Speedwell -> 1779 Spitfire

Nominal Guns8BWAS-1714
NationalityGreat Britain
OperatorRoyal Navy
Keel Laid Down11.2.1751/52BWAS-1714
First Commissioned13.2.1753BWAS-1714
How acquiredPurpose builtBWAS-1714
ShipyardChatham Dockyard - Chatham BWAS-1714
Ship ClassCruizer ClassBWAS-1714
Designed by William Rule (d.1816)BWAS-1714
ConstructorSir Thomas Slade (1703-1771)BWAS-1714
Ship TypeSloop BWAS-1714
Sailing RigKetchBWAS-1714


DimensionMeasurementTypeMetric EquivalentBWAS-1714
Length of Gundeck75' 7"Imperial Feet22.8956 
Length of Keel62' 3"Imperial Feet18.9357 
Breadth20' 7 ½"Imperial Feet6.1087 
Depth in Hold9' 4"Imperial Feet2.8448 
Burthen140 7994Tons BM 


21.10.1752Broadside Weight = 14.5 Imperial Pound ( 6.576 kg)BWAS-1714
Gun Deck8 British 3-Pounder
Gun Deck10 British 1/2-Pound Swivel

Crew Complement

Date# of MenNotesSource
21.10.175250Design ComplementBWAS-1714
27.8.177940As a fireshipBWAS-1714

17 Commanding Officers

13.2.1753 - 6.8.1756Commander James Webb (d.1761) ADM 6/18/59BWAS-17146.8.1756 - 7.2.1757Commander Thomas Cornwall (d.1796) ADM 6/18/299BWAS-17147.2.1757 - 13.1.1758Commander Robert Bond (c.1722-1772) ADM 6/18/353BWAS-171413.1.1758 - 2.3.1759Commander Joseph Fraine (d.1802) ADM 6/18/470BWAS-17142.3.1759 - 14.3.1760Commander Samuel Taylor (d.1790) ADM 6/19/40BWAS-171414.3.1760 - 11.2.1761Commander Thomas Fitzherbert (1727-1794) ADM 6/19/146BWAS-171411.2.1761 - 4.3.1761CommanderThe Hon. Keith Stewart (1739-1795) ADM 6/19/277ADM 6/194.3.1761 - 14.2.1763Commander William Kite (c.1719-1792) ADM 6/19/288BWAS-17148.6.1763 - 16.9.1766Commander Robert Fanshawe (1740-1823) ADM 6/19/508BWAS-171429.11.1766 - 18.1.1770Commander William Webster (c.1727-c.1777) ADM 6/20/148BWAS-171418.1.1770 - 26.1.1773Commander James Feattus (c.1728-1784) ADM 6/20/268BWAS-171426.1.1773 - 25.6.1773Commander Richard Pearson (1730/31-1806) ADM 6/20/475ODNB26.6.1773 - 26.1.1776Commander Richard Pearson (1730/31-1806) ADM 6/20/501ADM 6/2026.1.1776 - 16.9.1777Commander John Harvey (1740-1794) ADM 6/21/152BWAS-171416.9.1777 - 12.5.1778Commander William Denne (c.1733-1791) ADM 6/21/312ADM 6/2113.5.1778 - 6.2.1779Commander Thomas Bornford Mainwaring (c.1734-c.1780) ADM 6/21/404BWAS-171427.8.1779 - 16.8.1780Commander James Norman (c.1735-1806) ADM 6/22/20BWAS-1714

Service History

11.2.1752Began building at Chatham Dockyard - Chatham BWAS-1714
10.10.1752Began fitting at Chatham Dockyard - Chatham BWAS-1714
21.10.1752Completed building at Chatham Dockyard - Chatham at a cost of £2285.13.3dBWAS-1714
2.1753Off the Isle of WightBWAS-1714
7.3.1753Completed fitting at Chatham Dockyard - Chatham at a cost of £853.11.10dBWAS-1714
11.3.1757Sailed for North AmericaBWAS-1714
8.1757Louisbourg Expedition
6.1758Operations against St Malo, Cherbourg and St CasBWAS-1714
5.6.1758Raid on Saint-Malo
19.1.1759Sailed for the Leeward IslandsBWAS-1714
3.1759fitting at Plymouth Dockyard - Plymouth BWAS-1714
14.2.1763Paid offADM 51
16.9.1766Paid offADM 51
12.1766Began middling repair at Deptford Dockyard - Deptford BWAS-1714
2.1767Completed middling repair at Deptford Dockyard - Deptford at a cost of £1737.16.0dBWAS-1714
6.1770Began large repair at Sheerness Dockyard - Sheerness BWAS-1714
9.1770Completed large repair at Sheerness Dockyard - Sheerness BWAS-1714
22.6.1773Spithead reviewBWAS-1714
5.1775fitting at Sheerness Dockyard - Sheerness at a cost of £407.4.9dBWAS-1714
1776In the ChannelBWAS-1714
6.2.1779Paid offADM 51
8.1779Recommissioned as a fireshipBWAS-1714
27.8.1779Refitted as a 8 gun Unrated Fireship
27.8.1779Renamed SpitfireBWAS-1714
5.12.1780Sold at Sheerness for £160BWAS-1714


Previous comments on this page

Posted by cy on Saturday 3rd of October 2020 08:30

Yes, 100% there were also numerous merchant vessels named Speedwell in 1752.

See here https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt/search?q1=speedwell&id=mdp.39015028378910&view=1up&seq=5

Posted by Anne Cox on Saturday 3rd of October 2020 07:27

I found documentation that my ancestors arrived in Nova Scotia on a ship called the Speedwell on 16th May 1752. From your records it can't be the ship you give service details for. Were there several ships of that name?

Posted by Peter Evans on Saturday 2nd of February 2019 20:55

John Cragwell Boatswain of the Sloop Speedwell drowned in the River Thames and buried at St Nicholas Parish Church Deptford 23 September 1766 (Source - Parish Records)

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