HMS Marlborough (1767)

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Royal Navy EnsignGreat Britain
Name: HMS Marlborough
Ordered: 4 December 1760
Builder: Deptford dockyard
Laid down: 3 June 1763
Launched: 26 August 1767
Commissioned: January 1771
Fate: Wrecked near Belle Île, 4 November 1800
General characteristics
Class and type: Ramillies-class ship of the line
Tons burthen: 1642 bm
Length: 168 ft 8.5 in (51.422 m) (gun deck)
Beam: 46 ft 11 in (14.30 m)
Depth of hold: 19 ft 9 in (6.02 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
Complement: 600
  • 74 guns:
  • Gundeck: 28 × 32 pdrs
  • Upper gundeck: 28 × 18 pdrs
  • Quarterdeck: 14 × 9 pdrs
  • Forecastle: 4 × 9 pdrs

HMS Marlborough was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 26 August 1767 at Deptford. She was one of the Ramillies class built to update the Navy and replace ships lost following the Seven Years' War. She was first commissioned in 1771 under Captain Richard Bickerton as a guard ship for the Medway and saw active service in the American Revolutionary War and on the Glorious First of June.

At the battle of the First of June Marlborough, under Captain George Cranfield Berkeley, suffered heavy damage after becoming entangled with Impétueux, and then with Mucius. The three entangled ships continued exchanging fire for some time, all suffering heavy casualties with Marlborough losing all three of her masts.

On the evening of 3 November 1800 Marlborough was at sea in a storm off Brittany's Belle Île when strong winds drove her onto a partially submerged ledge of rocks. A substantial breach was opened in her hull and she began to batter against the rocks with each incoming wave. Her commander, Captain Thomas Sotheby, ordered the ship's guns and stores to be thrown overboard to lighten her, but she remained stuck fast.[1]

The storm abated by the following morning, but the ship had settled on the rocks and was awash to her orlop deck as waves flowed in through the hull. A distress signal was raised and answered by HMS Captain which drew close to Marlborough and succeeded in taking off all 600 of her crew. No attempt was made to salvage the ship itself.[1]


  1. ^ a b Grocott 1997, pp. 101-02


  • Grocott, Terence. Shipwrecks of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Eras. London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 1861760302.
  • Lyon, David (1993) The Sailing Navy List Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-617-5.