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HMS asia (1811).jpg
Class overview
NameVengeur
Operators Royal Navy
Preceded by Swiftsure class
Succeeded by Black Prince class
In service2 May 1809 – 1957
Completed40
General characteristics
TypeShip of the line
Length
  • 176 ft (53.6 m) (gundeck)
  • 145 ft 1 in (44.2 m) (keel)
Beam47 ft 6 in (14.5 m)
PropulsionSails
Armament
  • 74 guns:
  • Gundeck: 28 × 32 pdrs
  • Upper gundeck: 28 × 18 pdrs
  • Quarterdeck: 4 × 12 pdrs, 10 × 32 pdr carronades
  • Forecastle: 2 × 12 pdrs, 2 × 32 pdr carronades
  • Poop deck: 6 × 18 pdr carronades
NotesShips in class include: Ajax, Berwick, Rodney, Poictiers, Vigo, Cressy, Egmont, Armada, America, Vengeur, Conquestador, Edinburgh, Barham, La Hogue, Duncan, Asia, Stirling Castle, Mulgrave, Cornwall, Dublin, Gloucester, Scarborough, Clarence, Anson, Pembroke, Rippon, Devonshire, Medway, Indus, Benbow, Cornwallis, Blenheim, Vindictive, Redoutable, Defence, Hercules, Pitt, Hero, Agincourt, Russell

The Vengeur-class ships of the line were a class of forty 74-gun third rates, designed for the Royal Navy as a joint effort between the Surveyors of the Navy at the time. The Vengeur Class, sometimes referred to as the Surveyors' class of third rates, amongst other names, was the most numerous class of ships of the line ever built for the Royal Navy - forty ships being completed to this design. Due to some dubious practices, primarily in the commercial dockyards used for construction, this class of ships earned itself the nickname of 'Forty Thieves.'

Between 1826 and 1832, ten of these ships were cut down by one deck (raséed) to produce 50-gun "frigates". These were the Barham, Dublin, Alfred, Cornwall, America, Conquestador, Rodney (renamed Greenwich), Vindictive, Eagle and Gloucester. Planned similar conversions of the Clarence (renamed Centurion) and Cressy around this time were cancelled, but the Warspite was additionally converted along the same lines in 1837–1840.

Around 1845 four of these ships were converted into 'blockships', the then-current term for floating batteries, equipped with a steam/screw propulsion system and re-armed with 60 guns. In this guise some of them saw action during the Crimean War. The four were the Blenheim, Ajax, La Hogue and Edinburgh. About ten years later, a further batch of five ships was similarly converted - this included the Russell, Cornwallis and Pembroke of this class (as well as the Hawke and Hastings of other designs).

Ships

Ship Builder Ordered Laid down Launched Fate (year)
HMS Vindictive Portsmouth Dockyard 15 January 1806 July 1808 30 November 1813 Sold (1871)
HMS Cressy Brindley, Frindsbury 1 October 1806 March 1807 7 March 1810 Broken up (1832)
HMS Poictiers King, Upnor 1 October 1806 August 1807 9 December 1809 Broken up (1857)
HMS La Hogue Deptford Dockyard 1 October 1806 April 1808 3 October 1811 Broken up (1865)
HMS Vigo Ross, Rochester 20 October 1806 April 1807 21 February 1810 Broken up (1865)
HMS Armada Blackburn, Turnchapel 20 October 1806 February 1807 23 March 1810 Sold (1863)
HMS Vengeur Graham, Harwich 20 October 1806 July 1807 19 June 1810 Broken up (1843)
HMS Conquestador Guillam, Northam 20 October 1806 August 1807 1 August 1810 Sold (1897)
HMS Redoutable Woolwich Dockyard 29 December 1806 April 1809 26 January 1815 Broken up (1841)
HMS Mulgrave King, Upnor 23 June 1807 February 1808 1 January 1812 Broken up (1854)
HMS Ajax Perry, Blackwall 1 July 1807 August 1807 2 May 1809 Broken up (1864)
HMS Berwick Perry, Blackwall 1 July 1807 October 1807 11 September 1809 Broken up (1821)
HMS Egmont Pitcher, Northfleet 13 July 1807 October 1807 7 March 1810 Sold (1875)
HMS Edinburgh Brent, Rotherhithe 13 July 1807 November 1807 26 November 1811 Sold (1866)
HMS Clarence Blackburn, Turnchapel, Plymouth 13 July 1807 November 1807 11 April 1812 Broken up (1828)
HMS Scarborough Graham, Harwich 13 July 1807 January 1808 29 March 1812 Sold (1836)
HMS Asia Brindley, Frindsbury 13 July 1807 February 1808 2 December 1811 Broken up (1865)
HMS Rodney Barnard, Deptford Wharf 13 July 1808 March 1808 8 December 1809 Sold (1836)
HMS Duncan Dudman, Deptford Wharf 13 July 1807 August 1808 2 December 1811 Broken up (1863)
HMS Indus Dudman, Deptford Wharf 31 July 1807 April 1809 19 December 1812 Broken up (1868)
HMS Dublin Brent, Rotherhithe 31 July 1807 May 1809 13 February 1812 Sold (1885)
HMS Stirling Castle Ross, Rochester 12 August 1807 July 1808 31 December 1811 Broken up (1861)
HMS Medway Pitcher, Northfleet 19 August 1807 December 1808 19 November 1812 Sold (1865)
HMS America Perry, Blackwall 22 August 1807 January 1808 21 April 1810 Broken up (1867)
HMS Anson Steemson, Hull 2 November 1807 March 1808 11 May 1812 Broken up (1851)
HMS Barham Perry, Wells & Green, Blackwall 2 November 1807 June 1808 8 July 1811 Broken up (1839)
HMS Rippon Blake & Scott, Bursledon 2 November 1807 October 1808 8 August 1812 Broken up (1821)
HMS Blenheim Deptford Dockyard 4 January 1808 August 1808 31 May 1813 Broken up (1865)
HMS Pembroke Wigram, Wells & Green, Blackwall 17 May 1808 March 1809 27 June 1812 Sold (1905)
HMS Cornwall Barnard, Deptford Wharf 30 May 1808 March 1809 16 January 1812 Broken up (1875)
HMS Devonshire Barnard, Deptford Wharf 30 May 1808 February 1810 23 September 1812 Broken up (1869)
HMS Gloucester Pitcher, Northfleet 11 June 1808 March 1808 27 February 1812 Sold (1884)
HMS Benbow Brent, Rotherhithe 11 June 1808 July 1808 3 February 1813 Sold (1892)
HMS Defence Chatham Dockyard 23 March 1809 May 1812 as HMS Marathon; renamed 3 January 1815 25 April 1815 Burnt (1857)
HMS Hercules Chatham Dockyard 16 May 1809 August 1812 5 September 1815 Sold (1865)
HMS Pitt Portsmouth Dockyard 17 April 1807 May 1813 13 April 1816 Broken up (1877)
HMS Cornwallis Bombay Dockyard 25 July 1810 1811 12 May 1813 Broken up (1957)
HMS Agincourt Devonport Dockyard 6 January 1812 May 1813 19 March 1817 Sold (1884)
HMS Hero Deptford Dockyard 6 January 1812 July 1813 21 September 1816 Renamed Wellington (4 December 1816).
Sold (1908)
HMS Russell Deptford Dockyard 6 January 1812 August 1814 22 May 1822 Broken up, 1865

Further ships were ordered to this design, including HMS Boscawen on 6 January 1812 and HMS Carnatic on 30 September 1814, but none of these were completed to this design.

In fiction

A fictitious member of this class of 74s, HMS Worcester, features largely in The Ionian Mission, one of the Aubrey-Maturin series of novels by Patrick O'Brian.

References