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  THE STORY OF SHOREHA.NI       .1IEN-OF-WAR  
             
,and the Cathedral mentioned in the certificate was, of course, Old St. Paul's, which was totally destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. During the Commonwealth and subsequently, the shipbuilders of Shoreham came into prominence as providers of vessels for the service of the State.   The war-ships built here were fourth, fifth and sixth rates, sloops and fire-ships ; fourth rates were 105ft., long by 32ft. beam, and were two-deckers, costing about £9,000 each ; fifth rates had all their guns on one whole deck and the quarter-deck ; sixth rates on one deck only.   her crime to a clergyman, delivering up the ring to him, and it passed into the possession of Sir Clowdesley Shovell's friends.
       
  The " Dover," commanded by Edward Whitaker, in February, 1691, took a 24-gun St. Malo privateer. While in command of Andrew Douglas, she took "Revenge," (12 guns), in August, 1692; " Lion," (14 guns) in January, 1693, and " Vauban " in May, 1695. She was rebuilt at Portsmouth in 1695.
  We find no further records of war-ships built at Shoreham until 1690. At this period the builders were Thomas Ellis, Nicholas Barrett, William Collins, Thomas Burgess, and Robert Chatfield. In the seven years from 1690 to 1696, seventeen men-of-war were built in the Shoreham yards.   Some particulars of these ships follow :
When the "Dover" (4th rate) man-of-war was on the stocks in June, 1653, Clement Freeman wrote to the Navy Commissioners that " the building of the frigate is progressing," and asking for a general survey, stating that " he will now wait until that has been made before expecting the bill of imprest for twenty weeks pay for which he wrote previously."   He adds " Robert Plumby is fit for one of the frigates building at Shoreham."   In October, Captain Fraser Willoughby, having been to Shoreham and Arundel and provided 200 loads of plank and trenail for building " two great ships at Portsmouth," states that the new frigate " wants her officers," and a few days later a survey of her having been made by William Castle, the latter says " she will be ready to launch the middle of next month."  
       
  The " Fox " (fireship, 253 tons, 8 guns), built 1690.   She had a length of 93ft. and 25ft. beam and carried a crew of 45 men. Her first commander, Andrew Leake, the son of a merchant of Lowestoft, was known from the grace and comeliness of his person, as " Queen Anne's handsome captain." His ship was in the Battle of Beachy Head.   Thomas Killingworth succeeded him in command of the " Fox," and with her grappled a French line of battle-ship at La Hogue.   Fire-ships were rarely successful, the Frenchman won clear, and the " Fox " was burnt in action, but Killingworth was handsomely rewarded for his brave attempt and promoted to the command of a 32-gun ship.
The " Dover " went off the stocks in 1654, and sailing for the West Indies in 1655, carried 160 seamen and 30 soldiers. She had a somewhat long career, and at the time of the Revolution in 1688, she was commanded by the celebrated Clowdesley Shovell, and was one of those ships in the fleet assembled to oppose the landing of William, Prince of Orange.   Many of the captains were friendly disposed toward the Prince, and the commander of the " Dover " was one of those who very quickly transferred his allegiance to the new King.  
  " Hopewell " (fireship, 253 tons, 8 guns), built 1690.   After a short service in the Channel Fleet, she was burnt by accident in the Downs, 3rd June, 1690.
  " Shoreham,"   (5th rate,   362 tons,   32 guns), built   1693. Captured " La Feroa " (10 guns) in 1695.   In March or April, 1700, on the coast of Virginia, after a ten hours fight, she took a pirate ship of 20 guns and retook from her two merchantmen.   During the years 1702-9, she was on the Irish Station, commanded by George-afterwards Sir George-Saunders, convoying the local trade between Whitehaven, Milford, and Bristol on the one side, and on the other from Belfast to Kinsale. While engaged in these duties, Saunders sometimes chased and captured the enemy's privateers, taking the "Francis " (8 guns) in   June,   1706,   and " Esperance "   (12   guns) in   1709.   The " Shoreham " was broken up by Admiralty order, 11th September, 1719.
It may be noted that Clowdesley Shovell rose to be Commanderin-Chief of the Fleet, and after a life spent in the service of his country, the gallant Admiral was wrecked on the Scillies in a dreadful storm on the 22nd October, 1702. His body, still living, was cast upon the shore near Porthellick Cove, and a woman who was the first to find it, coveting an emerald ring, extinguished the flickering life. This crime was at the time undiscovered.   The body of the Admiral was conveyed to England, embalmed, and buried in Westminster Abbey.   Some thirty years afterwards the woman on her death-bed, confessed  
       

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Copyright © Martin Snow 2002 All rights reserved
Revised 27 February 2002