HMS Lion (1777)

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H.M.S. Lion 1794 RMG PU5995.jpg
HMS Lion
Name: HMS Lion
Ordered: 12 October 1768
Builder: Portsmouth Dockyard
Laid down: May 1769
Launched: 3 September 1777
Honours and

Participated in:

Battle of Grenada
Fate: Sold for breaking up, 30 November 1837
Notes: Sheer hulk from 1816
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: Worcester-class ship of the line
Tons burthen: 1378 bm
Length: 159 ft (48 m) (gundeck)
Beam: 44 ft 6 in (13.56 m)
Depth of hold: 19 ft 10 in (6.05 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
  • Gundeck: 26 × 24-pounder guns
  • Upper gundeck: 26 × 18-pounder guns
  • QD: 10 × 4-pounder guns
  • Fc: 2 × 9-pounder guns

HMS Lion was a 64-gun third-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, of the Worcester class, launched on 3 September 1777 at Portsmouth Dockyard.[1]


American Revolutionary War[edit]

She fought at the Battle of Grenada under Captain William Cornwallis on 6 July 1779, where she was badly damaged and forced to run downwind to Jamaica. She remained on the Jamaica station for the next year.[citation needed]

In March 1780, Lion fought an action in company with two other ships against a larger French force off Monte Christi on San Domingo. A second action took place in June 1780 near Bermuda when Cornwallis in Lion, with three other ships of the line and a fifty-gun ship, met a larger French squadron carrying the troops of Rochambeau to North America. The French were too strong for Cornwallis's squadron, but were content to continue with their mission instead of attacking the smaller British force.[citation needed]. Lion then returned to England, carrying with her Horatio Nelson, who was ill with malaria.[2]

French Revolutionary Wars[edit]

In late July 1793, under the command of Captain Sir Erasmus Gower, Lion escorted the East Indiaman Hindostan, which carried the British ambassador Lord Macartney on his way to visit the Qianlong Emperor of China (the Macartney embassy).

HMS Lion under sail, 1794

On their way they stopped at New Amsterdam Island or Île Amsterdam. There they found a gang of seal fur hunters under the command of Pierre François Péron. Later, Lion captured the French ship Emélie, the vessel that had landed the sealers. Deprived of the ship that had landed them, Péron and his men spent some 40 months marooned on the island until Captain Thomas Hadley, in Ceres, rescued them in late 1795 and took them to Port Jackson.[3]

Between 1792 and 1794 she carried Lord George Macartney on a special embassy to China. The embassy proceeded to the Bohai Gulf, off the Hai River. The ambassador and his party were conveyed up river by light craft to Tianjin before proceeding by land to Beijing[4] On reaching Tianjin, Macartney sent orders to Lion to proceed to Japan, but because of sickness among the crew she was unable to do so. The embassy rejoined Lion at Canton in December 1793.[5] The ship's journal from this voyage is in the library of Cornell University.[6]

Capture of the Dorothea, 15 July 1798 (HMS Lion is at centre right), Thomas Whitcombe, 1816

In 1796, she visited Cape Town; in 1797, her crew were among those who joined the Mutiny at the Nore. In 1798, now under the command of Sir Manley Dixon, Lion fought a squadron of Spanish frigates at the Action of 15 July 1798 and captured Santa Dorotea.

She then took part in the siege of Malta,[7] and with HMS Penelope and HMS Foudroyant captured the French 80-gun ship Guillaume Tell as she tried to escape from the blockade (Guillaume Tell was subsequently bought into the Royal Navy as HMS Malta).

In July 1807 in the Malacca Strait she successfully protected from the French frigate Sémillante, without an engagement, a convoy homeward bound from China.[8]

On 27 December 1807 Lion captured the French privateer lugger Reciprocité off Beachy Head. She was from Dieppe, had a crew of 45 men, and was armed with 14 guns. Lion sent her into the Downs.[9]

In 1811, under the command of Captain Henry Heathcote, Lion was one of a large fleet of ships involved in the capture of Java from Dutch forces.[10]

On 26 January 1812 Commander Henderson Bain of Harpy became acting captain of Lion. Bain returned to command of Harpy a few weeks before he received promotion to post captain 6 April 1813.[11]

Lion was converted to a sheer hulk in September 1816, following the end of the Napoleonic wars.


Lion was sold to be broken up at Chatham on 30 November 1837.[1]

Citations and references[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Lavery, Ships of the Line vol.1, p181.
  2. ^ Sugden, J. (2004). Nelson: A Dream of Glory. London: Jonathan Cape. ISBN 0-224-06097-X.
  3. ^ Earnshaw (1959), pp.23-24.
  4. ^ Parish, Capt. (1858). Extract from Notes upon the Passage up the Peiho with Lord Macartney in 1793. Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of London, 2(6), 362–363.
  5. ^ Staunton, G. (1799). An Authentic Account of an Embassy from the King of Great Britain to the Emperor of China. Philadelphia (pp. 250–251).
  6. ^
  7. ^ Obituary of Admiral Sir Manley Dixon (1837). The Gentleman's Magazine, VIII (New Series), 206–207.
  8. ^ "L'Amiral Baudin" by Jurien De La Gravière
  9. ^ Lloyd's List №4217.
  10. ^ James, W. (1837). Naval History of Great Britain, Vol. 6, p.33
  11. ^ O'Byrne (1849), Vol. 1, p. 35.


  • Earnshaw, John (1959) Thomas Muir Scottish Martyr (NSW:The Stone Copying Company).
  • 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.

External links[edit]