Bellerophon -> 1824 Captivity

Billy Ruffian
Nominal Guns74B028
NationalityGreat Britain
OperatorRoyal Navy
Keel Laid Down1782/05BWAS-1793
First Commissioned1790/07
How acquiredBuilt by ContractB028
ShipyardQuarry House Yard B028
Designed byThomas SladeBWAS-1793
ConstructorEdward GreavesBWAS-1793
CategoryThird RateB028
Ship TypeShip of the Line
Sailing RigShip Rigged


DimensionMeasurementTypeMetric EquivalentBWAS-1793
Length of Gundeck168' 0"Imperial Feet51.2064 
Length of Keel138' 0"Imperial Feet42.0624 
Breadth46' 10 ½"Imperial Feet14.0335 
Depth in Hold19' 9"Imperial Feet5.8166 
Burthen1,612 7894Tons BM 


1786/10/06Broadside Weight = 781 Imperial Pound ( 354.1835 kg)BWAS-1793
Lower Gun Deck28 British 32-Pounder
Upper Gun Deck28 British 18-Pounder
Quarterdeck14 British 9-Pounder
Forecastle4 British 9-Pounder

Crew Complement

Date# of MenNotesSource
1774/08/25550Design Complement

Commanding Officers

1790/07 - 1791/09CaptainThomas PasleyBWAS-17931794/04 - 1795CaptainWilliam Johnstone HopeBWAS-17931795 - 1796/05CaptainJames CranstounBWAS-17931796/05 - 1796/10Acting CaptainJohn Wentworth LoringBWAS-17931796/10 - 1799CaptainHenry D'Esterre-DarbyBWAS-17931801/12 - 1803CaptainJohn Wentworth LoringBWAS-17931804/05 - 1805/10/21CaptainJohn CookeBWAS-17931805/10/22 - 1805/11/03LieutenantWilliam Pryce CumbyEWIKI1805/11/03 - 1805/11/04CaptainRichard ThomasBWAS-17931805/11/04 - 1808/06/08CaptainEdward RotherhamBWAS-17931808/06/08 - 1810/08CaptainSamuel WarrenBWAS-17931810/08 - 1811/06CaptainLucius Ferdinand HardymanBWAS-17931811/06 - 1813/02CaptainJohn HalsteadBWAS-17931813/02 - 1813/03CaptainAugustus BrineBWAS-17931813/03 - 1814/03CaptainEdward HawkerBWAS-17931814/03 - 1815CaptainFrederick Lewis MaitlandBWAS-1793

Flag Officers

1794/04 - 1795Rear-AdmiralSir Thomas Pasley (Baronet Pasley of Craig)BWAS-17931802/04 - 1803Rear-Admiral of the RedSir John Thomas DuckworthBWAS-17931807Rear-Admiral of the RedAlbemarle BertieBWAS-17931808/06 - 1808Admiral of the RedLord Alan Gardner (1st Baron Gardner of Uttoxeter)BWAS-17931812Rear-Admiral of the RedJohn FerrierBWAS-17931813/03 - 1814Vice-Admiral of the BlueSir Richard Goodwin KeatsBWAS-1793

Commissioned Officers

1796/09 - 1800SurgeonGeorge Bellamyref:8471799 - 1800/05/30Acting LieutenantDavid BoydNBD18491802/04/29 - 1802/10LieutenantGeorge William BrownNBD18491804/10/16 - 1805LieutenantDavid ScottNAO1804/11/03 - 1805/10/21First LieutenantWilliam Pryce CumbyNAO1805LieutenantGeorge SaundersNAO1805LieutenantEdmund Fanning ThomasNAO1805/08/20 - 1806LieutenantJohn Allen DouglassNAO1805/12/24 - 1805LieutenantEdward Hartleyref:9051808/06/02 - 1809/07/07LieutenantCharles AllenNL18651810/06 - 1810/10/07Flag LieutenantGeorge BenthamNBD18491813/02/03 - 1813/04/21LieutenantCharles CumbyNBD18491813/03/08 - 1814/04/02LieutenantCharles Orlando BridgemanNBD18491814 - 1815/09/13LieutenantJohn BowerbankNBD18491815/06/04 - 1815/09First LieutenantWilliam WalfordNBD18491836/08/03 - 1841/04/01LieutenantJames CampbellNBD1849

Warrant Officers

1786/10 - 1786CookMichael HoganB1611786/10 - 1786BoatswainRobert RobertsB1611786/10 - 1786CarpenterThomas WatkinsB1611786/10 - 1786GunnerJohn HindmarshB1611786/10 - 1786PurserAaron GrahamB1611790/07/20 - 1791/11/07BoatswainWilliam CunninghamADM29-11794/06 - 1795/07MasterSamuel BlythN-GAZ1804/10/15 - 1805/11/02BoatswainThomas RobinsonNAO1805SurgeonAlexander WhiteNAO1805 - 1805/10/21MasterEdward OvertonNAO

Petty Officers

1789 - 1790/10/19MidshipmanHenry Digbyref:6161793 - 1795MidshipmanMathew FlindersNMM1794MidshipmanRobert RamsayADM 171/81794MidshipmanWilliam ReikieADM 171/81794Quarter GunnerJohn WitteyADM 171/81794MidshipmanJames WoodADM 171/81795MidshipmanManley Hall DixonADM 171/81795MidshipmanAlexander Garthshore StirlingADM 171/81796/10 - 1800/05MidshipmanLeslie BouldersonNBD18491804/08/08 - 1807/10/24MidshipmanJohn FranklinNAO1804/10/11 - 1807/08MidshipmanWilliam WalfordNAO1804/11/05 - 1805MidshipmanWilliam Nunn JewellNAO1804/11/16 - 1805MidshipmanRobert PattonNAO1804/11/25 - 1805MidshipmanJohn WhiteNAO1805MidshipmanJames CampbellNAO1805MidshipmanDaniel CharlesNAO1805MidshipmanHenry WalkerNAO1805 - 1805/12/23Master's MateEdward HartleyNAO1805/01/03 - 1805MidshipmanWilliam SandersNAO1805/03/02 - 1805MidshipmanHugh PattonNAO1805/04/25 - 1807/10/24MidshipmanWilliam FairweatherNAO1805/04/28 - 1805MidshipmanThomas BantNAO1805/04/28 - 1805MidshipmanMark WhiteNAO1805/05/01 - 1805/10/21MidshipmanJohn SimmonsNAO1808/12 - 1810/07MidshipmanJosiah OakeNBD18491812MidshipmanJames BurneyNBD18491813/02 - 1814/07/29MidshipmanJohn KiddleNBD18491814/04 - 1815/01MidshipmanEdward BelcherNBD1849


1791/09/10 - 1791/091st Class VolunteerThomas BriggsNBD18491793/04/25 - 1794/12/27Able SeamanAndrew KingNAO1794Able SeamanFrancis EgglistoneADM 171/81794Ordinary SeamanJames MaitlandADM 171/81794ServantJohn HindmarshADM 171/81794Ordinary SeamanJohn PardyADM 171/81794LandmanRichard BennillADM 171/81794LandmanRichard BakerADM 171/81794LandmanJohn BaileyADM 171/81794LandmanPeter ParkesADM 171/81794Ordinary SeamanThomas TuckerADM 171/81794Ordinary SeamanWilliam WattsADM 171/81794Ordinary SeamanJohn WebbADM 171/81794Able SeamanWilliam WilliamsADM 171/81794Ordinary SeamanJames McLaughlanADM 171/81794 - 1795Carpenter's CrewJohn GaleADM 171/81795VolunteerJohn HindmarshADM 171/81796/09/10 - 1796/10Able SeamanLeslie BouldersonNBD18491804/11/14 - 1805/04/24Able SeamanWilliam FairweatherNAO1804/11/16 - 1805/03/011st Class VolunteerHugh PattonNAO1805/04/30 - 1805/05/01Able SeamanJohn SimmonsNAO1805/05/01 - 18051st Class VolunteerGeorge PearsonNAO1807/11/02 - 1809/09Ordinary SeamanArchibald CampbellNBD1849


1794 - 1795PrivateJohn HattonADM 171/8

Service History

1787Began fitting at Chatham Dockyard BWAS-1714
1787/03Completed at Chatham Dockyard at a cost of £30232.14.4dBWAS-1714
1787/03Completed fitting at Chatham Dockyard at a cost of £8378.15.2dBWAS-1714
1787/03/07Docked at Chatham to be copperedB161
1787/03/20Launched from the dock coppered and fitted for ordinary at a cost of £3,389.8.7d for hull masts and yards and £4,987.6.7d for rigging and storesB161
1790/05Began fitting at Chatham Dockyard BWAS-1714
1790/07Commissioned for the Spanish ArmamentBWAS-1793
1790/08Completed fitting at Chatham Dockyard at a cost of £4620.8.4dBWAS-1714
1790/08/15Left Chatham having been fitted for sea at a total cost of £4,620.8.4dB161
1790/11/21Arrived at Sheerness to be "Taken in hand Mar & Completed"B161
1791/04/20Left Sheerness, the work having cost £1,828 (£1,733 for rigging and stores)B161
1791/09Paid offBWAS-1793
1793/04/26Fitted at Chatham at a cost of £4,164BWAS-1793
1794/06/01Glorious 1st of June
1795/06/16First Battle of Groix
1795/10Began repairs at PortsmouthBWAS-1793
1795/11Completed repairs at a cost of £8,103BWAS-1793
1798/08/01Battle of the Nile
1800/09Began a middling repair and refit at PortsmouthBWAS-1793
1801/08Completed middling repair and refit at a cost of £32,608BWAS-1793
1802/04Sailed for JamaicaBWAS-1793
1803/07/24Took the Third Rate Ship of the Line Le Duquesne (74) off San Domingo
1803/07/25Capture of the Duquesne
1803/07/25Took the Privateer Corvette L'Oiseau (16) off San Domingo
1803/11/30Present at the surrender of the French squadron at Cap FrancoisBWAS-1793
1804/09Began a refit at PortsmouthBWAS-1793
1804/11Completed refit at a cost of £11,914BWAS-1793
1805/10/21Battle of Trafalgar
1805/12Started repairs for defects at PlymouthBWAS-1793
1806/02Completed repairs at a cost of £18,082BWAS-1793
1808In the BalticBWAS-1793
1812In the North SeaBWAS-1793
1813/04/22Sailed for NewfoundlandBWAS-1793
1813/12/19Took the Privateer Lugger Le Génie (16) off Portland .BG
1814/04/26Sailed for NewfoundlandBWAS-1793
1815/07/15Accepted the surrender of Napoleon IBWAS-1793
1815/12Began fitting as a convict hulk at SheernessBWAS-1793
1816/12Completed conversionBWAS-1793
1816/12Refitted as a Unrated Prison Ship
1824/10/05Renamed Captivity
1826/04Fitted to move to Plymouth and became a convict hulk thereBWAS-1793
1834Out of serviceBWAS-1793
1836/01/21Sold at Plymouth for £4,030BWAS-1793


B028 Ships of the Royal Navy - Volume IJ. J. ColledgeBook
BWAS-1793 British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793 - 1817Rif WinfieldBook
EWIKI WikipediaVariousWeb Site
ref:847 The Lancet Vol. 2 Digital Book
NBD1849 A Naval Biographical Dictionary 1849O'BrienDigital Book
NAO The National Archive - Trafalgar AncestorsVariousWeb Site
ref:905 Colborn's United Services Magazine and Naval and Military Journal (May 1843-Dec. 1882) Periodical
NL1865 The Navy List 1865The AdmiraltyDigital Book
B161 Billy Ruffian (The Bellerophon and the downfall of Napoleon)David CordinglyBook
ADM29-1 ADM 29/1 1802-1814 Admiralty: Warrant Officers. Entry Books of Certificates of Service Document
N-GAZ The Naval gazetteer, Biographer and ChronologistJ W NorieBook
ref:616 Who's Who in Nelson's NavyNicholas TracyBook
NMM National Maritime Museum Website Web Site
ADM 171/8 ADM 171/8 Surviving officers and men entitled to clasps of the Naval GSM for actions from 1793 -1827British AdmiraltyDocument
BWAS-1714 British Warships in the Age of Sail 1714 - 1792Rif WinfieldBook
BG The London GazetteOfficialWeb Site

Previous comments on this page

Posted by Brian Stephens on Thursday 3rd of April 2014 17:51

Providence Gazette,
October 7, 1815, p. 2
The following particulars respecting the embarkation of Bonaparte on board the Northumberland, have been received from a source entitled to every credit; we give them to the public as authentic. The Bellerophon and the Tonnant, sailed from the Bay of Plymouth on Friday; but we do not imagine that it was to prevent the application for a writ of habeaus corpus. The fact is, that the concourse of boats was so great, and the danger to which they were exposed that the government thought proper to order the Bellerophon to a greater distance. The process, of which so much has been said, was nothing more than an ordinary subpoena from the Court of Kings bench, procured by some person who had a cause pending in that court, and who amused himself by citing as witnesses, Napoleon, Jerome, and Admiral Villaumes. The Northumberland left Portsmouth on Friday, also, and on Sunday arrived off Torbay. General Bertrand was the first to come on board the Tonnant, where he dined with Lord Keith and Sir George Cockburn. Sir George explained to him his instructions with regard to Bonaparte; one article of which was, that his baggage should be examined before it was taken on board the Northumberland. Bertram warmly protested against sending Bonaparte to St. Helena, when he desired and expected to have lived in peace in England, protected by English laws. Lord Keith and Sir George did not enter into a discussion on this point.

After dinner, they accompanied Bertrand on board the Bellerophon. Before their arrival, they had taken from Bonaparte his pistol and all his arms. Those who were not to accompany him were sent on board the frigate Eurotas. They showed a great unwillingness to be separated from him. Bonaparte took leave of them individually; Savery and L'Allemand were, however, left on board the Bellerophon.

When Lord Keith and Sir George Cockburn came on board, Bonaparte was on deck ready to receive them. After the usual salutation Lord Keith addressed himself to Bonaparte, and requested him to say at what hour he proposed to go on board the Northumberland. Bonaparte protested with the greatest vehemency against this act of British Government. "He had not expected it, he could see no reasonable objection to his residing in England in tranquility, for the remainder of his days." Lord Keith and Sir George Cockburn made no reply. An English officer who stood near him observed, that if he was not sent to St. Helena, he would be sent to the Emperor Alexander, "God keep me from the Russians," replied he, shrugging his shoulders and addressing Bertrand. "At what hour tomorrow morning, shall I come, General, and accompany you on board the Northumberland," asked Sir George Cockburn. Bonaparte appeared somewhat surprised at hearing himself addressed simply as General, but replied at 10 o’clock. Bertrand and his Lady, Savary, L'Allemand, Count Montholon and his Lady, were near Bonaparte; Sir George Cockburn asked them if they wished anything before they sailed? Bertrand replied, that he wanted 20 packs of cards, a backgammon board and a set of dominoes. Madame Bertrand required some articles of furniture. One of the French officers, nephew of Josephine, complained, that they had not kept their word with Bonaparte, who expected to reside in England with his suite. Bonaparte asked Lord Keith's opinion; who merely replied, that he must obey the orders he had received form his government. Bonaparte requested a second interview; Lord Keith refused, observing, that he could give him a little satisfaction, in as mush his orders were peremptory, and it was impossible to make nay change in the sentence which had been announced to him. An officer who stood near observed, "Had you remained one hour longer, you would have been taken and sent to Paris." Bonaparte turned his eyes upon the speaker, but made no reply.

Sir George the next morning very early went on board the Bellerophon, to inspect the baggage of Bonaparte. It consisted of two services of plate, some articles of gold, a superb silver toilet set, books, bed &c. The whole was carried on board the Northumberland at 10 o’clock. At half past 11, Lord Keith came in the Tonnant's cutter on board the Bellerophon, to receive Bonaparte and those who were to accompany him. Before its arrival and afterward, he conversed with Captain Maitland and the officers of the Bellerophon. He ten went on board the cutter, and again took off his hat to them. Lord keith received on board the cutter the following persons; Bonaparte, Bertrand, lady and three children; the Count and Countess Montholon and child, Count Lascassos, General Gourgaud, nine male and three female servants. Savary and L'Allemand were left on board the Bellerophon. Savary appeared mush to dread the idea of being given up to the French government, after repeating that the honour of England would not suffer him to be sent to France. At noon the cutter came alongside the Northumberland. Bertran was the first who went on board. Bonaparte followed him, as soon as he came on deck, he said to Sir George Cockburn, "I am under your orders," He bowed to Lord Lowther and Mr. Littleton; who were near the Admiral, and said something to them, to which they replied. He asked one of the officers in which corp he served. The officer replied, "In the Artillery" "I sparan from that service," Bonaparte briskly rejoined. After taking leave of the officers who accompanied him from the Bellerophon, he went into the cabin, where, besides his principal attendants, were Lord Keith and Sir George Cockburn, Lord Lowther, and the Hon. Mr. Lyttleton. Lord Keith took leave of him, and went on board the Tonnant. Lord Lowther and Mr. Lyttlton remained, and had conversation of nearly two hours with him.

The Bellerophon, Tonnant, and Eurotas, returned to Plymouth Bay on Tuesday. The Northumberland cruised off that port the whole day, although the wind was favourable. It is supposed that they are waiting the arrival of the Weymouth, which was to bring them supplies the following day.

He asked one of the officers in which corp he served. The officer replied, "In the Artillery" "I sparan from that service," Bonaparte briskly rejoined. After taking leave of the officers who accompanied him from the Bellerophon, he went into the cabin, where, besides his principal attendants, were Lord Keith and Sir George Cockburn, Lord Lowther, and the Hon. Mr. Lyttleton. Lord Keith took leave of him, and went on board the Tonnant. Lord Lowther and Mr. Lyttlton remained, and had conversation of nearly two hours with him.

Posted by Brian Stephens on Thursday 3rd of April 2014 17:42

From a London paper,
Private Correspondence
On board the Bellerophon
By some passengers who came in the Bellerophon, it appears that Bonaparte was quite at his ease on board that ship; took possession of the Captains cabin, sana ceremonie, invited the officers of the ship to his table, talked with great freedom on the state of things; said it was impossible for the Bourbons to govern France, and that Napoleon II. would be very soon recalled to the throne. That Fouche was an ass and totally unfit for the office assigned to him. He acknowledged that England alone had ruined all his grand plans, and that not for her he had been Emperor of the East as well as the West. He walked on the poop and quarter deck, conversed with the seamen and effected great gaiety and unconcern, is short, such is the talent of his "child and companion of jacobinism," that before they arrived in Torbay, he was considered by all on board as a devilish good fellow.

From: The Royal Gazette and Newfoundland
September 7, 1815 page 2


Copy of a letter from a young Somersetshire sailor, on board the Bellerophon
His Majesty's Ship Bellerophon, Torbay
July 24, 1815

I avail myself of an opportunity of informing you of an occurrence that will doubtless be felt with pleasure. Nothing less than that we have in our possession the common disturber of the repose of Europe, who finding himself foiled in all his attempts to regain that power he so recently lost, endeavored to escape to America; but the vigilance of his Majesty's cruisers has prevented it, and I have to boast of being in the ship that claims the honour of his capture, which was effected in the following manner.

The French coast was blockaded very closely; the part to which we were stationed was Basque Roads, and at this place it was that he endeavored to escape; but finding it impossible and being pressed on shore by the advance of hostile troops, together with the turning of the people to the side of Louis, he determined to give himself up to our Captain rather than run the risk of falling into the hands of the more unceremonious enemies on shore. The white flag was displayed at Rochelle on the 12th, and on the 14th a flag of truce came out from Rochefort, with part of Bonaparte's suite, who gave us to understand that he would surrender on the following morning, which he did about half-past seven, coming out in the Epervier man-of-war brig, out of which we brought him in our barge.

We are to lie here for orders; the rumor is, however, that we shall go up the river with him, it being considered an act of policy rather than let his travel through the country

Plymouth, Wednesday night.
The Bellerophon is this moment anchored in the Sound, with Napoleon on board, having been ordered to this port from Torbay by the Admiralty. What is to be done with him is kept profoundly secret. No one is allowed to go into or near the ship; not even Mrs. Maitland, wife of the Captain.

Posted by Brian Stephens on Thursday 3rd of April 2014 17:38

The Providence Gazette
From Lloyds, Torbay,July 24

Arrived this day his Majesty's ships Myrmidon and Bellerophon; on board the latter, is Napoleon Bonaparte, Gen. Bertram, his wife, and three children; the Count Montholon, his wife and one child; Savery, Les Casses and his son, General L'Allemand and several others, in all about 34. The Port Admiral at Plymouth and my Lord Keith are expected this afternoon from that port, when it will be known what is to become of Napoleon and his party: at present we know nothing of what is intended
to be done with them. No strangers are permitted to go along side the Bellerophon, but Napoleon has been seen plain enough by all the stern-gallery, and those that go round the ship have full view of him.

Another letter of the same date, from Torbay, after confirming all that is said in the preceding, states that the Duke of Rovigo, Count Las Casses, Count Montholon and family. two Lieut. Cols, three Captains, and two Lieutenants, are on board his Majesty's ship Myrmidon.

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