HMS Britannia (1762)

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Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Britannia
Ordered: 25 April 1751
Builder: Portsmouth Dockyard
Cost: £45,844/2s/8d
Laid down: 1 July 1751
Launched: 19 October 1762
  • HMS Princess Royal - 6 January 1810
  • HMS St. George - 18 January 1812
  • HMS Barfleur - 2 June 1819
Honours and

Participated in:

Fate: Broken up, 1825
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: 1745 Establishment 100-gun first rate ship of the line
Tons burthen: 2,116 long tons (2,150.0 t)
Length: 178 ft (54.3 m) (gundeck)
Beam: 51 ft (15.5 m)
Depth of hold: 21 ft 6 in (6.6 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
Complement: 850 officers and men

100 guns:

  • Gundeck: 28 × 42 pdrs
  • Middle gundeck: 28 × 24 pdrs
  • Upper gundeck: 28 × 12 pdrs
  • Quarterdeck: 12 × 6 pdrs
  • Forecastle: 4 × 6 pdrs

HMS Britannia was a 100-gun first rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy. She was ordered on 25 April 1751 from Portsmouth Dockyard to the draught specified in the 1745 Establishment.[1] Her keel was laid down on 1 July 1751 and she was launched on 19 October 1762. The cost of building and fitting totalled £45,844/2s/8d. Her main gundeck armament of twenty-eight 42-pounder guns was later replaced by 32-pounders. In the 1790s ten of her quarterdeck guns and two of her forecastle guns were replaced by the same number of 32-pounder carronades.

Britannia was first commissioned in September 1778, and saw service during the War of American Independence. From 1793–1795 she was the flagship of Vice-Admiral Hotham. She fought at the Battle of Cape St Vincent and at the Battle of Trafalgar, where she carried the flag of Rear-Admiral of the White William Carnegie, Earl of Northesk. She lost 10 men killed and 42 wounded at Trafalgar, and following that battle she was laid up in Ordinary in the Hamoaze at Plymouth in 1806.

The ship was renamed on 6 January 1810 as HMS Princess Royal, then on 18 January 1812 as HMS St George and once more on 2 June 1819 as HMS Barfleur.[1]

She was third of seven ships to bear the name Britannia, and was broken up at Plymouth in February 1825.

She was known as 'Old Ironsides' long before USS Constitution.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Lavery, Ships of the Line, vol. 1, p. 173.


  • British Warships in the Age of Sail: 1793 - 1817, Rif Winfield, Chatham Publishing, London, 2005.
  • Lavery, Brian (2003) The Ship of the Line - Volume 1: The development of the battlefleet 1650-1850. Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-252-8.

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