A 60-gun man-of-war of the early Eighteenth century fitted with oar ports

Home Forums Nautical Research: 1500 – 1830 A 60-gun man-of-war of the early Eighteenth century fitted with oar ports

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    Aldo Antonicelli

      In 1715/16, Duke Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy, recently awarded by the Treatry of Utrecht with the kingdom of Sicily, in order to expand its little navy, which at the time was composed only of a few galleys, had a large 60-guns man-of-war built by the London private shipyard of Peter Bromsdom.
      The ship, named Victor, was a two-decker, had a length of 149 feet and a breadth of about 39 feet; her tonnage was 1.077 tons.
      The Victor was fitted whit oar ports for sweeps, which I believe was a very uncommon feature for a ship so large.
      I know that the provision of oar ports and sweeps was common for English frigates and smaller ships until the 1780s, as it was for French ones, but I am not aware that even larger ships were similarly fitted.
      The only instance of a large ship fitted with sweeps I was able to locate was in an Eighteenth century oil painting held by the Malta Maritime Museum and published in A. Quintano’s book The Maltese-Hospitaller Sailing Ship Squadron, p. 18.
      The painting portrays the capture in 1709 of the Capitana (flagship) of Tripoli by the Knights of Malta’s 60-gun San Giovanni. As the fighting took place in a dead calm, the Maltese ship had to be towed by the galleys that were in her company. The paintings shows the Capitana, a large 60-gun two-decker, moving under sweeps (I counted 12 of them on a side), whose oar ports are interspersed with the gun ports of the lower battery.
      The painting seems to me very well detailed and reliable, so it seems that, at least in the Mediterranean, even some ships larger than frigates were fitted with sweeps.
      Please, does any member know of any other instance of large men-of-war similarly fitted?
      I would also like to know if any member has information about the shipbuilder Peter Bromsdom.

      David Hepper

        The correct name of the builder will be Bronsdo


        . The Bronsdon (or Bronsden) family were prominent shipbuilders at Deptford from the 1670’s until the 1740’s.

        Thomas and Peter Bronsdon (brothers?) were the best known, building several ships for the East India Company in the 1710s 1720s and 1730s. Thomas died in 1736 and Peter continued, working in partnership with the Wells family in the 1740s, building ships for the Royal Navy. He died in 1745.

        Aldo Antonicelli

          Thank you very much.

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