HMS Excellent (1787)

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Royal Navy EnsignUK
Name: HMS Excellent
Ordered: 9 August 1781
Builder: Graham, Harwich
Laid down: March 1782
Launched: 27 November 1787
Honours and
Battle of Cape St Vincent
Fate: Broken up, 1835
Notes: Reduced to 58-guns in 1820; training ship from 1830
General characteristics [1]
Class & type: Arrogant class ship of the line
Tons burthen: 1645 bm
Length: 168 ft (51 m) (gundeck)
Beam: 46 ft 9 in (14.25 m)
Depth of hold: 19 ft 9 in (6.02 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
  • Gundeck: 28 × 32-pounder guns
  • Upper gundeck: 28 × 18-pounder guns
  • QD: 14 × 9-pounder guns
  • Fc: 4 × 9-pounder guns

HMS Excellent was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched at Harwich on 27 November 1787.[1] She was the captaincy of John Gell before he was appointed an Admiral.[2]

Excellent took part in the Battle of Cape St Vincent in 1797.

On 9 October 1799, Excellent chased the 18-gun Aréthuse. Aréthuse attempted to flee but part of her rigging broke during the night, and Excellent caught on during the night. After a brief fight, Aréthuse struck her colours. She was recommissioned in the Royal Navy as HMS Raven.

On 9 April 1802, the 8th West India Regiment revolted in Dominica. They killed three officers, imprisoned the others and took over Fort Shirley. On the following day, Magnificent, which was anchored in Prince Rupert's Bay,[3] sent a party of marines ashore to restore order. The mutineers fired upon the Magnificent with no effect. Excellent, the frigate Severn, and the sloop Gaiete assisted Magnificent, also supplying marines.

On 12 April, Governor Cochrane entered Fort Shirley with the Royal Scots Regiment and the 68th Regiment of Foot. The rebels were drawn up on the Upper Battery of Fort Shirley with three of their officers as prisoners and presented arms to the other troops. They obeyed Cochrane's command to ground their arms but refused his order to step forward. The mutineers picked up their arms and fired a volley. Shots were returned, followed by a bayonet charge that broke their ranks and a close range fire fight ensued. Those mutineers who tried to escape over the precipice to the sea were exposed to grape-shot and canister fire from Magnificent.[4]


In 1820, Excellent was reduced to a 58-gun ship. From 1830 she was serving as a training ship. She was broken up in 1835.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Lavery, Ships of the Line vol.1, p180.
  2. Literary Panorama, Biographical Memoirs, John Gell, Esq. Vice Admiral of the White, p1385.
  3. McArthur, J., & Clarke, J. S. (1805). The naval chronicle: Volume 14, July–December 1805: Containing a general and biographical history of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom with a variety of original papers on nautical subjects: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from
  4. The 8th West India Regiment Revolts. Retrieved from


  • 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.
  • Cox, Son and Baylis (printers) (1807) The Literary Parorama. Google Books. Retrieved 1 November 2008.