HMS Lively (1756)

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Career (Great Britain) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Lively
Ordered: 20 May 1755
Builder: Moody Janverin, Bursledon
Laid down: c. June 1755
Launched: 10 August 1756
Commissioned: August 1756
Decommissioned: August 1781
Captured: 10 July 1778, by French Iphigénie.
Career (France) French Royal Navy Ensign
Acquired: 10 July 1778
Captured: 29 July 1781, by HMS Perseverance
Career (Great Britain) Royal Navy Ensign
Acquired: 29 July 1781
Fate: Sold, 11 March 1784
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: 20-gun sixth rate
Tons burthen: 438.7 long tons (445.7 t)
Length: 108 ft (32.9 m)
Beam: 30 ft 5¼ in (9.3 m)
Depth of hold: 9 ft 8 in (2.9 m)
Complement: 160 officers and men
Armament: 20 × 9-pounder guns

HMS Lively was a 20-gun sixth-rate post ship of the Royal Navy,[2] launched at Bursledon, Hampshire on 10 August 1756.[1]

At war with France

Lively was commissioned in August 1756 under Captain Francis Wyatt, and after completion sailed for Jamaica on 31 January 1757. On 11 November 1757 she captured the French privateer Intrépide. In March 1759 she was under the command of Captain Frederick Maitland, at Jamaica. By late 1759 she was in the Mediterranean as part of Edward Boscawen's fleet, and on 18 October she helped to capture the 28-gun corvette Valeur, which entered service as HMS Valeur.[1] On 18 October—19 October 1760 she and two other Royal Navy vessels (Hampshire and Boreas) were in action against five French vessels in the Windward Passage, where she captured a French 20-gun corvette, coincidentally also named Valeur.[2]

American Revolutionary War

On 13 May 1774, Lively arrived in Boston after having set sail from Great Britain. She brought with her General Thomas Gage, and thus ushered in the military governorship of New England.[3]

In 1775, Lively was part of the British fleet that blockaded the port of Boston to enforce the Boston Port Act, a punishment of that city for the Boston Tea Party. She was present during the Siege of Boston, and was the first ship to fire at the fortifications erected by the American colonial militia that sparked the Battle of Bunker Hill. She also contributed battery fire during the battle.[4]

In 1776 she cruised of Marblehead. She captured a number of vessels off Cape Ann: In February the schooner Tartar; in May an unknown sloop (unknown because the crew abandoned her and fled, taking all her papers with them); on 26 June, Lively, Milford and Hope took the schooner Lydia, bound for the West Indies.[5] The Vice-Admiralty Court at City of Halifax, Nova Scotia ruled all three to be prizes.

Capture and re-capture

On 8 July 1778 Lively was stationed off the French coast near Brest to watch for enemy movements; the French fleet left port and soon thereafter a fog developed. Lively, finding herself in the midst of the French fleet on 10 July, struck to the 32-gun Iphigénie.[2]

Lively was re-captured on 29 July 1781 by Captain Skeffington Lutwidge's HMS Perseverance.


In 1784, she was sold out of the service.[2]

Citations and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Winfield, British Warships.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Ships of the Old Navy, Lively.
  3. General Gage in America (Alden, 1948) p. 204
  4. Brooks, Victor (1999). The Boston Campaign. Combined Publishing. pp. pp. 127, 141. ISBN 1-58097-007-9. 
  5. Essex Institute historical collections, Volume 45, 228, 321, 331.


  • Michael Phillips. Lively (20) (1756). Michael Phillips' Ships of the Old Navy. Retrieved 3 September 2008.
  • Winfield, Rif (2007) British Warships in the Age of Sail: 1714 to 1792. Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84415-700-6.