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HMS Lion (1777)
A two decked ship fires from both sides as it is surrounded by four smaller ships, three on one side and one on the other
Capture of the Dorothea, 15 July 1798 (HMS Lion is at centre right)
Thomas Whitcombe, 1816
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Lion
Ordered: 12 October 1768
Builder: Portsmouth Dockyard
Laid down: May 1769
Launched: 3 September 1777
Honours and

Participated in:

Fate: Sold for breaking up, 30 November 1837
Notes: Sheer hulk from 1816
General characteristics [1]
Class & type: Worcester-class ship of the line
Tons burthen: 1378 bm
Length: 159 ft (48 m) (gundeck)
Beam: 44 ft 6 in (13.56 m)
Depth of hold: 19 ft 10 in (6.05 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship

64 guns:

  • Gundeck: 26 × 24 pdrs
  • Upper gundeck: 26 × 18 pdrs
  • Quarterdeck: 10 × 4 pdrs
  • Forecastle: 2 × 9 pdrs

HMS Lion was a 64-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, of the Worcester class, launched on 3 September 1777 at Portsmouth Dockyard.[1]

She fought at the Battle of Grenada under Captain William Cornwallis on 6 July 1779, where she was badly damaged and forced to run downwind to Jamaica. She remained on the Jamaica station for the next year.[citation needed]

In March 1780, the Lion fought an action in company with two other ships against a larger French force off Monte Christi on San Domingo. A second action took place in June 1780 near Bermuda when Cornwallis in the Lion with three other ships of the line and a fifty-gun ship met a larger French squadron carrying the troops of Rochambeau to North America. The French were too strong for Cornwallis's squadron, but were content to continue with their mission instead of attacking the smaller British force.[citation needed]. Lion then returned to England, carrying with her Horatio Nelson, who was ill with malaria.[2]

In late July 1793, under the command of Captain Sir Erasmus Gower, HMS Lion escorted the East Indiaman Hindostan which carried the British ambassador Lord Macartney to the Bohai Gulf, off the Hai River, on his way to visit the Qianlong Emperor of China (the Macartney embassy). The ambassador and his party were conveyed up river by light craft to Tianjin before proceeding by land to Beijing[3] On reaching Tianjin, Macartney sent orders to Lion to proceed to Japan, but because of sickness among the crew she was unable to do so. The embassy rejoined Lion at Canton in December 1793.[4] The ship's journal from this voyage is in the library of Cornell University [1].

In 1796, she visited Cape Town; in 1797, her crew were among those who joined the Mutiny at the Nore. In 1798, now under the command of Sir Manley Dixon, Lion fought a squadron of Spanish frigates at the Action of 15 July 1798 and captured the Santa Dorotea. She then took part in the siege of Malta,[5] and with HMS Penelope and HMS Foudroyant captured the French 80-gun ship Guillaume Tell as she tried to escape from the blockade (Guillaume Tell was subsequently bought into the Royal Navy as HMS Malta).

In July 1807 in the Malacca Strait she successfully protected from the French frigate Semillante, without an engagement, a convoy homeward bound from China.[6]

In 1811, under the command of Captain Henry Heathcote, Lion was one of a large fleet of ships involved in the capture of Java from Dutch forces.[7]

She was converted to a sheer hulk in September 1816, following the end of the Napoleonic wars, and was sold to be broken up at Chatham on 30 November 1837.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Lavery, Ships of the Line vol.1, p181.
  2. Sugden, J. (2004). Nelson: A Dream of Glory. London: Jonathan Cape. ISBN 0-224-06097-X.
  3. Parish, Capt. (1858). Extract from Notes upon the Passage up the Peiho with Lord Macartney in 1793. Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of London, 2(6), 362–363.
  4. Staunton, G. (1799). An Authentic Account of an Embassy from the King of Great Britain to the Emperor of China. Philadelphia (pp. 250–251).
  5. Obituary of Admiral Sir Manley Dixon (1837). The Gentleman's Magazine, VIII (New Series), 206–207.
  6. "L'Amiral Baudin" by Jurien De La Gravière
  7. James, W. (1837). Naval History of Great Britain, Vol. 6, p.33


  • Lavery, Brian (2003) The Ship of the Line – Volume 1: The development of the battlefleet 1650–1850. Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-252-8.

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