IV. The Norwich: Introductory note

Pages 113-114

The Barrington Papers, Vol. 77. Originally published by Navy Record Society, London, 1937.

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Captain Barrington assumed command of H.M.S. Norwich on August 21st, 1754. The ship had recently come out of dock and lay at moorings off the jetty head at Chatham. On the 26th the ship's company of the Crown were turned over to the Norwich and work began on fitting out the ship for sea. At the beginning of October the Norwich sailed for Blackstakes to take in her guns and ammunition; after which she proceeded to Spithead where she anchored on October 16th, 1754.

General Braddock's baggage was taken on board in the last week in November; but the sailing of the Norwich was delayed till Commodore Keppel should be ready to go out to North America. The Centurion arrived at Spithead on December 20th and on the 22nd the Centurion and Norwich sailed in company for Virginia. Barrington left his third Lieutenant, Napier, sick at Portsmouth and in the vacancy received Adam Duncan. (fn. 1)

Bad weather was encountered in crossing the Atlantic and the Norwich arrived at Hampton Road, Virginia, on February 19th, 1755, three days ahead of Keppel in the Centurion. General Braddock landed from the Norwich on the 20th. On March 9th H.M.S. Seahorse (Captain Hugh Palliser) arrived with seven transports containing the troops embarked at Cork.

In Hampton Roads the Norwich was employed furthering the equipment of the Army. In the first week in May she also provided stores for Captain Thomas Owen, to enable him to build two vessels on Lake Ontario.

Keppel's dispatches to the Admiralty are in P.R.O., Admiralty I, 480. On July 17th, 1755, the Hornet sloop (Captain Salt) arrived in Hampton Roads with dispatches from the Admiralty, breaking up his squadron. He transferred his broad pendant to the Seahorse (Captain Hugh Palliser) and prepared to sail for England. On July 24th came the news of Braddock's disaster; two days later the Seahorse, Norwich and Centurion sailed in company, Keppel for home and Barrington for Halifax, Nova Scotia.

On August nth, 1755, the Norwich and Centurion anchored in Halifax Harbour and found there Admiral Boscawen with the fleet recently out from England. Upon coming under his command Boscawen issued to Barrington his Additional Signals and Fighting Instructions.

On August 30th the Norwich sailed for Halifax (upon Boscawen's orders of August 18th) and on September 2nd joined Holburne at sea; she returned to Halifax on September 24th and witnessed the departure of Boscawen and Mostyn with the fleet for England on October 19th, 1755. The Norwich was one of the ships left on the station under Commodore Richard Spry, and passed a severe winter at Halifax. It was on June 12th, 1756, before Spry took the squadron to sea for a cruise off Louisburg, from which the Norwich returned to Halifax on July 23rd. On August 1st the Grafton and Nottingham arrived, and Commodore Charles Holmes succeeded Spry in the command at Halifax.

Holmes took the squadron to sea on August 7th and on the 26th received dispatches at sea, whose contents are indicated by an extract from Barrington's log: 'The Commodore hoisted his Colours and a Red Flag at his Foretopgallant masthead, and manned Ship. We manned Ship likewise and gave three cheers. . . . Read to the Ship's Company the Declaration of War against France.' On August 29th Holmes sent the Success and Norwich to Newfoundland, and subsequently Barrington convoyed the Newfoundland Trade to Europe. The Norwich reached Cadiz on November 23rd. Barrington applied to Sir Edward Hawke, then at Gibraltar, for various stores to replenish the Norwich to enable her to reach England; and upon receiving these by the Portland, he sailed for Cadiz on December 24th, 1756, and anchored at Spithead on January 24th, 1757.

The Admiralty ordered the Norwich round to Sheerness for cleaning and refit. On February 18th she was ordered to Chatham, and was there docked.


  • 1. Richard Norbury (P. June 4th, 1759) and Adam Duncan (P. February 25th, 1761), Barrington's first and third Lieutenants, were removed to the Centurion in Hampton Roads on May 1st, 1755 and in their places he received John Hughes (P. November 21st, 1760) and Archibald Clevland (P. November 5th, 1756).