The Fleets at the Battle of Beachy Head, 1690: Part 2

Posted in Naval history, Uncategorized, tagged Beachy Head, Beveziers on 07/04/2014 |
Guest blogger Frank Fox presents the second half of his important new assessment of the fleets that
fought in the Battle of Beachy Head. Next week, I’ll be reporting on the Oxford Naval Conference in
honour of John Hattendorf, which I’m attending.
The Dutch squadron, commanded by Cornelis Evertsen, Lieutenant-Admiral of Holland and
Westfriesland, formed the van of the allied fleet. The twenty-two ships, commanders, and their
armament are given in Evertsen’s letters written after the battle and published in Hollandsche
Mercurius, pp. 202-208. The manning figures are intended complements and not the actual numbers
aboard. Most are from a list in J C M Warnsinck, De Vloot van den Koning-Stadhouder 1689-
1690 (1934), p. 82; and from the appendices in J C De Jonge,Geschiedenis van het Nederlandsche
Zeewezen, v. 3 (1869), pp. 730-739. The letters in the ADM column indicate the admiralties to which
the ships belonged; ‘A’ is Amsterdam, ‘M’ is the Maas (Rotterdam), ‘N’ is the Noorderkwartier (North
Quarter), and ‘Z’ is Zeeland. The Dutch squadron was in three divisions, with the flagships and
division commanders shown below in bold type. The ships of the van division flew a pendant at the
fore, those of the centre division a pendant the main, and those of the rear division a pendant at the
mizzen. Dutch flag-officers all flew the national tricolour as command flags. These were at the main
for lieutenant-admirals, at the fore for vice-admirals, and at the mizzen for schout-bij-nachts (rear-
admirals). In previous Dutch sea-battles, the ships had worn various combinations of several flags as
ensigns and jacks to signify their admiralty affiliations, but whether this applied in 1690 is not clear.
The sources for the Dutch squadron note that there were four fireships, but do not identify them other
than giving the names of three of the commanders. Dutch researcher Carl Stapel found the fourth
commander and two of the fireship names (matched to commanders) in admiralty reports from April
1690, and a third fireship and commander (Van Brakel’s Suikermolen) turned up in the vast data
compiled by James Bender for his soon-to-be-published Dutch Warships in the Age of Sail 1600-1714,
which he graciously made available. The remaining fireship, expended in action
under Commandeur Thameszoon of Amsterdam, I have tentatively identified as the Kroonvogel; she
was the only Amsterdam fireship in 1690 aside from the Suikermolen which does not appear in later
Dutch fleet lists. Perhaps uniquely for a Dutch fleet in battle in the seventeenth century, there were
no light frigates present, as noted in one of Evertsen’s letters appearing in Hollandsche Mercurius,
1690, p. 206.
The published lists of the Dutch squadrons do not give the forenames of the commanders. I have
filled in most of these from Mr Bender’s data; by chance, two that he could not supply appear in
English warrants for travel to the Netherlands for officers of ships that were lost on the English coast
after the battle – Jan van der Poel and Cornelis Calis (NA, ADM 44/339, pp. 307 and 314). Only two
of the flag-captains (noted below) have so far been identified.
Van Division
A Wapen van Utrecht 64 315 Pieter Claassen Decker
N Alkmaar 50 200 Jan Kalff
Z Tholen 60 330 Cornelis Calis
N Westfriesland 82 450 Vice-Adm. Gerard Callenburgh
A Prinses Maria 92 500 S.b.N. Gilles Schey
A Castricum 52 240 Ferdinand Joan Kuyper
A Agatha 50 210 Willem van der Zaan

Centre Division
A Stad en Lande 52 210 Abraham Taalman
N Maagd van Enkhuizen 72 370 Jan van der Poel
A Noord Holland 44 190 Rudolf Swaan
M Maagd van Dordrecht 60 300 Anthonij Pieterson
A Hollandia 70 360 Lt-Adm. Cornelis Evertsen /
Capt. Hendrik van Toll
M Veluwe 60 375 S.b.N. Jan van Brakel /
Capt. Matthias De la Cave
M Provincie van Utrecht 50 210 Jan van Convent
M Maas 64 340 Jan Snellen

Rear Division
A Friesland 68 350 Philips van der Goes
A Elswout 50 210 Adriaan Noortheij
A Reigersbergen 74 360 Abraham Ferdinand van Zijll
Z Gekroonde Burg 62 350 Vice-Adm. Karel van de Putte
N Noord Holland 72 320 S.b.N. Jan Dick
Z Veere 60 325 Cornelis Jansz. Mosselman
Z Kortgene 50 240 Andries de Boer

Fireships (not in line)
A Suikermolen 4 25 Abraham van Brakel
A Kroonvogel? 6 22 Thameszoon
N Maagd van Enkhuizen 6 22 Muijsevanger
Z Burg Etna 4 25 Cornelis Antheuniszoon

The aftermath of the battle: Richard Endsor’s painting of the burning of the third rate Anne at Pett level,
where her remains can still be seen (see previous posts on this blog; thanks to Richard for giving permission
for the use of his work)
The English fleet was under Admiral Arthur Herbert, Earl of Torrington (1648-1716), who was the
overall allied commander. The usual source for the English order of battle is Laird Clowes, The Royal
Navy . . . , v. 2, p. 335. But this is incomplete in omitting light frigates and the stations of the
fireships. A lesser known alternative that does give the approximate stations of the fireships
isMemoirs Relating to the Lord Torrington, ed. J K Laughton, (Camden Society, 1889), p. 50. The
Torrington referred to in this work is not Arthur Herbert, but George Byng, Viscount Torrington from
1721 and captain of the third-rate Hopein 1690. These sources disagree slightly in that Clowes states
that the fourth-rate Constant Warwick was not in the line, while Byng assigns her a station (as shown
The light frigates and small warships omitted by the published sources are identified in the Admiralty’s
monthly fleet distribution lists (NA, ADM 8/2). The presence of several not mentioned in accounts of
the battle were verified from their logs, preserved in NA, ADM 52/87 (Portsmouth), ADM 51/384
(Garland), ADM 52/69 (Milford), ADM 51/3963 (Salamander), and ADM 51/214 (Concord). I have
taken the minutely detailed data in ADM 8/2 as the most reliable authority for captains, guns, and
complements of all ships.
The English had an overall strength of thirty-five men-of-war of the fourth rate or larger, seven light
frigates and small warships, sixteen fireships, and one hospital ship. In addition, the fleet was
accompanied by a swarm of small ketches and smacks which had been hired as tenders and utility
craft for the men-of-war. They are not listed here because those actually present seem unrecorded.
But these vessels, their masters, and the ships to which they were assigned can be found in NA, ADM
1/3560, fo. 805; and ADM 49/29, fos 39v-52r and 61v-62r.
The English formed the centre and rear squadrons of the allied fleet, with the flagships indicated below
in bold type. The centre, designated the Red Squadron, was in three divisions; while the rear,
designated the Blue Squadron, was undivided (two expected flag-officers were missing; Sir Clowdesley
Shovell had not returned from escorting King William III to Ireland, and Henry Killigrew’s squadron
was delayed in coming home from the Mediterranean). In the Red Squadron, Torrington flew a Union
flag at the main, his vice-admiral in the van division a red flag at the fore, and the rear-admiral a red
flag at the mizzen. The ships of this squadron displayed a red pendant at the main and wore the red
ensign. In the Blue Squadron, the only flag-officer, Rear- Admiral Delavall, flew a blue flag at the
mizzen. All of his ships had a blue pendant at the main and wore the blue ensign. As usual, all the
English ships wore a small Union flag as the jack.
Several vessels just missed inclusion in this list. The fourth-rates Assurance,Phoenix, and Mary
Galley, along with the fifth-rate Play Prize (plus an unidentified Dutch man-of-war) came to the fleet
the day after the battle; the sixth-rateJulian Prize was two days late (NA, ADM
52/110, Suffolk master’s log; NA, ADM 52/66, Mary Galley master’s log; and NA, ADM 51/494, Julian
Prize captain’s log).
Red Squadron (centre) – three divisions
Van Division
3 Plymouth 60 340 Richard Carter
4 Deptford 50 280 William Kerr
3 Elizabeth 70 460 David Mitchell
2 Sandwich 90 660 Vice-Adm. Sir John
Ashby /Capt.William Bridges
fs Wolf 8 45 Thomas Urry
fs Vulture 8 45 James Moody
3 Expedition 70 460 John Clements
3 Warspite 70 420 Stafford Fairborne
4 Woolwich 54 280 James Gother
3 Lion 60 340 John Topley

Centre Division
4 Constant Warwick 42 180 John Beverly
3 Rupert 66 400 George Pomeroy
2 Albemarle 90 660 Sir Francis Wheeler
3 Grafton 70 460 Henry, Duke of Grafton
fs Roebuck 8 45 Isaac Townsend
1 Royal Sovereign 100 815 Adm. Earl of Torrington/Capt. John
fs Dolphin 8 45 William Vickers
fs Owner’s Love 10 40 Thomas Heath
2 Windsor Castle 90 660 George Churchill
fs Speedwell 8 45 John Mason
3 Lenox 70 460 John Granville
3 Stirling Castle 70 460 Anthony Hastings

Rear Division
3 York 60 340 Thomas Hopson
3 Suffolk 70 460 Wolfran Cornwall
3 Hampton Court 70 460 John Layton
2 Duchess 90 660 Rear-Adm. George Rooke /Capt.
Thomas Gillam
fs Hound 8 45 Thomas Fowlis
fs Spy 8 45 Frederick Weighman
3 Hope 70 460 George Byng
3 Restoration 70 460 William Botham

Blue Squadron (rear) – undivided
3 Anne 70 460 John Tyrrell
fs Fox 8 45 William Stone
fs Thomas & Elizabeth 10 40 Thomas Marshall
4 Bonaventure 48 230 John Hubbard
3 Edgar 72 445 John Jennifer
3 Exeter 70 460 George Meese
3 Breda 70 460 Matthew Tennant
1 St. Andrew 96 730 Robert Dorrell
fs Charles 6 25 Anthony Roope
1 Coronation 90 660 Rear-Adm. Sir Ralph Delavall /
Capt. John Munden
fs Griffin 8 45 Peregrine Clifford Chamberlain
fs Hawk 8 45 William Harman
2 Royal Katherine 84 540 Matthew Aylmer
fs Cygnet 10 40 Robert Wilmot
3 Cambridge 70 420 Simon Foulks
3 Berwick 70 460 Henry Martin
4 Swallow 48 230 Benjamin Walters
3 Defiance 64 400 John Graydon
fs Hunter 8 45 Thomas Kercher
fs Cadiz Merchant 12 45 David Greenhill
3 Captain 70 460 Daniel Jones

Light Frigates – not in line, stations unknown
5 Portsmouth 32 135 Francis Wyvell
5 Milford 32 135 Charles Hawkins
5 Garland 30 130 Thomas Robinson
6 Sally Rose 22 80 Thomas Gardner
6 Saudadoes 16 75 Roger Newton
6 Fubbs yacht 12 40 John Guy
6 Salamander bomb 10 35 William Martin

Hospital Ship
5 Concord – – Ralph Crow

I wish to thank James Bender and Carl Stapel for helping to fill out details of the Dutch squadron, and
Richard Endsor for photographing numerous documents in the National Archives and for his painting
that accompanies the blog. Dr Peter Le Fevre kindly supplied other useful documents.

The Fleets at the Battle of Beachy Head, 1690: Part 1
31/03/2014 by gentlemenandtarpaulins
I’m delighted to welcome Frank Fox as my guest blogger, both this week and next!
Frank’s name will be well known to many students and readers of naval history. A former Supply
Officer in the US Navy, he is the author of two of the most important books about late 17th century
naval history, Great Ships: The Battlefleet of King Charles II (1980) and The Four Days Battle of
1666 (2009, originally published as A Distant Storm in 1996). The latter describes the subject of the
forthcoming Quinton novel, The Battle of All The Ages, and was one of my principal research sources
for it. Frank is currently working on aspects of the Battle of Beachy Head, one of the most
controversial engagements of the age of sail, and this week, he presents important new evidence
about the French fleet at the battle. The revised listings of the Anglo-Dutch fleet will follow next week.
So over to Frank!
Many thanks to J D Davies for making his site available. The Battle of Beachy Head, fought on 30
June 1690 by the English calendar, was a victory achieved by a great French fleet over a rather
smaller combined English and Dutch fleet. While studying this engagement for its possible
archaeological relevance for a shipwreck site on the British coast (for which more will soon be
forthcoming here), I found that the published fleet lists for the battle are not fully satisfactory.
Whether from French, Dutch, or British sources, all are incomplete and some contain demonstrable
mistakes. The lists offered here present more detailed information, though unknowns still remain.

Contemporary illustration of the Battle of Beachy Head, 30 June 1690 (known to the French as Beveziers)
The French fleet, commanded by Vice-Admiral Anne Hilarion de Cotentin, Comte de Tourville, has
been best known from a list in Léon Guérin, Histoire Maritime de France (1851), v. 3, pp. 449-453.
This was accepted by the most frequently cited British authority, William Laird Clowes, The Royal
Navy, A History from the Earliest Times to the Present (1898), v. 2, p. 335. Regrettably, Guérin and
Clowes omit two ships, reverse the stations of two others as compared with other lists, give
improbable numbers of guns for two vessels, and do not indicate the stations of fireships and light
frigates. A less known list in Eugène Sue, Histoire de la Marine Française (1856), v. 4, pp. 557-558,
shows the complete order of battle including stations of the fireships and light frigates. Sue does not
give men and guns, but these appear in other sources. First, there is a list in the Dutch
newspaper Hollandsche Mercurius from July 1690, pp. 195-197. It was drawn up a little before the
final order of battle was adopted, and thus gives a different order of fighting and includes several
vessels which were eventually left behind with a squadron of galleys. It does, however, offer plausible
armament figures. Second, a panoramic drawing of the battle in the French archives is reproduced in
Charles De La Roncière, Histoire de la Marine Française (1900), v. 6, following p. 72. It marks each
ship with a number corresponding to a keyed handwritten fleet list including men and guns. Unlike
other sources, this one gives what appear in many cases to be actual numbers of men aboard instead
of merely rounded complements. For better or worse, they are accordingly used in the list below. A
few are hard to read due to unlucky ink blots, hence the occasional question mark. Guérin allots all
fireships 30 men, which uniformity seems unlikely, but there is no other source.
Many authorities have remarked on the baffling inconsistencies in numbers of guns listed for the
French ships in the various sources for this battle. As these appear unresolvable, I have given the
highest and lowest numbers of guns for each vessel as they appear in Hollandsche Mercurius, Guérin,
and the drawing in La Roncière. Wildly inaccurate figures for two ships reported by Guérin (80 guns
for the third-rate Le Marquis and only 58 for the first-rate La Couronne) have been disregarded, as
have two clear mistakes in Hollandsche Mercurius (only 46 guns for the second-rate Le Pompeux and
80 guns for the third-rate Le Hardy). The results agree well with the armament ranges in Pierre Le
Conte, Lists of Men-of-War 1650-1700, Part II, French Ships, 1648-1700 (Society for Nautical
Research Occasional Publication no. 5, 1935). The only vessel for which the variation still seemed
excessive is Château-Renault’s flagship Le Dauphin-Royal, for which the armament in the three
sources is given as 90, 100, and 110 guns. The largest figure (from Guérin) is questionable in that
Tourville insisted on mounting rather fewer than the specified 110 guns in his own Le Soleil-Royal,
which was considerably larger and vastly more strongly manned than Château-Renault’s ship. And, a
report printed in Guérin, v. 3, pp. 313-316, written from the fleet five days after the battle by
Cartigny, Commissionaire and Inspecteur Général de la Marine, gives the armament of Le Dauphin-
Royal as 100 guns. For the present, it must be left for French researchers to settle this matter.
The line included seventy ships. Excluded from the line were five light frigates and eighteen fireships.
The fleet was organized into three squadrons of three divisions each, but the available sources do not
show the boundaries between divisions. The French flags are recorded in an English source: a
meticulous listing in the log of Captain Sir Francis Wheeler of the English ship Albemarle(The National
Archives of Great Britain [NA], ADM 51/55). Each squadron commander, in the centre division, flew a
rectangular flag at the fore (including Tourville). The second-in-command of each squadron (the
functional vice-admiral regardless of titular rank) flew a rectangular flag at the mizzen, and the third-
in-command (the functional contre-admiral or rear-admiral) flew a swallow-tailed ‘cornette’ at the
mizzen. The command flags in the Avant-garde (Van Squadron) were blue, those in the Corps de
Bataille (Centre Squadron) were white, and those in the Arrière-garde (Rear Squadron) were bicolour
white over blue. In addition to the nine division commanders, the French placed a junior flag officer
(chef d’escadre – abbreviated ‘CdE’ below) at the very head and tail of the line. These flew special
pendants at the mizzen peak (the tip of the diagonal mizzen yard), the only ships in the fleet with
pendants (though Tourville’s ‘seconds’ stationed immediately before and abaft him were also chefs
d’escadre). In all ships, jacks and ensigns were white. The flag arrangements were rather different
from those specified by the current Ordonnance, which apparently had not anticipated fleets of such
great size.
In the list below, the division commanders and their flagships are in bold type. In the RATE column,
the five fourth-rate light frigates not in the line are identified as ‘4F’. Their names are indented
showing their approximate stations on the unengaged side of the fleet. Fireships are designated by
‘fs’ in the RATE column and their names are double-indented. All the flag-officers including the
junior chefs d’escadre each evidently had at least one fireship under his control. The eight ships
indicated as ‘Répétiteurs’ were designated signal repeaters. There is some controversy about this,
since the Chevalier de Forbin-Gardane claimed later in his Memoirs of the Count de Forbin (London,
1731), p. 277, to have been among the répétiteurs, but Sue’s list allots this honour to Forbin’s next-
ahead, the Chevalier de la Rongère.
The rates for ships in the French navy of the 1690s did not correspond to English rates. The three-
decked French first-rates included all of what the English would have counted as first- and second-
rates. French second-rates roughly equated to large English third-rates, and French third-rates were
about the same size and force as the small English third-rates and large fourth-rates.
Some details in the list below still remain wanting. I was unable to find the forenames of most of the
captains, and have accordingly omitted them all. I was able to identify only three flag-captains, as
shown below. Finally, French proper names in the seventeenth century were often rendered in a
variety of phonetic spellings. To those who disapprove of the versions adopted here, I cheerfully
Avant-garde (Van Squadron)
2 Le Fier 68-72 515 CdE De Relingues
fs L’Hameçon 6 30 Deslauriers
3 Le Fort 52-60 365 De Lartelloire
4 Le Maure 52-54 282 Chev. La Galissonnière
2 L’Éclantant 64-68 441 De Septesmes
1 Le Conquérant 70-74 588 Lt-Gén. Marq. de Villette-
Mursay / Capt. de La Roche-Allard
fs Le Fanfaron 10 30 La Serre
2 Le Courtisan 62-66 400 De Pointis
4 L’Indien 44-50 250 De Roussel
4F Le Solide 42-48 250 De Ferville
4 Le Trident 46-52 282 De Riberet
3 Le Hardy (Répétiteur) 56-58 350 Comte des Gouttes
3 Le Saint-Louis 56-58 362 La Roque-Percin
3 L’Excellent 56-60 351 Chev. de Montbron
2 Le Pompeux 72-74 460 D’Aligre
fs La Branche d’Olivier 6 30 Moreau
1 Le Dauphin-Royal 90-110 705 Lt-Gén. Château-Renault/
Capt. Delcampe
fs L’Impudent 10 30 Origène Marchand
fs Le Déguisé 4 30 De Lalande
3 L’Ardent 62-66 364 D’Infreville
3 Le Bon 52-56 315? Chev. de Digoine du Palais
3 Le Précieux 54 330 De Périnet
3 L’Aquilon (Répétiteur) 52-54 350? De Beaugeais
4F L’Alcion 40-44 150 Jean-Bart
3 Le Fendant 52-58 340? La Vigerie
3 Le Courageux 60 365 De Sévigny
1 La Couronne 72-78 517 CdE Marquis de Langeron
fs Le Dur 10 30 De Longchamps
3 Le Ferme 54-60 358 De Vandricourt
3 Le Téméraire 52-58 343 De Rivault-Huet
4F L’Éole 46-50 250 Du Tast

Corps de Bataille(Centre Squadron)
3 Le Brusque (Répétiteur) 50-56 314 De Ricours
3 L’Arrogant 54-60 362 Chev. des Adrets
4 L’Arc-en-Ciel 44-46 272 Chev. de Sainte-Maure
2 L’Henri 62-66 390 D’Amblimont
1 Le Souverain 80-84 588 CdE De Nesmond / Capt.
fs Le Périlleux 10 30 Monnier
3 Le Brillant 58-66 480 De Beaujeu
4 Le Neptune 46 240 De Forbin
3 Le Sans-Pareil (Répétiteur)58-60 385 Chev. de La Rongère
3 Le Fidèle 46-56 242 Chev. de Forbin-Gardane
3 Le Diamant 54-56 355 De Serquigney
2 Le Sérieux 56-64 324 Chev. de Bellefontaine
2 Le Tonnant 70-72 515 CdE Marquis de La Porte
fs L’Espion 10 30 Drognon-Terras
1 Le Soleil-Royal 98-104 904 Vice-Adm. Comte de
fs L’Insensé 10 30 Cadeneau
4F Le Faucon 44 – De Montbault
1 Le Saint-Philippe 80 525 CdE Chev. de Coëtlogon
fs La Jolie 10 30 Naudy
3 Le Marquis 58-60 343 Chev. de Château-Morand
3 Le Furieux 58-60 365 Desnots
3 La Fortuné (Répétiteur) 58-60 368 Pallas
3 L’Apollon 56-58 365 Bidault
3 Le Saint-Michel 54-58 348 De Villars
3 L’Entreprenant 56-60 365 De Sébeville
1 Le Magnifique 76-80 590 Lt-Gén. Marquis
fs La Bouffonne 10 30 Descourtis
fs Le Fâcheux 10 30 Verguin
2 Le Content 56-60 390 Comte de Saint-Pierre
3 Le Vermandois 58-60 262 Du Challard
4 Le Cheval-Marin 40-46 252 Chev. d’Amfreville
3 Le Fougueux (Répétiteur) 58 368 De Saint-Marc

Arrière-garde(Rear Squadron)
4 Le Comte 40-44 250 Marq. La Roche-Courbon-
3 Le Vigilant 52-56 315 Chev. de Chalais
2 Le Parfait 60-62 350 Machault
2 Le Triomphant 70-72 515 CdE Chev. de Flacourt
fs L’Impertinent 6 30 Fremicourt
2 Le Bourbon 58-62 350 D’Hervault
3 Le Duc 48-52 305 Pallière
3 Le Vaillant 48-54 350 Feuquières
3 Le Capable (Répétiteur) 50-54 250 La Boissière
3 Le Brave 50-58 385 De Champigny
3 Le François 44-46 262 Chev. d’Hailly
3 L’Agréable 58-60 360 Le Motte
2 Le Florissant 72-80 500 De Cogolin
fs La Diligente 6-10 30 Rolland
1 Le Grand 80-86 660 Vice-Adm. Comte d’Estrées
fs Le Bout-de-Feu 6 30 Jean-Étienne
2 Le Belliqueux 72-74 515 Des Francs
fs Le Royal-Jacques 6-10 30 Perron
4F Le Léger 44 200 Du Rouvroy
3 Le Prince 56-58 365 Baron des Adrets
3 Le Prudent 52-58 234 Des Herbiers
3 Le Modéré (Répétiteur) 50 315 Des Augiers
3 Le Fleuron 54-58 339 De Chabert
2 L’Aimable 66-70 450 Du Magnon
1 L’Intrépide 80-84 600 Lt-Gén. Gabaret
fs La Maligny 6-10 30 De Reussy
2 Le Glorieux 60-62 392 Belle-Isle Érard
2 L’Illustre 66-70 472 Chev. de Rosmadec
2 Le Terrible 72-74 515 CdE Pannetié
fs L’Extravagant 10 30 Longchamps-Montendre

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