HMS Namur was a 90-gun second-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, built at Chatham Dockyard to the draught specified by the 1745 Establishment as amended in 1750, and launched on 3 March 1756.[1] HMS Namur’s battle honours surpass even those of the more famous HMS Victory.[2]

HMS Namur at the Battle of Lagos, 1759
Great Britain
NameHMS Namur
Ordered12 July 1750
BuilderChatham Dockyard
Launched3 March 1756
FateBroken up, 1833
General characteristics [1]
Class and type1750 amendments 90-gun second rate ship of the line
Tons burthen1814 bm
Length175 ft (53.3 m) (gundeck)
Beam48 ft 6 in (14.8 m)
Depth of hold20 ft 6 in (6.2 m)
Sail planFull-rigged ship
  • 90 guns:
  • Gundeck: 26 × 32 pdrs
  • Middle gundeck: 26 × 18 pdrs
  • Upper gundeck: 26 × 12 pdrs
  • Quarterdeck: 10 × 6 pdrs
  • Forecastle: 2 × 6 pdrs

History edit

HMS Namur figurehead, Naval Museum of Halifax, CFB Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Namur was the flagship of Vice-Admiral Edward Boscawen in the capture of Louisburg in 1758. General James Wolfe had sailed across the Atlantic in Namur on this occasion before his capture of Quebec. Also on this journey was 6th Lieutenant Michael Henry Pascal, with his slave and servant Olaudah Equiano (called Gustavus Vasser at the time - this was the slave name given him by Pascal[3]). In his book,[4] Equiano wrote that the ceremony of surrender was "the most beautiful procession on the water I ever saw", and gives more detail of the occasion.[5] In 1758, fifteen Namur sailors were tried and condemned to death by hanging for mutiny; they had protested to be replaced aboard another ship. The King's grace reprieved them from death penalty, except for one sailor.[6]

Namur was the flagship of Admiral Sir George Pocock in the Battle of Havana (1762).

Namur fought in the Battle of Cape St Vincent (1797) under the command of Captain James Hawkins-Whitshed. Namur was astern of HMS Captain, under the command of then Commodore Horatio Nelson, at the beginning stages of the battle.[7]

Namur was razeed to a 74-gun ship in 1805, and took part in the naval engagement of 4 November 1805 (the Battle of Cape Ortegal), when the remnants of the French and Spanish fleet which had escaped from Trafalgar was engaged by Lord Strachan's squadron; she took on and captured the French warship Formidable.[8] She was placed on harbour service in 1807 and remained in this role until 1833, when she was finally broken up.[1]

Timbers of the Namur at Chatham)

Some of Namur's timbers were used to support the floor of the wheelwright's workshop at Chatham Dockyard. They were rediscovered there in 1995 and identified in 2003.[9][10] The timbers represent approximately a quarter of the Namur 's frame and are from a contiguous section of the ship's orlop deck and adjacent hull frames. While deck beams were repurposed to form and support the floor of the wheelright's shop, many others were placed in the gaps between these beams and serve no structural purpose, including many of the ship's futtock and knee timbers. Evidence suggests that the timbers were removed sequentially from the Namur as the ship was dismantled and directly installed under the workshop. While repurposing of ship timbers for structural purposes ashore was very common, the rediscovered timbers of the Namur are rare in being entirely unmodified, still bearing original carpenter's marks, traces of red paint common to Royal Navy warship lower deck interiors of the period, numbers denoting sailor's hammock berths, hammock hooks and lengths of oakum. The presence of many superfluous lengths of timber in and under the new workshop floor and their unaltered condition has been suggested as a deliberate form of preservation by workers at the Dockyard at the time, in recognition of the fame of the Namur and its prestigious service record. It is possible that the preservation and hiding of as much fabric as possible from the Namur was officially sanctioned by the Captain Superintendent of Chatham Dockyard, James Alexander Gordon, who had served on the ship during the Battle of Cape St. Vincent in 1797.[11] The restored timbers form the centerpiece of the "Command of the Oceans" gallery at the Chatham Historic Dockyard museum opened in 2016.[12]

Notable crewmembers edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ a b c Lavery, Brian0 (1983). The Ship of the Line – Volume 1: The development of the battlefleet 1650–1850. London: Conway Maritime Press. p. 174. ISBN 0-85177-252-8.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Furness, Hannah (26 May 2016). "Remains of legendary 260-year-old Royal Navy warship HMS Namur revealed to the nation". The Telegraph.
  3. ^ TNA ADM 36/6252
  4. ^ Equiano, Olaudah (2003). The Interesting Narrative, and Other Writings. Penguin. ISBN 9780-142437162.
  5. ^ Baines, Stephen (2015). Captain Cook's Merchant Ships; Freelove, Three Brothers, Mary, Friendship, Endeavour, Adventure, Resolution and Discovery. The History Press. pp. 150–151. ISBN 9780-750962148.
  6. ^ (Leonard F- Gutteridge: Mutiny - a list of naval insurrection", 1992 Annapolis USA)
  7. ^ Adkin, Mark (2005). The Trafalgar companion: a guide to history's most famous sea battle and the life of Admiral Lord Nelson. London: Aurum Press. p. 163. ISBN 978-1845130183.
  8. ^ Clowes, William. Naval History.
  9. ^ "Fighting ship's identity revealed in Chatham Dockyard". BBC News. 17 August 2012.
  10. ^ Atkinson, Daniel Edward (2007). Shipbuilding and timber management in the Royal Dockyards 1750–1850: an archaeological investigation of timber marks (Ph.D. thesis). University of St Andrews. hdl:10023/472.
  11. ^ "Finding HMS Namur: solving the mystery of the ship beneath the floor". 5 December 2012.
  12. ^ Kennedy, Maev (25 May 2016). "Shiver me timbers! Remains of fabled warship HMS Namur dock in museum". The Guardian.
  13. ^ Spilman, Rick (20 August 2012). "Timbers from Jane Austen's Brother's Ship, HMS Namur, Found under Floorboards at Chatham Historic Dockyard". Old Salt Blog.
  14. ^ Reuben, Paul P. "Olaudah Equiano (1745–1797)". PAL: Perspectives in American Literature- A Research and Reference Guide.[permanent dead link]

Further reading edit

External links edit