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This is a list of corvette and sloop classes of the Royal Navy. The term 'corvette' was not introduced into the Royal Navy until the 1830s (when the French term was copied), and at that time its use replaced both the larger sloops and also what had previously been categorised officially as 'post ships', i.e. ships of 20, 22 or 24 guns (vessels of 28 guns and above were classed as 'frigates' until 1817, thereafter ships of up to 32 guns were also counted as sixth rates) which were so-called because they were the lowest grade of warship which could be commanded by a 'post captain'; as such, they formed the lower portion of the sixth rate. In 1887, both frigates and corvettes were merged into a new category of 'cruiser'. In 1937, escort sloops were officially re-rated as escort vessels and patrol sloops as patrol vessels, although the traditional term continued in use. In 1948 surviving sloops and corvettes were redesignated as frigates.

Note that vessels captured from other countries and incorporated into the Royal Navy are not included in the following lists.

Corvette classesEdit

Late 17th century post ship classesEdit

18th century (1700-1751) post ship classesEdit

18th century (1752-1799) post ship classesEdit

19th century sailing post ship (and subsequently corvette) classesEdit

This section lists the 'post ships' of 20 to 24 guns (after 1817, up to 28 guns) which in the 1830s would be merged with the larger sloops to form the new category of corvette. From 1817 the upper limit (in terms of numbers of guns) would be raised to 28 guns.

19th century screw corvettesEdit

World War II corvettesEdit

After more than half a century, the category of corvette was revived during WW2 to describe a smaller form of escort vessel than the existing sloops. It was thus not comparable with the pre-1887 corvettes in the Royal Navy. Two classes of wartime corvette were designed and built in considerable numbers (see separate articles):

Sloop classesEdit

Sloops (early single-masted type)Edit

Note that early sloops were single-masted, including (initially) the Swift, Jamaica and Hazard groups listed below for 1700–1711; however, all surviving sloops by 1716 had been re-rigged as two-masted, and all new sloops continued to be two-masted until the 1750s, when three-masted - ship-rigged - sloops were introduced.

Two-masted sloops (to 1770)Edit

All early two-masted sloops were mainly either ketch-rigged or snow-rigged.

Ship-rigged sloops (1745-1788)Edit

Ship sloops (i.e. sloops carrying three masts, and rigged as ships) were built frigate-style, and initially were referred to as frigates, in spite of their size and relative lack of guns.

Brig-rigged sloops (1778-1784)Edit

Ship-rigged sloops (1788 to 1815)Edit

Brig-rigged sloops (1788 to 1815)Edit

This table excludes the small gun-brigs (of less than 200 burthen tons) which were built in considerable numbers during this period: for these gun-brigs see List of gun-brigs of the Royal Navy

Ship-rigged sloops (after 1816)Edit

Brig-rigged sloops (after 1816)Edit

Between 1815 and 1826 numerous additional brig-sloops of the wartime Cherokee class were ordered; these have been included with the numbers mentioned in the previous section.

Paddle-driven sloopsEdit

These vessels were initially rated as steam vessels until 1844, when the category of steam sloops was created.

19th century screw sloops (to 1903)Edit

In 1852 six of the screw sloops (Archer, Brisk, Encounter, Malacca, Miranda and Niger) were reclassed as corvettes, while four others (Conflict, Desperate, Phoenix and Wasp) remained sloops.

[the 8 vessels cancelled in 1863-64 were Harlequin, Tees, Sappho, Trent, Circassian, Diligence, Imogene and Success - although 2 were completed as the ironclads Research and Enterprise.]

[the 6 vessels cancelled in 1863 were Circassian, Acheron, Bittern, Fame, Cynthia and Sabrina.]

World War I sloopsEdit

Inter-war sloopsEdit

World War II sloopsEdit

Reference SourcesEdit

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