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Bristol was a British 44-gun fourth-rate frigate, originally built for the navy of the Commonwealth of England during the 1650s. She was taken over by the Royal Navy after the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, and was thereafter styled HMS Bristol. The ship participated in multiple battles during the Anglo-Spanish War of 1654–60, and the Second and Third Anglo-Dutch Wars.

Royal Navy EnsignEngland
Name: Bristol
Namesake: Bristol
Ordered: 27 February 1652
Builder: Portsmouth Dockyard
Launched: 1653
Commissioned: 1653
Captured: 24 April 1709, by the French
French Royal Navy EnsignFrance
Acquired: April 1709
Captured: 25 April 1709, by the Royal Navy
Fate: Foundered, 25 April 1709
General characteristics as built[1]
Class and type: Fourth-rate frigate
Tons burthen: 532 bm
Length: 104 ft (31.7 m) (keel)
Beam: 31 ft 1 in (9.5 m)
Draught: 15 ft 8 in (4.8 m)
Depth of hold: 13 ft (4.0 m)
Sail plan: Full-rigged ship
Complement: 150–230
Armament: 44 guns (1660); 48 guns (1666)
General characteristics after 1693 rebuild[2]
Class and type: 50-gun fourth-rate ship of the line
Tons burthen: 710 bm
Length: 130 ft (39.6 m) (gundeck)
Beam: 35 ft 2 in (10.7 m)
Depth of hold: 13 ft (4.0 m)
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
Armament: 50 guns of various weights of shot



Bristol had a length at the gundeck of 130 feet (39.6 m) and 104 feet (31.7 m) at the keel. She had a beam of 31 feet 1 inch (9.5 m), a draught of 15 feet 8 inches (4.8 m) and a depth of hold of 13 feet (4.0 m). The ship's tonnage was 534 4594 tons burthen. Originally built for 50 guns, in 1660 she actually carried 44. This was raised in 1666 to 48 (24 culverins, 22 demi-culverins and 2 sakers) and until her rebuild in 1693 she generally carried 48 guns, with the older culverins and demi-culverins gradually replaced by more modern 12- and 8-pounders. The ship had a crew of 150–230 officers and ratings.[3]

Construction and careerEdit

Bristol was the first ship in the Navy to be named after the eponymous port.[4] Part of the 1651 Naval Programme, the ship was ordered on 27 February 1652. She was built at Portsmouth Dockyard under the direction of Master Shipwright John Tippetts, and was launched in 1653 at a cost of £4,256.[5]

Bristol was commissioned that same year under the command of Captain Roger Martin and spent the winter of 1653–54 in the Western Approaches. She was present at the battles of Lowestoft, the Four Days Battle, and the St. James Day Fight during the Second Anglo-Dutch War, and Solebay in the Third Anglo-Dutch War. She was involved in the wars against North African corsairs in the later 1670s and early 1680s, as well as escorting convoys to North America.[3]

In 1693, Bristol was rebuilt at Deptford as a 50-gun fourth-rate ship of the line.[3]

On 24 April 1709 she was captured by two French ships off Plymouth, but was recaptured the following day and foundered in the English Channel.[4]


  1. ^ Lavery, vol. 1, p. 160.
  2. ^ Lavery, vol. 1, p. 165.
  3. ^ a b c Winfield, p. 98.
  4. ^ a b Colledge, p. 49.
  5. ^ Winfield, pp. 97–98.