial contract rather than in a Royal Dockyard. Consequently, the term 'group' is used as more applicable for ships built to similar specifications laid down in the Establishments but to varying designs. However, from 1739 almost all fifth and sixth rates were built under contract and were thus to a common class.

Fifth-rate frigates from 1719 to 1750

All thirteen were rebuilds of earlier 40-gun ships (Torrington and Princess Louisa were renamed when rebuilt from the former Charles Galley—first launched in 1679—and Launceston respectively), although Anglesea and Adventure were authorised as 'Great Repairs' rather than as rebuildings.

    • <i>Hector</i> 1721 – broken up 1742
    • <i>Diamond</i> 1723 – broken up 1744
    • <i>Ludlow Castle</i> 1724 – broken up 1749
    • <i>Southsea Castle</i> 1724 – broken up 1744
    • Anglesea 1725 – sunk as a breakwater 1742
    • <i>Kinsale</i> 1725 – broken up 1741
    • <i>Adventure</i> 1726 – broken up 1741
    • <i>Lark</i> 1726 – capsized 1744
    • Pearl 1726 – broken up 1744
    • <i>Mary Galley</i> 1727 – broken up 1744
    • <i>Launceston</i> 1728 – wrecked 1736
    • Torrington 1729 – broken up 1744
    • <i>Roebuck</i> 1733 – sunk as a breakwater 1743
  • 1733 Establishment 40-gun (later 44-gun) fifth rates 1736–1741
    • <i>Eltham</i> (1736) – broken up 1763
    • <i>Dover</i> (1741) – sold 1763
    • <i>Folkestone</i> (1741) – sold 1749
    • <i>Faversham</i> (1741) – sold 1749
    • <i>Lynn</i> (1741) – sold 1763
    • <i>Gosport</i> (1741) – broken up 1768
    • <i>Sapphire</i> (1741) – razéed to 32-gun frigate 1756–58, sold 1784
    • <i>Hastings</i> (1741) – broken up 1763
    • <i>Liverpool</i> (1741) – sold 1763
    • <i>Kinsale</i> (1741) – sold 1763
    • <i>Adventure</i> (1741) – razéed to 32-gun frigate 1756–58, sold 1770
    • <i>Diamond</i> (1741) – sold 1756
    • <i>Launceston</i> (1741) – sold 1784
    • Looe (1741) – wrecked 1744
  • 1741 Establishment 44-gun ships 1742–1747
    • Anglesea (1742) – taken by the French 1745
    • Torrington (1743) – sold 1763
    • <i>Hector</i> (1743) – sold 1762
    • Roebuck (1743) – lent as a privateer 1763, sold 1764
    • <i>Lark</i> (1744) – sold 1757
    • <i>Pearl</i> (1744) – sold 1759
    • Mary Galley (1744) – used as breakwater 1764
    • <i>Ludlow Castle</i> (1744) – razéed to 24-gun frigate 1762, broken up 1771
    • Fowey (1744) – wrecked 1748
    • <i>Looe</i> (1745) – hulked 1750
    • Chesterfield (1745) – wrecked 1762
    • <i>Poole</i> (1745) – broken up 1765
    • <i>Southsea Castle</i> (1745) – converted to storeship 1760, lost 1762
    • <i>Prince Edward</i> (1745) – sold 1766
    • <i>Anglesea</i> (1746) – used as breakwater 1764
    • <i>Thetis</i> (1747) – converted to hospital ship 1757, sold 1767
  • 1745 Establishment 44-gun ships 1747–1749
    • <i>Prince Henry</i> (1747) – broken up 1764
    • Assurance (1747) – wrecked 1753
    • <i>Expedition</i> (1747) – broken up 1764
    • <i>Penzance</i> (1747) – sold 1766
    • <i>Crown</i> (1747) – converted to Storeship 1757, sold 1770
    • <i>Rainbow</i> (1747) – fitted with an experimental all-carronade armament 1782, hulked 1784
    • <i>Humber</i> (1748) – wrecked 1762
    • Woolwich (1749) – sold 1762
  • modified 1745 Establishment (lengthened by 6 ft)
    • <i>America</i> (1749) – renamed Boston 1756, sold 1757

Sixth-rate frigates from 1719 to 1750

  • 1719 Establishment 20-gun sixth rates 1720–1728:
    • HMS <i>Lyme</i> 1720
    • HMS <i>Greyhound</i> 1720
    • HMS <i>Blandford</i> 1720
    • HMS <i>Shoreham</i> 1720
    • HMS <i>Scarborough</i> 1722
    • HMS <i>Garland</i> 1724
    • HMS <i>Seaford</i> 1724
    • HMS <i>Lowestoffe</i> 1723
    • HMS <i>Rose</i> 1724
    • HMS <i>Deal Castle</i> 1727
    • HMS <i>Fox</i> 1727
    • HMS <i>Gibraltar</i> 1727
    • HMS <i>Bideford</i> 1727
    • HMS <i>Seahorse</i> 1727
    • HMS <i>Squirrel</i> 1727
    • HMS Aldborough 1727
    • HMS <i>Flamborough</i> 1727
    • HMS <i>Experiment</i> 1727
    • HMS <i>Rye</i> 1727
    • HMS <i>Phoenix</i> 1728
  • Modified 1719 Establishment 20-gun sixth rates 1732:
    • HMS <i>Sheerness</i> 1732
    • HMS <i>Dolphin</i> 1732
  • 1733 Establishment 20-gun sixth rates 1734–1742:
    • HMS <i>Tartar</i> 1734
    • HMS <i>Kennington</i> 1736
    • HMS Fox 1740
    • HMS Winchelsea 1740
    • HMS <i>Lyme</i> 1740
    • HMS <i>Rye</i> 1740
    • HMS <i>Experiment</i> 1740
    • HMS <i>Lively</i> 1740
    • HMS <i>Port Mahon</i> 1740
    • HMS <i>Scarborough</i> 1740
    • HMS Success 1740
    • HMS <i>Rose</i> 1740
    • HMS <i>Bideford</i> 1740
    • HMS Bridgewater 1740
    • HMS <i>Seaford</i> 1741
    • HMS <i>Solebay</i> 1742
  • HMS Wager 28-gun sixth rate purchased 1739
  • Modified 1733 Establishment 20-gun sixth rates 1741
  • 1741 Establishment 20-gun sixth rates 1742–1746:
    • HMS <i>Lowestoffe</i> 1742
    • HMS Aldborough 1743
    • HMS <i>Alderney</i> 1743
    • HMS <i>Phoenix</i> 1743
    • HMS Sheerness 1743
    • HMS <i>Wager</i> 1744
    • HMS <i>Shoreham</i> 1744
    • HMS <i>Bridgewater</i> 1744
    • HMS <i>Glasgow</i> 1745
    • HMS <i>Triton</i> 1745
    • HMS <i>Mercury</i> 1745
    • HMS Surprise 1746
    • HMS Siren 1745
    • HMS <i>Fox</i> 1746
    • HMS <i>Rye</i> 1746
  • Modified 1741 Establishment 20-gun sixth rates 1746.
    • HMS <i>Centaur</i> 1746
    • HMS <i>Deal Castle</i> 1746
  • HMS <i>Nightingale</i> 22-gun sixth rate 1746
  • HMS Garland 20-gun sixth rate 1748
  • 1745 Establishment 24-gun sixth rates 1746–1751, armed with two nine-pounder canons on the lower deck and 20 on the upper deck, two three-pounders on the quarterdeck
    • HMS <i>Arundel</i> 1746 – sold 1765
    • HMS <i>Queenborough</i> 1747 – driven ashore on the Indian coast near Pondicherry by a hurricane on New Year's Day 1761
    • HMS Fowey 1749 – sunk by shore batteries at Yorktown on 10.10.1781
    • HMS Hind 1749 – sold 1784
    • HMS Sphinx 1748 – sold 1770
    • HMS Dolphin 1751 – broken up 1777
  • Modified 1745 Establishment 24-gun sixth rate 1748, armed as the ships above
    • HMS <i>Boston</i> 1748 – broken up 1752
  • HMS Seahorse 24-gun sixth rate, designed by Jacob Acworth, 1748, armed with two nine-pounder canons on the lower deck and 22 on the upper deck, two three-pounders on the quarterdeck – sold 1784
  • HMS Mermaid 24-gun sixth rate, designed by Joseph Allin, 1749, armed with 20 nine-pounder canons on the upper deck and four three-pounders on the quarterdeck – wrecked off the Coast of South Carolina on 06.01.1760

Two nominally 24-gun ships – the Lyme and Unicorn – were built in 1747–1749 with 24 nine-pounders on the upper deck but also carried four smaller guns on the quarterdeck. There were no more guns on the lower deck that was lowered to the waterline; the pair were designated as 24-gun ships (disregarding the smaller guns) until 1756, when they were re-classed as 28-gun frigates. However other 24-gun and 20-gun ships continued to be built, with either 22- or 29-pounder guns on the upper deck.

44-gun fifth rates from 1750 – by class

Those fifth-rate ships were not frigates in a stricter sense, being two-deckers, but they were mostly used in the same way, e.g. convoy protection. In addition they were too small to sail in the line of battle. Thus they are listed here. In the middle of the 18th century, those ships had a more powerful armament than the frigates at that time (these were nine and 12-pounders equipped), that consisted of 18-pounders on the gun deck. Later in the century, with the advent of the 18-pounder frigate (the first British 18-pounder armed frigate, HMS Flora (36), was launched in 1780), those ships became obsolete and ceased to being built in 1787, when the last one, HMS Sheerness, was launched. Many continued to serve until after the end of the Napoleonic Wars, most of them as troop- or storeships.

  • Phoenix 1759 – wrecked 1780
  • Roebuck class 1774–83 (Thomas Slade)
    • HMS Roebuck 1774 – hospital ship 1790, troopship 1799, floating battery 1803, broken up 1811
    • HMS Romulus 1777 – taken by France 1781
    • HMS <i>Actaeon</i> 1778 – hulked 1793
    • HMS Janus 1778 – troopship 1789, wrecked 1800
    • HMS Charon (I) 1778 – sunk 1781
    • HMS Dolphin 1781 – hospital ship 1781, troopship 1800, storeship 1804, broken up 1817
    • HMS Ulysses 1779 – sold 1816
    • HMS Serapis (I) 1779 – taken by John Paul Jones' Bonhomme Richard 1779
    • HMS Endymion<i></i> 1779 – lost 1790
    • HMS <i>Assurance</i> 1780 – troopship 1791, transport 1796, hulked 1799
    • HMS Argo 1781 – troopship 1791, sold 1816
    • HMS Diomede 1781 – lost 1795
    • HMS Guardian 1784 – sold 1791
    • HMS Mediator 1782 – storeship and renamed Camel 1788, broken up 1810
    • HMS <i>Regulus</i> 1785 – troopship 1800, broken up 1816
    • HMS <i>Resistance</i> 1782 – blown up 1798
    • HMS <i>Serapis</i> (II) 1782 – storeship 1798, broken up 1819
    • HMS Gladiator 1783 – hulked 1807
    • HMS <i>Experiment</i> 1784 – troopship, 1793, hulked 1805
    • HMS <i>Charon</i> (II) 1783 – hospital ship 1794, troopship 1800, broken up 1805
  • <i><b>Adventure</b></i> class 1784–87 (William Hunt)
    • HMS <i>Adventure</i> 1784 – troopship 1799, hulked 1801, broken up 1816
    • HMS <i>Chichester</i> 1785 – troopship 1787, storeship 1794, sold 1810
    • HMS <i>Expedition</i> 1784 – troopship 1798, hulked 1810, broken up 1817
    • HMS Gorgon 1785 – storeship 1793, floating battery 1805, broken up 1817
    • HMS Woolwich 1785 – troopship 1793, storeship 1798, troopship 1813, wrecked 1813
    • HMS <i>Severn</i> 1786 – wrecked 1804
    • HMS <i>Dover</i> 1786 – transport 1795, accidentally burnt and then broken up 1806
    • HMS <i>Sheerness</i> 1787 – completed as troopship, wrecked 1805

Sail frigates from 1750 – by class

Following the success of the Lyme and Unicorn in 1748, the mid-century period saw the simultaneous introduction in 1756 both of sixth-rate frigates of 28 guns (with a main battery of 24 nine-pounder guns, plus four lesser guns mounted on the quarterdeck and/or forecastle) and of fifth-rate frigates of 32 or 36 guns (with a main battery of 26 12-pounder guns, plus six or ten lesser guns mounted on the quarterdeck and/or forecastle).

The American Revolution saw the emergence of new fifth rates of 36 or 38 guns which carried a main battery of 18-pounder guns, and were thus known as "heavy" frigates, while the French Revolutionary War brought about the introduction of a few 24-pounder gun armed frigates. In the 1830s, new types emerged with a main battery of 32-pounder guns.

9-pounder armed post ships

After 1750, the official Admiralty criteria for defining a frigate required a minimum battery of 28 carriage-mounted guns, including such guns which were mounted on the quarterdeck and forecastle. The Admiralty categorized the smaller sixth rates, of frigate-type construction, but carrying between 20 and 26 guns, as "post ships", but seagoing officers often referred to then as "frigates" even though this was not officially recognised. The post ships, generally of 20 or 24 guns, were in practice the continuation of the earlier sixth rates. The Napoleonic War era post ships were later re-armed with (many being completed with) 32-pounder carronades instead of nine-pounder guns; after 1817 most of the survivors (except the Conway class), were re-classified as sloops.

  • <b><i>Gibraltar</i> class</b> 20 guns, 1754–56; built to the lines of the French privateer Tygre captured in 1747.
    • HMS <i>Gibraltar</i> 1754 – broken up 1773
    • HMS <i>Biddeford</i> 1756 – wrecked 1761
    • HMS <i>Flamborough</i> 1756 – sold 1772
    • HMS <i>Aldborough</i> 1756 – broken up 1772
    • HMS <i>Kennington</i> 1756 – broken up 1774
    • HMS Lively 1756 – captured by France 1778, recaptured 1781, sold 1784
    • HMS <i>Mercury</i> 1756 – wrecked 1777
    • HMS Scarborough 1756 – foundered 1780
  • <b><i>Seaford</i> class</b> 20 guns, 1754–57; built to the lines of HM Yacht Royal Caroline of 1749.
    • HMS <i>Seaford</i> 1754 – sold 1784
    • HMS Rose 1757 – scuttled to block Savannah Bar 1779
    • HMS Glasgow 1757 – accidentally burned 1779
  • <b><i>Squirrel</i> class</b> 20 guns, 1755–56; like the Seaford class built to the lines of HMY Royal Caroline.
  • Sphinx class 20 guns 1775–81; designed by John Williams
    • HMS <i>Sphinx</i> 1775 – broken up 1811
    • HMS Camilla 1776 – hulked 1809, sold 1831
    • HMS <i>Daphne</i> 1776 – taken by France 1795, retaken 1797, sold 1802
    • HMS Galatea 1776 – broken up 1783
    • HMS <i>Ariadne</i> 1776 – sold 1814
    • HMS <i>Vestal</i> 1777 – foundered off Newfoundland 1777
    • HMS <i>Perseus</i> 1776 – converted to bomb vessel 1798, broken up 1805
    • HMS <i>Unicorn</i> 1776 – captured by France 1780, recaptured 1781, broken up 1787
    • HMS Ariel 1777 – taken by French <i>l'Amazone</i> in 1779
    • HMS Narcissus 1781 – wrecked off New Providence 1796
  • Porcupine class 24 guns, 1777–81; designed by John Williams
    • HMS Porcupine 1777 – broken up 1805
    • HMS Pelican 1776 – wrecked in a hurricane near Jamaica 1781
    • HMS Eurydice 1781 – hulked as receiving ship 1814, broken up 1834
    • HMS <i>Hyena</i> 1778 – captured by the French 1793, retaken 1797, reclassed as 20-gun ship 1798, sold 1802
    • HMS <i>Penelope</i> 1778 – cast away or foundered in the West Indies in November 1779
    • HMS Amphitrite 1778 – wrecked off Livorno 1794
    • HMS <i>Crocodile</i> 1781 – wrecked on the Scilly Rocks off Prawle Point 1784
    • HMS <i>Siren</i> 1779 – wrecked near Beachy Head 1781
    • HMS Pandora 1779 – wrecked off the Coast of Queensland, Australia, in 1791 while carrying the surviving mutineers of HMS Bounty back to England for trial
    • HMS <i>Champion</i> 1779 – hulked as receiving ship 1809, sold 1816
  • HMS <i>Myrmidon</i> 22 guns 1781; built to the lines of Amazone a French privateer captured in 1745 – hulked 1798, broken up 1811
  • HMS Squirrel 24 guns 1785; designed by Edward Hunt – hulked as a receiving ship 1812, sold 1817
  • Banterer class 22 guns 1806–07; designed by William Rule
  • Laurel class 22 guns 1806–12; designed by John Henslow
    • HMS <i>Laurel</i> 1806 – taken by -France 1808, retaken and renamed Laurestinus 1810, wrecked in the Bahamas 1813
    • HMS Boreas 1806 – wrecked on the Guernsey coast 1807
    • HMS Comus 1806 – wrecked at Newfoundland 1816
    • HMS Garland 1807 – sold 1817
    • HMS <i>Perseus</i> 1812 – hulked as receiving ship 1816, broken up 1850
    • HMS Volage 1807 – sold 1818
  • Hermes class 20 guns 1811–16; flush-decked sixth rates based on the lines of the French corvette Bonne Citoyenne (1794) taken in 1796; only the last two of the class were given quarterdecks and forecastles in 1820–21, making them post ships
  • Cyrus class flush-decked 20-gun sixth rates 1813–14; the design was based on HMS Myrmidon of the Hermes class above, so can be considered a development of that class. Since none of the class possessed a quarterdeck or forecastle, they were actually not post ships
    • HMS <i>Cyrus</i> 1813 – sold 1823
    • HMS <i>Medina</i> 1813 – sold 1832
    • HMS Levant 1813 – captured by USS Constitution 1815, but was recaptured shortly afterwards; broken up 1820
    • HMS <i>Esk</i> 1813 – sold 1827
    • HMS Carron 1813 – wrecked near Puri, India 1820
    • HMS Tay 1813 – wrecked in the Gulf of Mexico 1816
    • HMS <i>Slaney</i> 1813 – 1830 hulked, broken up 1838
    • HMS <i>Erne</i> 1813 – lost 1819 lost
    • HMS Leven 1813 – hulked 1833, broken up 1848
    • HMS <i>Falmouth</i> 1814 – sold 1825
    • HMS <i>Cyrene</i> 1814 – sold 1828
    • HMS <i>Bann</i> 1814 – sold 1829
    • HMS Spey 1814 – sold 1822
    • HMS Lee 1814 – broken up 1822
    • HMS <i>Hind</i> 1814 – sold 1829
    • HMS <i>Larne</i> 1814 – sold 1820
  • Conway class 26-gun sixth rates 1814–17 (later re-rated 28-gun); designed by William Rule
    • HMS Conway 1814 – sold 1825
    • HMS Mersey 1814 – hulked as receiving ship 1831, broken up 1852
    • HMS <i>Eden</i> 1814 – broken up 1833
    • HMS Tamar 1814 – hulked as coal depot 1831, sold 1837
    • HMS <i>Dee</i> 1814 – sold 1819
    • HMS <i>Towey</i> 1814 – broken up 1822
    • HMS <i>Menai</i> 1814 – hulked as receiving ship 1829, target ship 1852, broken up 1853
    • HMS <i>Tyne</i> 1814 – sold 1825
    • HMS <i>Wye</i> 1814 – hulked as convict hospital ship 1834, broken up 1852
    • HMS Tees 1817 – hulked as church ship 1826, broken up 1872

9-pounder armed frigates

Although previously rated as 24-gun ships (when their four quarter-deck-mounted three-pounders were not included in the count), Unicorn and Lyme were redefined as 28-gun frigates from 1756. The Lowestoffe and Coventry-class frigates which followed were virtual copies of them, with slight improvements in design. Further 28-gun sixth rates, similarly armed with a main battery of 24 nine-pounder guns (and with four smaller carriage guns on the quarterdeck) continued to be built to evolving designs until the 1780s.

12-pounder armed frigates

Almost all of the following were of the 32-gun type (armed with 26 12-pounder guns on the upper deck and six smaller guns on the quarter deck and forecastle); one class (the Venus class of 1757–58) had 36 guns (with 26 12-pounder guns on the upper deck and 10 smaller guns on the quarter deck and forecastle)

  • Venus class 36-gun fifth rates 1757–58; designed by Thomas Slade
  • Southampton class 32-gun fifth rates 1757–59; designed by Thomas Slade
  • Richmond class 32-gun fifth rates 1757–58 (batch 1), 1762–63 (batch 2); designed by William Bately
  • <b><i>Alarm</i> class</b> 32-gun fifth rates 1758–66; designed by Thomas Slade
    • HMS Alarm 1758 – broken up 1812
    • HMS <i>Eolus</i> (or Aeolus) 1758 – hulked as receiving ship at Sheerness in 1796, renamed Guernsey in 1800, broken up 1801
    • HMS Stag 1758 – broken up 1783
    • HMS Pearl 1762 – hulked as a slop ship at Portsmouth in 1803, renamed Prothee in 1825, sold 1832
    • HMS <i>Glory</i> 1763 – renamed Apollo in 1774, broken up 1786
    • HMS <i>Emerald</i> 1762 – broken up 1793. (According to Rif Winfield – British Warships in The Age of Sail 1714– 1792. This is a "Niger Class" ship)
    • HMS <i>Aurora</i> 1766 – lost with all hands on her way to the West Indies in 1769
  • Niger class 32-gun fifth rates 1759–64; Thomas Slade design, "very similar" to the Alarm class above
    • HMS Niger 1759 – converted to troopship in 1799, reclassed as a 28-gun sixth rate in 1804, sold 1814
    • HMS Montreal 1761 – taken by the French off Málaga on 29 April 1779
    • HMS <i>Quebec</i> 1760 – caught fire and blew up while in action with the French frigate Surveillante (1778) on 5 October 1779
    • HMS Winchelsea 1764 – converted to troopship in 1800, mooring hulk at Sheerness in 1803, sold 1814
  • HMS Tweed 32-gun fifth rate 1759; one off design by Sir Thomas Slade, to the lengthened lines of the Tartar (28 guns) of Lowestoffe class (nine-pounder armed) above and built to lighter scantlings according to the French practice, sold 1776
  • <b><i>Lowestoffe</i> class</b> 32-gun fifth rates 1761–74; Thomas Slade design, like Mermaid class (nine-pounder armed) above, adapted from the French Frigate Abénakise, captured in 1757
  • <b><i>Amazon</i> (<i>Thetis</i>) class</b> 32-gun fifth rates 1773–87; 18 ships, designed by John Williams.
  • Active class 32-gun fifth rates 1779–84; designed by Edward Hunt
    • HMS <i>Active</i> 1780 – wrecked in the Saint Lawrence River on 15 July 1796
    • HMS Daedalus 1780 – on lease to Trinity House from 1803 to 1806, broken up 1811
    • HMS Mermaid 1784 – converted to troopship in 1811, broken up 1815
    • HMS <i>Cerberus</i> 1779 – wrecked near Bermuda on 30 April 1783
    • HMS Fox 1780 – converted to troopship in 1812, broken up 1816
    • HMS Astraea (or Astrea) 1781 – fitted as troopship between 1800 and 1805, wrecked on rocks off Anegada on 24 May 1808
    • HMS <i>Ceres</i> 1781 – hulked as receiving ship at Sheerness in 1803, transferred to Chatham as harbour flagship in 1812, converted into a victualling depot in 1816 and broken up 1830
    • HMS Quebec 1781 – temporarily hulked at Woolwich between 1803–1805, hulked as receiving ship at Sheerness in 1813, broken up 1816
  • Andromeda or Hermione class 32-gun fifth rates 1782–86; designed by Edward Hunt
    • HMS Andromeda 1784 – broken up 1811
    • HMS Hermione 1782 – seized by mutineers on 22 September 1797, given to the Spanish garrison at La Guaira, cut out of the harbour and retaken on 25 October 1799, renamed Retaliation shortly after, renamed Retribution in 1800, presented to Trinity House in 1803
    • HMS Druid 1783 – fitted as troopship from 1798 to 1805, broken up 1813
    • HMS <i>Penelope</i> 1783 – broken up 1797
    • HMS <i>Aquilon</i> 1786 – broken up 1816
    • HMS Blanche 1786 – wrecked in the entrance to the Texel
  • HMS <i>Heroine</i> 32-gun fifth rate 1783; purchased on the stocks from Adams of Bucklers Hard in 1782 – converted to troopship in 1800, hulked 1803
  • <b><i>Maidstone</i> class</b> 32-gun fifth rates 1795–96; designed by John Henslow, fir-built version of the <i>Cerberus</i> (or <i>Alcmene</i>) class of 18-pounder frigates of 1794
    • HMS <i>Maidstone</i> 1795 – broken up 1810
    • HMS <i>Shannon</i> 1796 – sold 1802
  • HMS Triton 32-gun fifth rate 1796; experimental "Admiralty" design by rear-admiral James Gambier, the Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty; fir-built, the ship was originally intended to carry 18-pounders but was considered too weak for the armament – hulked as receiving ship at Woolwich in 1803, transferred to Plymouth in 1810, sold 1814
  • <b><i>Circe</i> (or <i>Thames</i>) class</b> 32-gun fifth rates 1804–06; design modified from William Bately's Richmond class of 1757
    • HMS Circe 1804 – sold 1814
    • HMS Pallas 1804 – wrecked in the Firth of Forth on 18 December 1810
    • HMS <i>Thames</i> 1805 – converted to troopship in 1814, broken up 1816
    • HMS Jason 1804 – broken up 1815
    • HMS <i>Hebe</i> 1804 – sold 1813
    • HMS Minerva 1805 – broken up 1816
    • HMS <i>Alexandria</i> 1806 – hulked as receiving ship at Sheerness in 1817, broken up 1818
    • HMS Medea – cancelled 1804

18-pounder armed frigates

In general, the following were either 36-gun type (armed with 26 18-pounder guns on the upper deck and 10 smaller guns on the quarter deck and forecastle) or 38-gun type (with 28 18-pounder guns on the upper deck and 10 smaller guns on the quarter-deck and forecastle); however, one class of smaller ships had just 32 guns (with 26 18-pounder guns on the upper deck and just six smaller guns on the quarter deck and forecastle)

  • Flora class 36-gun fifth rates 1780, designed by John Williams
    • HMS <i>Flora</i> 1780 – wrecked and destroyed on the Dutch coast on 19 January 1808
    • HMS <i>Thalia</i> 1782 – broken up 1814
    • HMS Crescent 1784 – wrecked on the Coast of Jutland on 6 December 1808
    • HMS Romulus 1785 – converted to troopship in 1799, hulked as hospital ship at Bermuda in 1813, broken up 1816
  • Minerva class 38-gun fifth rates 1780–82, designed by Edward Hunt
  • HMS Latona 38-gun fifth rate 1781, designed by John Williams – converted to troopship 1810, hulked as receiving ship at Leith 1813, sold 1816
  • HMS Thetis 38-Gun fifth rate 1782, designed by Edward Hunt, modified from the Minerva class above – used as troopship between 1800 and 1805, sold 1814
  • <b><i>Perseverance</i> class</b> 36-gun fifth rates 1781–83, designed by Edward Hunt
    • HMS Perseverance 1781 – hulked as receiving ship circa 1806, sold 1823
    • HMS Phoenix 1783 – wrecked near Smyrna on 20 February 1816
    • HMS Inconstant 1783 – used as troopship between 1798 and 1806, broken up 1817
    • HMS <i>Leda</i> 1783 – capsized in a squall and foundered off Madeira 11 December 1795
  • HMS Melampus 36-gun fifth rate 1785, designed by Edward Hunt – sold to the Dutch Navy in 1815
  • HMS <i>Beaulieu</i> 40-gun fifth rate 1791 – purchased on the stocks in June 1790 from Adams of Bucklers Hard – broken up 1806
  • Pallas class 32-gun fifth rates 1793–94; designed by John Henslow
  • Artois class 38-gun fifth rates 1794–97; designed by John Henslow
  • fir-built Artois class with alterations necessary for fir wood, notably the flat, square tuck stern
    • HMS Clyde (I) 1796 – taken to pieces for rebuilding in 1805
    • HMS <i>Tamar</i> (or Tamer) 1796 – broken up 1810
    • HMS Clyde (II) 1806 – rebuilt from the previous ship of that name, laid up in 1810, sold 1814
  • <b><i>Cerberus</i> (or <i>Alcmene</i>) class</b> 32-gun fifth rates 1794, designed by John Henslow
  • <b><i>Phoebe</i> class</b> 36-gun fifth rates 1795–1800, lengthened version of William Hunt's <i>Perseverance</i> class of 1780
    • HMS Phoebe 1795 – hulked as receiving ship at Plymouth 1826, sold 1841
    • HMS Dryad 1795 – hulked as receiving ship at Portsmouth 1838, broken up 1860
    • HMS <i>Caroline</i> 1795 – hulked as salvage vessel at Portsmouth 1813, broken up 1815
    • HMS Doris 1795 – wrecked in Quiberon Bay on 21 January 1805
    • HMS <i>Fortunee</i> 1800 – sold 1818
  • <b><i>Amazon</i> class</b> 36-gun fifth rates 1795–96, designed by William Rule
  • <b>fir-built <i>Amazon</i> class</b> with alterations necessary for fir wood, notably the flat, square tuck stern
    • HMS <i>Trent</i> 1796 – hospital ship laid up at Cork in 1803, hulked 1815, broken up 1823
    • HMS Glenmore 1796 – in Ordinary at Plymouth in 1803 until sold for breaking up in 1814
  • HMS Naiad 38-gun fifth rate 1797, designed by William Rule – hulked as a coal depot at Callao, Peru in 1847, sold 1866
  • HMS Acasta 40-gun fifth rate 1797, designed by William Rule – broken up 1821
  • HMS Boadicea 38-gun fifth rate 1797, built to the lines of the French Impérieuse, taken in 1793 – broken up 1858
  • HMS Sirius 36-gun fifth rate 1797, built to the lines of the French Minerve, taken in 1794 and renamed San Fiorenzo – grounded at Mauritius and destroyed to prevent capture 1810
  • HMS Hydra 38-gun fifth rate 1797; built to the lines of the French <i>Melpomène</i>, captured in 1794, a sister ship to Minerve and Impérieuse above – converted to troopship 1813, sold 1820
  • <b><i>Amazon</i> class</b> 38-gun fifth rates 1799, designed by William Rule
    • HMS Amazon 1799 – broken up 1817
    • HMS <i>Hussar</i> 1799 – wrecked in the Bay of Biscay in February 1804
  • HMS Active 38-gun fifth rate 1799; designed by John Henslow – hulked as receiving ship 1825, renamed Argo 1833, broken up 1860.
  • Leda class 38-gun fifth rates 1800–19, built to the lines of the French Hébé of 1782
    • HMS Leda 1800 – wrecked at the mouth of Milford Haven on 31 January 1808
    • HMS Pomone 1805 – wrecked on the Needles on 14 October 1811
    • HMS Shannon 1806 – hulked as receiving ship at Sheerness in 1831, renamed Saint Lawrence in 1844, broken up 1859
    • HMS <i>Leonidas</i> 1807 – hulked as powder hulk at Sheerness in 1872, sold 1894
    • HMS Briton 1812 – hulked as convict ship at Portsmouth in 1841, broken up 1860
    • HMS Surprise 1812 – hulked as convict ship at Cork in 1822, sold 1837
    • HMS <i>Tenedos</i> 1812 – hulked as convict ship at Bermuda in 1843, converted to accommodation ship in 1863, broken up 1875
    • HMS <i>Lacedemonian</i> 1812 – broken up 1822
    • HMS <i>Lively</i> 1813 – hulked as receiving ship 1831, sold 186.
    • HMS <i>Diamond</i> 1816 – accidentally burnt at Portsmouth on 18 April 1827
    • HMS <i>Amphitrite</i> 1816 – razeed to a 26-gun corvette, transferred to the Coast Guard in 1857
    • HMS Trincomalee 1817 – Teak built, cut down to a 26-gun corvette in 1847, hulked as training ship for volunteers at Sunderland in 1861, sold 1897 to Wheatley Cobb at Falmouth, became training ship Foudroyant, still afloat as museum ship under her original name at Hartlepool
    • HMS Thetis 1817 – wrecked off Cape Frio, Brazil, on 5 December 1830
    • HMS Arethusa 1817 – hulked as lazaretto at Liverpool in 1836, renamed Bacchus in 1844, transferred to Plymouth in 1850, and transformed to coal depot in 1852, sold for breaking in 1883
    • HMS <i>Blanche</i> 1819 – hulked as receiving ship at Portsmouth in 1833, sold for breaking in 1865
    • HMS Fisgard 1819 – hulked as harbour flagship at Woolwich in 1847, broken up 1879
  • modified Leda class 46-gun fifth rates 1820–30
    • HMS <i>Venus</i> 1820 – hulked and lent to the Marine Society in 1848, broken up 1865
    • HMS Melampus 1820 – transferred to the Coastguard at Southampton in 1857, returned to the Navy at Portsmouth in 1866, used as an ordnance store for the War Office until 1891, sold 1906
    • HMS <i>Minerva</i> 1820 – broken up 1895
    • HMS <i>Latona</i> 1821 – hulked as mooring vessel at Sheerness in 1868, powder depot at Portsmouth in 1872, broken up 1875
    • HMS Nereus 1821 – hulked as coal depot at Valparaiso in 1843, sold 1879
    • HMS <i>Diana</i> 1822 – hulked as receiving ship at Sheerness in 1868, broken up 1874
    • HMS <i>Hebe</i> 1826 – hulked as receiving ship at Woolwich in 1839, transferred to Sheerness for breaking in 1872
    • HMS Hamadryad 1823 – hulked as hospital ship at Cardiff in 1866, sold 1905
    • HMS <i>Amazon</i> 1821 – cut down to a 26-gun corvette in 1845, sold 1863
    • HMS <i>Aeolus</i> (or Eolus) 1825 – hulked as stores depot at Sheerness in 1846, transferred to Portsmouth as accommodation ship in 1855, transformed into a lazaretto in 1761, broken up 1886
    • HMS Thisbe 1824 – hulked as floating church at Cardiff 1863, sold 1892
    • HMS <i>Cerberus</i> 1827 – broken up 1866
    • HMS <i>Circe</i> 1827 – hulked as accommodation ship 1866, swimming bath 1885, renamed Impregnable IV, sold for breaking in 1922
    • HMS <i>Clyde</i> 1827 – hulked as RNR training ship at Aberdeen in 1870, sold 1904
    • HMS <i>Thames</i> 1823 – hulked as convict ship at Deptford in 1841, transferred to Bermuda in 1844, sunk in 1863, wreck subsequently sold for breaking
    • HMS Fox 1829 – converted to screw propulsion in 1856, broken up 1882
    • HMS Unicorn 1824 – never fitted for sea, hulked as training ship for the RNR at Dundee in 1860 and still afloat there as museum ship
    • HMS Daedalus 1826 – cut down to a corvette in 1844, hulked as training ship for the RNR at Bristol in 1861, sold for breaking in 1911
    • HMS <i>Proserpine</i> 1830 – sold 1864
    • HMS <i>Mermaid</i> 1825 – hulked as Army powder ship at Purfleet in 1858, returned to the Navy and used as a powder depot at Dublin in 1863, bruken up 1875
    • HMS <i>Mercury</i> 1826 – hulked as coal depot at Woolwich in 1862, transferred to Sheerness in 1873, sold 1906
    • HMS Penelope 1829 – converted to paddle frigate in 1843, sold 1864
    • HMS <i>Thalia</i> 1830 – hulked as Roman Catholic chapel ship at Portsmouth in 1855, broken up 1867
  • <b><i>Cydnus</i> class</b> 38-gun fifth rates, eight pine-built ships (essentially identical to the Leda class, with the exception of a flat stern, necessary for "fir-built" ships), 1813
    • HMS Cydnus 1813 – broken up 1816
    • HMS <i>Eurotas</i> 1813 – broken up 1817
    • HMS <i>Niger</i> 1813 – broken up 1820
    • HMS <i>Meander</i> 1813 – broken up 1817
    • HMS Pactolus 1813 – broken up 1818
    • HMS <i>Tiber</i> 1813 – broken up 1820
    • HMS <i>Araxes</i> 1813 – broken up 1817
    • HMS <i>Tanais</i> 1813 – broken up 1819
    • HMS Nemesis – altered to Seringapatam class
    • HMS Statira – altered to Seringapatam class
    • HMS Jason – altered to Seringapatam class
    • HMS Druid – altered to Seringapatam class
    • HMS Pegasus – cancelled 1831
  • <b><i>Penelope</i> class</b> 36-gun fifth rates 1798–1800, designed by John Henslow
  • HMS Lavinia 40-gun fifth rate 1806, designed by Jean-Louis Barrallier – hulked as lazaretto in Liverpool in 1836, coal depot at Plymouth in 1852, sunk in Plymouth Sound after collision with HAPAG Ship Cimbria
  • <b><i>Amphion</i> class</b> 32-gun fifth rates 17981809, designed by William Rule.
  • <b><i>Narcissus</i> class</b> 32-gun fifth rates 1801–1808, designed by John Henslow
  • Apollo class, 27 ships, 36-gun fifth rates 1799–1819, designed by William Rule
    • HMS Apollo 1799 – wrecked near Cabo Mondego (Portugal) in April 1804
    • HMS <i>Blanche</i> 1800 – taken by the French 40-gun 18-pounder Frigate Topaze in July 1805
    • HMS Euryalus 1803 – paid off in March 1825
    • HMS <i>Semiramis</i> 1808 – guardship at Portsmouth in 1821, cut down to 24-gun corvette in 1827, broken up in November 1844
    • HMS Owen Glendower 1808 – convict ship at Gibraltar in October 1842, receiving ship athere in 1880, sold in 1884
    • HMS <i>Curacoa</i> 1809 – cut down to 24-gun corvette in 1831, broken up in March 1849
    • HMS Saldanha 1809 – wrecked and sank with all hands off Lough Swilly on 4 December 1811
    • HMS Malacca 1809 – paid off in June 1815, broken up in March 1816
    • HMS Orpheus 1809 – laid up at Chatham in September 1816, broken up in August 1819
    • HMS <i>Theban</i> 1809 – broken up in May 1817
    • HMS <i>Leda</i> 1809 – sold in April 1817
    • HMS <i>Manilla</i> 1809 – wrecked on the Haak Sands off the Texel at Callantsoog on 28 January 1812
    • HMS Belvidera 1809 – store depot at Portsmouth in 1846, receiving ship in 1852, sold in July 1906
    • HMS Hotspur 1810 – in ordinary at Portsmouth in November 1815, broken up in January 1821
    • HMS Astraea 1810 – broken up in 1851
    • HMS Galatea 1810 – receiving ship and coal depot on Jamaica in 1839, broken up in 1849
    • HMS Havannah 1811 – cut down to 24-gun corvette in 1845, training ship at Cardiff, sold for breaking in 1905
    • HMS <i>Maidstone</i> 1811 – receiving ship at Portsmouth in August 1832, coal depot there in 1838, broken up in January 1867
    • HMS <i>Stag</i> 1812 – laid up at Plymouth in November 1814, broken up in September 1821
    • HMS <i>Magicienne</i> 1812 – broken up in March 1845
    • HMS Barrosa 1812 – laid up in September 1815, receiving ship and ordnance depot at Portsmouth in 1823, sold in 1841
    • HMS <i>Dartmouth</i> 1813 – paid off in March 1830, broken up in November 1854
    • HMS <i>Creole</i> 1813 – harbour service at Chatham in 1833, broken up in August of the same year
    • HMS <i>Tartar</i> 1814 – receiving ship at Sheerness in March 1830, broken up in September 1859
    • HMS <i>Brilliant</i> 1814 – training ship in 1860, renamed Briton in 1889, sold for breaking in 1908
    • HMS <i>Pallas</i> 1816 – coal depot at Plymouth in November 1836, sold in January 1862
    • HMS Blonde 1819 – completed to a new 46-gun design
  • <b><i>Aigle</i> class</b> 36-gun fifth rates, 1801, designed by John Henslow
  • HMS Ethalion 36-gun fifth rate 1802
  • Lively class 38-gun fifth rates 1804–13, designed by William Rule
  • HMS <i>Forte</i> 38-gun fifth rate 1814, built to the Lines of the French Révolutionnaire, captured in 1794 – broken up 1844
  • <b><i>Perseverance</i> class</b> 36-gun fifth rates 1803–11 (a revival of the class of 1781–83 – see above)
    • HMS <i>Tribune</i> 1803 – cut down to a 24-gun corvette in 1833, lost near Tarragona on 28 November 1839
    • HMS Shannon 1803 – run ashore near La Hogue and burnt to avoid capture on 10 December 1803
    • HMS Meleager 1806 – wrecked on Bare Bush Key east of Jamaica on 30 July 1808
    • HMS <i>Iphigenia</i> 1806 – presented to the Marine Society as training ship in 1833, broken up 1851
    • HMS <i>Orlando</i> 1811 – hulked as hospital ship at Trincomalee in 1819, sold 1824
    • HMS Lowestoffe – cancelled 1805
  • <b>teak-built <i>Perseverance</i> class</b> – same as above but built from teak wood in Bombay dockyard
  • HMS <i>Hyperion</i> 32-gun fifth rate 1807, designed by John Henslow on the basis of the French Magicienne of 1778
  • HMS <i>Bucephalus</i> 32-gun fifth rate 1808, designed by William Rule
  • HMS Pyramus 36-gun fifth rate 1810, built to the lines of the French Belle Poule of 1765
  • Purchased ships of 1804–05 (all teak-built in India)
    • HMS <i>Sir Edward Hughes</i> 1804
    • HMS <i>Duncan</i> 1805
    • HMS Howe 1805
  • Scamander class 36-gun fifth rates, 10 pine-built ships, 1813–14
    • HMS <i>Eridanus</i> 1813
    • HMS Orontes 1813
    • HMS <i>Scamander</i> 1813
    • HMS <i>Tagus</i> 1813
    • HMS <i>Ister</i> 1813
    • HMS <i>Tigris</i> 1813
    • HMS <i>Euphrates</i> 1813
    • HMS <i>Hebrus</i> 1813
    • HMS <i>Granicus</i> 1813
    • HMS <i>Alpheus</i> 1814
  • Seringapatam class 46-gun fifth rates, 1819–40
    • HMS <i>Seringapatam</i> 1819
    • HMS Madagascar 1822
    • HMS Druid 1825
    • HMS Nemesis 1826
    • HMS <i>Africaine</i> 1827
    • HMS Leda 1828
    • HMS Hotspur 1828
    • HMS <i>Eurotas</i> 1829
    • HMS <i>Andromeda</i> 1829
    • HMS Seahorse 1830
    • HMS Stag 1830
    • HMS Forth 1833
    • HMS Maeander 1840
    • HMS Euphrates – cancelled 1831
    • HMS Orpheus – cancelled 1831
    • HMS Severn – cancelled 1831
    • HMS Tiber – cancelled 1831
    • HMS Manilla – cancelled 1831
    • HMS Spartan – cancelled 1831
    • HMS Theban – cancelled 1831
    • HMS Jason – cancelled 1831
    • HMS Statira – cancelled 1832
    • HMS Tigris – cancelled 1832
    • HMS Inconstant – cancelled 1832
    • HMS Pique – cancelled 1832

24-pounder armed frigates

  • 1794 razees 44-gun (converted from 64-gun ships of the line in 1794)
  • HMS Endymion 40 guns 1797; later classed as 50-gun frigate; built to the lines of the French Pomone of 1785 (captured 1794) – broken up 1868
  • Endymion class 40-gun (later classed as 50-gun) "fir-built" (actually pitch pine-built) fifth rates 1813–14
    • HMS Severn 1813 – sold 1825
    • HMS <i>Liffey</i> 1813 – broken up 1827
    • HMS Liverpool 1814 – sold 1822
    • HMS <i>Glasgow</i> 1814 – broken up 1828
    • HMS <i>Forth</i> 1814 – broken up 1819
  • HMS Cambrian 40-gun fifth rate 1797; designed by John Henslow – wrecked in the Mediterranean 1828
  • HMS Leander 50-gun (later 60-gun) fourth rate 1813; designed by William Rule – broken up 1830
  • HMS Newcastle 50-gun (later 60-gun) fourth rate 1813; design by Jean-Louis Barrallier – hulked 1824, no records after 1827
  • HMS Isis 58-gun fourth rate 1819; designed by William Rule – hulked 1861, sold 1867
  • HMS <i>Java</i> 50-gun fourth rate 1815; designed by the "Surveyors of the Navy" – hulked 1861, broken up 1862
  • Southampton class 58-gun fourth rates 1820–03; modified from the design of the Java above
    • HMS Southampton 1820 – presented to the Coastguard 1857, sold 1912
    • HMS <i>Portland</i> 1822 – hulked as floating depot 1846, sold 1862
    • HMS <i>Lancaster</i> 1823 – hulked as hospital ship 1847, sold 1864
    • HMS Winchester 1822 – hulked as training ship and renamed Conway 1862, renamed Mount Edgcumbe, sold 1921
    • HMS <i>Chichester</i> 1843 – hulked and presented to the National Refuge Society, sold 1889
    • HMS Worcester 1843 – hulked as training ship 1862, sold for breaking 1885
    • HMS Liverpool – cancelled 1829
    • HMS Jamaica – cancelled 1829
  • HMS President 52-gun (later 60-gun) fourth rate 1829; built to the lines of the USS President (captured 1814) – hulked as Royal Navy Reserve training ship 1861, renamed Old President and then sold 1903

32-pounder armed frigates

The following classes were launched as sailing frigates but converted to steam when still active in c. 1860.

  • <i>Raleigh</i> class 50-gun fourth rates 1845
    • HMS <i>Raleigh</i> 1845 (wrecked 1857)
    • HMS <i>Severn</i> (later converted to screw)
  • <b><i>Constance</i> class</b> 50-gun fourth rates 1846
    • HMS Constance 1846 (later converted to screw)
    • HMS Arethusa 1849 (later converted to screw)
    • HMS <i>Octavia</i> 1849 (later converted to screw)
    • HMS Sutlej 1855 (later converted to screw)
    • HMS Liffey – re-ordered as steam/screw frigate
  • <b><i>Leander</i> class</b> 50-gun fourth rates 1848
    • HMS Leander 1848 (later converted to screw)
    • HMS Shannon – re-ordered as steam/screw frigate
  • HMS Phaeton 50-gun fourth rate 1848 (later converted to screw)
  • <b><i>Indefatigable</i> class</b> 50-gun fourth rates 1848
    • HMS <i>Indefatigable</i> 1848 (retired 1857, later a training ship)
    • HMS <i>Phoebe</i> 1854 (later converted to screw)

The following three classes were begun as sailing frigates, but all were completed as screw-driven steam frigates.

  • <b><i>Emerald</i> class</b> 50-gun fourth rates, ordered 1848.
  • <b><i>San Fiorenzo</i> class</b> 50-gun fourth rates, ordered 1848.
  • <b><i>Narcissus</i> class</b> 50-gun fourth rates, ordered 1848.

19th century steam frigates

During the 1840s, the introduction of steam propulsion was to radically change the nature of the frigate. Initial trials were with paddle-driven vessels, but these had numerous disadvantages, not least that the paddle wheels restricted the numbers of guns that could be mounted on the broadside. So the application of the screw propellor meant that a full broadside could still be carried, and a number of sail frigates were adapted, while during the 1850s the first frigates designed from the start to have screw propulsion were ordered. It is important to remember that all these early steam vessels still carried a full rig of masts and sails, and that steam power remained a means of assistance to these vessels.

In 1887 all frigates and corvettes in the British Navy were re-categorised as 'cruisers', and the term 'frigate' was abolished, not to re-emerge until the Second World War, at which time it was resurrected to describe a totally different type of escort vessel.

Paddle-driven frigates

Although iron hulls were used for some warships in the 1840s, almost all the paddle frigates were wooden-hulled. The exception was the ill-fated Birkenhead.

  • <i>Cyclops</i> class 1839–44 – second class, originally classed just as 'steam vessels'
  • HMS <i>Sampson</i> 1844 – second class, originally classed just as a 'steam vessel'
  • <i>Centaur</i> class 1845 – second class, originally classed just as 'steam vessels'
    • HMS <i>Centaur</i> 1845
    • HMS <i>Dragon</i> 1845
  • HMS Penelope 1843 – first class, originally built as a sailing frigate in 1829
  • HMS <i>Retribution</i> 1844 – first class, originally classed just as a 'steam vessel'
  • HMS Terrible 1845 – first class, originally classed just as a 'steam vessel'
  • HMS Avenger 1845 – first class
  • HMS Birkenhead (ex-Vulcan) iron-hulled frigate 1845 – second class, launched as a frigate but completed as a troopship in 1847
  • HMS Odin 1846 – first class
  • HMS Sidon 1846 – first class
  • HMS <i>Leopard</i> 1850 – second class
  • HMS Tiger 1849 – second class
  • <i>Magicienne</i> class 1849 – second class
  • <i>Furious</i> class 1850 – second class

Screw-driven frigates

In the mid-1840s, the Admiralty ordered four iron-hulled, screw-driven frigates from specialist shipbuilders; however, the Admiralty then rapidly lost faith in the ability of iron hulls to stand up to combat conditions, and all four (<i>Greenock</i>, Vulcan, Megaera and Simoom) were converted while under construction into troop transports, although the Greenock was promptly sold for commercial use.

Following this unsuccessful experiment, though iron hulls were used for some warships in the 1840s, almost all the screw frigates below were wooden-hulled. The exceptions were the final three below – Inconstant, Shah and Raleigh – which had iron hulls.

Modern frigates – by class

The term 'frigate' was revived during World War II for a new type of escort vessel and has been employed continuously since that period. Note that, unlike the previous sections, no lists of the individual ships comprising each class are shown below the class names; the individual vessels are to be found in the articles on the separate classes.

Sail frigates – alphabetically

Note that frigate names were routinely re-used, so that there were often many vessels which re-used the same names over the course of nearly two centuries. To distinguish between vessels bearing the same name, the following list affixes the launch year (in parenthesis) of the frigate to the name; however, for vessels captured or purchased by the Royal Navy, the year of acquisition is shown instead of the launch date.

  • Actaeon – sold 1766
  • Africaine 38 – captured by France
  • Aigle (ex-French Aigle, captured 1782)
  • Amphitrite 38 (1816)
  • Andromache (1829)
  • Arethusa (1781)
  • Boadicea (1797) 38
  • Bombay 40 (c.1793) – renamed Ceylon
  • Bon-Acquis (ex-French Bon-Acquis, captured 1757)
  • Boreas – sold 1770
  • Brilliant 36
  • Caroline (ex-French Caroline, captured September 1809)
  • Constant Warwick 26 (c.1646)
  • Cornwallis 54 (1805) – renamed Akbar in 1811
  • Coventry 28 1757
  • Danae (ex-French Danae, captured 1759)
  • Diamond 32 (1774)
  • Diana (1757) – sold 1793
  • Endymion 40 (1797) – (captured USS President in 1815) – broken up 1868.
  • Flora 36 (1780) – wrecked in 1809
  • Freya (ex-Danish Freya, captured 25 July 1800)
  • Hebe 40 (ex-French Hebe, captured 1782) – broken up 1811
  • Hussar – name used by several ships in this period
  • Indefatigable 44 (build 1784 as a 64-gun ship of the line, razeed)
  • Iphigenia – captured by France in 1810
  • Java 38 (launched 1808, captured from French 1811) – captured by USS Constitution in 1813
  • Latona 38 (1779), sold 1816
  • Laurel 38 (ex-French La Fidèle, captured 16 August 1809 at the surrender of Flushing)
  • Lively 38 (1804), wrecked off Malta in 1810
  • Lutine 38 (launched in 1779, transferred from French Navy in 1793) – wrecked in 1799 off Holland
  • Lyme 18 (1748), wrecked 1760
  • Macedonian 38 (1810), captured by USS United States in 1812, broken up 1828
  • Madagascar 46 (1822)
  • Melampe (ex-French Melampe, captured 1758)
  • Minerva 38 (1780) – broken up 1803
  • Nereide 38, captured 1797, sold 1816.
  • Newcastle – name used by several ships in this period
  • Orpheus 32 (1773)
  • Pallas – name used by several ships in this period
  • Phaeton 38 (1782)
  • Pitt 36 (1805)
  • Pomone 44 (ex-French Pomone, captured 1794) – broken up 1802
  • Rainbow 44 (1747) – sold 1802
  • Resistance 44, sank 24 July 1798
  • Saldanha – shipwrecked in Lough Swilly, Donegal, 4 December 1811
  • Salsette 36 (1807)
  • Santa Leocadia 34 (ex-Spanish Santa Leocadia, captured 1781)
  • Santa Margarita 34 (ex-Spanish Santa Margarita, captured 1779)
  • Shannon 28 (1757) – broken up 1765
  • Shannon 38 (1806) – broken up 1859
  • Sirius 36 (1797) – scuttled during the Mauritius campaign of 1810
  • Southampton 32 (1757) – wrecked off the Bahamas in 1812
  • Surprise 28 (1796) – ex-French L'Unité captured 1796, sold 1802
  • Thetis 38 (1782)
  • Trent 28 (1757) – sold 1764
  • Trent 36 (1796) – broken up 1823
  • Trincomalee 38 (1817) – preserved afloat in Hartlepool, UK
  • Unicorn 28 (1748) – broken up 1771
  • Unicorn 46 (1824) – preserved in Scotland
  • Venus (ex-French Venus, captured 17 September 1809)
  • Venus 36

Reference sources

  • Robert Gardiner, The First Frigates (Conway Maritime, 1992); The Heavy Frigate (Conway Maritime, 1994); Warships of the Napoleonic Era (Chatham Publishing, 1999); Frigates of the Napoleonic Wars (Chatham Publishing, 2000)
  • Rif Winfield, The Sail and Steam Navy List, 1815–1889 (co-author David Lyon, Chatham Publishing, 2004) ISBN 1-86176-032-9;
    British Warships in the Age of Sail: 1793–1817 (2nd edition, Seaforth Publishing, 2008) ISBN 978-1-84415-717-4;
    British Warships in the Age of Sail: 1714–1792 (Seaforth Publishing, 2007) ISBN 978-1-84415-700-6;
    British Warships in the Age of Sail: 1603–1714 (Seaforth Publishing, 2009) ISBN 978-1-84832-040-6.

See also

This page was last edited on 3 April 2021, at 08:45
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