Hired Men-of-War, 1664-7 Part I

By Frank Fox, published February 1998


This is part of Fox’s paper on the hiring of merchantmen by the Royal Navy during the Second Anglo-Dutch War. Three extensive listings give details of the 43 vessels hired during the war and include, for example, the period and place of hire, ships’ age, the captain(s), number of crew, the ordnance carried and any actions in which a specific ship participated.  At the start of the Second Anglo-Dutch war, the English augmented their fleet by hiring merchant ships and converting them to men-of-war. This was profitable for the ship owners, although they had to bear the cost of modifications and might receive little or no compensation for battle damage. The limited number and size of guns that could be shipped meant that the hired man-of-war never counted more than fourth rate. Nevertheless, they took part in the major battles of the war, those commanded by merchant captains acquitting themselves well, especially at Nevis. This was the last battle in which hired men-of-war fought as part of the English fleet; they were no match for the new Dutch warships.

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Filed under: Dutch Wars
Subjects include: Navies

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