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HMS Antelope (1546): Wikis


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AnthonyRoll-24 Antelope.jpg
The Antelope as depicted in the Anthony Roll
Career (England) English Flag
Name: Antelope
Launched: 1546
Honours and

Participated in:

Fate: Burnt, 1649
General characteristics as built
Class and type: Galleass
Tons burthen: 300 tons (304.8 tonnes)
Propulsion: Sweeps, sails
Complement: 200 officers and men
Armament: 44 guns of various weights of shot
General characteristics after 1581 rebuild
Class and type: 38-gun Galleon
Tons burthen: 350 tons (355.6 tonnes)
Propulsion: Sails
Complement: 160 officers, men and soldiers
Armament: 38 guns of various weights of shot
General characteristics after 1618 rebuild[1]
Class and type: 34-gun Middling ship
Tons burthen: 450 tons (457.2 tonnes)
Length: 92 ft (28 m) (keel)
Beam: 32 ft (9.8 m)
Depth of hold: 12 ft 6 in (3.81 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
Armament: 34 guns of various weights of shot

The Antelope was a galleass of the English Tudor navy, launched in 1546. She was rebuilt twice and served from the time of King Henry VIII to the English Civil War. She is mostly remembered for being a part of the fleet that defeated the Spanish Armada.

History of the ship

Antelope is described in a navy list of 5 January 1548 as a galleass of 300 tons built in 1546 with a crew of 200 and armed with 4 brass and 40 iron guns.[2] She was rebuilt in 1581 and converted into a sailing ship of 400 tons.[3] A more detailed description is given in a navy list of 1603 where she is said to have 350 tons and a crew of 160 (consisting of 114 sailors, 16 gunners and 30 soldiers). At this time, Antelope carried 26 heavy and 12 light guns.[4]

When she participated in the campaign against the Spanish Armada in 1588, she had a crew of 170 and mounted 30 guns. Antelope was captained by Sir Henry Palmer and belonged to the squadron of Lord Henry Seymour in which she took part in the Battle of Gravelines and the chase of the Spanish fleet to the north.[5] In 1597 Antelope, then commanded by captain Sir Thomas Vavasour, participated in the unsuccessful expedition against the Azores led by the Earl of Essex and Sir Walter Raleigh.[6]

She was again rebuilt or extensively repaired in 1618 and classified as a middling ship of 450 tons and 34 guns.[1][7] The only remarkable action in her later career is her participation in Sir Robert Mansells disappointing expedition against Algiers in 1620/1621.[8] In the beginning of October 1624 Antelope - then under the command of Sir Thomas Button - was hit by a storm and driven onto the Goodwin Sands after her anchor cables where cut by a merchant ship. Though she lost all her masts and her rudder she got off into the Downs and was repaired by Phineas Pett whose son John had been on board. He left a description of this incident in his Autobiography.[9]

During the Second English Civil War she belonged to the ships that where brought over to the royalist side by vice admiral William Batten in June 1648 and carried into Hellevoetsluis (Netherlands).[10] When Prince Rupert was made commander of the badly equipped royalist fleet, he sold Antelope's brass guns to fit out some other ships.[11] In the spring of 1649 Antelope was ready for sea, but her weak crew was surprised by a raid of seamen from the parliamentarian ship Happy Entrance who took the ship without a fight and immediately destroyed her.[12]


  1. ^ a b Lavery, Ships of the Line, vol. 1, p. 158.
  2. ^ Clowes, Royal Navy, vol. 1, p. 420.
  3. ^ Clowes, Royal Navy, vol. 1, p. 423.
  4. ^ Clowes, Royal Navy, vol. 1, p. 425.
  5. ^ Clowes, Royal Navy vol. 1, p. 580, 588-589.
  6. ^ Clowes, Royal Navy, vol. 1, p. 520
  7. ^ Clowes, Royal Navy, vol. 2, p. 8
  8. ^ Clowes, Royal Navy, vol. 2, p. 52.
  9. ^ W. G. Perrin (ed.): The autobiography of Phineas Pett, London 1918, p. 133-134.
  10. ^ Clowes, Royal Navy, vol. 2, p. 80.
  11. ^ Clowes, Royal Navy, vol. 2, p. 118.
  12. ^ Clowes, Royal Navy, vol. 2, p. 120.


  • Clowes, William Laird: The Royal Navy. A History from the Earliest Times to 1900, vols. 1-2,1896-1898
  • 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.
  • Knighton, C. S. & Loades, David M., The Anthony Roll of Henry VIII's Navy: Pepys Library 2991 and British Library Additional MS 22047 with related documents. Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot. 2000. ISBN 0-7546-0094-7


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