|Preceded by||Swiftsure class|
|Succeeded by||Black Prince class|
|In service||2 May 1809 – 1957|
|Type||Ship of the line|
|Beam||47 ft 6 in (14.5 m)|
|Notes||Ships 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 two Surveyors of the Navy at the time (Sir William Rule and Henry Peake). 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).
The first ship - Vindictive - had been ordered at the start of 1806 at Portsmouth but no work had taken place until 1808. The two Surveyors produced their joint design which was approved on 1 October 1806, when three ships were ordered to this design, and a further four followed later in the same month. Another three orders were placed before the close of the year, but two of these ships (Akbar and Augusta) were cancelled in 1809.
Orders for another eighteen ships to this design were placed during 1807 (including nine of 13 July) and another six during the first half of 1808, almost all to be built by commercial contractors, to bring the total orders to thirty-five. Two of the 1806 orders were cancelled during 1809, but a further three ships were ordered from the Royal Dockyards in 1809 - 1811, and a final four on 6 January 1812, although the last of these - Boscawen - was never completed to this design.
|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).|
|HMS Russell||Deptford Dockyard||6 January 1812||August 1814||22 May 1822||Broken up, 1865|
Two further ships were ordered to this design, including HMS Boscawen (ordered on 6 January 1812) and HMS Carnatic (ordered on 30 September 1814), but neither of these were completed to this design. Two more ordered during late 1806 - HMS Akbar begun at Prince of Wales Island, Malaya and HMS Augusta at Portsmouth - were cancelled in 1809, while another two projected in 1807 - HMS Julius planned to be built at Chatham and HMS Orford at Rio de Janeiro - were never ordered.
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.