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HMS Swan (1641): Wikis


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Career (England) Commonwealth Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Swan
Launched: 1641
Captured: 1645, by the Parliamentarians
Fate: Sunk, 13 September 1653
General characteristics
Tons burthen: 200 tons (203.2 tonnes)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship

HMS Swan was a 200 ton warship of the English Royal Navy, launched in 1641. She was the last ship to be built for Charles I. She carried a number of iron cannon, which were cast by John Browne.



In 1645, whilst anchored at Dublin, and with Swan's captain absent from the ship, the disgruntled crew were persuaded by the captain of a Parliamentary frigate to change sides upon promise of payment of wages regularly. Thus the ship became part of the Cromwellian fleet.[1][2]


In September 1653, a Cromwellian task force anchored off Duart Castle, a staunch Royalist stronghold of the Maclean's, who had already fled to Tiree. On 13 September 1653, a storm blew up from the north west, which resulted in two commandeered merchantmen, the Martha and Margaret of Ipswich and the Speedwell of Kings Lynn being sunk, along with Swan. The wreck of HMS Swan was discovered in 1979.[1]


In 2003, one of the cannons from the ship was recovered. It turned out to be an iron 'Drake' cast by John Browne, and is believed to be the only survivor of this type of cannon. It has a mass of 3 cwt 2 qtrs 23 lb or 415 lb (188.2 kg) and had a 3½" (89mm) muzzle and fired shot weighing 4 pounds (1.81 kg). Another ship of the era, HMS Sovereign of the Seas, had bronze cannons that were also cast by Browne.[1][3]

Television programme

The story of the ship was featured in Channel 4's programme Wreck Detectives. [4]


  1. ^ a b c History Scotland Magazine.
  2. ^ BBC History - Wreck Detectives.
  3. ^ Cyber Diver News Network.
  4. ^ Channel 4, Wreck Detectives.


External links

  • Photo of the retrieved cannon
  • Article on diving on the swan, and interpreting the finds.


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